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Nandi Hills or Nandi betta (Anglicised forms include Nandidurg and Nandydoorg) is an ancient hill fortress in southern India, in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka state. It is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. The hills are nestled near the town of Nandi. In traditional belief, the hills are the origin of the Arkavathy river.[1]

Nandi Hills, India

Nandi Betta

Nandi hills signage
Nandi hills signage
Nandi Hills, India is located in Karnataka
Nandi Hills, India
Location in Karnataka, India
Coordinates: 13°23′11″N 77°42′03″E / 13.3862588°N 77.7009344°E / 13.3862588; 77.7009344Coordinates: 13°23′11″N 77°42′03″E / 13.3862588°N 77.7009344°E / 13.3862588; 77.7009344
Country India
1,478 m (4,849 ft)
 • OfficialKannada
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Nearest cityBangalore


Etymology and Historical TempleEdit

Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple in Nandi Village

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.[2] 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 built here by the ruler Tipu Sultan. It is also perhaps called Nandi Hills because the hills resemble a sleeping bull (Nandi).[1]

Nandi (Nellikai Basavanna) at the hills

Another theory holds that the hill gets its name from an ancient, 1300-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 for students of art and architecture.[3]


It is 4,851 ft (1,479 m) above sea level. It is located close to the Bangalore International Airport. 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),


Top of Nandi Hills

Nandidurga 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[4] and the records of the 71st Highlanders.[5]

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.

— London Encyclopaedia, 1829[6]

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 climate

— Lt. Gen. E F Burton[7]

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:[8]

H. mysorense.—An ornamental bush indigenous to the Western Ghauts, but rarely found in gardens. It is domesticated, or wild, in the Fort at Nandidroog, the latter being situated on the top of an isolated hill on the plateau of Mysore at an elevation of 4,850 feet. This is mentioned, as curiously enough, one has to travel more than a hundred miles towards the Western Ghauts, before the plant is met with in the wild state again. Fertile seed has never been secured. The fine yellow flowers are three inches across. Only suitable for the shrubbery in hill gardens.

— Burns, 1930[8]

Potato cultivation was introduced for the first time in the neighbourhood of Bangalore by a Colonel Cuppage and continued by the botanist Benjamin Heyne. Heyne brought seeds from St. Helena and these grew well enough that they were supplied in Madras and preferred to those obtained from Bengal.[9] In 1860, tea plants were tried on Nandi Hills by Hugh Cleghorn.[10]


Panorama View from Nandi Hills looking towards north

Nandi Hills are currently undergoing development, including a one-crore renovation of the Tipu Fort. The Department of Horticulture is setting up a one-crore food court. A 30-lakh music stage, located on a three-and-a-half acre grove, will be used to conduct cultural programmes.[11][12][13] Furthermore, the Horticulture Department is developing 140 acres (0.57 km2) of land in the Nandi Hills region with the creation of a large-scale exotic botanical garden. A planetarium with an initial one-crore investment is also being constructed.[14] A gondola lift system will connect the peak of the Nandi Hill with the nearby Muddenahalli.[15][16][17][18][19][20] Other projects including Prestige Golfshire and QVC Nandi Hills are coming up near Nandi Hills.[21] There are also plans to construct Cable cars at the cost of 15 to 20 crore which will significantly reduce the number of vehicles going to the hills there by protecting the nature [23]


Sitala palmaria, a land snail described from Nandi Hills by William Henry Benson

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.[22] 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,[23] 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.[24]


  1. ^ a b Welcome to Nandi Hills
  2. ^ "Nandi Hills".
  3. ^ From Here & There
  4. ^ Browne, James (1909) The history of Scotland. Vol. 8. Francis A. Niccolls. pp. 10-11
  5. ^ Hildyard HJT Lt (1876) Historical record of the 71st Regiment Highland Light Infantry. Harrison and sons. scan
  6. ^ Anon, 1829 The London Encyclopaedia. Vol. 16 scan
  7. ^ Burton, E F (1888) An Indian Olio. Spencer Blackett. London. p. 145 Scan
  8. ^ a b Burns, W (1930) Firminger's manual of gardening for India. Thacker and Spink. Sixth edition.
  9. ^ Royle, John Forbes (1840). Essay on the productive resources of India. London: W.H. Allen.
  10. ^ "Tea cultivation in India". The public ledger. 13 November 1860. p. 3 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka News : Food court at Nandi Hills
  12. ^ Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World! Archived 11 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : sets target for ‘2020’
  14. ^ Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World! Archived 13 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Centre okays GPS for KSRTC buses
  16. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : And now, here comes horticulture tourism
  17. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka News : Facilities at Nandi Hills to be improved
  18. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka News : IIT will be established at Muddenahalli, says Moily
  19. ^ Silk city to come up near B’lore
  20. ^ The Hindu : Karnataka News : International sports village location to be finalised soon
  21. ^ Retrieved 9 November 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  22. ^ Subramanya, S. (2005). Nesting of Wood-Pigeon Columba elphinstonii in Nandi hills, Karnataka, India. Indian Birds 1(2):36-37
  23. ^ Praveen J (2006) Post-monsoon dispersal of Malabar Whistling Thrush Myiophonus horsfieldii (Vigors) to Chamundi Hill and Nandi Hills, Karnataka, Southern India. Zoos' Print Journal 21(9):2411 PDF
  24. ^ Subramanya, S; Karthikeyan, S; Prasad, JN (1991) Yellowthroated Bulbul at Nandi Hill. Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 31(3&4):7-8.

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