Nandi Hills hiking route

All About Nandi Hills, Bangalore (3 Routes Explained)

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All the Bangloreans in the house, you’re going to love this blog. If you have heard about the Nandi Hills but haven’t been, this one’s just for you! Nandi Betta is one of the must-visit places around the city, and you can go to the place in different seasons. Sunrises, sunsets, and more. The hills have everything!

This guide highlights all the necessary things you need to know, including attractions, different possible routes, tips on how to avoid the crowd, and so much more. So, sit back and enjoy.

Complete Guide To Nandi Hills, Bangalore

About Nandi Hills

Nandi statue at Nandi Hills
Nandi statue that can be seen while hiking

Nandi Hill has several names, including Ananda Giri, Kooshmanda Giri, Nandi Durga, and more. The most prominent name, Nandi, is popular because the hill looks like a sitting bull. The hilltop also harbors a fort spanning 90 acres. The fort wall was built with large black stones with mortar, giving the complete structure an alluring vibe.

Brief History

  • 9 & 10th Century: Ruled by Ganga Dynasty
  • 11th Century: Conquered by the Cholas. Yoganandeeswara Temple was built with the support of Raja Rajendra Chola and Kulottunga Chola
  • 11th & 14th Century: Ruled by the Hoysala & Vijayanagara
  • After Vijayanagara fell, local Palegars built a fort wall around the hill. It is also believed that they constructed Amrutha Sarvoara.
  • Sambaji, son of Shivaji, held the fort for some time
  • Hyder Ali from the Mysore Dynasty took over from the Marathas. During Tipu Sultan’s reign, the fort wall was strengthened. He built a bungalow to relax during the summer.
  • 1791: Lord Cornwallis ceased Nandi Hills and defeated Tipu Sultan’s aid, Latif Ali Baig
  • Sir Mark Cubbon, the commissioner of Mysore state, built a bungalow called Cubbon House on the hill, which used to be the summer residence from 1834 to 1861.
  • 1914: The Dewan of Mysore state, Sir M. Vishvesraya, handed over the charge of Nandi Hills to the Mysore Government.
  • The current motorable road to the hilltop was constructed in 1923.
  • In 1956, after the formation of Karnataka state, the hill station was handed over to the Department of Horticulture.

How To Reach Nandi Hills?

View of Nandi hills from road

Ideally, there are only 3 routes to reach the top of Nandi Hills. While the most popular one is the motorable road all the way to the top, the other two are the routes that can be done on foot by hiking.

By Air

Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (Airport Code: BLR, 34 Km) is the nearest airport. From there, you can hire a cab and reach Nandi Hills by road.

By Rail

Chikkaballapur Railway Station (Station Code: CBP, 23 Km) is the nearest railway station. Most of the trains from Bangalore stop for a few minutes here. From there, you can walk to the KSRTC bus stand (1 Km) and hop on a bus to Nandi Hills. You can also hire a tuk-tuk or cab.

By Road

Roadways are the most convenient option to reach Nandi Hills. The well-laid snake roads are awesome for a ride, loved by cyclists, bikers, and others alike. Personal transport is the best if you wish to see sunrise or sunset. If you depend on public transport, please note the timings and plan accordingly.

Bus timings to and from Nandi Hills hilltop are as follows:

  • From Majestic (platform number 10) to Nandi Hills: 8:30 AM (only one bus from Bangalore)
  • From Nandi Hills to Majestic: 5:30 PM
  • From Chikkaballapur to Nandi Hills: 7:40 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM.
  • From Nandi Hills to Chikkaballapur 8:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm
  • From the Bangalore Majestic bus stand, you can hop on a bus to Chikkaballapur and then take another bus to reach Nandi Hills and vice versa for your return.

Hiking

By Climbing Steps

Starting from the Sultanpete village, climb about 1000+ steps that will lead you to Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, painted red at the top of Nandi Hills.

Scroll below to learn more about the hike. 

