There could not have been a more ominous start to the day than this. The odometer read 666 and a broken helmet visor to go with it. I was very tempted to call it a day, even before it began. But I fought the devil in me and off we went. 68 kms later we found ourselves 1400 mts above sea level atop the majestic Nandi Hills. At 7:30 in the morning we were rubbing our palms together to protect ourselves from the freezing cold. Even before we had reached the foot hill, Nandi Hills had a heavenly look about it, as in, its peak was totally englufed in the clouds. Once atop the hill, you get a similar feeling of heavenli-ness. What looks like a mist is actually clouds hovering around, above and below you.
The drive up the hill has been a smooth one, thanks to a recently-well-laid road. Once you enter the (Tipu Sultan's) Fort Gate, two-wheelers are not allowed beyond this point. Though 4 wheelers can choose to go, further up. I really dont know why this is so, but thats the way it is. Right after you enter the premises of the Fort, there's the Tipu Sultan's Lodge on the left. Its a tiny little red building which is unfortunately locked down and pushed into obscurity. Not surprising, considering the sad state of monuments in India.
We then proceeded to walk along the exterior fort wall. The views from here were quite breath-taking. I was particularly looking for the Tipu's Drop from where Tipu Sultan apparently pushed-off his prisoners. But we found quite a number of places which could easily qualify to be called a drop-off place. It started to get quite breezy now. The higher we climed, the cooler and more ferocious it became. It took quite a lot of courage on our part to stand at few of these drop-offs and take pictures. As we climbed even further, there was a point where there was no obstructions to flow of wind. This made matters worse. Every 30-odd seconds there would be a burst of wind that will hit you so hard, you would be pushed back-or-forth a step. You need to very careful at this point, one wrong step and you would experience what an Abyss is!!! The wind here makes so much noise that you cant hear the person talking next to you. And Im NOT exaggerating here.
We then moved on explore some more of the Nandi Hills. We went in search of the source of the Akravathy River and found it. Unfortunately for us there wasn't even a single drop of water there!!! Once again we were off to explore the place. But from here on we found ourselves walking in circles...literally. The whole topography of the area started to become very hazy and confusing and we kept coming back to the same place again and again. There was a huge christmas tree which we christened as our Radar, as we seemed to be going round and round it. But the weather was still so pleasant (though a little sunny) that we really didn't mind the walk. Finally after loitering around the hilltop for about 4 hours, we started to make our way back to the parking lot. The ride downhill was smooth. One gentle push from the top and you can avoid switching on the ignition till you reach Ground Zero (as in zero mts above sea-level :-) )
On our way back, we were thanking the stars for coming here early in the morning, because the view now was not all that appealing as it was early in the morning.
Getting-there: Mekhri Circle -> Hebbal Flyover -> BIAL -> 7 Kms later -> Look to the left for a signboard in English.
Must-Do: Reach the hilltop as early as possible, preferably before Sunrise.
Must-Don't: Adding to the trash.
Cuidado: Food-snatching monkeys and walking around the edges of the cliffs, friendly-looking locals eager to help and then ask for their rewards.
Roads: Very Good.
My Rating: 5/10