Chikballapur is about 57 km north of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India. The north-south National Highway NH-7 goes through the town, functions as the Main Street of the town, and is locally known as Bengaluru-Bellary Road or BB Road.
According to the 2001 Census, the population of the town was approximately 55,000. In 2007 January, it was estimated that the population of the Greater Chikballapur Area (GCA) was approximately 100,000. The town provides all central place functions to be expected of a town of that size in a developing country.
The buses operated by the State Transportation Department (KSRTC) and Private operators. There are regular and reliable buses running between Bengaluru and Chickballapur. Travel time is about two one and half hour. During peak hours there are buses almost every ten minutes. Regular and reliable the buses.
There is a passenger rail connection between Bengaluru and Chikballapur. The frequency of trains is less. The train takes longer and runs at a scheduled time whereas buses are available at virtually all hours of the day and most of the evenings and nights.
If you are travelling as a group, take the train, not as a mode of transportation, but as a platform for picnic and partying in general. Samosas and pakodas (fritters) never taste as good as when there is the rolling Indian countryside in front of you.
Walking is the best mode of transportation for those who like it. The air is clean. Take a beige umbrella, not the black one. Have a nice cotton Tilley-style hat with a wide brim. Walking around on the streets and paths of the Greater Chickballapur Area (GCA) is not the same as parading in the lobby of Helmsley Place in Midtown Manhattan.
Auto-Rickshaws are available. No metered one exists yet. Patiently negotiate the price before you get in. Local people are very helpful and may negotiate a good price for both parties.
Drivers in buses run by private operators are very solicitous. The bus driver will drop you off wherever you want. No special consideration necessary. The bus drivers in State run buses will tell you to take a hike.
Taxis are available. You have to negotiate the price before you board the vehicle. Please seek the assistance of a local in negotiating the price. A daily rate is also available in addition to the round trip rate.
The popular Nandi Hill Tourist Destination is about 22 km south of downtown Chickballapur off State Highway 74 and the link road. It is about 15 km to the foot of the hill and the winding road with exciting hairpin bends to the top is about 7 km. There is an excellent botanical garden on the plateau at the top with a perimeter pathway that offers spectacular views of the surrounding country. The two State of Karnataka Guest Houses and Hotel Mayura provide good lodging facilities including Western style bathrooms. The restaurant in Hotel Mayura offers a good menu while the other "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant offers some food. There is a modest "Guest House" where Mahatma Gandhi stayed that has become something of a pilgrimage centre and provides concrete evidence of Gandhi's simple life. Some may enjoy the ambience of the Yoganandishwara Temple. The wireless Police Control Room is there for emergencies. Buses run regularly between Bangalore and the top of Nandi Hill. At less regular intervals, with the patience of Job, one can take a bus from Chikballapur to the top of Nandi Hill.
The Ranganatha Swamy temple, or Rangasthala as it is locally known, about five km west of downtown Chikballapur, off the State Highway to Gauribidanur is well worth a visit. The stone statue of Vishnu is simply splendid. The black stone sculpture carved in the Vijaynagar style is best viewed when there are no other visitors to the temple. The temple priest is more than willing to accommodate a special viewing for a small consideration offered to the deity. Please respect the religious sensibilities, but go there for sheer artistic splendour.
The Heritage Primary School in Kandavara, about two km south of downtown Chikballapur on State Highway 74, may be of interest to history buffs. Bharata Ratna Mokshagundam Vishweshwaraiah did his primary schooling in the U-shaped 1845 building. The Dwaraknath Reddy Ramanarpanam Trust (DRRT), under the leadership of Anita Reddy, rehabilitated the building in 2006. An effort has been made to create a modest interpretive center in one of the classrooms. A native son of Kandavara, Mr. Narayana Swamy Katari, who retired as the Chief Secretary of the State of Karnataka in 1967, went to the same primary school.
- Nandi- At the foot of Nandi Hills is this place with "Bhoganandishwaraswamy Temple",it is a Wonderful Place.(A Must visit)
- Muddenahalli- The home town of Sri M.Visveswaraya(Sir.MokshaGondam Visveswaraya), the architect of modern Karnataka. Muddenahalli is just a few Kilometers from Nandi Hills. The house of this genius is now a museum.(A Must visit)
- Paapagni- The Panchanandikshtra. Visit it is Only 3 km from Chikkaballapur.
- Chitravati- Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple on NH 7, 3 km from the city.
