Nandi Hills or Nandi betta is an ancient hill fortress in southern India, it is 10 km from Chickballapur town and approximately 60 km from the city of Bengaluru. The hills are nestled near the town of Nandi. In traditional belief, the hills are the origin of the Arkavathy river.
There are many stories about the origin of the name Nandi Hills. During the Chola period, Nandi Hills was called Ananda Giri meaning The Hill of Happiness. Another story is that Yoga Nandeeshwara performed penance here, and so it was named after him. Nandi is also commonly called Nandidurga (Fort) because of the fort built here by the ruler Tippu Sultan. It is also perhaps called Nandi Hills because the hills resemble a sleeping bull (Nandi).
Another theory holds that the hill gets its name from an ancient, 1300-year-old Dravidian-style Nandi temple situated on this hill. An ancient Lord Shiva and Parvati temple also adorns this hill. The Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple in Nandi village is one of the oldest temples in Karnataka dating back to the ninth century. The temple hewn out of rock consists of two complexes. While the first complex houses three deities, the second complex consists of a huge and majestic kalyani pond. The foundation of the temple was constructed by the Banas of ninth century.
The Chola rulers of the 11th century constructed the roof of the temple. The marriage hall was built by the Hoysalas in the thirteenth century and a wall of the second complex was built by the Vijayanagar kings. Beautiful stone carvings are a popular tourist site and are a source of inspiration for students of art and architecture.