On a beautiful afternoon in Jan 2013, we started on a night-day trip to Nandi Hills from Bangalore. We had booked a room in the Mount View Resort at the base of the hill for the night stay. The plan was to go and visit the hilltop once in the evening after reaching the location, to experience the beauty of sunset, Then come back to the resort and spend the night there relaxing with drinks, food and some indoor games. We had thought of driving back to the hilltop early in the morning to view the mesmerizing sunrise there, which Nandi Hills is famous for. Then come back to the resort and have a dip in the swimming pool before returning back home.
Nandi Hills gets its name from the famous Nandi temple situated atop this hill. This bull guards the outside of the Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple. Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple is the dwelling of Shiva the austere on the top of the hills and this temple was build by the Cholas. This antediluvian temple also has a dedication in the name of Sambhaji who was the son of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The beautiful Nandi Hills, popularly known as Nandi Betta or Nandi Durga for the locals and the people of Karnataka. This hillock is situated about 60 km from Bangalore City, about 24 kms from Chikkaballapur town. Nandi, the bull is the Vahana to Lord Shiva.
During the Chola reign, Nandi Hills was known as Ananda Giri, Hill of Happiness. Now Nandi Hills also known as Nandidurga are small flat surrounding plains near Bangalore. A fort was built during the period by the chieftains of Chikkaballapur. It was strengthened by the famous King of Mysore Tippu Sultan. This fort was considered impregnable, it covers a vast area of 97 acres and soldiers could shoot from all directions without being seen and there is the famous “Tippu drop” a 600 meter cliff with a huge rock landing after the drop. Prisoners and convicts during Tippu’s reign were pushed off this cliff.
These hills are located 1,478 meters above the sea level. Nandi Hills before being conquered by the British forces under Lord Cornwallis was a Mysorean Fort. It was captured by the British in the year 1791. Later on the British developed the hill station and it became popular. This hill station is a famous tourist spot because it is blessed with a pleasant climate through out the year.
The flora of the hills is distinctive of high hills. Besides Coffea arabica there are some more aboriginal species. Eucalyptus is grown inside the fort which is an exotic plant. The forest around the hills acts as a substratum for the condensation of clouds and this is the reason that most of the trees are covered with water in the mornings. Many species of birds and animals can also be seen in the hills.
This was once the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan. The hill also has temples dating back to the Chola period. It gets extremely crowded on weekends. The hills offer great views of the surroundings, though. Also we got to know that Mahatma Gandhi stayed on a guest house on top of Nandi Hills while he was recovering from illness.
Apart from being a home to the bountiful generosity of Mother Nature, Nandi hills is also famous as a good trekking and hiking spot. Proceeding from Bangalore, take a left to Nandi hills from the main Highway. At the end of this road at T-junction most drivers take left. You need to take a RIGHT turn here & head towards villages. There are some wonderful temples around these villages. Check out these. Head to Sultanpet & ask for directions, since there are no signposts. In Sultanpet, Park at the start of trail & commence burning your calories. There are stone steps laid during the time of Tipu Sultan. Try to do this during sunrise & the views are fabulous. There are hardly any tourists choosing this path, even on a weekend. Enjoy the solitude, till you reach the mad crowd pack at the summit
Things not to be missed in Nandi Hills:
Amruth Sarovar is an exquisite water lake that is filled with crystal clear water through out the year. It is a large tank which is fed by the perennial springs. The lake is an important tourist spot. This lake supply water to the near by nursery area. This lake has depth of 52 feet and once water reaches 32 feet, then the water leaks to nearby pond called Gupta Gamini. Amruth Sarovar constructed in the year of 1932.
Tippu’s Summer Palace and Fort
Tippu’s summer residence is a lodge, which was completed in the year 1791. The construction of this lodge was started by Hyder Ali and was completed by Tippu Sultan. This lodge was used by the Sultan for taking rest, whenever he comes for hunting at Nandi Hills. Presently this is under the control of Central Archaeological Department.
Gavi veerabdhadra Swamy Temple
On the way to the Sultanpet, from Tipu's palace, natural formation of huge boulders has been transformed into a temple.
The fort is on a sprawling area of 90 acres and is above 4851 feet above sea level. A soldier could hide in this well constructed fort and shoot in all four directions at the same time.
This tract for the Horses is a stone doorway in the fort on the North-eastern side, specially made for Tippu’s soldiers. It is believed to have been the horse way for helping soldiers to climb the wall on horse back.
