Saturday, February 13, 2010

It was 4’o clock in the morning and 5 people get ready to travel on bikes in the chilling winter of Bangalore. I was picked up by Gopal near Forum Mall in Koramangala and Mahesh, Sudip and Raja joined us, and we set off to theDSC04445 most nearest tourism spot to Bangalore, Nandi Hills. We moved towards the New International Airport of Bangalore.

By the time we reached Majestic (the main Bus Terminus of Bangalore), we started feeling cold. There were very few vehicles on the road and so we drove fast. By the time we reached Hebbal and Yelahanka, we are almost driving at 100 kms per hour. Then the fun started. The whole palm started paining because of the cold weather. I still wonder how the bikes were ridden as it was extremely difficult to bend your fingers due to the chilling weather. We stopped in mid way to have some nice hot tea which geDSC04469nerated enough warmth in our bodies to continue further.

There is a 8 kilometre stretch from the bottom of the hill to the entrance to the peak. As we ride up the hill we see the scenic beauty all round in the early morning sun. There is lot of mist and the beautiful rich vegetation looks wonderful in the morning. 

Finally, we reached Nandi Hills at around 6 AM. 

Nandi Hills is situated at 60 kms from the Bangalore City near the town of Chikkaballapur. There are various stories of the origin of the name of the hillock. During the Chola period, Nandi HDSC04782ills was called Ananda Giri meaning the Hill of happiness. Another theory holds that the hill gets its name from an ancient, 1000 year old Nandi temple situated on the hill. Another story is that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and it was named after him. It is commonly called as Nandi Durga(Fort) because of the fort built here by the ruler Tipu Sultan.

This hill raises to a height of 4850 feet (1478 metres). As many as six rivers like Palas, North and South Pennar, Chitravati, Arkavati and Papagni rise in and near this hillock. Traditionally, this place is called Kushmandagiri for, the sage Kushmanda performed austerities here. Gangas enjoy the epithet of the lords of Nandagiri after this hillock. The Jaina antiquities of this place is attested by a Shravana-Tirtha. The place name Anandagiri (Hill of pleasure) was changed to Nandagiri -hill of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva during the time of the Cholas. The hillock was extremely fortified by the chiefs of Chikballapur and further strengthened by Haider - Tipu duo after they took it over from Madhava Rao of the Marathas in 1770 A.D. Lord Cornwallis captured Nandidurga in 1791 A.D. Later on it was converted into a hill resort by the British officers.

Nandidurg was traditionally held un impregnable, and its storming by 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 and the records of the 71st Highlanders.

NUNDYDROOG, a celebrated fortress and country of Hindustan, 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.

London Encyclopaedia, 1829

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, DSC04786built 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

Lt. Gen. E F Burton

By the time we reached over there, there were already hundreds of people waiting for the gates to open. We bought the entrance tickets and as the gates opened, we started the ascent to the top.

To be continued…