Nandi Hills visit for an enjoyable picnic

This is an article about the hill top picnic spot with historical monuments, temples and parks – the Nandi Hills. Near to Bengaluru city and nearer to the Bangalore International Airport the place has connections with some of the dynasties which ruled the erstwhile Karnataka.

Nandi Hills - Nandi Durg

Nandidurg also called as Nandidrug, Nandydroog and popularly known as Nandi Hills is an old hill fort in Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka not very far from Bengaluru City. This tourist SPot of Karnataka is just 10 km from Chikkaballapur and 60 km from Bengaluru City. The Nandi Hills are part of the history of some of the South Indian Dynasties. The Banas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagar and Tippu dynasties, the Mysore Wodeyar and the British Rulers have connection with the Nandi hills. There are many legends as to how the name Nandi Hills came to these hills. One of them is that this was part of the Chola kingdom and they called these hills as Ananda Giri. The meaning of the words as can be guessed by anybody is the hills of happiness. Another legend is that sage Yoga Nandeeshwara came to the hills and he did penance in this place. Because of this incident the place was called after the sage. Later after Tippu building a fort on the hills, the fort was called as Nandi Drug and later as Nandidurg (Nandi fort). Another possibility of the name is that the hills appear like a huge bull in sleeping posture. One more version is that on the hills there is an ancient Nandi temple in Dravidian style believed to of the year 1200. Nandi Hills have other names as Anandagiri, Nandagiri, Kushmanda (white pumpkin – Ash guard) Giri, Nandidurga. Some believe that the name Kushmanda Giri name came from the possibility of the sage lived here for some time. The name Nandagiri might have come from the fact that the Ganga rulers who were ruling, this and the areas around Nandi hills, were using the title of Lords of Nandagiri.

The Nandhi hills are situated in between the Visweswaraiah famous Muddenahalli and Nandi town Kanivenarayanapura. These towns around the Nandi hills fall in the Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) – IT investment region.

Rulers of the Chola dynasty changed the name of the hill to Nandagiri. A Yoga Nandeeshwara temple was also built atop the hill during the time of the Gangas.

Nandi hills township development

The height of Nandi Hills is about 1480 meters (4,850 feet) above sea level. Bangalore International air port is only around 40 km away. The hills are 20 km away from the National highway 7 after the Devanahalli town. Around the Nandi Hills hectic development are taking place. The Tippu fort is undergoing high development and renovation in a private – public partnership to make it a tourist center. Several commercial and residential enter prices are coming up around there. Hence the place is having a galloping development. There is a repeater on the hills of the Bangalore amateur ham radio operators. The residential sites in about 49 sq kms approximately of 12,000 acres of land are expected to come around the place. A music stage of about 30 lakhs eucalyptus trees and rain trees is built on a huge area of three and half acres amidst the hundreds of eucalyptus trees and rain trees grove. There will be cultural performances making use of the stage. For the visitors there will be a food court with eatery facilities by Horticulture Department catering various vegetarian dishes, continental food, bakery items, ice creams, juices and beverages. The food court will be on a Singapore food court model. An ultra modern planetarium is being built here. A lift system is expected to be provided to go to the top. The IIT Muddenahalli, Sri V S University and Sri Sathya Sai Baba University are coming in the township area making it a very attractive educational hub. A Prestige Golf shire real estate project of 300 acre with an international standard golf course with a 5 star hotel is coming up here. There are several other luxury real estate projects coming up.

Tourist attractions in and around Nandi hills

The tourist development department of Karnataka and the horticultural departments have developed to some extent and are still further developing the Nandi Durg or Nandi Betta (Nandi hills) area as a tourist hub.
The horticulture department plans to develop exotic botanical gardens in a 140 acre plot.

The Chikkaballapur chiefs of the Ganga rulers built a fort on the hills. Later Tippu strengthened it further and also built a rest house for summer stay. This portion is not open to the public.

On the North Eastern side of the Fort there is a stone door way for soldiers to climb the hills on horse backs and this is known as the horse way.

On the West side there is a secret escape route for the kings to escape during any sudden unexpected attacks of enemies.

The horticulture department of Karnataka has developed and is maintaining a beautiful garden for children to play with slides, merry goes round and swings etc.

There is a guest house where Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay when he visited the place. Now it is the guest house of the horticulture department of India for VIP guests. The guest house is named as Nehru Nilaya.

