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.
During Dussehra, devotees visit in large numbers to pay homage at the historic temple. Besides, the festival is celebrated with pomp and show, featuring artistic performances by locals.
Nandi Hills has moderate climatic conditions round the year; therefore, it can be visited any time of the year. However, due to intermittent rainfall during June to August because of south-west monsoons, visit to Nandi Hills is not much favoured.