The Other Route

Although the hiking starting point lies about 3 Km from the steps climbing route, this route is officially prohibited. There is a green color board kept by the Karnataka Forest Department highlighting that trespassers will be prosecuted. So, we didn’t hike via this route, and we recommend you avoid this route too.

Best Time To Visit Nandi Hills

View of Skandagiri Hills from Nandi Hills
View of Skandagiri Hills from Nandi Hills

You can visit Nandi Hills at any time of the year, and this quality sets these hills apart from several other hiking and trekking spots. Try to embark on your journey to the top on a weekday, as the place will be crowded during weekends and holidays. Just trust us and park for another day if you want to enjoy it in peace.

During the winter months, between October and January, the whole hilltop is covered in mist, and if you are lucky, you can see the sunrise over the cloud bed.

Network Availability

Being a popular tourist destination, a good network is available from Jio and Airtel.

ATM Availability

ATMs are a bit far away from Nandi Hills. Digital UPI payments are accepted at both entry ticket counters and in all shops. Although cash is not required, we recommend you carry a few bucks with you.

Languages Spoken

The natives speak Kannada, and several people speak in Hindi and English.

Parking Availability

Nandi Hills parking area

There is ample parking space available to park your vehicles at the top of the Nandi Hills. But be aware that you will be charged extra for parking.

Restroom Facilities

There are restroom facilities near the Mayura Pine Top Restaurant, which is located near the glass bridge. We didn’t use the washrooms hence quite not sure about the cleanliness.

Where To Eat?

Finding eateries is not a problem at all. There are a few shops near the parking lot, the ticket counter, Nandini Milk Parlor, and the Mayura Pine Top Restaurant near the glass bridge. Numerous fine dining restaurants and cafes are at the base en route to the Nandi Hills.

Be aware of the notorious monkeys as they are ready to snatch your belongings and the eatables.

Where To Stay?

 

Hotel Mayura Pine Top is the only accommodation at the hilltop and is run by the Government of Karnataka. It has numerous rooms split into three complexes named Gandhi Nilaya (deluxe room), Nehru Nilaya New Block (double room), and cottages. The price differs on weekends and weekdays and ranges between INR 2,000 and INR 10,000. 

There are also other luxurious stays at the foothills. A few of them include JW Marriot, Mulberry Shades, Vama Retreats, and more. 

Things To Do At Nandi Hills

Nandi hills viewpoints

Paragliding

Soar high above the landscape and witness breathtaking views from the sky. Feel the rush of the wind as you take off, and your parachute carries you gently into the air. Glide gracefully and soak in the beauty of the world below. Capture stunning aerial views and make the most of this unique adventure, and as you gradually descend back to the ground, you’ll be left with a newfound appreciation for the adrenaline rush and the thrill of flight.

A tandem dive run by professionals with proper equipment and guidance is done from the hilltop. The price costs INR 3000 for a 5 min flight. Also, note that the activity is carried out only in favorable weather conditions. 

Cycling/ Motoring

Embarking on a journey to the hilltop offers a range of exciting options for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer cycling or motoring, you can choose your own adventure. Pedal your way or go vroom; just don’t forget to pace and enjoy the surroundings. Whatever your choice, the rewarding view at the hilltop awaits, offering a panoramic vista that will take your breath away.

Sightseeing

Glass bridge viewpoint at Nandi hills or Nandi Betta

Explore every corner as it will unveil a new story and a unique experience. Tour the intricately designed temples that carry the aura of ancient times. Take in panoramic views from elevated viewpoints, capture the essence of the city’s landscape, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Direction boards kept for navigation at Nandi Hills

Direction boards are kept at different spots that’ll guide you to all the significant spots.

