Approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru, close to the Bangalore International Airport, in the Chikkaballapur district, there lies an ancient hill fortress Nandi Hills also known as Nandidurg or Nandi Betta. Situated at a height of 1,480 meters above the sea level, the hill is known for once being a Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace.Blessed with a pleasant climate and picturesque location featuring the misty mountains and the brilliant sunrise, it has become a quite popular weekend outing spot for the Bangaloreans.
Nandi Hills is a popular summer resort as temperatures hover around 25 degrees here during this period. During winter, the temperatures drop down to as low as 5 degrees. Best time to reach there is before sunrise. The sun rises at around 5:30 am during summers, and it is truly a magical sight to watch. The wind, fog, and clouds that blow towards you in the morning is just amazing. To enjoy the sunrise at this beautiful location, you need to start early morning (around 4:00-4:30 AM) from Bengaluru.
This 60 km journey takes you past a picturesque route. The hills are located about 20 km from the National Highway (NH-7) just after Devanahalli Town. 10km after passing by BIAL airport flyover, as you take a left diversion from NH 7 and turn towards Nandi hill road, you start feeling a sudden change in landscape and also climate. As you start climbing the hill, the road turns curvy with few sharp hairpin bends along steep slopes adorned with pictorial farms and hamlets. On the way, you can see many folks cycling all the way to the top. Nandi Hills is cyclists paradise, around 400 meters of altitude gain in 7 km of the ride, The bikers/cyclists from Bangalore storm there on weekends and holidays. It’s a very good hill training spot for them.
The region around Nandi Hills is also known for its Vineyards. You can give a short visit to those grape orchards while returning and even buy fresh grapes from small girls selling them on the road sides.
While Nandi Hills hosts many temples built by the Cholas, its prominence gained multifold when Tipu Sultan built his Summer Palace at the site. The palace is protected by the Karnataka State government and is a major tourist attraction now. Sprawling over an area of 90 acres, this beautiful palace has engraved walls and ceilings.You need to take an entry ticket of 10 Rs at the base of the fortress.In addition to this, a parking fee of Rs 100 is levied for cars and Rs 20 for two-wheelers. From there you have to climb 1,175 steps to reach the top of the hill. The steps leading from the fort entrance to the summit are surrounded by vegetation that forms the ideal habitat for various species of wintering thrushes and warblers.
Tourist Attractions on the Hills
Tipu’s Drop – the famous place from where Tippu Sultan had his condemned prisoners thrown to death.
Tipu’s Summer Palace and Fort – During the Ganga period, the Chikkaballapur Chieftains built a fort. Tippu strengthened it further and also built a rest house. This used to be Tippu’s summer bungalow. It is not open to the general public.
Horse Way – A stone doorway in the fort on the North-eastern side, is believed to have been the horse way for helping soldiers to climb the wall on horseback.
Secret Escape Route – A secret passage on the west, is believed to have helped the Kings to escape during unforeseen attacks.
Temples – there are temples dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha and you can see beautiful old temples.
Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy temple: on top of the hill, on the way to the Sultanpet, from Tippu’s palace, a natural formation of huge boulders have been transformed into a magnificent temple.
Children’s Playground – The Horticulture department maintains a lovely garden for children to play games like the slides, merry-go-round, swings etc.
Nehru Nilaya – where Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay, now a guest house of the horticulture department of India.
Gandhi House, where the Mahatma himself stayed, is under the management of DPAR (Protocol) Government of Karnataka and is reserved for the stay of important dignitaries.
Rivers – the rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills. Most of the sources have dried up. Amruth Sarovar is a beautiful water lake that brims with lucid water all the year round.
Bangalore is only 60 km from Nandi Hills, If you are planning to visit Nandi Hills, You can give a short visit to Bangalore also. You can use trip planner app VisitIn which will help you to find the shortest sequence to visit top tourist places of Bangalore.
Ever visited a hill station? Now, you must be thinking what a silly question it is… hill stations are basically the first choice of every travel enthusiast. But the point in my question were you just mesmerized with the beauty of the nature, those huge mountains covered in the sheets of snow and those beautiful curvy roads covered with greenery all over or did you also had a look at the culture, the tradition and the spirituality over there, only a few would have.
India is recognised as the land of culture, customs and traditions, and each place in India has its own dose of culture, customs and traditions, served in the euphoric way possible. Visiting any new place strikes something beautiful and new into you, and some places are even beneficial in uplifting you mentally, physically and emotionally by helping you fight with your stress in a blissful manner.
Leh -Ladakh, Sikkim, Manali, Shimla and almost every hill station of India are places which are the house to a beautiful and mesmerising view which is enough to make the tourists fall head over heels in love with the place. But do you know these places are a home to Buddhism and a strict meditation and discipline?
