Visited - Multiple times, latest in Jan 2017
One of the earliest spots I visited around Bangalore. It is a very interesting location, especially if you enjoy the wonders of nature. You can search for Big Banyan Tree/Doddalamara/Dodda Aladha Mara and get lot of information about the tree itself. What I would like to provide here is an idea of the experience.
What you will be visiting is a single tree spread over 3 acres fenced around into a park. The location being familiar for movie and TV series shootings has gained popularity with visitors. My understanding is that the tree is 400 years old. The way in which the vines have grown and spread gives an impression of multiple tress, while in fact the entire 3+ acres is covered by a single tree. I have visited this place multiple times. I have mixed feelings about recommending this place be added on your itinerary.
Nearness to Bangalore and a wonder of nature are its plus points. The rural route you take to get there is also a good place to find locally grown produce sold on the road sides if you get lucky. There ends the goodness.
There are not many eateries or tourist facilities on way. You don’t want to be in the zone when you are hungry. Especially, if you are looking for a late breakfast or early lunch, you will not find much. There is a restaurant right next to the tree, but it looked like it is better avoided.
There are shops that sells snacks, baked goods, ice creams etc. opposite to the tree park entrance, but I was not impressed with the open drain running right in front of it.
While the cleaning staff keep the tree park clean and swept well, the toilet is another story. One time it was locked and the supervisor lady gave a rude and unclear response when asked if it could be opened. Another time, it was open but had no water. So, it is best if you can get here with a full stomach and empty bladder!
Monkeys rule the place. While I have seen this place called a nice picnic spot, I would say don’t be fooled. You can’t eat anything or even carry anything that might remotely look like food. The monkeys are aggressive and will attack. Just walking with nature and sitting on park benches do not count as picnic for me.
In a previous visit I have seen kids having a great time swinging from the vines. But during my recent visit I found this has been stopped now. Most of the vines were trimmed and tied such that swinging will not be possible. I totally understand why from a safety and staff perspective, but unhappy to see this option gone for some simple and active fun. But if you are an avid road tripper you know those swinging opportunities are abundant if you keep your eyes open!!
Know before your go:
- It is a single large tree fenced into a tree park
- Food options limited to snacks and tender coconuts
- Monkeys are plenty and will steal any foods/bags that look like it might have foods from you.
- Toilet facilities available but rarely seem to be functional
- It is roughly a 30 minute walk around the tree park, but you can spend longer time if you like blending with nature and observing things around – the tree, monkeys and people
- There is a small temple inside this park
- You will see many young couple visitors, but that should not stop you from visiting this place
- Route – On Mysore road heading towards Mysore, turn right before RajaRajeswari college of engineering. Roughly 6-7 Kms on this road, the tree will appear to your left.
- Can be combined with Ramanagara or other nearby locations for a half or full day trip
Nearby - Ramanagara, Grips Gokarting