Our blog is jumping around a bit. This post is from our time in Southern India in May/June 2017.
Nandi Hills is a perfect respite from the honkerific Bangalore traffic. 60 kilometers, or, about 1h 20 away from the busy streets of Bangalore are the quiet pathways of Nandi Hills.
Once in the outskirts of the city the surroundings become significantly greener and boulder rock formations jut randomly into the sky. It's a beautiful drive up the hill with sweeping views revealing themselves the higher you climb.
Locals insist that sunrise is the only time to visit, when the low clouds part exposing impressive views stretching out to the horizon in every direction. The downside to this is that the sunrises’ popularity means that if you're expecting a quiet, serene experience you may be disappointed. Word has it that the traffic slowly winds its way up the hill and sunrise seekers jostle on the platforms all trying to capture the perfect selfie. (Third party information) We decided that we were ok with waking up after the sun. We hired our favourite driver, Muthy (pronounced "Moo-tee") for the day for about 3,000 rupees and set out about 11am on a Saturday morning. Despite being the weekend it was surprisingly uncrowded at the top of the hill. We lingered on a rock facing east for a while and then headed a little further up the hill for a north view. We strolled down the cliff side path to Sultan Tipu's (sometimes) summer house and then back up the hill through the monkey-infested playground and raj-style manor house. It was super relaxing, and despite being the weekend and just outside the city, an afternoon in Nandi Hills still managed to quench my thirst for a bit of nature.
Terror does lurk though, in this little slice of lush Indian nature. Under the guise of being cute and innocent, the monkeys of the hill have tasted the sweet life and stop at nothing to maintain a sugar-filled diet. By 'sweet life' I mean ice cream stolen from cuddling couples, boisterous teenagers or Gramma. The evil buggers spot an ice cream, charge full speed at the treats' rightful owner. It's a well practiced tactic, almost always resulting in a screeching human, a flying ice cream and a satisfied monkey. For some of the evil clan monkeys, unfortunately, ice cream doesn't do it for them. They prefer to focus their efforts on more precious loot. In a rookie move, a visitor left their car window open and left to snap some pics. We noticed furry activity in the back seat of the car when we passed and were equally amused/upset to see a monkey climb out of the window with a wallet in hand. He clambered onto the roof of the car and proceeded to alternate between scratching his bum and unzipping the wallets zippers and making it rain receipts, bills and money into the breeze as he scavenged for whatever it is that a monkey would want from a woman's wallet (probably Werthers candy). A crowd gathered trying to scare the monkey off. Instead of running away, however, the brazen thief chattered at us onlookers undeterred, scratched himself again and then climbed back into the backseat of the car emerging with another zipper laden wallet! Monkeys are terrifying little things. Never look them in the eye. It's too scary. Eventually people much braver than myself managed to convince the reluctant monkey to abandon the car.
After all that excitement, we decided it was time for lunch. The restaurant at the top of the hill is simple but cheap. It has cold beer and panoramic windows to help one enjoy lunch even more.
Although our intent was to stay for dinner, late afternoon clouds rolled in and we decided that we were relaxed and our lungs replenished with enough fresh air to head back into the city.