Nandi Hills A Complete Guide To This Adventure Retreat

Acquiring its name from the tall statue dedicated to the deity Nandi, the majestic bull, Nandi Hills has become a favorite hill station over the years. It’s not just a popular weekend getaway for Bangalore residents but also a historical retreat where Tipu Sultan sought solace from the heat and chaos of the plains. Perched at a height of 4,851 feet above sea level, Nandi Hills has hosted prominent figures like Queen Elizabeth II and Mahatma Gandhi.

With its ancient monuments, intricately carved shrines, and breathtaking views, Nandi Hills is a hidden gem that invites weekenders to witness its famous sunrise. The best time to visit is between September and May, as the roads become slippery during the monsoon. Plan your trip early to catch the sunrise at around 5:30 AM.

Nandi Hills

How to Reach Nandi Hills

Located at varying distances from major cities—210 km from Mysore, 166 km from Mandya, 80 km from Kolar, 75 km from Tumkur, and 61 km from Bangalore—Nandi Hills is accessible by road, rail, and air. Note that solo travelers need a companion to enter, so it’s wise to join a group.

By Air The nearest airport, Kempegowda International Airport, is 33 km away. From there, you can take a bus to Nandi Hills.

By Train The closest railway station is Chikkaballapur, 9 km from the hills. You can then take a cab or bus to your destination. Bangalore Railway Station, well-connected to major Indian cities, is another option.

By Road Regular government buses run from Nandigram, Chikkaballapur, and Bangalore. Visitors can also hire cabs or self-drive, but must park at designated spots at the hill’s base. Parking fees are INR 60 for four-wheelers and INR 15 for two-wheelers. Nandi authorities provide buses and other transport, avoiding uphill traffic.

By Local Transport Most sites in Nandi Hills are best explored on foot. Alternatively, taxis and autorickshaws are available. Buses leave from Bangalore’s central bus station, Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS), known locally as Majestic.

History of Nandi Hills

Once Tipu Sultan’s summer retreat, Nandi Hills are rich in history. The Tipu Sultan trail is a historical attraction, with Tipu’s Drop, a 600-meter-high cliff used to execute prisoners. Tipu’s Summer Residence, Rashk-e-Jannat, is another must-see, adorned with painted ceilings and carved arches.

Top Attractions in Nandi Hills

Here are eight must-visit places in Nandi Hills, each with its own charm and historical significance:

  • Tipu’s Drop A cliff-top spot 600 meters high, historically used for executions. The rustling leaves are said to echo the screams of prisoners. Open from 6 AM to 6:30 PM, with an entry fee of INR 5 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.
  • Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple A 9th-century Dravidian-style temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located at the hill’s base, it’s open from 6 AM to 7 PM with no entry fee.
  • Tipu’s Summer Residence Known as Rashk-e-Jannat, this wooden palace features painted ceilings and walls. Open from 8 AM to 6:30 PM, entry is free.
  • Brahmashram A meditation cave used by sage Ramakrishna Paramhansa, open from 7 AM to 7 PM daily.
  • Amrita Sarovar Also known as the Lake of Nectar, this water source is open from 7 AM to 7 PM with no entry fee.
  • Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple A 1,000-year-old Chola dynasty temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, open from 6 AM to 7 PM with no entry fee.
  • Nehru Nilaya A British-era bungalow now a guest house, surrounded by beautiful gardens. Open from 9 AM to 6 PM, with an entry fee of INR 8.
  • Grover’s Zampa Vineyard A vineyard 27 km from the hill’s base, offering guided tours and wine tasting. Open from 10:30 AM to 5 PM. Fees for adults start at INR 767.

Nandi Hills

Activities to Enjoy in Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills offers several activities for adventure enthusiasts:

  1. Cycling Experience the thrill of cycling through scenic routes surrounded by lush greenery and early morning fog.
  2. Trekking With routes suitable for all levels, from beginners to extreme enthusiasts, trekking in Nandi Hills offers a chance to explore the natural beauty and historical sites.
  3. Paragliding Enjoy an extraordinary paragliding experience with breathtaking views. Available from 8 AM to 1 PM, costing INR 3,000 for tandem flights and INR 15,000 for individual training.

Wildlife and Bird Watching

Nandi Hills is a winter haven for migratory birds from the Himalayas. Bird watchers can spot species like the Nilgiri wood-pigeon, Indian paradise-flycatcher, and migratory species such as the Blyth reed warbler.

Culinary Delights

Local restaurants and food stalls serve popular dishes like bisi bele bath, dosa, idli, and traditional sweets like Mysore pak. For a wider range of cuisines, nearby Bangalore offers numerous options.

Accommodation Options

  • Discovery Village Resort An eco-friendly resort in Chikkaballapur Taluk, offering activities like rappelling and zorbing. Prices start at INR 3,000 per night.
  • Mount Palazzo Resort Located 42 km from Bangalore, featuring an outdoor pool and multi-cuisine restaurant. Prices start at INR 2,100 per night.
  • Silver Mist Club & Resort In Sultanpet village, known for its top-notch services and hillside location. Prices start at INR 2,500 per night.

Tips for a Better Visit

  • Wake up early to catch the sunrise.
  • Keep an eye on kids as roads can be steep.
  • Carry a camera for picturesque spots.
  • Avoid wandering after 6 PM.
  • Don’t feed the wildlife.
  • Respect the plastic-free zone.

Why Visit Nandi Hills?

Nandi Hills is a serene escape for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and history buffs. Whether planning a family outing, a friends’ trip, or a corporate retreat, the hills offer a refreshing break from routine life with their scenic beauty and plethora of activities. Start planning your trip to Nandi Hills today to experience its sheer bliss amidst nature.