- Ellode Sri Lakshmi Adinarayana Swamy Temple. Resides on top of the hill of Ellode, Gudibhanda Taluk, Chikballapur district. It is believed that the idol of Sri Lakshmi Adinarayana Swamy Temple is self originated. This holy temple has its existence since ancient times (over 1000 years). The Lord is sitting on top of Kurma giri (tortoise shaped hill). The 618 steps climb has greenery on either side. The scenic beauty, lake and greenery all around is a real feast to the eyes. The temple is well connected through the National Highway 7 (NH7) from Bangalore to Hyderabad, with a deviation of just 3 km before Bagepally. Ellode is around 120 km from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka. Note that transportation to the temple is not great, so most devotees use private vehicles. Special poojas are made in Maagha masam on all Sundays and Rathotsava is performed on 3rd Sunday. Vaikunta Ekadashi is done in a very grand manner with the Vaikunta Dwara open in the early morning starting from 5AM till the evening. Satyanarayana Swamy pooja is performed on all the Pournima days (Full moon day) at the temple which is on the foothill of Sri Lakshmi Adinarayana Swamy Temple. Kalyana Utsava (or Kalyanotsava) is performed at the Ganesh temple near the entrance of the temple. Offering hairs is done on all Sundays on top of the hill. Maagha masam is observed in Sri Lakshmi Adinarayana Swamy Temple with utmost enthusiasm.
- Lepakshi. About 10 km from Ellode. Lepakshi is very important historically and archaeologically. A huge or biggest Nandi bull in India made out of a single granite stone is one of the attractions in Lepakshi. The place is renowned for being one of the best repository of mural paintings (see below) of the Vijayanagar Kings. There are three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra. The famous Veerabhadra temple, dedicated to Veerabhadra, is located here.
- Ghati Subramanya Temple. One of the popular pilgrim centers located near Doddaballapur of Bangalore Rural district. Ghati Subrahmanya is located about 60 km from Bangalore.
- Vidurashwatha. Situated near the Karnataka Andhra Pradesh border and about 6km from Gauribidanur, it had a major role to play in the freedom movement of India. The name Vidurashwatha is derived from that of a big Ashwatha (Ficus religiosa) tree located in this village. According to a legend of the times of Mahabharata, this tree was planted by Vidura, a courtier in the kingdom of Dhritarashtra and hence the name Vidurashwatha.
Trekking, mountaineering, and rock climbing are the best things to do in Chickballapur.
There are five hills locally known as Pancha Giris (literally "five hills"), about 15 km south of Chikballapur, including Nandi Giri, Chandra Giri, Indra Giri, Brahma Giri, and Hema Giri. Also, there is a sixth hill known locally as Kalavaara Hill or Skandagiri.
- Nandi Hill, along the face known as Tippu's Drop, is good for vertical scaling as long as no one expects it to be comparable to the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California.
- Kalavaara Hill is very good for camping overnight at the top. On a good day, you will literally be above the clouds and see the clouds roll by. Knowledgeable people hike up the hill on a moonlit night and tell others that all those who can must do so.
- Pandava Hill and Kaurava Hill, named after the legendary fraternal enemies of Mahabharatic fame, about 11 km north of downtown Chikballapur, are also very good for mountaineering.
For those who want to attempt rock climbing, please take everything with you, including the kitchen sink, because you will be alone with your companions. The redeeming value of "taking it with you" is that you can take it back with you as well.
Local people are very friendly and helpful. If there are women in the climbing team, they may even offer you a hot drink that they call coffee.
There is hardly any public transport, just like the rest of India. You can either take motorcycle or rent a car. Parking fees should be less than or at most ₹50. The locals are known to exploit any unsuspecting stranger, so beware of fraudulent parking area manager, fraudulent guides and vehicle thieves. In fact, the village at the bottom of the hill is known as Kalwarahalli Betta (Kalwara=Thieves, Halli=Village, Betta=Hill). There has been many reports of engine, carburetor, helmet or even petrol theft. Thieves pretending to be guides will charge you ₹300 to ₹800 for walking through a straight road for some 100 meters. Some will take you at the top of hill as well for 50/person (they may ask more) but the best adventure is to find your own way. They are probably in cahoots with the police so simply avoid them. Go in groups of at least 5 people and get sticks which will help you to climb hill and also protect you from any animals(monkeys). Remember to get light torches (1 per person at least) during night.
Since some people fell down the steep hill while drunk, night trek is sometimes not allowed. You should find out about that beforehand. If you are not against working around the system, you can mostly maneuver around the couple of police grunts by going through the fields and directly head on to the trek without much problem.
Greater Chikballapur Area is not known for unique folk art or any other touristy item worthy of mention. Although Chikballapur is known for silviculture, it is difficult to find silk scarves or anything like it for gift-giving.
For those tourists who suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they do not buy something every day of their travel, the best option is to ask locals for a craft store.
- Skandagiri, From chickballapur to 8 Km (VIia Nandi Road). 15Minutes.
