Horsley Hills is a quaint summer hill resort about 160km from Bangalore. It is also called as Andhra’s Ooty. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Bangalore, then visiting Horsely Hills might be a great idea.
Route: Bangalore (K.R. Puram) – Hoskote – Chintamani – Madanapalle – Horsley Hills – B. Kothakota – Gownipalli – Chintamani – Siddlaghatta – Chikkaballapura – Devanahalli – Bangalore
Total distance covered: ~340km
Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/PTdGb
Date: 18th October, 2014
Number of Riders: 2
Riders and Motorcycles:
- Salman on Royal Enfield Classic 500
- Balakrishna on Royal Enfield Classic 350
My friend Balakrishna had planned a short ride to Horsley Hills last week, but I couldn’t make it because of some commitments. He called me up Friday night to let me know that he didn’t gone through with the ride as well and was planning to do it on Saturday this weekend.
I was free now and agreed to tag along. I just did some basic research on the route and that was it (Wikitravel helps). It was a short weekend getaway ride anyway. So, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
We’d decided to meet in front of M.G. Road Metro station at 5:15 AM. I reached the place at around 5:20 AM. Bala was running late; he arrived 20 minutes later. After confirming the route we’ll be going through, we got started towards Horsley Hills at around 5:45 AM.
From here on it was a pretty uneventful ride. We crossed M.G. Road, CMH Road and reached Krishnarajpuram via Old Madras Road soon enough. Bangalore roads are bliss to ride through when there is no traffic (and no potholes).
We rode on the boring (yet smooth) NH4 till we reached Hoskote. After crossing Hoskote, we had to take a deviation towards SH82 to reach Chintamani (you can also continue on NH4 to reach Kolar and then move towards Madanapalle if you like).
The roads here were brilliant, except for a few bad patches while passing through Hoskote.
The First Break
Our first break (Bala’s piss break) was around 7:30 AM after we’d travelled ~80km. We stopped for a tea break at a small joint near Lakshmipura at 7:45 AM. The dogs here were a bit interesting. It was amusing to see them run around with scant regard for our constitution (/s).
We bypassed Chintamani and went straight towards Madanapalle. There was not much traffic to be seen on this road, though we did come across a few busy intersections while passing through villages. The single lane roads were well laid out.
Madanapalle was ~30km from the place where we’d stopped for a tea break. We reached there at around 8:30 AM. The traffic here was bit hectic. We took a left towards Horsley Hill Cross ~10km after entering Madanapalle; the entrance to the hills was another 10km from there.
According to the board put up by APTDC, the distance from the bottom to the top of Horsley Hills is 10.5km. It certainly is a very short ride to the top, though riding through the curves is always enjoyable, especially when you’ve travelled through boring straights for almost 150km.
We stopped for another piss break as soon as we entered the hills (it was Bala again). It was 8:48 AM now. While Bala was busy emptying his bladder, my eyes went straight to an interesting rock painting up ahead. I was excited to see the writing on it because that’s the same quote on my Facebook page’s cover pic (hint: like the page if you haven’t already).
It took us less than ten minutes to reach the top of Horsley Hills. There were a few steep hairpin bends along the way. The roads are also a bit confusing once you reach the top, branching out here and there with no clear directions.
We parked our motorbikes near Governor’s Bungalow (also called as Forest Rest House). There are rooms and cottages for rent beside the bungalow. There’s also a swimming pool if you feel like taking a dip at a height of ~4000ft. It was around 9 AM now. We could only see a few tourists here though; guess it was not the right season.
There’s a view point near the bungalow. We moved towards that. Again, there was no one to be seen here. We just went to the view point and looked around.
There were a few hills and villages in the distance. Bala lodged himself on the floor while I experimented with my camera. The quiet peace here was very relaxing. This is a good place to come with your friends on an extended weekend.
We stayed at the view point until 10:00 AM and then went to the restaurant nearby to have breakfast. It’s just around 1km from where we were; so we just walked to there.
It was a simple buffet breakfast: Idli, Vada, Pongal, Chutney, Sambar and some kind of tomato paste. It was value for money at just Rs. 100/-, considering this is a tourist place with not many alternate options around. It was almost 10:45 AM by the time we finished our breakfast.
After filling our tummies, we headed further down to see the Animal Complex, Grand Old Eucalyptus Tree (Maha Vriksha Puruskar) and Nature Study Centre. The clouds started to pour heavily as soon as we entered the Animal Complex. We had to find cover; so we headed towards the second view point nearby.
The rain stopped by the time we reached the view point. It was 11:00 AM now. This view point was fancier than the first one, and was at a much lower altitude too. We didn’t stay here for long.
We then walked a few meters to view the Grand Old Eucalyptus Tree planted by Horsley W.H. himself in the year 1859. The tree has a girth of 4.7m and a height of 40m. Apparently, one could see this tree from 70km away on a clear sunny day. This tree was awarded the Maha Vriksha Puraskar by the Indian government a few years ago.
We then went around seeing the animals trapped here in their cages; deer, emu, peahen, rabbits, ducks, crocodiles, and many others I don’t remember now.
Finally, we went to see the Nature Study Center perched near the side of the hill. It was closed though. We just climbed the rocky steps and sat there for a while. It was almost noon now. There were also cottages available for rent right at the edge of the hills.
We walked back to our bikes and started our return journey. It took us around 15 minutes to ride down the hill.
Instead of going back through the same route through which we’d come earlier, we decided to traverse through an alternate route.
We continued on Madanapalle – B.Kothakota Road and took a diversion towards Gownipalli to join SH82, which connects to Chintamani. B.Kothakota is a small bustling town; though it is a small town there was a lot of traffic here.
The roads here were decent enough; not that great, but passable. We did come across a very bad stretch around 80km from where we’d started; don’t exactly remember where, but the road there was in a very pathetic condition.
We stopped for a tea break near Madikere Cross By-Pass Road at 1:30 PM. Since we’d planned to go via Chikkaballapura, we had to take the road leading towards Sidlaghatta.
It started to drizzle just 5 minutes after we’d resumed our ride. We didn’t stop though. After travelling around 10km through the drizzle, the rain picked up its pace considerably and we were unable to see the road ahead. It was 2:05 PM now. We stopped under a bridge until the rain subsided.
The heavy rain lasted for 5 minutes or so; it was still drizzling slightly though. We resumed our ride once again. The rain started pouring heavily again after 30 minutes or so. This time, we took shelter under a bus stop. The heavy downpour lasted for around 5 minutes.
We were back on our saddles once again. It was still raining lightly now. We rode through Siddlaghatta and reached Chikkaballapura, and then took a deviation towards Devanahalli. The rain didn’t stop until we reached Kodigehalli Gate inside Bangalore. Suffice to say, we were both drenched. It was around 3:30 PM now. The rain had slowed us down considerably.
We decided to ride to our friend’s place in Vidyaranyapura. It was close by. We reached our destination at 3:45 PM.
Bangalore to Horsley Hills is a short ride of ~165km. The roads are ideal for driving (except for a few bad stretches), but riders who prefer curvy roads will be a bit disappointed. I think it’s a great place to stay over the weekend. I will definitely be revisiting this place in the future.