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Nandi Hills – Anandagiri, Hill of Happiness !

Nandi-Hills-above-the-cloud Nandi-Hills-elevated-view-p city kemp Nandi HillsSaint Yoganandeeshwara conducted his penance here, that’s why the name, Nandi Hills or is it the resemblance of group hills to a sleeping bull that got it’s name?  No body can decipher it – today! nor could the historians do it earlier…! whatever, it’s? A hillock top covering 90 acres fortified from a mud fort to a secure one by Tipu Sultan is situated 1,478 mts or  4,851 feet above sea level enjoying beautiful climate all year round and is here for Bangaloreans as a day picnic spot 60 kms away – located on a turn-off (Left) past Devanahalli on Bangalore – Hyderabad highway. Road journey attracts toll fare.
This region was ruled by Banas, the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar kings, Hyderali and his son Tipu Sultan and then taken over by the British on 19th October1791 by Cornwalis after a three week siege. Nundydroog as it was called during the British colonial era was an impregnable fort built on a summit of rock 1700 feet high, three-fourth of its summit was inaccessible. Nandi Hills became a retreat for the British Raj. Francis Cunningham built a summer residence for the then Commissioner of Mysore Sir Mark Cubbon. This structure still exists and in use to this day as Nehru house after the SAARC meet. Nandi Hills was occupied in the colonial days only during the summer months as it was known as a mosquito infested malaria region. Potatoes were first planted here by the British for its fertile soil at the foothills.
Nandi Hills is a wonderful place for botanists with various plants and shrubs… it also attracts bird watchers. For others it’s just laze around relax soaking the atmosphere. Sunrise at Nandi Hills is spectacular and so is sunset, this makes the place a photographers delight. One can see a lot of trekkers, cyclists, bikers heading to this retreat on weekends if not weekdays… you can see a lot of young couples in love flocking to this place for privacy.
However the local authorities and police have kept this place open from 6am to 6pm unless you are a resident. Staying overnight is an option and rests with KSTDC Mayura hotels which has got 3 rooms or the Horticulture Department. (Lalbagh-Bangalore) which has got 18 rooms. All bookings are online and Bangalore based. Accommodation requests on hilltop are not entertained.
Nandi Hills is infested with a lot of stray dogs…less said of the hordes of monkeys. A few snacks, softdrinks, nic-nacks are available. Mayura restaurant opens for a limited time for lunch and shuts by sunset. A few kiosk serves limited eats and snacks.
My request to the concerned authorities here is to keep entry and exit to the place starting from 5am and exit at 7pm, enabling picnic goers to view the spectacular picturesque view all round the hill including sunrise & sunset. Entry to the hill right up to the top is only for four-wheelers, unfortunately the two-wheeler guys need to trek a bit lot. Of course there is a parking fee.
There are a lot of tourist attractions –
l    Tipu’s Drop, where Tipu Sultan, threw his condemned prisioners to death.
l    Tipu’s Lodge – this place was Tipu Sultans retreat and hunting residence. This place has a exit stairway for quick escape downhill.  This place can be viewed from outside. Its vandalised.
l    Temples of Shiva and other deities are existing.
l    Children’s playground exists.
l    Rivers -Arkavathy, Pennar and Palar originates here as a spring, these places are dry pits and feed the rivers during rainy season -being river fed ones.
l    Amruth Sarovara a natural lake brims with water all year round and nestles the horticulture nursery and is situated near Tipu Sultan’s lodge. This was reconstructed by the then Diwan Sir Mira Ismail in 1936.
l    There exists secret horse riders passage uphill for soliders and escape passage downhill for royalty
Nandi hills is a trekkers paradise, picturesque. Average picnickers stay put on the top. Climate is pleasant all year around. Smoking and consumption of alcohol attracts penalty and prosecution. This place is monitored by CCTVs & cameras. Lawbreakers are strictly dealt with. This hillstation has a post office, police station and wireless communications set ups. Safe driving is advised on the hill, as its a single lane road. Cellphone users –  only BSNL users are lucky. Other networks just get lucky at times and places. Bus services are are available from Bangalore and Chickballapur, a foothill town ten kilometers away.
Next time you need a getaway head to this hills and relax.

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