Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an ancient fortress located atop a hill and is situated approximately 30 miles from the city of Bangalore in the Indian state of Karnataka in south-India. This is one of the best hill stations in the state and is undergoing massive renovation in order to promote tourism in the area. The place is a weekend getaway spot for people in Bangalore and is also visited by foreigners in order to enjoy the unique nature of this hill fortress.
The historical importance of the place is significant and Nandi Hills was the residence of the king Tippu Sultan in the late 1700’s. The fort was made almost impregnable by Tippu but was stormed by the British and captured in 1790. The description of the siege was mentioned in the records of 71st Highlanders. It says (verbatim) – Nundydroog, a celebrated fortress and country of Hindostan, in the province of Mysore. The former is built on the summit of a rock, about 1700 feet high, three-fourths of its circumference being inaccessible. Our forces took it by storm in 1791, after a three weeks’ siege. It stands in long. 77° 53’ E., and lat. 13° 22’ N. – London Encyclopedia, 1829.
Now a popular tourist spot, Nandi Hills also has a garden which is developed by the state Horticulture Department. Moreover there are many places worth seeing which not only have historical importance but are also of great cultural value.
Tippu’s Drop: Tippu Sultan was a Mughal king who used to administer the death penalty by throwing his condemned prisoners from this spot.
Tippu’s Palace: This was the summer residence of the Mughal king Tippu sultan and is still intact. However, visitors or tourists are not allowed inside but the beauty of the palace can be enjoyed by taking in glimpses of this palace from outside or through various paintings and drawings which can be found on the internet.
Temples: There are many temples located on this hill station and some of them include Sri Ugra Narasimha temple, Sri Bhoga Narasimha temple, Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy temple and Sri Yoga Narasimha temple which are very old and provide a glimpse of the artistic splendor that these edifices have to offer.
Rivers: This place is the origin of many rivers but most of these have dried up; however a lake called the Amrut Sarovar which is perennial with its sparkling cool water. Therefore many people visit this place in summer to get away from the stifling heat of cities and to get away from the hullabaloo that is ubiquitous in all big cities in India.
Secret Escape Route: Located on the western side of Nandi Hills is a secret escape route which is supposed to have helped many kings and important people to flee in case of an attack.
Biodiversity: The hills are home to many exotic species such as the Nilgiri Woodpegion, Malabar Whistling Thrush, and the yellow throated Bulbul. The forest also provides enough cloud cover and rains that makes this place a safe haven for numerous birds, reptiles, and freshwater lakes and rivers. There are many migratory birds that can be seen here during the winter and this hill station is also home to the peregrine Falcon, Uropeltid snakes, and many types of Pill Millipedes which are only found in the Western Ghats.
Nandi hills is not a very big hill Station but there are hotels and restaurants for those who want to stay overnight. The most famous restaurant is Maurya which caters to the need of non-vegetarian customers and there are numerous vegetarian eateries scattered all over this small hilltop. Reaching Nandi Hills is easy since it is very close to Bangalore and by paying one dollar, a person can get a bus from this metropolis which takes about an hour to reach its destination. Taxis as well as rickshaws are also available but are a little expensive compared to buses.