Trek to Nandi Hills (25 May 2014)

[ May 2014 ]

                                            Adventure is an addiction. Having tasted it once was not enough. Soon my II Semester exams were nearing their end and accordingly I planned a trek to Nandi Hills, just 50 km away from here. My friends were excited too, especially because they had been studying non-stop for exams. Well so was I, but I was starting to like all the pressure and the exam evironment. Anyway having completed all the major exams we were all set to go trekking.

We were a group of 8, five of us NMITians and my friends Veer, Kiran and Mahesh who joined the team at Chikballapur. More like we joined them. We were graciously accomodated for the night at chickballapur in our friends’ rooms. Early in the morning at 4:30, Veer woke me up saying “Let’s go get the parcel”. As it happens, Veer’s room flanked the highway. So his parents could send stuff right from Bidar all the way up to Chickballapur via buses plying between B’lore and Bidar. Soon we were sitting in the cold night watching vehicles buzz past on the highway waiting for the drop. It was already 5 am by the time we made our way back to the rooms. Then we woke the rest of the sleeping beauties and got ready for the great time ahead!

We started from SJCIT college. Veer was our local guide having been to Nandi several times now. So we kick started our journey with several photographs. Soon we were walking through the countryside enjoying the sight of grape vines and orchards. The cattle, the farms, the smell; it only got better every minute. After a brisk walk of 2 kms we arrived at the Bhoganandeeshwara temple in Nandi village. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The original temple, identified as one of the oldest temples of Karnataka, dates back to the 9th century A.D. and was later renovated successively as in the Dravidian style of architecture. It is located at the bottom of Nandi Hills. The original temple was renovated regularly during the successive five dynasties under Chola, Hoysala, Pallava and Vijayanagara kings. This big temple houses three temples within the temple complex, viz., Arunachaleswara, Uma Maheshwara and Bhoga Nandeeshwara. The other portion of the temple houses a large indoor water pond, called Sringeri Teertha and has rock cut steps on which many lamps are lit by the side of the tank on certain festive days like Deepavali. This pond is believed to be a source of Pinakini River. Inside the temple, certain stone carvings are also depicted. We had our ‘darshan’ and enjoyed the beauty of temple. Taking a lot of photos, we left for the hill.

We had to walk another few kilometers until we were at the base of the hill. The hill had steps carved into it that made the climb easy. We began our ascent and soon reached the first checkpoint which was an ancient resting place. I never really get tired of admiring the architectural practices of our ancestors. All these monuments were so built that the interiors were cool despite the sun’s scorch outside. These days we need expensive ACs and fans to do the same all the while living in expensive villas!

The climb was athletic, adventurous and exciting. We kept making detours to explore more in the vicinity. The flora and fauna had a deep impact on our souls. I couldn’t help but admire the peace and serenity of the place. All my troubles seemed to wash away without a trace.  We encountered an entrance to the fort. It was or rather would have been used in the past as a sentry tower. We made our way up the tower without caring for the thorns and bushes that had crept all over the place. We felt majestic standing atop there imagining what the past might have looked like.

During this great time of personal realization I became aware of the fact that I had left my spectacles somewhere at our last rest stop. I had to race down all on my own while the others got bust in photography. I found them easily but the hard part was getting back up all that way. It was difficult but a memorable, personal adventure. Having rejoined the team we kept moving. We reached the top in another forty minutes.

The ‘Nandi Hill Station’ as it is popularly known is a beautiful trekking and trip destination. At least it used to be. The latter because, what should have been a nature’s paradise and home to Tippu Sultan’s Summer Palace had turned commercial. There were vehicles all over the place and people walking around with ice-creams and chips. We were glad we came by the way we did or else even that part would have been miserable. The Summer Palace was a historical monument. We explored around.

We rested for a while and then started looking for potential places to sit down and have a meal. We found a place behind a  construction site that blocked our view from the general population and offered us some privacy. The meal was delicious. It motly comprised of ‘Jolada Rottis and Shenga chatni and Bunde‘ that we had recieved earlier that day. Our mates Sanjay and Pramod were looking at it strangely cause thet had never eaten these before. We assured them that this was going to be the best meal they would have ever had and wasn’t that true? It was great.\

After some napping, we were exploring the place. It was mostly vehicles, people and hotels. But now and then one of us would find something not adulterated by human presence and we would enjoy the sight.  I chanced upon several beautiful sights and captured them in my camera. The monkeys were in abundance and I loved their tactic of getting their lunch from these senseless tourists! I even spotted several different species of lizards near the historic ‘Tippu Drop’ where the prisoners were sent to their deaths.

The climb down as it usually is with these small treks was quite easy and quick. We were literally running down the hill in excitement. The Rottis had done their job perfectly! All pains were forgotten and our sight set on the ground below. We took an hour and half atmost before we were back to the base of the hill. The legs and feet were already ‘vibrating’ from all the effort. Soon we caught a us back to our respective retreats.

The trek was really amazing thanks to the enthusiastic members. Their cooperation and support made it happen. Though I had organized it, the onus was on everyone for it’s success. For a whole day all our troubles were forgotten. All our differences set aside. While we undertook this adventure.It’s crazy but these treks and adventure activities sort of boost our confidence in ourselves and make us a better person. I looked forward to having more of these adventures in the coming days.


-Sameer Desai

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