Nandi Hills-Bangalore's Famous Weekend Getaway-Cum-Picnic Spot
NANDI HILLS-BANGALORE'S SCENIC GETAWAY
Scenic spots around Bangalore city are aplenty and a visit to the historical and scenic Nandi Hills is a must on every tourist's itinerary. An hour's drive from Bangalore city, past the International Airport, about 70 kms, brings you to the enchanting Nandi Hills. Nandi Hills is a much sought after destination on any holiday and weekends. It is a favorite picnic spot for the young and old alike, particularly lovers and honeymooners in search of a tranquil surrounding. The climate is pleasant all year round with the summer temperature being 25-28 degree Celsius and winter being 8-10 degree Celsius. Mostly misty in the mornings and rainy season, Nandi is a natural large monolithic rock with beautiful flowers, fruits, greenery -a true botanist's paradise. A greenhouse with ornamental plants and rare varieties of orchids are grown here by the Horticultural Department that looks after Nandi Hills. Rare and beautiful birds are sighted here and those interested in birding find themselves here on Sunday mornings.
Getting There: There are local buses that ply along this route but hiring a private
taxi or driving yourself is recommended. If you are up to it, hire a
private taxi to the foot of the hills and go biking(bicycling) up to
the top. If you own a motorbike or a car, you will enjoy the ride both ways. The hour long drive on the six lane Bangalore-Bellary highway makes for a pleasant drive. After Devanahalli, take the deviation to the left and travel 11 kilometers to reach Nandi cross. Another 3 kms and you are at the foot of Nandi Hills. The steep climb with its 47 hairpin bends to the top of Nandi make up about 8 kms. The road is wide enough and well maintained. You will encounter several bikers here who enjoy the climb. And those include bicycle riders and mobike riders. Most new car owners also love testing their vehicle on this Nandi hill climb. It is wise to keep your eye on the winding road ahead and stop when you want to enjoy a view at some of the bends. And keep honking at every turn as some bikers throw caution to the winds on their climb down.
Bangalore City to Nandi Hills Route on NH 7
Historical Significance of Nandi Hills
How Nandi Got Its Name
Stories abound about the origin of the name Nandi for this monolothic granite structure.
Story no. 1 : During the reign of Cholas, it was called "Ananda Giri", which means "Hill Of Happiness".
Story no. 2 : Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, so the hills got his name. The Yoga Nandeeswara temple with its exquisite, intricate carvings is situated on top of Nandi hill. A beautiful Kalyana Mantapa for conducting marriages is attached.
Story no. 3 : The hill resembles a sleeping BULL (NANDI) and therefore got its name.
Nandi hills are also referred to as Nandidurga or Nandi Fort because of Tippu Sultan's Fort atop the hill. The fort spans a sprawling area of 90 acres and is above 4851 feet above sea level. During the Ganga period, the Chikkaballapur chieftains built a fort, which was strengthened later by Tippu Sultan and also built himself a rest house(Summer Lodge). The main entrance of the fort after the 37 th hairpin bend is also the entrance to the Nandi hills. This is where you need to buy your tickets to go up to the top, if you are in a car or bike. You can then drive through all the way up. The buses stop here, and you have to climb the steps to the top. As you enter, you will at once feel the temperature change and the enchanting greenery beckons you. To the left, a few steps below, and a pink structure that was once Tippu Sultan's Summer Lodge appears. The views of the surrounding hills are spectacular from here. The winding road runs alongside the Fort with its watch towers, where cannons used to be fired from, at the British. All along the wall are musket holes, with one, two and three holes depending on the area being covered below. A soldier could hide in this well constructed fort and shoot in all four directions at the same time. The Fort wall is still so strong although breached in a few places and offers breathtaking views of the fields and greenery below.
