A getaway in the clouds

nandi2
Cycling your way to Nandi Hills

This weekend was the first spare weekend for us since July. We wanted to go out somewhere close by and spend a day. So, when a few friends of mine wanted me to accompany them to Nandi Hills, I immediately said yes. I had heard about Nandi Hills before and had thought it was just another place on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Nandi hills, a cluster of small hills, is at an altitude of 1478 metres. It is about 60 kms from Bengaluru’s main bus station. The route is simple with a number of direction boards both on NH7 (Hyderabad express highway or Bellary road) and on the road leading to Nandi hills.

We had already crossed almost three-quarters of the journey but there was no sign of the hills. This bothered me along with the fact that the shorter the distance left, the steeper would be the ride. I asked my friend how farther the hill was, to which he said it was right next to us. I noticed that the area I thought was covered with fog (it was raining the whole morning) was actually the hill. Soon I discovered that it was not clouds but we reached our destination. We had to climb 529 metres to reach Nandi Hills.

We suddenly saw two huge cliffs at some distance. One big turn and we were there at the entrance to the hills. There’s a gate 475 m away from the hill top. Two wheelers have to be parked there, while cars can be driven to the top after obtaining a pass.

Hill Fortress: Nandi Hills or Nandi Durga is an ancient hill fortress. Legend says that, Yogi Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and the place was named after him. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga because of the fort built here by Tipu Sultan. It is also known as Nandi Hills because the hills resemble a sleeping bull (Nandi). It later became a retreat for the officials of the British Raj during the summer. Francis Cunningham built the summer residence here for the former commissioner of Mysore state, Sir Mark Cubbon.

There’s a huge cliff sloping into the gorges and the only thing one can see is layers of snow-white clouds (yes clouds, not mist) below you. We walked on the edge of the cliffs to get to the other side. There are no railings along those edges which makes it accident prone but the vista is spectacular.

Things you can do at Nandi hills:

  • Parasailing: Parasailing is a fun activity, in which you are attached to a parachute, which is towed by speeding vehicle or a motor boat if you near a water body. As the parachute lifts up in the air, you get a bird’s eye view of your surroundings. Qualified and trained instructors make this activity safe.
  • Camping: This activity for teams teach teamwork skills, resource management, planning, communication, and leadership.
  • Hiking: Nandi Valley offers two rewarding hikes – the stone steps and rough tracks at the hills and the more wild and scenic route at Chennagiri. The upward climb on either route takes one to heights of about 800 feet testing every muscle in your body. Bird’s eye views of the surroundings, some great photo-ops, and a feeling of bliss, await you at the summit.

Namrata Srivastava

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