Biligirirangana Hills
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Biligirirangana Hills   |   Chamarajanagar

The Biligirirangana Hills, commonly called B R Hills, is a hill range situated in south-easternKarnataka, at the border of Tamil Nadu (Erode District) in South India. The area is called Biligiriranganatha Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary or simply BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. It is a protected reserve under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Being at the confluence of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, The site was declared a tiger reserve in January 2011 by the Karnataka government, a few months after approval from India's National Tiger Conservation Authority

The hills are located at the easternmost edge of the Western Ghats, . A wildlife sanctuary of 322.4 square kilometres (124.5 sq mi) was created around the temple on 27 June 1974, and enlarged to 539.52 square kilometres (208.31 sq mi) on 14 January 1987. The sanctuary derives its name Biligiri the white mist and the silver clouds cover the hills for a greater part of the year. The hills are in the Yelandur, Kollegal and Chamarajanagar talukas of Chamarajanagar District of Karnataka. They are contiguous with hills in Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Erode District of Tamil Nadu to the south. By road, they are about 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Mysore and 160 kilometres (99 mi) from Bangalore. The road leading to the village on top of the hills may be approached either from Yelandur orChamarajanagar.

The Ranganatha temple is situated at the edge of a bare cliff overlooking the northern parts of the sanctuary.

The Ranganatha deity at this temple is possibly the only standing form of Ranganatha, attributed to Tipu Sultan's rechristening of a previous Venkatesha temple, when he visited these hills during a hunting expedition. This may have happened to attract patronage of the Sultan as he was supposed be a patron of Ranganatha. Other deities in the temple include those of Ranganayaki and several Alvars. An annual car festival is held during Vaishakha in the month of April. Every two years, the local Soliga tribe present a large pair of slippers measuring 1-foot (0.30 m) and 9 inches, to Ranganatha.

The BR hills along with the Male Mahadeshwara Hills (MM Hills) range forms a distinctly unusual ridge running north-south amidst the plains of Bangalore (~900 m above MSL), Mysore(~800 m above MSL) and Krishnagiri(~450 m above MSL). The peaks of these lofty range rise as high as 1800 m (BR hills 1400 to 1800 m; MM Hills 1000 to 1200 m). The highest hill is Kattari Betta, at 1800 MSL. Various observations point to a possible biogeographic link between BR hills and Nilgiri ranges.

Photography: [Sharath Mahadevarahalli]

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