If you want a short break, but don’t want to venture out too far from the city, Nandi Hills is a good option. The only problem though is that all sorts of crowds land up there by mid-morning and it seems more like a mela out there during the weekends.
The best time to visit it very early morning, when the mist is still clinging on to the sides of the hill and you literally feel like you’re in a hill station. Sometimes, the mist stays on till about 10 am making it a rather cool place.
We headed out there one Saturday morning on a long drive and it turned out to be a nice relaxing day. We reached Nandi Hills by around 830 am in the morning and roamed around for a bit. Then we sat near Tipu’s Drop and spent some time watching the dark clouds gather all around : it didn’t rain though so we were lucky.
After spending some time around the area, we went back down the hill and into Sultanpet looking for the Silver Oak Farm. It turned out to be a deviation from the main road and soon we were met with the sound of barking dogs. They were rather large Alsatians who came out as the welcoming committee but turned out to be a rather friendly twosome.
After we had made friends with Minnie and Mickey, we got to meet the owners of the farm Praveen and Meera Khanna. Meera had prepared a nice spread and we could get a whiff of some great smells coming out of the kitchen, increasing our hunger manifold.
We lazed around for a while and chilled out roaming around their farmhouse : perched on the slopes of a hill and overlooking the plains and hills around. The land itself was pretty barren earlier, Praveen tells us, till he planted all kinds of trees here. You can also hear different kinds of birds twittering and calling out all around you.
The meal was wholesome and quite a spread so we filled ourselves to our heart’s content. The weather turned out to be rather cool and overcast so we decided to take another walk after the meal but didn’t get far. One of the other dogs (there are 2 others besides the Alsatians) accompanied us like he was our guide. When we decided to take shelter in the shade of a huge tree next to a temple, he plopped down beside us and sat there contentedly.
We just sat there for well over an hour and enjoyed the views of the adjoining hills from the cool shade of the tree : and then walked back to the farm for tea and cake. It was well past 6 and time to head back : much as we were enjoying ourselves! We said goodbye to Mickey, Minnie and the Khanna family and hit the highway back to Bangalore.
Silver Oak Farm is situated in Sultanpet (base of Nandi Hills). The couple, Praveen and Meera have been here for over 4 years now and they usually open their farm for visitors during weekends for breakfast and lunch. They also have a few rooms that you can stay overnight but they do need advance notice.
You can visit Silver Oak Farm website and get all the details. If you’re heading to Nandi Hills, this is a nice place to chill out after your tour is over.