Nandi hills, the heart of Bengaluru’s weekend getaways is always at the top of everyone’s bucket list, once they step into the city that works hard and parties harder. It has been a prime spot for riders, sunrise lovers, adventurers and challenge seekers alike. One of the major reason for its popularity is its closeness and connectivity to Bengaluru with a mere 75 km ride from ITPL – Whitefield via K R Puram-continuing on NH 44.
Nandi Hills is well known to offer a short and comfortable weekend trip, uphill challenge for cycling, mesmerizing sunrise view and peace of mind in the midst of fog, shades of sunrise, kiss of breeze and happiness in tranquility.
Road trip to Nandi Hills…
We started our ride from ITPL-Whitefield at 2:30 AM expecting to reach the hill top by 5:30 AM with an one hour stop at Tribal Cafe. The path to Nandi Hills via K R Puram on NH 44 is a straight single stretch. We riding pretty much over the flyovers and highway maintaining an average speed of 80 km speed for long stretches of the road (it’s the least top speed you can maintain in these empty and wide stretches). The path is well laid and directed, for one not to be lost in the cross paths.
After being on the road trip to Coorg, and likes of Avalabetta and Kuntibetta, Nandi Hills road trip was not so entirely thrilling. The real thrill of passing through eye stuck sceneries, isolated and scary sections and maneuvering through the difficulties was missing. However the pleasure and peace of cruising through the wide and empty roads with the chill winds hitting the soul after a week full of tussle with the traffic and work was very compensating.
Small stops on the way are always refreshing and warm, especially when the chill winds of 3:30 AM are hitting you hard.
After riding for about 57 km we had to take a left from Nandi Cross towards Nandi Betta village and from where Nandi hills base is just a 10 km ride. En-route there is a food place named “Tribal Cafe” ,which served as a pit stop before heading on to the hill
Nandi Hills has a barrier gate at the start of its 8 km uphill which only opens at 6:00 AM, which means even if one reaches early in time, one is only allowed to ride uphill post 6:00 AM. Tribal cafe would be a good stopping point to kill some time while waiting for the clock to tick faster.
Voila!!!, Tribal cafe also serves hookah starting at Rs. 800 apart from burgers, fries, cheese bites and other snack. People generally plan to reach the place well early in time so that they can spend time in the cafe before heading to the hill top. If this is a more routine way of having fun. Lighting up a bonfire at the road edges would be a more wild way of making the road trip much adventurous. We could find many groups of people having a small bonfire at the edges of the road and filling the night with friendly gossip and music. Something I would defiantly going to try in my next visit.
We started from the cafe at 5:30 AM towards the hill base, which is just 2 km away. We soon started to realize that the ride further was not going to be smoother. The way to barrier gate was jam packed with all the vehicles waiting for the gates to flung open. We had to maneuver our vehicle with a great difficulty, squeezing ourselves to reach at front of the line so that we are not late for the sunrise. Also with a far thought on how lengthy the line at the ticket counter would be, given all of this crowd reaches earlier than us. Once the gates opened, the traffic moved pretty smooth and fast. Bikes gave us strategic advantage to cut through the corners and narrow gaps to just make it on time to the hill top.
Expect no less crowd at any point of the year or weekend. The place is always buzzing with people who will miss no chance to get the all the collection of selfies for their social accounts profile and cover pics.
The 8 km up hill to the parking area was the most beautiful part of the ride with curvy path towards the hill surrounded by full of trees and mountain views. It one one of the pleasant experience of the entire ride. From the parking stand it is less than 2 km by walk to the sunrise point.
We rushed to the ticket counter from the parking area as it was already 6:00 AM and we were on an edge of missing the sunrise. One can purchase the ticket to take their vehicles up to the sunrise point but I would suggest walking up enjoying the pleasant greenery on the way. There are multiple parallel running paths through which one can reach to the top, one with steps, one with concrete road and other a mud path, . One can choose any of them or switch between them as they walk uphill. The way to the top is properly build on which one can simply walk by, so expect no great trekking scenes.
Views on the way up to hill top…
The cold weather, the chill breeze and the dim shades of first light of the day falling on the objects all around pleased every moment we could see. The objects soaked in moonlight and dew drops were calm, radiating coolness and peace.
Just in time for sunrise…
Based on my experience of the ride and the place, Nandi Hills is little over hyped than what one will experience on their way to the hill and in the time spent there. The place is too crowded for one to feel the serenity, in and out of oneself. Due to the gates only being opened at 6:00 AM and heavy crowd, people often miss the sunrise moment which they have traveled for. For the folks, who have not experienced sunrise at Avala Betta, Kunti Betta and Antharganage this would be a very delightful experience but for the one who have tasted the experience at these places, they would be not entirely but a bit disappointed. Yet, at the end of the day no journey is any less rewarding.
As we conclude…..
Not so lite breakfast to feed the hungy bellies at A2B, near to the airport, on way back into the city. However there were lot of shops on the hill top for breakfast, raw mangoes and onion pokodas which one can have for refreshments and a lot of monkeys to be careful.