Buddhism is known to be the building block of discipline and meditation, monks and nuns of all ages work together in order to teach people the benefits and the importance of meditation in this stress trapped life. People are busy with their lives being left with no time to look after themselves which further leads to a lot of diseases and problems. However, it is believed that meditation is the core solution to all of your problems and diseases, meditation offers you a soothing comfort relaxing you mentally, emotionally and physically.
These hill stations are not only a home to meditation but they also proffer a wide range of ayurvedic medicines which are known for being a perfect natural remedy to all health concerns. If unable to get these ayurvedic medicines easily or are allergic to them then, you can buy ayurvedic supplements online that strive to provide the same results.
So, the next time you visit any of the hill station don’t just get dazzled by the beauty of nature but also visit a monastery, spend a little time with the monks and nuns over there, getting a closer tip-off about their lifestyle, their discipline and the meditation level, and do copy a bit of their lifestyle in your daily routine in order to have a perfect, stress free life.
About Guest Muskaan Sharma
Muskaan is a content writer presently working with NaturesBuggy LLP, an online platform profusely dealing in supplements and gardening. Following her interest towards writing and an aim of making this stressed captured the unhealthy world, better and healthier Muskaan chose to start blogging about health & fitness articles additionally covering gardening topics to make the world more concerned about their health and greenery around them.
The Maldivesis a beautiful South Asian island country. It’s a group of 1200 islands lying southwest of India and Sri Lanka, out of which only 200 are inhabited by local Maldivian people, nearly 100 islands have been developed as tourist resorts and the remaining islands are uninhabited. Maldives is called as “the tropical paradise” for its snowy white sandy beaches, turquoise blue lagoons, and its vast marine diversity.
It was going to be my first foreign vacation with my husband, I was so happy and excited. After doing some research on the internet, we found that it would be more economical and customizable to plan our trip yourself rather than opting some travel packages. We booked our flight tickets via Srilankan airlines that cost us around 36000 INR for two of us for round trip from Bengaluru to Male (capital of Maldives). Then came the most important task of selecting a good hotel. With the help of booking.com, we booked a Beach facing Bungalow in Paradise Island Resort for 3 nights/4 days. It cost us around 50,000 INR (including taxes, breakfast, and dinner) that you need not pay at the time of booking. For Maldives, a pre-arrival visa is not required, regardless of your country of origin, provided you have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country.
Finally, the day came when we landed in Male, there were counters of different resorts on the airport. We reached our resort counter and waited there for 10-15 minutes for other tourists to assemble there. From there we headed towards the speedboat jetty which is only a 1-minute walk from the arrival terminal, view of the vast blue ocean was overwhelming. The speedboat was waiting there to take us to our destination. It charges around 7000 INR per person(return journey). Although very costly but it was an exciting and exotic 20-minute ride. From the glass window, you could get a beautiful view of the ocean, flying fishes and other gorgeous islands on the way.
As we reached our island, it was a whole new world to embrace us. It was so beautiful, clean and calm. Island was surrounded by the turquoise blue water lagoon. A wooden bridge over the lagoon was connecting the jetty to the island. Water was so crystal clear that we could see, down the bridge, fishes swimming freely in the warm water. On the other end of the bridge was the resort’s private white sand beach lined with lush green palm and coconut trees.
We were welcomed with a mint drink and generous smile. We did not know that a big surprise was waiting for us. We came to know that our beach bungalow was upgraded to haven suite, a villa built on stilts directly above the water, within the exclusive Haven complex as a gift from the resort. Its cost was around 80,000 for one night. You can imagine our joy :).
As we reached to our heaven suite, we were stunned by its exotic location, the sweeping ocean views from its backyard, and a host of superb luxuries inside.
We could not think a better place to relax and rejuvenate than this. It was a perfect heaven. Starting the day with a cup of coffee over the sea with the music of ocean waves, Getting down the stairs and take a dip in the refreshing salty water of Indian ocean, pampering yourself in your personal swimming pool just above the salty water of the ocean, taking sun bath in our private space in clear mornings, having a sumptuous meal in breakfast at lagoon restaurant, cycling on wooden planks above the water, enjoying the shark feeding in evening with lavish dinner after that and ending the day with happening live shows, cultural events in the bar.
On one side, where Maldives is an ideal place to relax in a peaceful serene atmosphere, it also offers a lot to satiate your adventurous spirits. An array of watersports activities and facilities are there to indulge in like kayaking, Catamaran Sailing, Water Skiing, Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Windsurfing, Snorkelling etc. We have gone for kayaking and snorkeling lesson. Paddling your boat yourself and driving it in the mid of marvelous water of blue ocean was a great feeling. But Snorkeling lesson was something extraordinary. Being a non-swimmers, covering huge distance swaying in the ocean with a life jacket, masks, and fins and exploring the hidden secrets of the underwater world was a great thrill.
