Nandi Hills, Karnataka India

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Nandi Hills or Nandi betta (Anglicised forms include Nandidurg and Nandydoorg) is an ancient hill fortress in southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. The hills are nestled near the town of Nandi. In traditional belief, the hills are the origin of the Arkavathy river.

There are many stories about the origin of the name Nandi Hills. During the Chola period, Nandi Hills was called Ananda Giri meaning The Hill of Happiness. Another story is that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and so it was named after him. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga (Fort) because of the fort built here by the ruler Tippu Sultan. It is also perhaps called Nandi Hills because the hills resemble a sleeping bull (Nandi).

Another theory holds that the hill gets its name from an ancient, 1300-year-old Dravidian-style Nandi temple situated on this hill. An ancient Lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill. The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple in Nandi village is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka dating back to the ninth century. The temple hewn out of rock consists of two complexes. While the first complex houses three deities, the second complex consists of a huge and majestic kalyani pond. The foundation of the temple was constructed by the Banas of ninth century. The Chola rulers of the 11th century constructed the roof of the temple. The marriage hall was built by the Hoysalas in the thirteenth century and a wall of the second complex was built by the Vijayanagar kings. Beautiful stone carvings are a popular tourist site and are a source of inspiration for students of art and architecture.

Geography
It is 4,851 ft (1,479 m) above sea level. It is located close to the Bangalore International Airport. In addition, the hills are located about 20 km from the National Highway (NH-7) just after Devanahalli Town. Due to its location, Nandi Hills is rapidly developing and numerous commercial and residential ventures are underway in the region.

The Bangalore amateur ham radio operators have a repeater set up on the Nandi Hills, which increases the reach or transmission and reception (Repeater 145.700 (Rx) minus 600 (Tx) with callsign VU2RSB),

History
Nandidurga was traditionally held unimpregnable, and its storming by the army of Cornwallis on 19 October 1791 was one of the most notable incidents of the first war against Tipu Sultan of Mysore. A description of the siege is given in Browne’s History of Scotland[4] and the records of the 71st Highlanders.[5]

Nundydroog, a celebrated fortress and country of Hindostan, in the province of Mysore. The former is built on the summit of a rock, about 1700 feet high, three-fourths of its circumference being inaccessible. Our forces took it by storm in 1791, after a three weeks’ siege. It stands in long. 77° 53′ E., and lat. 13° 22′ N.

It later became a retreat for British Raj officials during the hot season. Francis Cunningham built the summer residence here for Sir Mark Cubbon.

…this droog, one now used as a hotel, built by General Cubbon, sometime British resident; but the rock has a bad reputation for malaria, and except in the very dry months is shunned by visitors, in spite of its, to the senses, delightful climate.

The climate at the top of the hill made it particularly of interest to horticulturists. Several species of plant were introduced into an experimental garden. Firminger’s manual notes that several species of Anona were grown at this garden and also notes the peculiarity of Hypericum mysorense:[8]

H. mysorense.—An ornamental bush indigenous to the Western Ghauts, but rarely found in gardens. It is domesticated, or wild, in the Fort at Nandidroog, the latter being situated on the top of an isolated hill on the plateau of Mysore at an elevation of 4,850 feet. This is mentioned, as curiously enough, one has to travel more than a hundred miles towards the Western Ghauts, before the plant is met with in the wild state again. Fertile seed has never been secured. The fine yellow flowers are three inches across. Only suitable for the shrubbery in hill gardens.
Burns, 1930

Potato cultivation was introduced for the first time in the neighbourhood of Bangalore by a Colonel Cuppage and continued by the botanist Benjamin Heyne. Heyne brought seeds from St. Helena and these grew well enough that they were supplied in Madras and preferred to those obtained from Bengal.[9] In 1860, tea plants were tried on Nandi Hills by Hugh Cleghorn.

Nearby Tourist Attractions

Someshwara swami temple (Or Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple) is in the NandiGrama (Nandi village), a couple of km from the base of Nandi Hills.
Nandi Railway station is about a kilometer from NandiGrama. It is a small, old railway station in the middle of a forest, with big trees.[25]

Skandagiri
View of Skandagiri Betta From Below the mountain

Skandagiri, also known as Kalavara Durga, is a mountain fortress located approximately 62 km from Bangalore city, and 3 km from Chikballapur in the Indian state of Karnataka (13°25′03″N 77°40′58″E). It is off Bellary Road (National Highway 7 Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway), and overlooks Nandi Hills and Muddenahalli. The peak is at an altitude of about 1350 meters. This tourist spot has been closed by the forest department when checked on 21 May 2016, They claimed someone was murdered in the hills and that is the reason its closed for public.