Nandidurga is a hill fortress in Karnataka state , which is around 61 km from Bengaluru city. The name of the hill has many stories, I like the one where it came from ” Ananda Giri” meaning The Hill of Happiness. If you are travelling Bangalore and want to go away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Nandihill is the perfect place of happiness 🙂
Tipu Sultan of Mysore,succeeded to a large kingdom bordered by the Krishna River in the north, the Eastern Ghats in the east, and the Arabian Sea. He was an innovative king, who introduced his coinage, lunisolar calendar,a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of Mysore silk industry and the iron-cased Mysorean rockets. He is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery.Napoleon, sought an alliance with Tipu to fight their common enemy , the British. Tipu build a fort and a summer palace above Nandihills as it was traditionally considered unconquerable.
With time, the palace has lost its glamour, but what surprised me is presence of three Hindu god / goddess sculpture in front of the cabin. Many believed Tipu as a bigot who massacred Hindus, which is further proved by his battle with Kodavas or the people of Coorg . However, the sculpted stone clearly shows ‘devi and shiva linga’ .
At the summit, many of the large trees are planted exotics such as Eucalyptus and the undergrowth consists of Coffea arabica along with some native species. The forest acts as a substrate for cloud condensation and every morning the trees are covered in water. This allows for many moist forest species of plants and animals. The hills are very rich in birdlife making it a very 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. The forest patch is also home for a relict population of the Nilgiri wood pigeon and yellow-throated bulbul.
There is a govt. guesthouse above the hill within the fort. You can stay for a night. Several restaurants and local fast food shops are there. Three temples dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha are built in one side of the summit. The panoramic view of the valley is beautiful.
Nandihill is well connected from Bangalore airport by bus and rental cars. If you have internet, the Ola cars can be booked from android/ phone. For car the cost comes around 10 EUR. The guest house costs around 50 EUR / night. There are scattered hills of different heights around Nandi hill and you can hike any one of them, but be careful to carry snacks, water and stay away from the monkeys to avoid rabies.
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