April 14, 2022: We took the rigour of our daily walk up a few notches with an early morning walk up Nandi Hills, situated 60km away from Bangalore city.
Nandi Hills is perched at an altitude of 4850 feet (1478 m) above sea level and provided the British and Tipu Sultan (ruler of Mysore from 1782-1799 and an implacable enemy of the British East India Company) with an idyllic summer retreat. Apart from Tippu’s summer residence, the hill has a number of temples and the famous Tippu’s Drop. Located on a 600-metre high cliff, Tippu’s Drop is the spot from where prisoners were hurled to death as a punishment. Among the hill’s famous visitors in later years was the ailing Mahatma Gandhi who stayed at Nandi Hills for 45 days in 1936 to recuperate from high blood pressure.
You can drive up the hill or walk up a leisurely trail (16.6 km) or take a 5.6 km steps trail up 1200 steps. These steps were used in the 18th century and has some of the oldest structures on the path up including a statue of Nandi and the temple in a cave near the top of the hill.
The steps are uneven and steep adding to the difficulty level. The tall eucalyptus trees and a variety of flora and fauna make the climb fascinating though. We saw lizards and chameleons sauntering around. There are sign boards along the path with the pictures of the different snakes that inhabit the hill. We fortunately did not meet any!
The 1200 steps seemed endless to me, but John climbed up without any trouble at all. We walked a fair bit on top of the hill, checked out Tippu’s Drop, stopped to eat our packed sandwiches and drink some coffee and then headed down the steps. Coming down the steps was difficult too! It made me realise I have a long way to go in training my muscles for climb and descent. We’ll need our leg muscles in top shape for Day 1 and 2 of the Camino when we cross the Pyrenees into Spain from France.
Nandi Betta, we’ll be seeing you again!