Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nandi Hills

 After a very long time we visited Nandi Hills today ( 17th April 2011). We went there for bird watching/photography and were amazed by the exotic species of birds found there.

The team :
Myself, Akshay , Satish uncle, Chandru uncle
Nandi Hills or Nandidurg  is an ancient hill fortress of southern India, in theChikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city ofBangalore. The hills are nestled between the neighboring towns of Nandi, Muddenahalli, and Kanivenarayanapura. These are the sites of the upcoming $22 Billion, 12,000-acre (49 km2BIAL IT Investment Region, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Universities, the Indian Institute of Technology Muddenahalli, and the Visvesvaraya Institute of Advanced Technology. The hills are traditionally held as the origin of the Arkavathy river.
This is the main entrance of the fort

Geography :
It is 4,851 ft (1,479 m) above sea level. It is located close to the newly constructed Bangalore International Airport, the second largest in India. In addition, the hills are located about 20 km from the National Highway (NH-7) just after Devanahalli Town. Due to its location, Nandi Hills is rapidly developing and numerous commercial and residential ventures are underway in the region.

History :
 Nandidurg was traditionally held unimpregnable, and its storming by the army of Cornwallis on 19 October 1791 was one of the most notable incidents of the first war against Tipu Sultan of Mysore. A description of the siege is given in Browne's History of Scotland and the records of the 71st Highlanders.Nundydroog, a celebrated fortress and country of Hindostan, in the province of Mysore. The former is built on the summit of a rock, about 1700 feet high, three-fourths of its circumference being inaccessible. Our forces took it by storm in 1791, after a three weeks' siege. It stands in long. 77° 53' E.,and lat. 13° 22' N.It later became a retreat for British Raj officials during the hot season. Francis Cunningham built the summer residence here for Sir Mark Cubbon....this droog, one now used as a hotel, built by General Cubbon, sometime British resident; but the rock has a bad reputation for malaria, and except in the very dry months is shunned by visitors, in spite of its, to the senses, delightful climateThe climate at the top of the hill made it particularly of interest to horticulturists. Several species of plant were introduced into an experimental garden. Firminger's manual notes that several species of Anona were grown at this garden and also notes the peculiarity of Hypericum mysorense:

Major Attractions :
1. Tippu's Drop : is a must see location on Nandi Hills. This is where Tippu used to take his captured spies and prisoners and ask queries about his enemies, particularly the British. He would threaten to push them off this face of Nandi Hills, which is a sheer drop all the way to the bottom, with no chance of survival. Once he got the required information, or even otherwise, he would just push them off. This came to be known as the famous Tippu's Drop. Today, it is covered with fencing, so as to discourage people with suicidal tendencies. Although you can have a good look at the spot from a few feet away.

2. Amruth Sarovar : A beautiful water lake that brims with lucid water all the year round.

3.Tippus Summer Palace and Fort: During the Ganga period, the Chikkaballapur chieftains built a fort. Tippu strengthened it further and also build a rest house. This used to be Tippus summer bungalow.

4.Gavi Veerabhadra Swamy Temple : on the way to the Sultanpet, from Tippus palace, natural formation of huge boulders has been transformed into a temple.
5.Fort : The fort is on a sprawling area of 90 acres and is above 4851 feet above sea level. A soldier could hide in this well constructed fort and shoot in all four directions at the same time.
6.Horse Way : A stone doorway in the fort on the North-eastern side, is believed to have been the horse way for helping soldiers to climb the wall on horse back.

7.Palar River Origin: Palar river takes its birth as a small spring on the eastern side of the hill.

8.Brahmashrama : A serene place for the spiritual minded, this ashram is built by huge natural boulders.

9.Arkavathi River Origin: Arkavathi River takes its birth on the south-west of the hill.

10Secret Passage : A secret passage on the west, is believed to have helped the Kings to escape during unforseen attacks.

11.Childrens Playground : The Horticulture department maintains a lovely garden for children to play games like the slides, merry-go-round, swings etc.

12.Muddena Halli: Muddena Halli, situated 21 kilometers from Nandi Hills, is the birthplace of Sir. M. Vishveswarayya. His ancestral home, where he was born, has been preserved for public viewing.
Apart from these, there are other interesting places like Anjaneya temple, Nellikayi Basavanna, Antaragange, Baananthi Bande, Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple etc.
13.Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple: A temple of exquisite, intricate carvings, it also has a beautiful Kalyana Mantapa.

This temple is on top of the hill, and there is another temple called Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple which is at the base of the hill.

14. Tippu's Lodge : 

Tippu's Lodge

Very old carvings

15. Kalyani or water tank : This is a very old Kalyani

16. Nehru Nilaya : where Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay, now a guest house of the horticulture department of India

Photography(Flora and Fauna) : There are many lovely and colorful birds in Nandi hills like Asian paradise flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Many species of Thrushes , and many other endemic birds. Though we got to see some birds , but we could manage to photograph only a few of them. (Also it was sunday, and there was a huge crowd).

Tickell's Blue fly catcher

Tickell's blue fly catcher

Blue Robin

Orange headed ground thrush

Red whiskered bulbul
Magpie Robin

There is also a KEB guest house at the entrance.

KEB Guest house
 The Birds we saw :

  1. Oriental honey Buzzard
  2. Black kite
  3. Brahminy kite
  4. Oriental white eye
  5. Malabar whistling thrush
  6. Puff throated babbler
  7. Tickell's blue flycatcher
  8. Tickell's flower pecker
  9. Orange headed ground thrush
  10. Blue capped rock thrush
  11. Asian Paradise fly catcher
  12. Red whiskered Bulbul
  13. Red vented Bulbul
  14. White cheeked Barbet
  15. Loten's Sunbird
  16. Roufous bellied babbler
  17. Ashy Prinia
  18. Kestrel
  19. Spotted wood dove
  20. Common Tailorbird
(Some of them are yet to be identified, and then I will add to the list)
    The Map of Karnataka :

    Thank you


    1. good one, arjun! tfs

    2. Very nicely written blog along with supporting images,bird images are good.I too was thrilled to see so many specie.....many first time for me. You can add to the list of birds [ I saw], Pariah Kite, Kestrel, Ashy Prenia , spotted wood dove.

    3. its really a wonderful, superb arjun keep it up and expecting many more from you which obviously supports the visitors who are unknown of these places, keep it up boy, bravo

    4. History will "THANK YOU" for this outstanding work.
      Superb piece of photograpghic artistry!!!

    5. Nice one kano! "Magpie Robin" like birds are quite rare to see. Awesome pics maga... :)

    6. Thanks a lot every one for such inspiring words.
      @ Chandru uncle : I updated them(birds list)

    7. Very beautiful pictures. Nandi Hills are a bunch of small hillocks 65 kms east of Bangalore. Thronged by tourists all year long for its pleasurable climes, it also has the famous Nandi Temple. Click here to know more about Nandi hills.


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