Staying in Bangalore and wondering what to do in the weekend? Quite a common thing. Well, there is one option which always presents itself as a strong contender among all the places in your shortlist: NANDI HILLS. You are new to Bangalore, you are on a weekend trip or even if you have been here for years; doesn’t matter. What are you looking for? A breath of fresh air after a hectic week in the office, an early morning refreshment after a long Friday night booze, sunrise, cool weather, a short trek, a tryst with nature, a lesson of history: Nandi Hills has it all.
Located at an altitude of 1478 m, Nandi Hills (commonly known as Nandidurg) is a popular tourist hotspot near Bangalore. It is fortress built by the legendary warrior Tipu Sultan. Owing to its location and astute construction, the fort was considered impregnable for years. Nandi Hills has a chamber (called Tipu’s summer palace) which was used as a summer retreat by Tipu Sultan. A place popularly known as the Tipu`s drop was used to kill prisoners by throwing them down the cliff. There are few ancient temples atop the hill. Mahatma Gandhiji sojourned here for 45 days for his health revival. Jawaharlal Nehru is also known to have stayed here.
We started from Bangalore as a group of 7 people in a 7 seater Chevrolet Enjoy at 3:15 AM. We took the airport road through the Outer Ring Road. One toll gate comes where we have to pay Rs.120 for both ways. We stopped in between to sip a cup of tea. The plan was to reach early. We reached at 5:15 AM. The main gate opens at 6 AM so we had to wait. There are hundreds of cars queuing up on the hill slopes waiting for the gates to open. Meanwhile, the crowd which mostly comprises of young corporate people and college goers comes out of the vehicles and stroll on the hill slopes. Some of them even play loud music and dance.
The gate opened at 6 AM. Once the gate opens the vehicles start racing uphill. The tortuous roads accompanied with some sharp turns lead us to the main gate of the fort. On the way, we get scenic views where people often stop and click pictures. Sometimes depending on the weather, these roads may be quite foggy adding to the foes of driving. However its a delight for the visitors who come contemplating to witness such weather. On reaching the top we have to buy tickets. The parking plus visiting charges for 8 people is Rs.150. The price depends on the type of vehicle (seating capacity) you are traveling in and the number of people. For us, it was Rs.80 for the parking and Rs. 70 (Rs.10 per head) for the visiting ticket.
There are two options. You can either park the vehicle at the parking space near the main gate and trek to the peak or you can go in the vehicle and park the vehicle at the parking space atop the hill. We choose to trek. Trekking here is very easy and mostly consists of concrete steps. By trekking you get to see certain things like the ancient Kalyani pond; anyways trekking with friends is always more enjoyable.
On reaching the top, there are few abandoned tree houses. Most of them have effete structures, so be careful while ascending them. Then there are few ancient temples which as I later learned are dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha, Sri Yoga Narasimha and Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy. On climbing up we reached the vantage point. From here you get a picturesque view of the valley and the hill wreathed in dense clouds. All of us got busy clicking group pictures and selfies. Here you can see clouds billowing around and can even feel its moist presence as it passes through you. It is an amazing sight. The last time I came here, cloud got so dense that we couldn’t see beyond 5-6 metre. On moving westwards we can see the walls of the fort which has vents for rifles and cannons. On the eastern side, there is a viewing podium from here you can get a perfect view of the sunrise if you reach on time.
After spending around 2 hours on the top we returned. While returning you can also visit the Bhoga Nadeeshwara Temple. It is an ancient temple (over 1000 years old) located at the foot of Nandi Hills. Intricate sculptures and beautiful carvings cover most parts of the temple which has a typical Dravidian architecture. The temple has two complexes- the main temple complex and the Kalyani pond complex which has a tank with stepped periphery. The temple has a serene and tranquil ambiance. Try visiting this place too.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it. If you have been to Nandi Hills please share your experiences in the comments section. I will be back soon.. Till then keep traveling and spread Love.