To break the monotony of our routine lives, most people like me look forward to weekends for a quick escapade rather than the usual getting sloshed over the brewed beer that Bangalore is famed for. When in Bangalore, Nandi is definitely the first choice that comes to one’s mind for weekend gateways. It gives a complete experience from enjoying overnight drives, halts by the tea stalls, late-night snacks, endless gossips to picturesque drive up the hills, beholding a beautiful sunrise and adoring the panoramic views from the hilltop marking the beginning of a delightful weekend.
Nandi hills are located about 80 km from Bangalore and at 5970 ft above sea level. These hills are referred to names like Nandi Gram or Nandi betta. I have visited Nandi Hills several times by different means of transport and each time it has been an amazing experience. My first two visits was a drive by car with family and the rest were with friends on bikes and rented car service provider, Zoom car. To me, the most memorable rides were on bikes. There was one such trip early this year in February when we drove up the hill to celebrate one of my friend’s birthday. We started at 2 AM in the morning for we wanted to stop by the airport. In Bangalore, riding all the way to the airport (close to 40 km) from the city not to board a flight but just to enjoy a cup of coffee in winters had a different feel to it. After some coffee and a little gossip, we headed towards Nandi. The vehicles can only cross the first gate to Nandi hills post 6 AM so we had to wait. We then saw a huge number of bikes and cars queued up in no time. The ride up the hill was absolutely mesmerizing with breathtaking views. As we reached the top, we figured there were two entrances. The bikes were parked in the first parking area at a cost of Rs.30 while the ones with four-wheeler had the option to either park at the first parking area or drive up to the second parking gate about 1 km ahead.
Note: Be cautious as the drive up the second parking is steeper, sharper and slippery. Hence, needs additional effort and care.
The Spectacular View
It is not every day you get to see the awe-inspiring beauty of sunrise from the hilltop. The view was stunning with whispers of the wind, the air so pure and the sky colorful. The wispy clouds from that height looked magical. It was more like cotton ginned by the wind. It seemed all dreamy as if the clouds burst into different shapes making way for you to walk on them for a sky tour.
Places Around Nandi
People usually visit Nandi for the drive and to watch the sun’s first appearance in the morning. A lot of visitors tend to miss on other little places Nandi has to offer which are equally attractive such as Tipu Sultan’s summer residence, Amrita Sarovar, a beautiful water body and one of the major sources of water supply in the region, a 100 year old temple dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha and a lovely garden maintained by Horticulture department. There is Tipu’s Drop view point which is believed to have that name as this drop was used as a place wherein prisoners were pushed off the cliff as a punishment for their wrong deeds in the reign of Tipu Sultan. In recent times due to many accidents, the government has funded enormously to take safety precautions so that no more lives are lost.
People who wish to stay overnight, there are cottages maintained by Horticulture department. One can stay there just to witness the beautiful sunrise and sunset. However, I feel it is sufficient to go early morning and come back by noon.
My ride to Nandi recently was on a motor scooter, Dio. It was one of those sudden weekend plans that turned out to be worth experiencing. It was raining as we rode up and the view was beyond awesomeness. It was comparatively easier for us to ride the scooter up the hill while we watched burning clutch and cars ram on the way. People often say that presently Nandi is commercialized and there is nothing extraordinary about this place but trust me this place will never fail to surprise you with its scenic beauty.
On our way back, we came across few eateries and decided to stop by this beautiful place called Tribal café. This café is spacious with impressive interiors, paintings and antiques. It is a place for Hookah lovers, they say Hookah here is better than most places in Bangalore. Food is decent but the prices are on the higher side. I think it deserves a try!
It was quite fascinating to see people hike and some cycle up the hill. I am sure sometime soon I will be among them with even more thrilling experiences to share. If you are planning your next weekend gateway, I hope Nandi tops the list. Do share your interesting stories to Nandi hills.
Drive safe and be safe!