  • Tipu Summer House
  • Gavi Veerabhadreshwara Temple
  • Nandi Pushkarini
  • Children Play Area
  • Tipu Drop
  • Origin of Palar River
  • Brahmashram
  • Tipu’s Drop
  • Sunrise Viewpoint (Glass Bridge)
  • Yoganandeeshwar Temple

Watching Sunrise/ Sunset

Sunset at Nandi Hills, Bangalore

Witnessing the sunrise and sunset is a true spectacle. Whether you’re an early riser or a sunset enthusiast, the beauty of these natural phenomena will leave you mesmerized. 

Hiking Details

While most of what you do is observe, witness, and soak in, with hiking, you can be a part of nature itself. Ascend on foot via one of the two hiking routes mentioned above (climbing steps – recommended). Enjoy breaking a sweat as you move to the top and conquer the hill. 

Distance to the base: 60 Km from Bangalore, 23 Km from Chikkaballapur

Cost: INR 20 for adults, Extra charges for parking your vehicles

Registration: No registration or pre-online booking is required.

Timings: 6:00 AM – 6 PM, Last entry at 5 PM

Duration: 2 hours to ascend and 40 mins to descend

Max Altitude: 4774 feet or 1455 m

Hike Distance: 2.5 Km approx (one way), 1700 steps approximately

Difficulty Level: Moderate – highly subject to your fitness level.

Terrain: Rocky steps and cement pathways

Hiking Route:

Nandi hills hike starting point

From the start of the trail, Sultanpete village, you can see the steps. Follow the steps for about 1 hour, crossing the Hanuman Temple, a couple of arches, a Nandi, and an open terrain until you reach the first fort entrance (as shown in the picture below).

Nandi hills fort

The slope beside the steps is an iconic sunset spot unknown to many visitors. 

Gavi Veerbhadreshwar Temple at Nandi Hills

The trail narrows for a bit until you reach the Gavi Veerbhadreshwar Temple. Walking past that, you can climb about 250+ steps, after which the red-colored Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace comes into the picture. That is the entry to the Nandi Hills while climbing via this route. 

Tippu Sultan fort at Nandi hills top

Explore around and descend on the same route.

How To Avoid The Crowd In Nandi Hills?

  1. Visit during the weekdays. Weekends and holidays are usually very crowded. Even if you start early, you’ll be struck by traffic, and the entire place will look like a carnival packed with people.
  2. Stay at the KSDTC Hotel (Gandhi Nilaya and Nehru Nilaya) atop the Nandi hills. This is the best way to see the sunrise. This saves you the hassle of waiting until the gate opens and rushing to the hilltop.
  3. Climb the steps from the Sultanpete village to reach the hilltop. It is a very less crowded route when compared to the most popular motorable route.

Important Things To Remember

  • A guide is not required to hike the Nandi Hills.
  • The use of plastics and smoking is strictly prohibited. As a hiker, it is incumbent on you to be responsible and not litter. Collect and bring back the waste and dispose of it in dedicated bins.
  • There are numerous monkeys at the hilltop. But don’t worry, you can learn how to deal with monkeys.
  • There are no water sources en route while hiking. So ensure you carry some snacks and water before starting.

Essential Things To Carry

  • Ensure you carry at least 1 L of water per person.
  • Have your first aid kit handy.
  • Cap, sunscreen & sunglasses are essential to ward off the summer heat.
  • Carry a poncho or raincoat in case of rain.
  • A headtorch is necessary if you plan to hike during the golden hours.

Read the blog to know more about what we usually carry for day hikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a guide required for the Nandi Hills hike?

No, a guide is not required for people visiting the Nandi Hills. The trail is pretty much linear and a visible path guides you until the hilltop. The probability of getting lost is nill.

Is camping allowed at the top of Nandi Hills?

Camping is strictly prohibited in Nandi Hills. The only option is to stay at the Mayura Pine Top Hotel.

Can the Nandi Hills hike be done in a day?

Absolutely. Nandi Hills is a small hill that can be hiked within half a day.

Places to visit near Nandi Hills

Avalabetta, Adiyogi, Shivagange, and Gudibande Fort are a few places worth checking out.

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