There is a Gandhi House where Mahatma Gandhi had stayed. Now it is under the Government of Karnataka who uses it as stay accommodation for dignitaries.

There is a vegetarian restaurant of Horticulture department and a veg/non veg restaurant run by Karnataka Tourist Department.

There is a lake known as Amrita Sarovar with clear water up to the brim all around the year.

There were source of the rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati here. Now these are almost dried up. A narrow trail leads to a small pool; the source of Arkavathy River can be seen most of the time dry.

There is a cool cave where munis used to sit together before they start their days. It is believed that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa meditated here.

Nandi hills offer paragliding facilities. For this the special officer can be contacted on telephone number for special officer of Nandi Hills 08156-250901.

There is a stretch of 400meters altitude for cycling and biking on hill stretch for training. Bikes and cycles are available for hire here.

For those who have inclination to religion there are temples to visit at Nandi Hills. Apart from the temples mentioned earlier there is one Anjaneya temple, one Angelika (gooseberry) Basavanna (bull), Antarange, Baananthi Bande, Bhog Nandeeshwara temple which can be visited on the way to the hills. There are temples dedicated to Sri Yoga Narasimha, Bhoga Narasimha and Ugra Narasimha. They are very beautiful and old. On the top the temple of Gavi Veerabhadra Swamy is there. This is a temple converted from the huge boulders of natural formation. This is on the way to the Tippu's Palace. There is a place from where Tippu used to throw his prisoners who are given death sentence on the way to the fort. This point is known as Tippu's drop.

For those who are interested in Botany have a lot to fill their heart in the form trees, plants and shrubs, apart from the usual Eucalyptus and coffea Arabica, peculiar to high altitude hills. The forests help the condensation of the clouds and there will be moisture on all days.

For bird watchers it has plenty of varieties to offer to those who want to watch birds like warblers, flycatchers and thrushes which are migratory birds coming here during the winter. Those who want to take photos of the birds they will have plenty for their cameras. The hills have several varieties of birds like the Nilgiri wood pigeon, Shaheen Falcon, peregrine Falcon, Malabar Whistling Thrush and Yellow throated Bulbul are few of the species.

The lucky visitors of Nandi Hills may come across Uropeltid snakes and pill millipedes.

There is another nearby tourist spot of Nanadi hills by name Skandagiri hill surrounded by vast plains.

The birth place of the architect of Karnataka development, Sir M Visweswaraiah, Muddenahalli is here.

Historical connection of Nandi durg - Nandi fort

There is a fort at Nand hills built by the Hyderali – Tippu Sultan rulers of Mysore. It was considered that the fort was inaccessible not to speak of entering it. Around 80 % of the diameter of the hills is inaccessible because of its natural surroundings. The remaining 20 % was fortified by the Sultan with a very strong army of his. But it was belied by the storming of the British Army under Cornwallis on the 19th of October, 1791. This appears to be the 1st war by British against the Mysore ruler Tippu at that time. After that defeat of Tippu, the fort became like the summer capital for the British Empire officials of this area as the fort came under their custody. The British officials found the climate unsuitable as many of them used to catch Malaria. Hence it was used by them only during the summer.

Temples in Nandi town

There is also an ancient Siva Parvathy temple on the hills. In the Nandi village there is the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple which is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka. This temple is built in ninth century. The temple at the hills is cut out of rock. The temple has 2 complexes. There are 3 idols in the first one. In the 2nd complex there is a large temple pond, kalyani. The foundation of the temple is done by the Banas in the 9th century. The roof was finished during the 11th century by the Chalukya dynasty. A marriage hall was built by the Hoysalas and the walls of the 2nd complex were done by the Vijayanagar Empire. There are beautiful stone carvings on the walls.

Getting to Nandi Hills and stay arrangements

There are several KSRTC buses plying between Bengaluru and Nandi Hills. Other vehicles like taxis are also available. Those who use their own vehicle can take the N H 7 route (Bellary Road) for about 37 km and after Devanahalli take to left and proceed for about 11 km. You are now at Karehalli and from here again take left for about 12 km to reach Nandi Hills. From Bengaluru the distance is 60 km.

As mentioned earlier there are restaurants and eateries nearby Nandhi Hills to cater the food needs of the visitors. For those who want to stay facility Horticulture Department at Lalbagh, Bengaluru.


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