Its big thanks to highly efficient management, polite and cordial staff of Paradise Island Resort and to the beautiful people of Maldives for giving us wonderful moments of our life to cherish forever. I can happily say… I LOVE MALDIVES.
Few travel tips to Maldives:
Plan your trip by yourself instead of going for tour packages as it will definitely save some bucks for you.
All of the transactions are mostly in USD, so have your currency exchange done before reaching there as exchange rate would be quite higher there.
Most of the hotels/resorts will offer complimentary breakfast. If you want to save some bucks in food, you can include half board(breakfast + dinner) in your itinerary as food are too expensive there.
Most of the resorts have a mandatory transfer from the airport via speedboat or seaplane for which you need to pay additional charges(approx 100 USD per person) to the resort. So plan your budget accordingly.
Do not forget sunscreen above 20 SPF (recommended).
Do not miss the chance to enjoy a cup of the Sri Lankan Cylon tea.
It was Christmas holidays when I and my husband made a plan for a bike trip from Bengaluru to Ooty. Distance is approximately 330 km and it takes around 7-8 hours to reach Ooty from here via Mysore and Bandipur. The road from Bengaluru to Ooty is simply beautiful with great view of mountains and forests on both the sides.
We started very early in the morning from Bengaluru hoping to avoid the peak hours traffic. But contrary to our expectation the road was full of bikes and cars with people with their backpack and exciting faces. It was like the whole of Bengaluru was going for a trip. It was the perfect weekend for bengalureans as Friday was a holiday and that too it was Christmas. We could see the festive mood of the new year had already begun.
On the way from Bengaluru to Ooty, there are many beautiful towns where you can take small breaks and enjoy beautiful surroundings. At around 55 km from Bengaluru lies Ramnagaram, which invites you to have a mesmerizing view of rock formations around it and it is also known for its silk. Moving ahead the town of Channapatna is best known for wooden toys made in ivory, rose and sandalwood.You can see many shops selling those toys all over the roadside.It can be a good souvenir to take back with you. Further ahead 100 km from Bengaluru lies vast stretch of Paddy and sugarcane fields of Mandya, a town known for its jaggery production. You can enjoy here a typical savory Maddur vada with tea from roadside stalls. Mysore is only 50 km from here. After reaching Mysore there are two roads, one leads to Coorg, which is another beautiful hill station of south India and other one goes for Ooty and Coonoor.
Mysore to Ooty road brings you more enchanting experiences on the way. You are left awestruck with the beauty of towering Western Ghat Mountains of Nilgiri on the Mysore-Ooty highway.The road further takes you through one of the most beautiful national parks of India-Bandipur National Park or popularly known as Bandipur Tiger Reserve. You are not allowed to stop in between the road as fears of encountering wild animals crossing through highway. But while riding you can get to see many animals roaming freely inside jungles nearby roads like chital, langurs, Indian giant squirrels, and elephants. To see these animals free and relaxing in their natural surroundings is a lifetime experience. Bandipur is also home to over 200 species of birds. Chirping of these birds with the murmuring of winds through the tall standing forest of teak, rosewood and giant bamboo and the fresh smell of sandalwood is so refreshing that all your tiredness of journey disappears in an instant. One thing to note that movement of vehicles are not allowed after 6:00 pm so if you are planning to go Ooty via this route cross the forest before dusk.
After passing through Bandipur sanctuary you leave the Karnataka border and enter to Tamil Nadu at Mudumalai National park. From here you can take either the steeper route through Masinagudi and Kalhatty ghats which is shorter by about 40 km.This route comprises of 36 hairpin bends and is thrilling to drive on. There is an alternate route the Highway route via Salem, Avinashi NH47 and Mettupalayam SH66. If you are adventure loving take the first one but be careful while driving on those sharp bends. Driving on those crazy curves, as you reach closer to Ooty, nature unfolds all its hidden beauty before you. Lofty mountains, dense Pine forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet you on the way and welcomes you to Ooty, the queen of hills.
After 8 hours of unforgettable ride from Bengaluru, we reached our hotel in Ooty at around 2 pm, which we had booked online from MakeMyTrip. But to our shock, there was no room booked in our name. At first, we thought we have come to some wrong hotel. We searched nearby areas for any other hotel with a similar name but we found none, it was the same hotel we booked but the hotel was not ready to accept the booking.Our mobiles were showing the low battery. Somehow we managed to charge our mobile little bit by requesting the caretaker of the hotel and called to MMT customer care. After an exhaustive session of call and callback, they finally told us that our booking was cancelled by the hotel and they tried to message us but it could not be delivered and they have blacklisted the hotel for future. They apologised and assured us to arrange a hotel very soon. 2 hours had already passed in all this dramatic scene and we were still without a room, puzzled and tired. Then came another shock when they called and expressed their inability to arrange a room as no room was available for online booking due to Christmas and New Year holidays.Now it came to us to find a room and they agreed to bear the cost. Now in all these unpleasant incident, something good came out for us 🙂 We could choose the most luxurious hotel, without worrying about its cost. After a hard search in the town, we finally booked a luxurious hotel in a beautiful location (costing three times of the original one we had booked and it all paid by MMT ).It is said that “All’s well that ends well”.