It is best to stick to vegetarian food when you are in the Greater Chikballapur Area (GCA). There are couple of non vegetarian hotels namely Shreyas, Alankar Paradaise, Golden Bar and Restaurant,etc. Among these Golden Bar and Restaurant is the renowned one located in NH 7 and offers variety of North Indian and South Indian vegetarian and Non Vegetarian Dishes along with Hot and soft drinks.
The two best restaurants in Chikballapur are the ones that are part of the two hotels on National Highway 7. The hotels are called Shanthi Sagar and Brindavan. Both have outdoor seating. Both serve only vegetarian food. The food on offer is very good and the service is excellent, in both places.
- Hotel Sandarshini - in Chikkaballapur on the main Bangalore-Hyderabad highway NH-7 (B.B.Road),
- Hotel Truptisagar - in Chikkaballapur on the main Bangalore-Hyderabad highway NH-7 (B.B.Road),
- Hotel Shantisagar - in Chikkaballapur on the main Bangalore-Hyderabad highway NH-7 (B.B.Road),
- Chats - Visit Pappu's Paanipuri Chat Centre, Basavanagudi Road, Chikkaballapur. (A must Visit),& also visit Balaji Panipoori in O.M.B.Road for Best Taste.
- Hotel Sowmya - (Lodge & Restaurant)in Chikkaballapur on the main Bangalore-Hyderabad highway NH-7 (B.B.Road),
Fresh fruit, if you know how to select, can be a treat. The precautionary rule applies: wash/rinse even fruits with skins, with the boiled water from your bottle. On a warm day, in the shade of a leafy tree, the fruits can be absolutely refreshing, especially accompanied by a cool fruit juice box. For those who are picky about cool fruits, there is no substitute for cooling the warm fruit in the picnic cooler.
The best drink in the Greater Chikballapur Area (GCA) is fresh tender coconut that is available in several places sold by vendors who carry them around on their bicycles. Sometimes, the tender coconut pulp inside can be delicious but the taste depends upon the season and when the coconut was harvested.
It is best to avoid bottled water altogether, for a variety of reasons. If you are nice, someone will bring tap water to a rolling boil for 90 seconds, cool it, and serve it you. You can then fill your water bottle with the boiled water for the day. Please bear in mind that hot water is not the same as boiled water. Some people seem to prefer hot water and all it is just water heated to a warm temperature. Many a Westerner has befriended a bathroom for three days, confusing the two.
Alcoholic beverages can be bought in Chikballapur at the appropriate stores. You may be better off buying the beverages in Bengaluru and transporting them with you.
The warm beer in Chikballapur has given a new meaning to the English warm beer. The medicine-like English beer is usually at 21 degrees Celsius whereas warm beer in Chikballapur can be at 30 degrees plus Celsius. Please cool it in your picnic cooler basket with ice cubes before tasting.
Many in Chikballapur have a different concept of chilled white wine and room temperature red wine. Please manage your temperature preference with the help of a good picnic cooler. The same rule applies for all soft drinks that are readily available in Chikballapur.
Please do not use the ice cubes bought in a store in your liquor. It is quite a nuisance to boil water, cool it, freeze it into cubes, and then take it with you in a separate plastic bag. Sometimes accepting nuisances now can save you a lot of grief later. People who disregard this recommendation will come to regret their special affinity for bathrooms. Humour aside, Hepatitis ought to be a consideration before going excessively native.
- sri manjunatha sweets, near totn hall circle, ☏ . famous mysorepak every Saturday dumroet& mixture( ohmpudi, bennemurkku, motasev, karabundi,avalakki,pokoda,
There are two Hotels on the west side of National Highway 7, almost adjacent to each other, about 2 km south of downtown Chikballapur. They are called: Brindavan,Soumya and Shanti Sagar.
Both Hotels are good establishments but neither has Western-style bathrooms. Requests to both managers to install at least three rooms with Western-style toilets has so far gone unheard. It is a puzzle why Hotels that aspire to serve Western clients on their way to Puttaparthy, Sai Baba's principal headquarters, do not want to install Western-style bathrooms.
Don't take any guide's or local person's help as they may ask around ₹1000 as the real adventure will be only when you find the path to hill yourself. If you really want them, you can bargain. They will demand around ₹100/person but you can easily get the deal with ₹50/person. There is a temple (Papagni matt) at the bottom of the trek. Go to the right side of the temple, take immediate left and go further for 100 m on plain path before the trek starts to rise up. Remember to take left from planes into a very narrow path to hill. There are arrows all around on rocks which will let you know you are on track.
At the top there are couple of makeshift shops selling eggs, tea, noodles and cigarette. These are not available during night trek.
Try to haggle with independent sellers, they mostly charge 3-4 times the original price. Avoid the typical 'I am hungry' appeal to your emotions by underaged children (who are selling food, by the way).