Nandi Hills or Nandidurg (Anglicised forms include Nandidrug and Nandydroog) is an ancient hill fortress of southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is located just 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bangalore. 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 km2) BIAL 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.

Etymology and Historical Temple

There are many stories about the origin of the name Nandi Hills. During the Chola period, Nandi Hills was called Ananda Giri meaning The Hill of Happiness. Another story is that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and so it was named after him. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga (Fort) because of the fort build here by the ruler Tippu Sultan. It is also perhaps called Nandi Hills because the hill resembles a sleeping bull (Nandi).

Another theory holds that that the hill gets its name from an ancient, 1200 year old Dravidian style Nandi temple situated on this hill. An ancient, lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill. The Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple in Nandi village is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka dating back to the ninth century. The temple hewn out of rock consists of two complexes. While the first complex houses three deities, the second complex consists of a huge and majestic kalyani pond. The foundation of the temple was constructed by the Banas of ninth century. The Chola rulers of the 11th century constructed the roof of the temple. The marriage hall was built by the Hoysalas in the thirteenth century and a wall of the second complex was built by the Vijayanagar kings. Beautiful stone carvings are a popular tourist site and are a source of inspiration students of art and architecture.


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.

The Bangalore amateur ham radio operators have a repeater set up on the Nandi Hills which increases the reach or transmission and reception (Repeater 145.700 (Rx) minus 600 (Tx) with callsign VU2RSB).


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.

The 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:

The botanist Benjamin Heynes introduced potatoes for the first time in the neighbourhood of Bangalore near Nandi Hills through a Colonel Cuppage. He brought seeds from St. Helena and these grew well enough that they were supplied in Madras and preferred to those obtained from Bengal.


Nandi Hills are currently undergoing a multi-crore development, including a one crore renovation of the Tipu Fort, via private-public partnership to transform the hills into a tourist hub. The Department of Horticulture is setting up a food court modeled after one in Singapore at a cost of nearly one crore at the hill station. Various varieties of vegetarian and continental food, beverages, bakery products, ice-creams and fresh fruit juices will be available. A 30 lakh music stage located on a three-and-a-half acre grove, which has hundreds of eucalyptus trees and rain trees, will conduct cultural programmes. Furthermore, the Horticulture department is developing 140 acres (0.57 km2) of pristine land in the Nandi Hills region with the creation of a large scale exotic botanical gardens. A state of the art Planetarium with an initial one crore investment is also being constructed. A Gondola Lift system will connect the peak of the Nandi Hill with the nearby Muddenahalli.

Real estate in the Nandi Hills region is rapidly appreciating due to its location - it is close to the new Bangalore International Airport at Devanahalli, the textile capital at Doddaballapur, as well as the Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura region. Further, with the upcoming IIT Muddenahalli, Sri VS University, and Sri Sathya Sai Baba University, the area is set to become an important educational hub.

Prestige Golfshire is a 1000 crore luxury real estate project over a sprawling 300-acre (1.2 km2) site at the base of Nandi Hills and features a PGA quality golf course and 5-star hotel. QVC Reality has received 100 million dollars of seed money from IL&FS Investment to build luxury mansions as part of the QVC Nandi Hills project.


The vegetation of the hills is typical of high hills. Inside the fort at the summit, many of the large trees are planted exotics such as Eucalyptus and the undergrowth consists of Coffea arabica along with some native species. The forest acts as a substrate for cloud condensation and every morning the trees are covered in water. This allows for many moist forest species of plants and animals. The hills are very rich in birdlife making it a very popular location for birdwatchers and bird photographers. The evergreen forest patch on top of the hill being a favoured wintering location for many migrant species of warblers, flycatchers and thrushes. The forest patch is also home for a relict population of the Nilgiri Woodpigeon. A breeding pair of Shaheen Falcon, the resident race of the Peregrine Falcon is also often seen at the Nandi Hills. The Malabar Whistling Thrush, Uropeltid snakes and Pill millipedes which are otherwise known only from the Western Ghats ranges are also found here. The hill slopes are the home of the Yellow-throated Bulbul, a species endemic to the hills of peninsular India.


The hills are now a popular tourist spot during summer. The state horticulture department maintains a garden for the tourists. The pressure of tourists on the environment here is great with a considerable problem of litter, noise and physical disturbance. Skanda giri is a nearby tourist place.

  1. Tipu's Drop - the famous place from where Tippu Sultan threw his condemned prisoners to death
  2. Tipu's 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. It is not open to the general public.
  3. 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.
  4. Secret Escape Route - A secret passage on the west, is believed to have helped the Kings to escape during unforeseen attacks.
  5. Temples - there are temples dedicated to Sri Bhoga Narasimha, Sri Ugra Narasimha and Sri Yoga Narasimha and you can see beautiful old temples.
  6. Gavi Veerbhadra Swamy temple: on top of the hill, on the way to the Sultanpet, from Tippus palace, natural formation of huge boulders has been transformed into a magnificent temple.
  7. Children's Playground - The Horticulture department maintains a lovely garden for children to play games like the slides, merry-go-round, swings etc.
  8. Nehru Nilaya - where Jawaharlal Nehru used to stay, now a guest house of the horticulture department of India.
  9. Gandhi House, where the Mahatma himself stayed, is under the management of DPAR (Protocol) Government of Karnataka and is reserved for the stay of important dignitaries.
  10. The Horticulture Department runs a vegetarian restaurant and the Karnataka Tourism Department runs a vegetarian / non-vegetarian restaurant "MAYURA".
  11. Rivers - the rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills. Most of the sources have dried up. Amruth Sarovar is a beautiful water lake that brims with lucid water all the year round.
  12. Brahmashram - it is said that Sage Ramakrishna meditated here. Its a cool cave. All Munis in the Ashram used to sit and Smoke Up together on the top of the hill beforing starting off their day and this tradition is followed by today's youngsters.
  13. Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura - the home town of Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the legendary architect of modern Karnataka. Along with Kanivenarayanapura, it is the site of the upcoming Sri Sathya Sai Baba University and College of Medicine, Indian Institute of Technology Muddenahalli, 600 crore Visvesvaraya Institute of Advanced Technology, and a 70 crore "Silk City".
  14. Paragliding - Nandi Hills is one of the unique place in Karnataka which offers paragliding activity, for more details you can contact Special Officer, Nandi Hills: Sri Mahantesh. Murgod Tele: 08156-250901

Apart from these, there are other interesting places like Anjaneya temple, Nellikayi Basavanna, Antaragange, Baananthi Bande, Bhoga Nandeeshwara temple etc.

Source of rivers

Nandi Hills is the source of the Penner, Ponnaiyar, Palar and Arkavathy rivers.

Photo Gallery:

Nandi Hills Fort Entrance

Nandi (Nellikai Basavanna) at the hills

Source of Palar at Nandi Hills

Source of Arkavathy River

Top of Nandi Hills

Courtesy: Wikipedia

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