Driving to Horsley Hills

posted in: Asia, Andhra Pradesh, India, Nature | 62
Let’s go back to those fairy tales where you have this one home or castle atop a lovely hill with blossoms of flowers and pretty birds entertaining you with their melodious chirps, where the deer spring around and the clouds give you company….Mmmm! Sigh!

Dreamy? Well, I lived this dreamy feeling at the Horsley hills the last weekend for that is exactly how this quaint, off-beat hill-station is. Right at the peak of a hill, not crowded , not spoilt and just right for a lovely, refreshing day-trip or night out from the hustle bustle of Bangalore
Yellow Blossoms lining up to greet you as you enter Horsley Hills
Yellow Blossoms lining up to greet you as you enter Horsley Hills
Had heard of this off-beat hill station in South India and with a convenient distance of  145 kms,  my hubby and me decided that it was a perfect destination to drive for a day away from Bengaluru. So, this long weekend, we set off in our Ford Ecosport to this destination called Horsley Hills, in Andhra Pradesh.
Zipping along the Bangalore- Chintamani By Pass through the Canopy of trees
Zipping along the Bangalore- Chintamani By Pass through the Canopy of trees

Drive to Horsley Hills from Bangalore

The drive from Bangalore is amazing – the road conditions excellent, with canopies of trees growing alongside and beautiful hills at regular intervals. Though google maps shows the distance as a 3 – 3.5 hours journey, we managed to cover it in less than 3 hours. Along the way, near Chintamani, you come across these amazing hills, which were covered with clouds, giving you an impression of a smoking volcano. Cannot resist adding one picture of the same. For more, do follow me on my instagram.
Hills near Chintamani
Hills near Chintamani

About Horsley Hills

Known as the “Ooty of Andhra Pradesh“, this hill station was named after a British Collector – W.D Horsley, who built his home here in the 1870s. Originally, the hills were called Yenugu Mallama Konda. There is an interesting story behind this name which goes as an old woman named Mallama used to reside atop these hills (Konda in local language) and was regularly fed by the elephants (Yenugu in local language). 

Blooms of Horsley Hills
Blooms of Horsley Hills

 Sights in Horsely Hills

As you drive through the bends to Horsley Hills, beautiful yellow flowers greet you along the way. You can see a lot of different monkeys along the way – some of them were quite different looking but camera shy – so well, there isn’t a picture of them 😉 . The entire hill station is centered around the main resort here – Harita Resort, run by the AP Tourism board. Think of the resort as the center point while the rest of the hill surrounds it, pretty much like the castle atop the fairy tale hill. 
Haritha Resort - Horsley Hills
Haritha Resort – Horsley Hills
Clean and green, this resort is the focal point of the hill station, whether you want to stay or just grab a meal or two. There are one or two small holiday room rentals near it, but with limited rooms and food arrangements. Though we did not stay here, just had a peek into their rooms to find them fairly decent for a night stay. We did use the resort’s restaurant for some yummy and hot South Indian buffet breakfast.
Horsley Hill Blooms
Horsley Hill Blooms
One important stop here is the Horsley Hills Environment Center. As you exit the resort from the back gate, this is right across the road. One thing that caught my fancy was this lovely pink cascade of flowers, right outside the resort gate. Of course, I could not resist using it as a back-drop for some amazing photographs. One of which I have shared here. 
Deer at the Environment Park at Horsley Hills
Deer at the Environment Park at Horsley Hills
The environment center has a small entrance fee of INR 10 per adult and has a small little zoo with a few deers, crocodiles, emus, peacocks and various birds. I loved the fact that no plastic bottles or packs are allowed into this park. You have to shell out a refundable deposit of INR 50 for taking any such material into the park. As you can guess, the place is clean and devoid of plastic waste, thanks to this rule. 
Horsley's Bungalow
Horsley’s Bungalow
The British Collector – Horsley’s bungalow is within the premises of this park and you have to go past it to reach a view point. The Bungalow is in a fairly decent shape. The caretaker there showed us some tiles dated 1870, which have been used to build the bungalow. While the rooms are generally, not kept open, he allowed us to take a peek into one. Apparently, these rooms are still used as a guest house. 🙂

