Another week jobless at work, got me looking at various travel blogs and 15 minutes into reading some of them, I was energized to move my butt and go see some places around Bangalore. Nandi Hills was the spot I chose to go to and Saturday, Feb 16th was marked out as the day.
I got up at 4:20 am (that's right no typo there) and dusted my poor old SLR and dumped it into my backpack along with something to munch and set off on my Unicorn.
1 Km into the journey and I already had to start asking for directions which mercifully weren't too hard to come by courtesy the call center cabbies. I got on to the NH 7 towards Hebbal and boy was it nice to rip on the Bangalore roads for a change. I missed the turning at the Hebbal flyover and had to retrace my steps.
I was now on the NH 7 to Hyderabad and it was a pleasant surprise to see a well paved six lane highway and just when I thought that the Highways Dept was doing a terrific job, I was almost killed by a nasty speed breaker that turned up from nowhere. There were no signs, no paint , nothing, nada, zilch to warn anyone. Luckily for me I managed to break just in time. A Mahindra Scorpio on the next lane was not that lucky and the force with which he braked meant that the guys poor companion on the front seat almost flew out of the front windshield!
I decided to be more careful and maintained speed at about 65 kmh. I reached Devanahalli in about 30 mins and was wondering where on earth the new airport was. There is a lot of construction activity going on and riders are well advised to keep the rev's on their vehicles at a minimum. There are speed breakers (without any signs again of course) lurking in almost every corner.
About 5 to 6 kms from Devenahalli, there is a left turn with a lot of signs, none which are readable if you can't read Kannada and I assumed this must be the way to Nandi Hills. Luckily for me a car approached from the opposite direction containing a group of guys who were absolutely sloshed and they seemed to be coming from Nandi Hills. The road was pretty good and the first milestone read Nandi Hills 26 kms. I stopped by at a tea stall and had a cup (yes one of those tiny ones that hold maybe 50 ml of the liquid) chai which cost me 10 bucks and I really did not want to pick up a fight with the guy and muttered something in Tamil under my breath and got back on to the bike.
30 mins later at about 6 AM I was at the gates of Nandi Hills and I was surprised to see that there was a pretty big gathering of fellow travelers who had come to watch the sunrise.
The parking and entry fee into the area cost about 15 rupees and bikes are not allowed to go further. Cars and jeeps can take the road that goes inside (for about 1 or 2 kms). I walked the remaining distance and was greeted by a sight that I had not seen since my years at Ooty. The huge carpet of clouds were covering the plains below and it was a marvelous sight to see.
The sunrise was without doubt the highlight of the day and was indeed a sight to behold.I had just about exhausted an entire film roll capturing the lovely scenery when I realized that I had to see the Tipu's Drop too. I made it to Tipu's Drop which is actually on the way up to the summit (after one crosses the entrance). The area has been cordoned off with a barbed wire fence but nevertheless one can see the drop from one of the ruined ramparts. Pretty impressive!
Nandi Hills apparently contains an old fort that was built by Tipu Sultan. More history about this can be found here. There was a fantastic view of a hilltop that was covered in the clouds with the top being clear and made for a nice picture. I felt a sense of peace and tranquility that seemed long lost and I was happy that I managed to make this trip. The Nandi Hills has a lot of bird varieties that are an Ornithologist's delight. I attempted to (although unsuccessfully) to capture some of them on camera.
I spent an hour going around the small woods that surround the area and was able to see a variety of bird life. I decided to head back at about 10 AM and reached home at about 12 a very happy and contended man and much to the chagrin of my dear missus, I spent the afternoon dozing away and soothing those aching bones.
The sunrise at Nandi Hills in winter is a must see for anyone who can sacrifice a little bit of sleep on a weekend. The fruits of labor sure are sweet!
From Indiranagar, Bangalore: Total Distance was about 68 kms.
Take the Old Madras Road towards KR Puram. Just before KR Puram take the flyover marked NH 7 Tumkur NH 7 Hyderabad. This will take you to the Outer Ring Road. Keep
on this road till you reach the Hebbal flyover. At the Hebbal flyover take a right towards Hyderabad (NH 7). You reach a 6 lane highway with signs pointing towards Hyderabad, Devanahalli etc. Head on this road for about 30 kms. 3 to 4 kms after Devanahalli, take a left (you see many boards in Kannada). 20 mts into this road there is a milestone which reads Nandi Hills 28 odd kms. Keep going straight on this road for about 18 kms and turn left at a junction. Go for another few kams and take a right on the sign that says Nandi Hills 7 kms.