As a young adult, one sees Nandi Hills as a place not just covered in mist, but also in a fog of secret meetings and clandestine one-on-ones with the opposite sex. You’ll find young couples dotting the low walls, reclining against random trees, holding hands and walking around and sometimes even sitting close together on benches that offer a million-dollar view of a valley surrounded by hills.
As one grows older, things change somewhat. Nandi Hills becomes the default destination for when you want to go out of town but not really. It’s a quasi feeling of leaving Bangalore and going someplace else. It is to us locals what the Louvre is for Parisians. Government officials take advantage of weekends to park themselves in the guest houses on the peak; families pack endless baskets with food for themselves and the monkeys and spend the day picnicking; and newly married couples come to spend time away from the prying eyes and perky ears of in-laws and family members.
I’ve been to Nandi Hills twice in my adult years. Once to watch the sunrise, which of course we missed because we started late and it was a foggy day on the hills. The second time, to celebrate a friend’s birthday at midnight, standing at the doorstep of the mid-20s to welcome her. I saw a different side to the place on both occasions – bright, quiet and scenic by day, and hiding dark, brooding shadows in its cloak by night.
Regardless, the drive to the destination is scenic and peaceful. On the way, you may want to stop on the roadside to inspect the crop of grapes and taste the juice of the just-ripening green fruit, take a little detour and explore fields of string beans and cabbage, or even stop by for a photo shoot amongst rows and rows of roses in shades of the setting sun.
To prolong the feeling of a lazy day ‘out of town’, you could do a brunch at Royal Orchid, Yelahanka. Stretch, yawn, put your feet up, order something cold to drink and something warm to eat, and enjoy the music (if you’re lucky, it won’t be the kind that plays in elevators).
Do not make the mistake of heading back to the city during peak hour. It’s absolute chaos. Whatever peace you will have assimilated through the day, you’ll lose while waiting for the traffic to inch ahead. But that’s okay, because that means you can always head back to Nandi Hills and maybe catch a moon beam or two.
Go if: You need a day away from the city, want to see nothing but greenery around you, enjoy feeling like dating teens or a newly married couple and want to take stunning pictures of the vista.
Getting there: Nandi Hills is a two-hour drive from Bangalore. Hire a cab, drive down or take a local bus up to Chikkaballapur and a cab from there.