A tale of two hills
In April-May 2011 I visited two hill resorts - the Nandi Hills near Bangalore and the Horsley Hills in AP. Here's an account of my experience at these places.
It was 7.00 AM and the sun was as reluctant to come of the clouds as I was from the cozy corner of my room. The cool breeze from the window was making me feel even more indulgent. The sight of gulmohurs and copperpods majestically swaying to the silent melody in the air was perfectly orchestrated by several chirping birds. I couldn't believe it was part of Andhra Pradesh in peak summer. Nick-named as the Ooty of AP, Horsley Hill Resort can be a quick weekend escape from the sweltering heat of Hyderabad, especially when we cannot plan a proper hill station holiday such as Shimla, Nainital, Ooty, Kodaikanal or Darjeeling.
|The Fusion Tree|
The view from the viewpoint is spectacular with bright gulmohars dotting the sloping hill sides while mauve jacarandas peep out vying for attention among the red hues. There is a tiny zoo with some monkeys, colorful birds, peacocks, rabbits and crocodiles. I enjoyed viewing the sunset with several hills at the backdrop, making it a perfect scene to be captured as a souvenir. The resort also organizes adventure games, yoga and trekking.
Horsley Hill resort is about 540 kms from Hyderabad. We took the Bangalore highway upto Ananthapur and then drove down the bypass road to Kadiri. Here, the drive gets tough with narrow road with several railway crossings and narrow bridges. Thankfully there weren't many vehicles on this stretch. The drive uphill has some sharp bends, after crossing a few you can suddenly feel the drop in temperature as you are greeted with fresh and sweet scented air.
We stayed at the Haritha and here APTDC seems to have accommodation to suit every budget. We also visited the Rishi Valley school which is 30 minutes drive, on the way to Madanapalle. On both sides of the road there are tomato farms and mango orchards. Since it was the mango season the sight was lovely as the trees were laden with a variety of mangoes.
A short drive from Bangalore (about 2 hours) and you are at Nandi Hills. Ideally on such an altitude you'd expect it to be cool and pleasant. But, I found Nandi hills hot and humid. There are so many monkeys here that you'd want to call it 'Monkey hills'. The monkey can come and snatch anything from you, like it happened to us when I was holding a packet of Cadbury Bites. It was interesting to see the monkey climb the topmost branch of the tree and enjoy the chips by removing the 'masala' from it. Another monkey snatched the bhel puri cone from Shreya's hand. The viewpoint presented a breathtaking view of the surroundings. There wasn't much to explore. Here's something that caught my attention; an old cactus will the graffiti from different tourists! It was sad to see that people don't even spare trees and plants from the ugly habits of inscribing their names. There were guest rooms available on booking. The garden around the guest house had lovely seasonal flowers. The Karnataka tourism restaurant had very few items for lunch from that presented in the menu. After spending some time sitting under the trees we decided to get back to Bangalore. Perhaps, the visit would been better if we had started early in the morning. Also, we did not go around the hills, visiting the Tipu Sultan monuments and the temple.