Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bike trip to Nandi Hills

This post talks about the bike trip done by me and my best pal Salam from Bangalore to Nandi hills. Although it was a 2 day trip, can be made into 1 day if you start real early. But we highly recommend a night stay at Nandi hills and early morning down hill ride.
Total trip distance ~150Kms | 2 days | lots of fun and excitement
Neither me nor my friend are  responsible for any direct, indirect consequence on following this action. Sure it is dangerous but fun and adventurous too.
Bikes ready with extended mudguards
Soon after we got the ACT 110+, we have been looking for an opportunity for a "long" ride. Finally last week we decide to go to Nandi hills. I started searching the routes from Bangalore to Nandi Hills and usually hits the NH7 route. Many blogs also describe the same route. I dont personally like NH routes because it is too much dust, traffic, hurry. Luckily when i searched (think i searched from Banasawadi to Nandi or something like that) google suggested another route with 5kms of NH7, rest of it in SH (9/ 104) and some village roads. I got very excited and decided on this route. Even though it looked longer, the difference is only 3-4kms more than  NH7 route and believe me it is worth the extra sweat. The one way distance came close to 62kms; were a little worried about the distance but didn't bother thinking much about it. It was the first long cycle trek for us but it is no big deal.

Slightly modified the route towards the nandi part and finalized it. Got everything set with the route, timing and places to visit listed and printed. We decided to start from my place at Banasawadi on Saturday morning. Salam came to my place on Friday and we did some final shopping, packing, cycle fixing (fixed the mudguard, more about this in another post).

View Bangalore to Nandi hills in a larger map

Plan was like this,
Day 1
04:30 Start from Banasawadi
07:00 Breakfast at Doddaballapur
07:30 Resume trip
10:00 Reach Nandi Hills
Visit Sri Ugra Narasimha, Sri Yoga Narasimha, Gandhi Nilaya, Nehru House, Amritha Samovar Lake, Tippu's drop, summer palace etc.
Find Accommodation, Night exploration.

Day 2
05:30 Watch Sunrise at Nandi
06:30 Start to Bhoganandeeshwara temple Temple
07:30 Temple visit
08:30 Breakfast
09:00 To Skandagiri hills
10:00 Skandagiri hill site seeing
11:30 Start back to Nandi Hill road and back to Banasawadi
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Resume trip
17:00 Back at Banasawadi

We also did pack many things, which was kind of over kill but was useful. The list goes like this,

Water Bottles (get at least 2lt, more is good, but adds to weight)
Eatables - Bun, banana, apple, biscuits, candies, glucose etc (breakfast ready)
Camera and batteries
Clothes - one night pair, towel, socks, under garments.
Identification card
Bike lock, pump, bike computer, tool kit
Medicine - volini spray, paracetamol, antacid, pudin hara ....
Warm clothes
Some phone which can show google maps [optional]

Remember to be easy on the weight as you have to carry the bags all along.
Day 1
Sunrise, NH7 from hebbal
Plans as usual remains as plans; we somehow started by 5:20AM and headed towards Hebbal through the outer ring road.We got down for tea sometime like 6:00AM and continued towards the Bellary, Yelhanka roads. The SH stretch was very pleasant at the morning.We found  jawans in their morning exercise routines near the CRPF camp, Yelhanka road.

We stopped almost every half hour, took some snaps and did the ride in very relaxed fashion. By 8:30Am we reached Doddaballapur, and started looking for hotels. There were very few hotels and most of them were closed in the morning.
The bigger one straight ahead is nandi hills

We continued the ride and before entering the village road, we found a big banyan tree. Halted there and had our breakfast with food we took with us.
The real fun was riding through the village roads through numerous grape, papaya, and flower fields which were very refreshing. There were some turns within these roads but usually it is like keep to your left. You can always ask the villagers about Nandi hills.  Around 9:00Am we got the first view of nandi hills.

By 10:00Am we reached the foot of Nandi hills, here begins the ride. Next 8Kms is hiking to 1478mts. We started in a slow pace and took numerous breaks. The climb was tough, thanks to ACT 110+ gears, for first time we did a 1-1 on it and climbed the hill. Each km stone was like steps to heaven. At 4km stop, there is a resting place and found tender coconuts there. We drank couple of them and started slowly again. Post 5kms starts the real hiking, there were many hair-pin bends each jumped to quick heights. We dragged ourselves and the bike towards the end and some how reached the 1km stone. Good god, there is the fort entrance.
Nandi hill fort entrance
At Nandi Hills
It was close to 1:00PM (10:00AM was as per plan :D) Next 1km is allowed only for  4 wheelers and we have to get parking tickets (5/- each). We tied both the cycle together (along with the wheels) and started walking to the hill entrance. The very next thought was of food, but the accommodation worried us. We visited summer house, amrtiha samovar, garden and finally to the KSTDC hotel (Mayura). No rooms said the receptionist and asked us to enquire the horticulture house (Nehru Nilaya).
There too it was disappointment, the officer told us to leave to Bangalore as there are no rooms. our hearts sank, catching a sentimental line, we told the officer that we came by bike and cant go back now as it will get dark by the time we reach Bangalore. The officer was very surprised to hear this (even offered us tea). Why dont you sit and talk ? said the senior officer, we sat there and these two started discussing. Finally they agreed to give us a room for 310/-, oh we were very relaxed. He send for the boy and got us the key immediately. We were very happy, thanked the officer and went to the room.