Right next to the bungalow is a lovely view point of the Horsley Hills with its signature yellow blossoms merging with the fresh greens and a distant view of the hills in the background. It’s no wonder that Horsley chose this place for his abode.
From the View Point at Horsley Hills
From the View Point at Horsley Hills
The blossoms around the place make it an excellent landscape for some photographs with your friends and family. You can even spot some amazing birds around here. Right behind the bungalow, you must check out the 150 year old Eucalyptus tree, which goes by the name Kalyani. 
Crocodiles at Horsley Hills
Crocodiles at Horsley Hills
Further on from the bungalow, along the trail to a Nature Center, you pass by the crocodile quarry. There are around 4-5 of them lying around in wake of some prey. My hubby and daughter were quite fascinated by the white teeth they have. They are so sparkly that one actually, wonders if you need a toothpaste at all. 😀 
View from the Nature Centre at Horsley Hills
View from the Nature Centre at Horsley Hills
Near the Nature Center, a small little building behind the Collector’s bungalow, is a rocky hill, an easy climb for most people. Had it not been bumpy, it is actually a good incline to slide down. Most people climb up to a lovely view of the valley from here. 

From the park, we went back through the resort to what is called the Governor’s bungalow. 
Governor's Bungalow at Haritha Resort, Horsley Hills
Governor’s Bungalow at Haritha Resort, Horsley Hills
The rooms in the Bungalow are rented out as rooms by the resort. Right behind this is the Valley View Point of Horsley Hills. The climb down has 134 steps, as counted by my little one, not too steep and not too bumpy. The steps end to yet another amazing view point of the valley below the hills.
View from the Valley View Point, Horsley Hills
View from the Valley View Point, Horsley Hills
There is a certain calmness in the air here which make you feel really refreshed and close to nature. Besides the Valley View point, there is also, a Sunset point in Horsley Hills. All these view points are walkable and are within 500m of each other. You can just spend some time sitting here and gazing around at the nature. For the bird-watchers, it is a great place to spot some unusual birds. So, don’t forget your binoculars.
Adventure Sports at Horsley Hills
The hill station also, offers some adventure sports at the resort itself. The small adventure sports center called FreakOuts offers you some wall climbing, trekking, zipline, ATV trails, rappelling, earthquake and other rope-activities.  The center is a good one, even if you are a novice. Great for some team building activities too. 

Horsley Hills is great for a day long picnic or a lovely one night stay. The best part about this hill-station is that you just have to park your car in one place and just leave it there till you are ready to go back home. The entire hill just has a circular track which leads you back to the same place you started from – all of course, walkable. While there isn’t a long list of things to do in Horsley Hills, it is probably. this very fact that makes it an attractive and great place to spend a day.

So if you are twiddling your thumbs about what I could do this weekend, load your car and drive straight to Andhra Pradesh’s Ooty – Horsley Hills.

Getting there:

  • Drive from Bengaluru towards the Bangalore Tirupati Highway – turn in towards Chintamani By-Pass and head through Madanapalli to Horsley Hills. There is another route as well through Gownipalli instead of Madanapalli, but would suggest you take the first route as it is better and more scenic.
  • From Hyderabad, you can head via the Anantapur- Tirupati Highway. The same is around 540kms away.
  • The closest airports to this place are Bangalore and Tirupati, both around 150- 160kms away.
  • There are regular buses from Tirupati and Madanapalli to Horsley Hills. Madanapalli is the nearest railway station.

