Sunset on Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills is a small hill station near to Bangalore. One fine afternoon we decided to go to this place to enjoy the sunset.
Running a bit late we hurried through the busy Bangalore traffic in my frined's Scorpio.
It was already late by the time we reached the entry gate of the hill station.
The timings are 6 AM to 6 PM and we barely managed to buy the tickets and pay for the parking before the gates closed.

Once inside we realised that the sun had already set. But the dusk light lingered on and I managed to get a few snaps with my phone camera.

There are few nice spots from where one can take a look at the entire valley around. There are barricades made to prevent people from getting too adventurous.

It was pretty dark within a few moments , but the moonlight was wonderful and we could roam around a bit.

Soon we were the only ones around and the place got deserted. So we decided to return.

Back to the starting point there was a restaurant serving drinks and snacks. We decided to avoid it and make for a small tea and coffee shop further down the road towards the plains.
There were a few people selling grapes on the roadside and one can taste and buy. Prices were pretty decent too.
Its was a wonderful place for sunrise and sunset viewing. Full details can be obtained from this link

Lepakshi - Day Trip from Bangalore

Lepakshi is a small town in Andhra Pradesh. Its just about 130 kilometres from Bangalore. It is a heritage spot and a place of historical importance. There are temples dating back to the 16th century AD in Lepakshi.
One has to take the way towards Bangalore International Airport. We decided to make this trip last Sunday with a few friends.
We started around 6 AM in the morning and drove straight towards the airport. Instead of taking the diversion towards the airport we simply drove straight towards Hyderabad.
This is the route map.

 The morning was filled with fog and mist , but it felt wonderful. The drive till the Bangalore International Airport was a bit painful with a lot of diversions. But immediately after that it was a smooth ride with beautiful roads.
We took a slight detour to enter Chikballapur to have breakfast. We found a Shanti Sagar nearby using Google location services. It served nice masala dosas , vadas and good coffee.

From Chikballapur we entered NH7 again.
 This stretch of road is excellent with nice view of mountains all around.  The diversion towards Lepakshi comes almost immediately after the toll booth near BagePalli. The Karnataka side RTO signs are also quite evident.

The directions are given very nicely and Lepakshi and Hindupur are towards the left. Its mentioned that Lepakshi is 16 km from the junction.

Once we left the main highway roads narrowed, but still decent enough for cars. There were quite a few tamarind trees around where we stopped for a while. One will not miss this bus stand.

The entry to Lepakshi is almost sudden after a couple of villages on the 16 km stretch. The first thing to see on the right is the statue of  Nandi, the bull.
This site is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its got a nice pond with lotus flowers and some shade on a hot sunny day.

Around 500 metres from the Nandi Bull complex there is the main temple complex. This is the famous Veerabhadra Temple. This is also an ASI protected site.
Unfortunately we did not get a guide who can speak English , so we just wandered around.

There is one pillar inside the temple which is called the Hanging Pillar. It is said that this pillar did not touch the ground when it was built. Its said that some invaders found that too intriguing and tried to break it. That resulted in cracks in many other parts of the temple. This scared away the invaders.

Well , without the guide its difficult to understand the architecture on the temple pillars.

This is near the inner sanctum. I just took a photo without flash, so the idol is not visible, just the lamp. It was really dark inside and I banged and bumped into people or pillars before my eyes adjusted a bit. Its best to carry a torch, mobiles saved the day for most tourists.

Didn't recognize the idols but this was near a window with some light sneaking in.

Outside wall, this looks like a Narasimha picture. The pillars are beautifully carved and lots of stories on the these.

These are fresco paintings on the ceiling. These are quite damaged and I hope ASI does something to restore these.

Checkout the symmetric pillars with carvings and paintings on the top.

This complex seems like it came down completely. Not sure what it was before.Just the pillars standing.

Individual pillars , the top is gone.

Seemed like a gate , part of it quite damaged, but its quite evident its an entry point to some important place.

The full complex and coutyard with nice trees inside.

Another view.
Finally after about a few hours in the temple, enjoying the cool stone pillars under the shade we started our return journey.

We left the temple complex and returned to NH7 junction. The APTDC Harditha is right at the junction. It serves very decent Andhra meals. Some non-vegetarian items also available. Car parking, toilets , small park for kids and Neem trees around this place.

 The rest of the return journey was quite un. eventful. We just stopped to buy some grapes. This area around Bangalore International Airport and Nandi hills is Grape country. There are quite a few acres of grape farms and vines. Pretty decently priced too around Rs 50 per kg.

We reached Bangalore by 7 PM in the evening, a wonderful day trip done with some nice memories to take.

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