OMG the room was pretty big, double room with table, chair, attached toilet and geyser. The officer was very kind, told us "Aren't your bikes costly ? Why don't you put them inside the room ?". Me and salam looked at each other and agreed.
Room at Nehru Nilaya
Threw our bags in the room and rushed to Mayura restaurant; that  was very crowded. The food was decent and reasonably priced. They also have a view point from the hotel which was very beautiful.

Finally did our lunch and went to visit the temple, tippu's drop. There are many cool viewpoints from the hill top. Also monkeys are around so watch out for your bags.
View from nandi hills
By 6:00Pm we went to the security told about the special permission we got and took the bike to the room. After dinner we did night walk across the hill. It was very different view, cold and misty. The night view from the Mayura hotel was mind blowing, mist covers in no time and next moment the wind carries it away. We could see clusters of lights and  could see part of the down hill route illuminated by vehicles. It was cold at night and thankfully they provided us with woolen coats.We had a nice sleep.

Crowd in the morning
If you are planning for a visit especially over a weekend, i would recommend booking the rooms early. They have 18 rooms in horticulture guest house and booking information can be found here. You can as well stay in the KSTDC hotel, Pine Top (Restaurant is called Mayura). There are only 3 rooms and slightly costlier than horticulture one but they have got awesome viewpoints.
Day 2
Again as "planned" we woke up by 6:00Am had a quick bath and started downhill by 7:00Am. By this time the hill was completely crowded with motor bikers with all kinds of crazy bikes. We got a tea and departed from Nandi hills. Most exciting thing was the down hill ride. It was so cold and misty that you could hardly see anything in front of you. Very thrilling but dangerous, have to careful in the turns.
The down hill was completed in 30mins with speeds touching 50km/hr !!!. We met many fellow bikers and runners too.
Temple Visit
The next plan was to go to nandi village, visit Bhoganandeeshwara temple and Skandagiri. Bhoganandeeshwara temple is a lovely temple with brilliant architecture, highly recommend for visiting. Sivan and Parvati carving at the center with siva linga's left and right and nandis on opposite sides. So many sculputures and carvings in and around temple, with kalyana mantapa, thulabhara mantapa, yaga shala, huge stepped tank. It is situated left of the SH104 as shown here.

View Nandi hills - Nandi temple - Skandagiri in a larger map

Bhoganandeeshware temple
We started from there by 9:45Am and again not many hotels. We got some bananas and did our breakfast. Started to Skandagiri by 10:15Am. The original plan was to climb that, which by then we dropped owing to our "perfect" health condition. Curious to see the hill, decided to follow SH 104 and reached Skandagiri in 30mins. We found some locals there and advised us that the trek cannot be made by cycle. There were people(guides) ready to take us to the hill top on foot which will take 2-3 hrs. Since we had a full journey back (~75kms) we refused and started back by 11:00Am.
The way back through the village roads were pleasant but this time the SH road were crowded. By 1:30Pm we reached Doddaballapur, did our lunch (at Alankar Restaurant, near the petrol pump) and resumed by 2:30Pm. Return journey seemed more imposing, might be because we were tired but it was sunny too. By 5:00Pm reached NH7, did a tea break at Nagawara and reached home by 6:00PM.

All along the way we kept plastics to a minimum. Except for day2 evening, never bought extra water bottles and always refilled it from hotels. We carried all  the plastic covers back and dumped to the waste bins.
Salam(left) and myself
Even though the trip looked impossible, it is doable. As it is said, it is all about pushing your limits. In worst case you can always get a bus or a carrier back. So keep all your double thoughts, doubts and uncertainties away.  Believe yourselves and go for it....
Here is the album of all photos we took. In case of any clarification about the trip do contact us.


  1. aliya this is really great..
    this gives me inspiration for heading towards 110S.. and hopefully we will go together for our next trip :) :)

  2. And i have a query.. did the officer really offer a tea?? !!! ur go green plastic usage is also impressive, good!! u proved to be an iitan again :) JAI GO GREEN !!!

  3. About the tea, the officer asked if we would like to have something ? Not straight to tea :D

  4. i think i can come to this space if at all im planning to go for nandi hills later ... :)

    Thanks for sharing enough info regarding the trip ... :)