Nandi Hills (also called Nandi Betta or Nandi Durg) is a famous hill station that is located at around 70km from Bangalore. Being in close proximity to Bangalore, Nandi Hills is flooded with visitors every day. Nandi Hills is famous for a very spectacular sunrise. You can spot several visitors starting from Bangalore as early as 4 AM to reach Nandi Hills to catch the picturesque sunrise. Even on a cloudy day, you can witness the beautiful sun rising amidst the clouds. It is an unforgettable experience to watch the sun rays reflecting on the clouds. If you are observe very carefully, you can also see that the reflection of the sun rays changes its colors very quickly during the sunrise.
View from Nandi Hills
Nandi Hills is at an elevation of 1480m/4850ft above sea level. From Nandi Hills, you can see the vast flat land on all the sides. You can spot nearby villages, smaller hills and even the new airport at a distance. There are many stories that ties this place to the history. It is said that during the Chola rule, this place was called Ananda Giri. Another story says that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and the hill is named after him. Some other story say that the hill resembles a sleeping bull from a distance, and hence the name. Irrespective of how the hill got the name, Nandi Hills has everything that can make a perfect day outing. Apart from the spectacular view all around, Nandi Hills also has several viewpoints facing all directions. It also has several well-maintained parks that makes this place a wonderful picnic spot too.
One of the viewpoints
Nandi Hills was conquered by Hyder Ali during his rule, and started building a fort here. The fort was then completed by his son Tipu Sultan and was used as a summer palace. Fort wall was built around the Nandi Hills, with various watch towers at strategic locations. Some of these structures are now broken and ruined, and some were spoilt by the visitors by writing on these structures! It is an awesome experience to walk along the fort wall, and observe the picturesque surroundings of Nandi Hills. It takes around two hours to walk along the wall, and take a look at the structures of the fort, as well as the beauty of the surroundings.
Tipu’s Guest House, now completely ruined
If you want to explore Nandi Hills on your own, you can start with Tipu’s Guest House located very close to the entrance/car parking lot/bus stop. You can take your vehicle beyond this point too (by paying some entry fee).
If you go behind the guest house, you can also spot the trek route to Nandi Hills.
Behind the guest house
From the guest house, you can start walking along the wall of the fort. The route along the wall is very well paved, and is steep at some places.
Well paved route along the wall
You will get lost in the beauty of the surroundings as you walk along the wall.
If you walk further down, you will reach Yoganandeeshwara Temple. The temple hosts a huge Nandi statue at the entrance. There are three temples inside the premises. The temple is an archeological masterpiece as it is built with monolithic stone pillars, and are sculpted with divine deities.
You can walk further down to reach Tipu’s Drop. Legends say that this is the place where Tipu used to force some prisoners down the cliff and kill them. This cliff is around 600m high, and is very steep. Due to many recent fatalities of the visitors, fence has been built (and sufficient warning signs have been put up) so that such incidents are reduced.
Near Tipu’s Drop
I wonder if someone will be alive to pay the fine 🙂
No Selfie Zone
The route to Nandi Hills
Getting closer to the parking lot
Once you are done exploring the hills around the wall, you can now visit the other places that you have missed. You can start with Amrut Sarovar that is located close to Tipu’s Guest House. This sarovar or lake is formed by perennial springs and is the source of water to Nandi Hills. This lake was beautified by Sir Mirzam Ismail who was the Dewan of Mysore during 1936.
You can also visit Nehru Nilaya which used to be the summer residence of Sir Mark Cubbon who was the commissioner of Mysore in 1834-1861. In 1986, SAARC Summit was held at this place.
Apart from sunrise, you can also witness beautiful sunset at Nandi Hills.
Sunset at Nandi Hills
You can reach Nandi Hills either by car, or by bus which will drop you close to Tipu’s Guest House. If you are an adventurist, you can also try to reach Nandi Hills through a trek route which starts at Sultanpet (located at the base of Nandi Hills) and is a climb of 2 kilometers to reach the top.
Where to stay?
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