Nandi Hills at 6:45 a.m, surrendering to the invasive power of the mist and clouds.

As a young adult, one sees Nandi Hills as a place not just covered in mist, but also in a fog of secret meetings and clandestine one-on-ones with the opposite sex. You’ll find young couples dotting the low walls, reclining against random trees, holding hands and walking around and sometimes even sitting close together on benches that offer a million-dollar view of a valley surrounded by hills.

A private, and romantic?, moment.

As one grows older, things change somewhat. Nandi Hills becomes the default destination for when you want to go out of town but not really. It’s a quasi feeling of leaving Bangalore and going someplace else. It is to us locals what the Louvre is for Parisians. Government officials take advantage of weekends to park themselves in the guest houses on the peak; families pack endless baskets with food for themselves and the monkeys and spend the day picnicking; and newly married couples come to spend time away from the prying eyes and perky ears of in-laws and family members.

The Huddlers and The Tease. I can’t believe the monkey in the corner’s sticking its tongue out at someone!

I’ve been to Nandi Hills twice in my adult years. Once to watch the sunrise, which of course we missed because we started late and it was a foggy day on the hills. The second time, to celebrate a friend’s birthday at midnight, standing at the doorstep of the mid-20s to welcome her. I saw a different side to the place on both occasions – bright, quiet and scenic by day, and hiding dark, brooding shadows in its cloak by night.

The night we drove down to Nandi Hills for a friend’s birthday, it poured cats and dogs. Worried about the zero visibility, we had to take shelter under the roof of twin shops in the middle of nowhere. The only light came from the headlights of the car – everything else was steeped in darkness. There was a lot of lightning as well. This picture was taken when i was trying to shoot the car’s headlamp against the darkness around it and lightning struck just then. This is how much it lit up the entire surroundings. Freaky!

Regardless, the drive to the destination is scenic and peaceful. On the way, you may want to stop on the roadside to inspect the crop of grapes and taste the juice of the just-ripening green fruit, take a little detour and explore fields of string beans and cabbage, or even stop by for a photo shoot amongst rows and rows of roses in shades of the setting sun.

Vine-ding roads towards Nandi Hills.

To prolong the feeling of a lazy day ‘out of town’, you could do a brunch at Royal Orchid, Yelahanka. Stretch, yawn, put your feet up, order something cold to drink and something warm to eat, and enjoy the music (if you’re lucky, it won’t be the kind that plays in elevators).

Sunset by the roses.

Do not make the mistake of heading back to the city during peak hour. It’s absolute chaos. Whatever peace you will have assimilated through the day, you’ll lose while waiting for the traffic to inch ahead. But that’s okay, because that means you can always head back to Nandi Hills and maybe catch a moon beam or two.

You’ll find lots of lone cyclists like this one on the way up to Nandi Hills.

Go if: You need a day away from the city, want to see nothing but greenery around you, enjoy feeling like dating teens or a newly married couple and want to take stunning pictures of the vista.

Getting there: Nandi Hills is a two-hour drive from Bangalore. Hire a cab, drive down or take a local bus up to Chikkaballapur and a cab from there.

8 thoughts on “No-brainer destinations: Nandi Hills

  1. Also, wanted to ask you a few more things:

    1. How soon should you start from Bangalore if you want to catch the sunrise?
    2. Is there food available nearby? If we are starting too early in the morning, we might not have the chance to pack food from home?
    3. Is it open even in the late evening and night? I mean, I read a newspaper article about someone falling off Nandi Hills in the evening and that the hills were going to be closed for public after dark. Is that so?

    1. 1. Leave an hour and a half before sunrise. Choose a clear day because otherwise you’ll be able to see nothing.
      2. There’s a canteen of sorts that sells snacks and stuff, but i’d recommend carrying your own food. There’s a Coffee Day on the way, and also a couple of restaurants/dhabas.
      3. I think it’s open till 6:30 p.m or so, but i wouldn’t recommend hanging around after dark – it isn’t safe. Stay at one of the hotels/resorts nearby. Check this place out, i’ve heard good reviews about it:

  2. Lovely pics, as usual, and lovelier travelogue. :)

    I have never been to Nandi Hills in spite of having being in Bangalore for 3 years now… Will pester the hubby to take me this weekend. ;) As you say, it will be a romantic trip… it has to be in the monsoon with so much greenery around. :)

    I have been craving for a short holiday after Kashmir, but nothing has materialised. Nandi Hills seems to be the perfect getaway!

    Did you go recently?

    PS: Do you have another blog, apart from this one? Just curious!

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