This range of Nandi on the craggy hills (the highest peak being 1500m) holds the shimmering Amrita Sarovar Lake and offers walks of sylvan beauty. A popular health resort today, it was also the place Tipu Sultan and assorted royalty retired when they sought to escape the din of battle and the heat of the plains.
The hills are located about 60 km east of Bangalore and about 1500m above sea level. The deviation road at Oordagere on the Bangalore-Tumkur Road can reach it. On the top of the hill, there are temples dedicated to Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha. On the lower hill there is a temple dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha. There is a Traveler’s Bungalow and a Kalyana Mantap on the top of the hill and a Forest Lodge and Taluk Board T.B. at the foot of the hill.
A flight of 1,175 steps leads from the base of the hills to the top. On top was Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat and the remains of Tipu’s fort bear this out. Tipu’s Drop, a 600 metre high cliff face, where prisoners were hurled down the precipice, is an awe-inspiring sight.
Sir Mark Cubbon made this his summer residence when he was Commissioner of Bangalore. Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Queen Elizabeth II were among the other dignitaries who enjoyed their stay here. More recently, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the SAARC delegates chose this spot for a retreat after their international deliberations.
You can visit this place at any time of the year. In the rainy season it is extremely wet on the hill. A summer visit will make you spell bound. It’s best if you are on top of the hill before sunrise. The wind, fog and clouds that blow towards you in the morning is just amazing. To be on top of the hill by 5:30AM, you need to leave Bangalore at around 4AM. If you are not sure about the route, leave even earlier.
Fastest and most convenient journey – by car/ bike or Rikshaw There is a motorable road to the top of the hill.Beware there is only one road to the top. You can expect vehicles coming from the other side as well. Around 40 curves to be negotiated before you reach the entry gate where entry tickets (₹5/- per head) are issued. Two wheelers are not allowed beyond this point and go to a seperate parking zone, whilst 4 wheelers are allowed to proceed. You can choose to climb up thru steps and be in the midst of natures lap savouring many different things such as old temple, a very large open tank, Tippus rock and Hanuman Temple etc.
The hills are on the airport route. After Devanhalli, you need to take a left (there is a sign board having a left arrow for Nandi Hills at that turn) and keep going straight.
From Hebbal flyover take NH7 and take a left diversion (about 10km after passing by BIAL airport flyover) with a signboard in English “Nandi Hills 22 km”. There is another left just before it but that leads to a factory. Around 7 km after the BIAL flyover towards Nandi hill across the highway, you can see a fort / birth place of Tippu Sultan.
More adventurous but also safe – Bangalore to Nandi Hills by Bus All buses leave from Bangalore’s central bus station “Bangalore Majestic” or “Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS)”. As this is a local bus, tickets (charge around 46/- per head) are sold directly in the bus. You can book the seats from ticket counter at Majestic with ₹200/- per head. That ensures your seat, nothing else.
In the morning and evening there are direct buses. The KSRTC bus to the top leaves at 8:30AM from platform 13 (it varies, but it will be near to that). Returning direct buses from the Hills to Bangalore leave at 2:30PM, 4:15PM and 5PM. But the timings are not strictly followed. Bus might arrive earlier even.
If you miss the direct bus to the top of Nandi Hills, there is a 2nd possibility to reach the hills by public transport: Go to Chikballapur(charge around 42/- per head) and from there with a private bus to the Nandi Hills. The buses leave every half an hour and it takes about 2 hours to reach the hill. Take the bus to Chikballapur from platform 11. After about 1 hour you will reach Chikballapur (The station is announced by the bus driver, but it is hard to understand. So better make sure that you check on the right side if you see the bus station sign for Chikballapur.) From Chikballapur there are frequent mini buses to the top. The journey is about half an hour.
There are no buses in afternoon (12PM-4 PM) from Bangalore so make sure that you arrive before time.
If you do stay the night, there are no buses from Nandi hills heading directly to Bangalore until the afternoon. But, there are plenty of buses that run to Chikballapur throughout the morning, and buses leave constantly from there to Bangalore.