Tippu's Drop : is a must see location on Nandi Hills. This is where Tippu used to take his captured spies and prisoners and ask queries about his enemies, particularly the British. He would threaten to push them off this face of Nandi Hills, which is a sheer drop all the way to the bottom, with no chance of survival. Once he got the required information, or even otherwise, he would just push them off. This came to be known as the famous Tippu's Drop. Today, it is covered with fencing, so as to discourage people with suicidal tendencies. Although you can have a good look at the spot from a few feet away.
Secret Passage : On the west is a secret passage, and is believed to have been used by kings including Tippu Sultan to escape during unforseen attacks.
Bridle Path : Soldiers on horse back could climb up the Nandi Hill and enter through a stone doorway in the fort on the north-eastern side. This was known as Bridle Path as they could ride up or down the hill only on horse back as it was very narrow and dangerous.
Places Of Interest Atop Nandi Hills
Places Of Interest Atop Nandi Hills
Beyond Tippu's Summer Lodge is the Amrutha Sarovara, a fresh water lake full of large exotic fish with large steps surrounding it and leading all the way down to the water. This beautiful lake brims with lucid water throughout the year.
Beyond is the Horticultural Department's Nursery and Green House with its exotic variety of orchids and fruit and flower plants and trees.
Source of Rivers : River Arkavathi finds its origin at the south-west of the hills, while Palar and Pennar find their source as a small spring on the eastern side of Nandi Hills.
Bramashrama : The spiritual-minded will find this a serene place where huge, natural boulders house the ashram.
Gavi Veerabhadra Swamy Temple : Between Tippu's Palace and Sultanpet, natural formation of huge boulders has been transformed into a temple.
Nellikayi Basavanna : Facing a fantastic view below, is a small ledge on the Nandi wall, which houses a large black granite statue of Nandi or Bull, under the shade of a gooseberry (nellikayi in Kannada) tree. Legend has it that a bull used to regularly visit and eat of the leaves of the gooseberry tree and hence the name.
Food And Accommodation Atop Nandi Hills
Accommodation is available for tourists atop Nandi Hills. Advance booking is recommended as there are few rooms on rent at the Cubbon House and Gandhi Nilaya. Nehru House, formerly called Cubbon House after Lord Cubbon has 18 rooms. Rajiv Gandhi hosted the SAARC meeting here for the important Heads of State attending. The Directorate of Horticulture at Lal Bagh , Bangalore is to be contacted for prior booking. Gandhi Nilaya, where Gandhi himself had stayed, is under the management of DPAR, Government of Karnataka and is reserved for important dignitaries.
The Karnataka Tourism Department runs a vegetarian cum non vegetarian restaurant called MAYURA atop the Nandi hills. Medical, postal, police, telegraph and telephone facilities are available on hilltop. Mobile phones may not work though. Apart from Mayura retaurant which does not open until noon, there are a couple of local restaurants as well that serve you idli, dosa, poori,and rice items for breakfast and lunch. A the base of the hills before you begin the Nandi climb is a restaurant which is recommended than those atop the hill. Mineral water is available here too if you wish to carry your own water. Most families carry their own packed breakfast and lunches to eat among the serene surroundings. Beware the monkeys though! Food packets and bananas are snatched if you are not careful and mind you, a whole army descends from the trees around, at the sight and smell of food. Nandi Hills is litter free, so make sure you throw your waste in litter bins provided or carry them back with you.
Hot Tip : Nandi Hills are open from 6 AM to 10 PM. But, do not travel alone after 6 PM. You will encounter snakes, monkeys. Be prepared to shoo away monkeys,which are used to robbing food from your vehicle, or your hands. Pick up a long dried stick upon arrival at the top and it is sure to keep all monkeys at arm's length.
On the whole, a relaxing day or weekend for any couple or family atop Nandi Hills and so close to the city as well.
CAMERAS TO CAPTURE YOUR HOLIDAYS
Intricate carvings inside Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple On top Of Nandi Hills
Nandi Hills- A Summer Retreat
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