Nandi Hills, also known as Nandidurg, is an ancient hill fortress, which served numerous dynasties in the yesteryears. Located in the Chikballapur district of Karnataka state, the destination stands at 4,851 feet (1,479 metre) above sea level.
Tourists can reach the destination from the diverged road on the National Highway 7 after Devanahalli town. From the diversion, it takes a ride of 30 minutes (20 km) to reach Nandi Hills. The ancient fortress of Nandi Hills or Nandidurg is an anglicised form of Nandidurg and Nandydroog, lying at distance of 60 kilometres from the Bangalore city centre.
According to the legend, the name Nandi Hills originated from the shape of a hill, which resembles a sleeping bull. During Chola rule, it was known as Ananda Giri, meaning 'The Hill of Happiness'. Moreover, the place is associated with Yoga Nandeeshwara, who performed penance.
A 1,200 year old Dravidian Nandi temple positioned on the hill is one of the premier tourist attractions of Nandi Hills. One of the oldest temples of Karnataka was constructed in the ninth century, which is carved in the rock. The temple comprises two complexes, the first one features three deity sculptures and the other one houses a beautiful Kalyani pond.
The foundation stone of the temple was laid by the Banas in the ninth century. Thereafter, the Cholas constructed the roof of the temple in 11th century. The complex also features a marriage hall that was built by the Hoysalas in the 13th century. The wall of the complex was erected by the Vijayanagar kings. The highlights of the temple are the elegant stone carvings on the walls and ceilings.
In another historic event, the fort of Nandi Hills was attacked by troops of Cornwallis on 19 October, 1791 declaring war with Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Among major sightseeing attractions of the destination are Amrita Sarovar Lake, Tipu's Drop and Sir Mark Cubbon's bungalow.
Tipu's Drop is one of the notable historical locations in the region, which is a cliff face at an elevation of 600 m. As per historians, the site was the punishing point, from where convicts were pushed down to their death.
The Nandi temple is one of the most revered worship centres in the region, which was built during Kempe Gowda's Vijayanagar regime. Situated on the foot hills of Nandi hills, the residing deities of the temple are Bhoganandishwara and Yoganandeeshwara.
Built during the period of the Banas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar Kings, the shrine is popular for its beautifully carved pillars and metal work. Moreover, there is a lamp tower in front of the temple that is lighted everyday by a boy who wobbles up to the tower.
Tipu Sultan's Fort, also known as Tashk-e-Jannat, meaning Heaven’s Envy, is one of the frequented sites at the destination. Constructed identical to Dariya Daulat, Srirangapatna, the fort stands atop the hill at an elevation of 4,851 ft above sea level. Highlighting features of the fort are five arches with minarets, exhibiting beautiful art and architecture of ancient era.
Built in 1791 by Chikballapur chieftains, the fort sprawls over an area of 90 acre. The beautiful palace, which is now closed for public, was at once the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Moreover, walls and ceilings of the fort are engraved with paintings. Elaborately graved towers and archways of the forts draw attention of tourists.
Amruth Sarovar is a beautiful water body that is formed by perennial springs. Due to this, the lake is also known as 'The Lake of Nectar' or 'Lake of Ambrosia'. One of the most popular sites of Nandi Hills, the lake is one of the major sources of water supply in the region.