01 July 2016

Monsoon trip to Nandi Hills

Landscape view besides Yoga Nadeeshwara Temple

It was a trip to mark 10 years of blogging and by reiterating the same trip which had led to my very first blog post. For several reasons, I had a lot of things to compare and contrast between the two trips  - mentioned in my anniversary post. We started from the city in relaxed manner post 12 noon and as expected the traffic towards our destination was very lean. Within no time we managed reached the airport interchange toll booth that too driving with conservative speed.

Lunch at India Paratha House:

India Paratha House

As per our plan, we had a stopover for lunch at India Paratha House which comes after Devanahalli town junction. The eat-out or rather hangout place was brimming with all genres of people - youngsters, families etc. The wooden structure and rot-iron/wooden furniture made up a unique ambiance which was blending perfectly with surrounding environment. The menu comprised various types of stuff parathas,  q-parathas and pizza like parantzas. The parathas, chai and lassis filled our stomach optimally and kept us energized for rest of the day.

Getting to the Top:
After taking a deviation at Nandi Cross we continued our journey to the top. The stretch from the highway to the base of the hill is longer a countryside. There are several real estate developments or being planned. Not sure if we need a golf course, so many layouts and villas at green belt which has soil ideally suited for growing fruits. It's unfortunate to see developers encashing on disposable income of people without valuing the ecology of the sensitive area which is the source of 3 rivers - Arkavathy, Palar and Pennar.

At the top:
We entered into the Nandi Hills by paying Rs. 100 parking and entry fee. Immediately after the parking our car in front of Gandhi Nilaya, one of the monkeys jumped on the top of our car and started licking the top and glass panes. The parking attendant mentioned that due to scarcity of fresh water bodies on the monkey was desperate to consume the droplets :)

Monkey licking water drops

A hill with many attractions:
Since I was visiting Nandi Hills after a lot of years, was very keen to experience of catching the glimpse of downhills landscape from sky decks which were constructed in recent times. After clicking a few photographs from the deck, we had a stroll towards Gandhi Nilaya, the rest house where Gandhiji had stayed during his visit to Bangalore. Further ahead, we came across a small temple dedicated to Nandi(Nellikai Basavanna). Besides that there was an ashrama where some swami had meditated for a year. It started raining for a brief spell of time, since we had equipped ourselves pretty well, didn't face any issues during sightseeing.

Cubbon House - Nehru Nilaya
One of the major landmarks on the hills is Cubbon House - a guest house constructed in 19th century by Mark Cubbon, where he used to stay during summers. Post Independence, this house was renamed as Nehuru Nilaya and was the venue for SAARC summit in 1986.

Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple:
We offered prayers at Yoga Nadeeshwara Temple which is close to Tippu drop. While buying some fancy items inside the temple, we struck an interesting conversation with one of pujaris of the temple. Conversation revolved around philosophical discussions such as : 'Why we have so many gods ?', 'What is this supreme power' etc. Later we came to know that he is native of Mangalore and has been staying at Nandi hills close to 45 years. Previously, he was managing the Mayura Hotel and later when the government took over the hotel, he moved on to pujari's job at the temple.

Hill Station Experience:
Post 5 pm it suddenly turned very misty. It provided us an experience at typical hill station like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Coorg and Chickmagalur.

Engulfed in Mist
To Conclude:
We started our downhill journey around 6 pm. Due to time constraints we could not explore a few landmarks but will ensure to cover it in our next trip. 

The trip which was planned to be an obligatory visit to the hills, surprisingly turned out to be very fruitful experience. Also, felt sorry to witness unwanted real estate development around ecologically and historically significant place close to Bangalore. Hope the sanity prevails and the place is preserved for generations to witness !

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