Nandi Hills

7.00 PM - Casual talk. What plans for tomorrow? Hmm... Let us go to Nandi Hills.. Seriously? If you are interested we can go..

10.00 PM - Good night..

10.01 PM - Let us go to Nandi Hills tomorrow. For sunrise!! So early? That is what people go there for..

03.15 AM - Alarm goes off. Getting up early is never a problem for us, you know.. when it is for a tour.. :P

05.00 AM - Jet Set Go.

The route from Horamavu to Nandi Hills is relatively easy. Take the Outer Ring Road to Hebbal. From under the Hebbal flyover take a right onto the airport road (NH 7 to Hyderabad). After you pass the diversion for the airport, you reach the toll gate. Take a two way pass (Rs 115). Continue on the highway towards Hyderabad. Few kms after you cross Devanahalli junction, you will see a diversion to the left, clearly (if you know where to look for sign boards in Indian roads) marked "Nandi Hills".
This is a narrow road but very well maintained. Almost all the early morning traffic is towards Nandi Hills, so you need not worry too much about overtaking.

After a pit stop at a Bharat Petroleum fuel station (the only petrol bunk on this road), we took a left turn to "Nandi Betta" (that is what it is called from here after in Kannada) from Karahalli cross. Now you could see the hills, either in front of you or on your right. After a few kms you will see a diversion to the right. This is the starting of the Ghats section.

06.15 AM - Late by 15 min. The ghat section road opens at 6 AM. But it is not an issue today. The whole area is covered by clouds and you would not see the sun unless it comes up high and clears the mist. Being late means that the road is clear of traffic. After 5 hair pin curves, we were engulfed by the clouds. You could feel mystified, amazed or eerie depending on what comes in your early morning dreams (of course 6AM is early morning for the 8AM risers).

06.40 AM - We are almost near the top. Two wheelers are not allowed beyond this point. But cars can go further.
First view point (or I should say supposedly a viewing spot when it is clear) for us was one of the many hut shaped platforms. The plains below could be seen through the passing clouds. You would be reminded of the peek-a-boo played by the full moon behind the clouds. The scenery appears and disappear. And if you are brave to take off your hoods and jackets (for a more glamourous pose), you might have just enough time to click a hazy picture of the background.

We were there with full family (meaning kid). Ideally this should have been covered in August 2010, walking in the mist, hand in hand, beating the wind chill.

07.00 AM - At the parking lot. Breakfast time. Till Varsha is fed, I walked around experimenting various options of our new Nikon D5100.
I should admit - "Read the manuals before use".

There is pretty much nothing to do in Nandi hills other than walk walk and walk. Up and down on the hill. Till the ledge. To the peak. On a clear day, you could have just sat on the rocks and enjoyed the sun rise out of the plains, breathed the fresh air, did some yoga (if you are of that sort) or simply relaxed watching the various shades of red form on the horizon. On a foggy day like this, you could still sit on the rocks, tighten your jackets and caps, feel the cool (cool sounds cool but it was actually chill) wind creeping through the gaps in your clothes and give you a feeling that you would get when you jump into the Ganga - in a place like Chunar (that is a story for another day).

Of course you could click lot of pics.
I have around 100 in 20 min - result of Varsha's antics and an SLR.

The best thing about Nandi Hills is the cleanliness. It was not really the Swatch Bharat that Modiji aspires (toilets could still be made better). But it was amazing to see almost ZERO litter.

Walking through the trees and the parks and the view points (some of them like the Tipu Sultan forts with holes for firing arrows), ladies were tired and we called it a day. I hope I could come one day with some trek friends on a clear day with packed lunch and spend a day finding trails that would take you nowhere.

10.30 AM - The descent. Oh I forgot one thing. As we reached back to our car, there sat a monkey (Varsha calls it mammi) trying to tune to the local FM station holding the antenna. I guess it couldn't find good music and got pissed off - I could also write pissed on; on the windshield.

I had read that there are lot of grape farms and winery near Nandi Hills. So on our return journey, we drove into a village road with farms on both sides.
First one was Bottle Gourd (Lauki/Surakkai) and Cauliflower. Alas! there was no Gobi yet but we got bottle gourd from the farmers picking it.

Further down the road, we saw a grape farm fully laden with grapes. After a few snaps from the road, we decided to get in to take a closer look. At first there was nobody in sight. In a couple of minutes, a lame old man trudged across from the nearby farm. "Photo sir.. Only photo" calmed him. Poor chap. He must have thought we would whisk away some grapes.

Through the grape farm we saw a farm of Marigold - yellows and oranges. We had our moment on Tulip Gardens, that we see in Facebook posts of friends onsite in US and Australia.
Aaha! a farm of roses too - tiny, pink, red, beautiful.
Incredible India!

A few steps further was a farm where lot of people were plucking the plants out. You guessed it right. Potatoes!! And would you believe? Those guys gave us a bag full of freshly plucked potatoes for FREE!!!

There were farms of pumpkin, tomatoes, bitter gourd, maize and many more that we dint recognize.

We were happy to see at least one place which feeds us with our quota of daily veggies and thanked them in our hearts for their hard work.
Next time you go to Nandi Hills, dont forget to visit these villages and buy farm fresh vegetables from them.


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