Finally, we settled in our room and got fresh.After relaxing for some time we went for a walk. There are many old churches in Ooty and it was Christmas so all were beautifully decorated. We visited St. Stephen’s Church a fascinating Gothic structure which still retains its Victorian feel, people were celebrating with bonfires and offering prayers.We also participated in their joyous moment. While returning to our hotel we bought some delicious homemade Ooty chocolates. You can find chocolates of numerous flavours like orange, banana, pan-pasand and much more (though for me pan-pasand with chocolate was not at all a delicious combination 🙂 ). This is some Ooty special thing which you would love to take back home for your dear ones.
Next morning we woke up early and went for a cup of tea from a small roadside shop. Having a cup of tea amid cool and refreshing morning breeze and watching the sun rising from the hill in front of you is a mesmerising experience.You just want to inhale it all with your breath and make it a part of your beautiful memories.
Ooty has a lot to offer for your soul to fill it with nature’s tranquillity and its charm.From the thrill of a horse race to a slow yet scenic ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, you’ll find it all here. After having breakfast we started for sightseeing in Ooty. On the way, there was turn leading to the beautiful road covered with Eucalyptus trees. It was very tempting so we thought to just drive on that road. In the end of that road, there was a beautiful palace with wide open lawn. Some horses were standing on the lawn. Some foreigners were doing horse riding and others just relaxing. Very few Indians were also there. We asked a horseman for a ride. While talking to him we came to know that it was actually a palace turned hotel and they thought us also as a guest staying in the hotel 🙂 we entered so casually that guard also didn’t think about us as visitors otherwise he would not let us enter the premises. So we pretended to be like hotel guests and enjoyed the horse riding on the beautiful mountain road. It was huge fun and exciting.This was a bonus in the trip 🙂
Old fossil at Botanical Garden
After fun filled horse ride we reached Botanical garden which is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country and lies on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak.The Gardens have around a thousand species, both exotic and indigenous, of plants, shrubs, ferns, trees, herbal and bonsai plants. In the center of the Gardens lie a fossilized tree trunk estimated to be 20 million years old.Do not forget to buy natural Nilgiri essential oil sold by forest department inside the garden on a very reasonable price.
At a distance of 2 km from the botanical garden, there is a beautiful rose garden situated on the slopes of the Elk Hill.Garden has more than 20,000 varieties of roses.It is one of the largest collection of roses in India.
Nearby Ooty lake is another prominent tourist spot. The lake is surrounded by groves of Eucalyptus trees with a railway line running along one shore.You can enjoy boating with an amazing view of water birds along with the beautiful Nilgiri mountain ranges in the backdrop.
In the evening we visited Dodabetta tea factory and museum.You can learn here about the origin of different kinds of tea leaves that are used across the globe along with the history of tea in India and its evolution in the Nilgiris. Inside the factory, you can see and appreciate the method of tea processing by CTC (Cut, Twist and Curl) machines. You will also get to taste a hot cup of fresh Nilgiri tea. You can also buy fresh Nilgiri tea of various flavours from here at a reasonable price. It was the quite fulfilling day to see so many beautiful places in close proximity to nature.
Next day while returning from Ooty we came to visit many beautiful spots on the way- Pykara lake and waterfalls, Shooting point, Needle rock view point.All those places are nature’s marvel and simply beautiful.
Needle Rock view point
Due to time constraint we could not go to visit other beautiful sights of Ooty like Avalanche lake, a natural reservoir surrounded by hills and a thin forest line, which is a popular destination for trekking, camping and kayaking ; Upper Bhavani Lake;Emerald lake;Kalhatty waterfalls; travelling via Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train, thread Garden and wax world museum . In our next trip, we are definitely going to visit all those places. This was really a memorable trip and we would love to come back again Ooty.
Few Travel Tips to Ooty:
If you are not expert driver do not take the steeper route through Masinagudi and Kalhatty ghats which comprises of 36 hairpin bends
If you have booked your hotel online, once confirm your booking with your hotel before starting.
Do not forget to buy homemade delicious Ooty Chocolates and Nilgiri essential oil.
As there are so many places to visit in Ooty, take help of some Route planner app which can give you the shortest route to cover all places easily. We used VisitIn App for this and it was really helpful.
Travel experiences of my life which make me believe that "life is beautiful"