Palar River Origin
Palar river takes its birth as a small spring on the eastern side of the hill. Presently this River Is very famous in Tamil Nadu.
Brahmashram is a cool and beautiful cave near Nandi Hills. This cave has the unique distinction of being the meditation place for many Saints. It is located in Nandi Hills. The Ashram is a tourist attraction. Many tourists visit this place for the weather is very cool in the caves.
Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple
The Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple was built by the Cholas. Shiva the austere is the resident of the temple. Most of the attention is taken by the two Dwarpalakas which guard the entrance of the temple. This temple is on the top of the hill. Foreign visitors coming to Nandi hills make it a point to visit this temple. The temple serves the students of architecture and sculpture as a study centre. A temple of exquisite, intricate carvings, It also has a beautiful Kalyana Mantapa.
During Tippu's reign, criminals were pushed down from this point to their death as punishment.. The height of the cliff yields a fabulous view of the nearing villages. The view from the top is really enchanting to the eyes of the beholder. On a misty night when the wind blows through the trees, the leaves make a rustling noise.
The local belief is that the rustling noise heard is the blood curdling cry of the prisoners who met their ghastly end.
Arkavathi River Origin
Arkavathi River takes its birth on the South-west of Nandi hill. The Arkavathi River is also considered to be an offshoot of River Cauvery.
A secrt passsage on the west, is believed to have helped the kings to escape during unforseen attacks.
A playground or play area is a place with a specific design for children is able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors. Modern playgrounds often have recreational equipment such as the see-saw, merry-go-round, swing set, slide, jungle gym, chin-up bars, sandbox, spring rider, monkey bars, overhead ladder, trapeze rings, playhouses, and mazes, many of which help children develop physical coordination, strength, and flexibility, as well as providing recreation and enjoyment. Common in modern playgrounds are "play structures" that link many different pieces of equipment. Nandi Hills, boasts an excellent play structure for children's. A series of ramps and bridges connect the whole play area, which has a cushy rubber surface. A small children's play area makes it a good spot for kids of multiple ages to get some fresh air. The Horticulture department maintains a lovely garden for children to play games like the slides, merry-go-round, swings etc.
The idol of Nellikai Basavanna measures 10 feet long and 6 feet height carved in Chola’s style. This is called Nellikai Basavanna as there is a Nellikai Tree (Phyllanthus emblica) in front of Basavanna.
It is a small water catchment area, where throughout the year water will be there and from inside it is connected to nearby Amruth Sarovara.
Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple
It is a big temple at Nandi village which was constructed during the Chola’s period. It has got big Kalyani in the temple area.
Muddenahalli is the birthplace of the most renowned engineer and Dewan of the former Mysore state, Sir M. Vishveshwaraiah. Bordering the house is a museum with lots of interesting artifacts belonging to the legendary engineer, visionary and architect which is owned by his harbingers. Photography is not allowed inside, which is a disappointment. This museum has a great collection of photographs and writings of Shri Visveshwariah during his tenure.
Some Useful Traveller Tips:
- Arrange to collect the details like places of tourist interest, maps of the place you are going to visit.
- Make your plan of visiting all the places in consultation with the local tourist office or the government approved guide.
- While driving up and down the hill, be really careful, The hairpin turns are sharp and steep. Check Your Vehicle before you start the trip up to the hill.
- You may carry the clothes depending upon the weather.
- Various types of food items are generally available at all hill stations but try to select the standard items rather than trying the local unknown items.
- Be careful with monkeys on the hill. Avoid keeping eatables in the hand. Also, there may be dogs, so be careful.
- Always carry the bottled mineral drinking water with you as the mountain water in India is heavy at most of the places that can result in the stomach upsets.
- At hills they will have some specific points from where you can have lovely views of sunrise and sunset. Even if it may be little inconvenient, make sure to visit such places.
- Always negotiate the prices to around 50% before you decide to buy any item. Make sure to do your shopping mostly from the state government shops on such hill stations. The prices are generally fixed here and there are less chances of cheating.
- Try to avoid local made alcoholic drinks as they may be extremely strong and/or contaminated. Stick to your standard drinks.
- Do not move around during the late night hours in the hilly forest area as the threat of wild animals is still there at some of the places.
- Do not miss the bewildering and enchanting beauty of the sunrise and sunset on the hill top view point.
The official website of Nandi Hills: http://www.nandihills.co.in/