Nandi Hills is one of the popular one-day getaways from Bangalore. It is 40 km (1 hour) from Bangalore Airport. Follow the airport road and continue on to NH 44. Turn left at Nandi Cross and take SH 104 to Nandi Hills Main Road. The hills are nestled nearthe town of Nandi. It is at a height of 4,851 ft (1,479 m) above sea level.
Getting to Nandi Hills
There are several vineyards along the way. I noticed a sign of Gtover Zampa Vineyards by the roadside. Villagers could be seen holding up grapes, both the red and green varieties, for sale to motorists. Nandi Hills is 37.4 km (50 min) from Bangalore Kempegowda International airport, via NH 44 and SH 104.
The climb up the hill is steep, with a few hairpin bends to manoeuvre. The car park at the top is on a rocky slope. You have to enter and exit the parking area cautiously.
With effect from March 2022, visitors have to obtain prior District administration passes to visit Nandi hills on weekends.This is to manage parking and reduce overcrowding. Only 1,000 two-wheelers and 300 light motor vehicles are allowed to park. Passes can be bought at the ticket counter at the base of the hill or through KSTDC website.
There are many narratives about the origin of Nandi Hills. During the Chola period, Nandi Hills was called Anandagiri meaning The Hill of Happiness. The hills resemble a sleeping bull and hence perhaps the name Nandi Hills. Another theory holds that the hill earned its name from the ancient Dravidian temple and the Nandi (bull) on this hill.
Best Times to Visit
The best time to visit Nandi Hills will be early mornings. You will get the the opportunity to gaze at the beautiful sunrise. It can get hot as the sun climbs up. Please carry drinking water and eatables since the food outlets at the site are rather basic. Washrooms attract a nominal fee.
We noticed many cyclists coming down from the hill. They wore helmets and gloves for protection. It is 8 km from the base to top. Going uphill will be a tough job. The descent will be much easier and faster.
Ancient Nandi Temple
There is an ancient Nandi temple on top of the hill. The rock temple is 1,200 years old.
Visitors can use the viewing platform to look down on the vast plains below. It is an exhilarating sight.
The hills are very rich in birdlife making it a popular location for birdwatchers and bird photographers. The evergreen forest patch on top of the hill being a favoured wintering location for many migrant species of warblers, flycatchers and thrushes.
There are hordes of monkeys on the hill. They will snatch away food stuff if you are not on the look-out.
Steps have been cut into the hill on the path going down. Leafy trees provide shade.. Horticulture Department of Karnataka is managing the hill station.