Siddara Betta or Sanjeevini Betta, a hill of medicine, is located in madhugiri taluk of Tumkur, 100 km from Bengaluru. It is one of the most visited place surrounded by rocky hills, temples and caves with an elevation of 1700 feet. This place is famous for the high medicinal value of its herbs. It has ages of rich history associated, many Saints performed penance and meditation here to attain enlightenment and that’s how it got its name Siddara Betta means ‘Hill of Saints’. According to Ancient epic, Ramayana this mountain was brought here by Hanuman, as he was not able to identify Sanjeevini to cure Lakshman.

Cleanmountain team consisting of 71 members from Bengaluru reached the base of Siddara Betta hill on 22nd June 2019 at around 1 AM. Accommodation was arranged by Siddarabetta Balehonnur Mutt and we stayed overnight in community hall. After fresh up in the morning, we collected dustbins, gloves, mask, gunny bags, packed food items, water bottle etc. and started our cleanup trek. Volunteers who chose to come by their own vehicle, joined us early morning. We were also accompanied by Balehonnur Mutt Swami in this venture. Team got into action after briefing by the organizer. We were told to segregate the waste so that it is much easier to recycle and ensure proper handling which makes it cheaper and better for people and the environment. We kept plastics bottles and plastics waste in different gunny bags. The steps were rocky and little steep requires a bit of stamina to ascend.

The start of the day promised good weather so we didn’t feel exhausted. We picked up the littered items along the trails and put it into the gunny bags, stitched it properly when filled entirely and left it along the trails to be carried down while descending. After 5 hours of cleanup, we reached the temple and had sipped natural cold water from the cave. One will get completely refreshed and energized after sipping that naturally cold water. Water is available throughout the year and its source is unknown.

We removed our footwear and went inside the cave temple. It was cold inside and one can feel the tranquility. The priest splashed 3-4 pot(round brass pot) of cool water on our head and the tiredness of climbing the hill disappeared suddenly. The priest applied Vibhuti on our forehead. We prayed and bowed to Lord Shiva with devotion.

After finishing our breakfast, we started cleaning inside the cave. There were tonnes of waste materials including devotees clothes, kumkum, camphor and incense sticks packets etc. The pilgrims do not carry down these stuffs after worship and they throw it into the crevices. Its a result of decades of littering. We placed four dustbins along the trails and one dustbin near the temple premises. We were ensured by the temple priest and local panchayat that they would take care of emptying the dustbin on a regular basis.

Finally we started walking down the hill and throwing the trash bags down the trail. It was fun and required team effort to throw the bags by rolling, where every members stood along the trails and kept on throwing the trash bags to the next volunteer.

Below are the key highlights :

Number of participants : 71
Number of collected trash bags : 77
Total Trash collected (in Kg) : 1386 including 124 kg of water bottles.
Number of dustbins installed : 05

Lunch was arranged by Temple devotee and Balehonnur Mutt Swami Sri Sri Veerabhadra Shivacharya Swami. We enjoyed the delicious meal and headed back to Bengaluru.

Still the hill could not be cleaned entirely and require one or two more such cleanup drive. Dear readers, please join https://cleanmountains.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/cleanmountains.org/ to get notification for upcoming drives, participate and help us in making our mountains litter free.

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