HORSLEY HILLS - NOTHING EQUESTRIAN ABOUT IT!
"Horsley Hills! Is it a hill of horses?" Thus began my first enquiry when my husband suggested the name of the destination of our next holiday. Barely a month after relocating to Bangalore from Kolkata, we were still settling down and were in no mood of going for a holiday, short though it was. But even before we could red signal it, our friends had charted the plans, done the bookings and filled the fuel tanks of their cars.
A goggle search revealed Horsley Hills is a range of short hills in the Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Situated about 170 kilometers from Bangalore, the hill station is known for its cool climate. W.D. Horsley, a British collector, built his home around 1870, after whom the hill is named.
So on a cool Sunday morning, 18 of us, comprising 7 families, set off for Horsley Hills. We first drove down the Old Madras Road to an eatery to have breakfast. From there we took a u-turn and drove down SH 82. We took tea breaks in between. Patches in the drive were so scenic that they made us stop to take pictures. We were lucky that the sun wasn’t shining. The partially clouded skies made the drive all the more soothing. We could see the small mounds from afar. From Madanapally, the drive is uphill, a distance of about 9 kms. But this drive is truly memorable. There are hair-pin bends as one ascends leaving the plains behind. The road, an endless stretch of spotless tar, is lined with dense growth on either side. Here and there yellow blossoms, having fallen from trees, adorned the road.
It was mid-afternoon when we reached Horsley Hills. There is only one resort of APTDC to stay. Hence it is advisable that bookings are made well in advance. Horsley Hills have been built with a lot of care. It’s a quaint little hill station with resorts and cottages dispersed here and there. There are play areas for children, entertainment zones for adults, manicured gardens for walkers. We had a buffet lunch at the restaurant. There is hardly any option here to eat. Hence one should not expect any luxury. We were offered a vegetarian, south-Indian buffet.
In the evening we visited the children’s play area. However this place is in want of urgent care. From there we headed to the restaurant and had hot cups of coffee. It gets chilly in the evenings here. Strolling around the nicely manicured gardens is a pleasure with the setting sun adding a different dimension to the beauty of the place. With its meticulously laid roads and immaculate cleanliness, Horsley Hills is more like a quaint township than a hill station.
The night grew pretty chilly and the trees whistled in frequent gusts of wind. If one does not particularly like to be amidst Nature, this place can bore you, especially because there is nothing much to do after sundown. With the big group that we were a part of, we indulged in games like housie and cards and whiled away our time in fun and frolic. Dinner was a simple affair of chapatti and chicken curry, which had more of curry and less of chicken. Paneer was also served as an alternative option for vegetarians.
The next morning we woke up to the calls of the birds. The red-vented bulbul and the common tailor bird are found in plenty here. Just next to our hotel was a vantage point which provided a spectacular view of the plains below and the other hills and mounds that dotted the area.
The breakfast buffet was complimentary. Again, like the lunch, there is little good that can be said about the food here. After breakfast we drove down to another vantage point situated on a rocky and steep gradient. It resembled the Nandi hills. From there we begun our descent to Bangalore.