Saturday, March 31, 2007

Visit to Nandi Hills

It was a leave for me on March 19th on occasion of Ugadi. Early morning while I was going through my regular chore of newspaper reading, I got a call from Abk asking me if we could drive to a destination on the outskirts of Bangalore after lunchtime. My instant reply was “Yes” since it was long drive to a new place untouched by crass physical constructions, materialism and city life. Abk, an avid traveler volunteered to take the driver’s seat for our journey to Nandi Hills, which is close to 60 kms from Bangalore city.

The drive on the six-lane Bellary road to Nandi Hills was hassle free. We reached the new Bangalore International Airport and drove on the highway till Devanahalli. The car was cruising on the highway and I was feeling the warm afternoon breeze racing backwards. Hardly after five minutes from Devanahalli, we took a left turn which showed us the way to Nandi Hills.
Picture 414

From here, the stretch of 22 kms route is unlike the smooth highway road with regular patches of potholes and some with large stones and no tar. The road condition improves from the foothills to the actual hilltop. As we ascended the steep slope curving through the hairpin turns, the scenery was exhilarating. Scattered in the distance down the hillsides were terraces of grape gardens.
Picture 419

On this road we even found local cultivators selling freshly plucked grapes from the nearby gardens. However, the highlight of this journey was the amazing number of monkeys that we encountered and how unafraid they were of human presence.
Picture 420

Nandidurga or Nandi Hills is located at 4851 ft. (1478 meters) above sea level. It was the summer capital of Tipu Sultan.
Picture 424

For overnight stay, government accommodation(typical PWD guesthouse) is available though in limited numbers. There is a resplendent bungalow of the typical British style and format and is named as the Nehru Nilaya. It was at one time used as the summer residence by Sir Markcubbon K.C.B, the erstwhile Commisioner of Mysore from 1834-1861. In 1986, the SAARC Summit was held in this bungalow, so this place has lot of history linked to it.
Picture 436

From the top, one can enjoy some great views (few appear similar to the ones in Google Maps), walk around the small paths, get lost in the boundlessness of nature and experience its unadulterated substance.
Picture 253

There are a number of playgrounds for kids with the regular facilities such as the seesaw, the slides, the swings, etc. Tipu's fort wall still stand now and there is one particular area called Tipu's Drop and like the name suggests, if you look down it's a steep fall into the valley below. History says it that Tipu used to execute prisoners from this point.
Picture 450

As we walked around the little pathways, exploring the area we found many lovebirds with their trademark PDA and families with children and grandparents, just breaking free and relaxing.
Picture 445

Standing at one place I sensed a deep connection with nature. The earth under my feet, the skies above and the etheric substances beyond it all. I felt that I am indeed a part of the diurnal course, which rolls the rocks, stones, colors and trees through seasons and time.
Picture 427

On the top of the hill there are two temples. The bigger one is called Yoga Nandeeswara and the smaller one is a Ganapathy temple. Also very near to the temple, I found a post office and radio transmitter center. This place is also the origin for three rivers (Palar, Arkavathy and Pennar), I just saw the signboards indicating this but never saw the source myself. Food was available on the hill top but all I can say is one shouldn’t have high expectations for variety. Nariyal ka Pani a.k.a tender coconut was available in plenty and that’s the only thing we had.
Picture 442

As were we coming down from the top, we found a small pond, near the entrance gate of the fort. The placid water here gives the impression as if it is waiting for the soft hands of the nature to touch it with trepidation and tenderness of a new bride. But this moment of revelation was hijacked by the stench of garbage from a nearby pit. I found lots of plastic bottles, empty beer and alcohol bottles, bags and other unnecessary particulars. Nandi Hills is a verdant place known for its flora, fauna and especially its lovely virginal views, so wish all those who visit the place, please do conserve the ecological balance by not littering and spoiling the serenity of the place.

As we were coming back, I stopped for a moment to capture my Kodak moment.
Picture 258

After I had taken this shot and while we were back, a few lines came to my mind which I had written in my ATM balance money chit. So putting the unabridged scribble here:

Go into silence
Find the reality
Look at the skies above
You know there is more
Much much more to life...

The twilight had already set in and as we entered the outskirts of the city, we were welcomed by the serpentine concrete jungles of apartment construction work. We halted for a while, devoured a pile of hot samosas, washing them down with tea at a local makeshift chai shop. All in all it was refereshing to end this trip.

More pics in the album here.

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At 4:55 PM, Blogger B.Sunil said...

too good.
last photo is the best.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Ni said...

Naice :)

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Rekha said...

As usual,impressive photography...
Thought 6th pic was amazing and when I came to the last one, well...few words left :-)
It looked more like a painting!

At 7:26 PM, Blogger delphinium said...

really beautiful photography...your partner in crime is very talented!

At 10:01 PM, Blogger uma said...

Spectacular photos.


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