In the May 1st weekend of 2022, we decided to visit Horsley Hill in Andhra Pradesh (our first weekend trip to this state). Horsley Hill is a famous hill station, about 150 kilometers from Bangalore. In many ways, it is like Nandi Hills in Bangalore, but is shorter in altitude by a few hundred feet.
Brief history of Horsley Hills
The hill station was the preferred stay of Mr. Horsley who was a collector of the East India company in the 1800’s. His son was born here and died within a day. There is a tombstone in his memorial just outside the Zoo (so don’t be surprised to see the dates on the tomb) . The zoo also has the house where he stayed and right behind that, there is a Eucalyptus tree that he planted in his lifetime.
What to do at Horsley Hills
The visit can either be a day trip or an overnight stay. We usually go for overnight stays as that usually gives us few morning hours without the maddening crowds at these kind of places. A day trip will involve a lot of driving as you will end up driving about 300 KMs both way. The place can be covered completely in about 3 hours time. Here are the attractions there:
- Visit the wind whistle view point (this is inside the governors bungalow)
- Visit the Galibanda view point
- Visit the western view point
- Visit the Zoo (with the 165 year old Eucalyptus tree!)
- Visit the adventure zone
- Visit the Enugu Mallamma temple
These places are walking distance from each other. The whole place is just a rounded top of the hill and you can cover everything on foot. The climate is cool, even at the height of summers. It does get hot in the afternoon though. Keep yourself hydrated in the summers and carry jackets during winters.
Driving to Horsley Hills from Bangalore
The drive from Bangalore was smooth with very small stretches of under construction road. We took the route that passes through the Madanapalle town and did not take the detour from Kadapa-Bangalore highway as suggested by Google while going. When returning, we checked with locals in Horsley hills if it’s okay to take that route and they suggested that the Madanapalle route is better. The route was full of mango orchards with fruits hanging from every branch. There aren’t many restaurant options on the way but the notables ones are Pakshaala and Udupi Utsav which are on the road after the deviation from old madras road.
Where to stay at Horsley Hills
There are limited stay options at the top. The prominent one of them being Harita hotel run the APTDC. We stayed at Haritha and thus will comment only on that. Harita offers basic stay option with A/C and Non A/C rooms. We stayed in the non-a/c room in a block they called ‘wind whistle’. It cost us about 2k for a nights stay. One thing to be noted about Harita is that the reception is located a bit away from the blocks. So when checking in, one first needs to report to the reception, collect the keys and then drive to your block of stay. The management of the hotel is quite aloof and the restaurant is average at best. The complimentary breakfast is passable. Our room was large, spacious with linen that looked unclean and mattress that was sagging. They have a swimming pool also where people don’t really care for swimming attire and would take a dip fully clothed. There are other stay options, but all looked similar with nothing really standing out.
Where to eat at Horsley hills
There are few restaurants strewn about at the hill top. Harita’s restaurant is what you right at the entrance. They had a buffet on the day we arrived which we didn’t opt for. If you drive along the circle, there are couple of more restaurants. We had lunch at a place named ‘Dwaraka’. The food here was okay and the service was prompt.
Horsley hills is a good weekend getaway from Bangalore if you like hilly climate are okay with limited options. The place is beautiful but is spoiled by tourists. Plastic is found in abundance and beer bottles are strewn around carelessly. Tourism department is not doing a good job of upkeep of the place. If you do decide to go there, please don’t leave any plastic behind. Here is a not so good looking memory of the place…