Travel Tips: 

  • Anytime of the year is good for these cool, green hills
  • There are a few basic grocery outlets at the hill station which have some packaged food like chips and biscuits for sale. For any other requirements, you will have to head to Madanapalli at the base of Horsley Hills.
  • Harita Resort is the main place to stay. It is quite well equipped with decent rooms, swimming pool, and a small ayurvedic spa. Make sure you have reserved your rooms before heading here as in case of non-availability, you will have to go to Madanapalli and stay there.
  • Another option for stay is Holiday Homes
  • There are no restaurants except for the one at the resort. Hence, you will be at their mercy and timing for meals. Hence, if traveling with kids, it is advisable to stock up some snacks and ready to eat food
  • Remember to slather enough mosquito repellent whilst here as the hill-station being an open nature place, has enough of these pests.
  • Comfortable walking shoes and light woolens are recommended.
 Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small   commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
Share the Thrill of Travel

62 Responses

  1. Sri Kri

    OMG.Bookmarking this for our trip.Lovely account and wonderful shots Ami.Thank you so much for sharing.:)

    Sriram & Krithiga

  2. Lata Subramanian

    My God, Ami…what a lovely way to promote a lovely destination. I only hope that your promotion does not result in Horsely getting destroyed by hordes of tourists. India has a long way to go towards practising responsible tourism.

  3. Rob Taylor

    This sounds like a mellow, local place to visit. So different from the grand palaces and forts I’m used to seeing in India. Really beautiful scenery too.

  4. sellallyourstuff

    What a beautiful spot. Even though you mention the area is small, there sure seems to be a lot to do in the area and it’s nice that you can walk the entire way.

  5. journalofnomads

    What an idyllic place! I like your blog, it really feels like I’m already traveling in India without being there 🙂

  6. John Hawkins

    WD Horsley was my Great Grandfather and it is only in the past couple of years that I had discovered his roles in Andhra Pradesh and Cuddapah. You have taken many beautiful pictures of the area which I haven’t seen anywhere else. I have a couple of pictures of the entrance to Horsley Kondah with a Grandaunt and Granduncle featured (taken in 1873 and 1874). No overall view as taken by you. Thank you very much for the new insights into my family that you’ve given me!

    • Ami

      Thank you. It is so good to know someone related to this place. The place was an amazing find by your great grandfather. Would love to see the Old snaps too 🙂

  7. John Hawkins

    Hello Ami.
    Is there an email address that I could send the pictures to? The “entrance” could well be an outbuilding as there are baskets of flowers in one picture and in the other a leopard skin and skull with antlers. But my granduncle definitely stated they were pictures taken at Horsley Kondah. I don’t know if you’re interested in pictures of WD (William Dowdeswell) Horsley or his wife Mary as I have those too, but they are not taken at Horsley Hills.
    Regards, John

  8. Christeena

    I found this place reaalyyyy cool! But is dis place ok to drive alone?? Is it dangerous to travel alone to dis place?

    • Ami

      I would not recommend a solo here as the place is fairly unexplored and quite secluded. A beautiful place but the absence of crowds could be an issue.

  9. Bharty Nandyala

    Hi, We are planing to visit this place and while we are exploring more info about Horsley Hills we happen to find this Article. I must say, This truly helped us to know more about the place.

    We recently bought our first car- FORD ECOSPORT :). My Husband is new to Driving though I must say he drives pretty decent. So My Husband is bit worried about the the road to the hill top. Can you please give a bit more info if the roads are tricky and any difficulty for the guys new to driving??

    Also any suggestion about what kind of rooms are decent to hire in Haritha Resorts there?? As I am very particular about hygiene request you to suggest kind of room good with clean beds and washrooms. BTW i was referring to the below site for accommodation there.


    we will be travelling this thursday i.e., 15-sep-16.

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Ami

      Hi Bharty,

      Apologies for the late reply as I was traveling. I guess you would have already started your trip. Hope you have a great time there. Cheers



    • Ami

      Thanks Nagaraj. A day trip is ideal or at the most an overnight. After that you are bound to get bored.

  11. Neha Verma

    Horsley hill is quiet close to Bangalore, in spite of that somehow we never went there. Now, your post has given me the right dose of motivation required. We have been looking for a place nearby for one of the weekend getaways and this one sounds perfect..thanks for sharing!

  12. Raghav

    Great post. Thanks for all the info provided.
    I just want to know where to park the car there in Horsley Hills. I mean we are coming from Bengaluru for just 1 day trip and not taking any room on rent. so, wanted to know if any safe place to park the car.

    • Ami

      There is plenty of space available once you drive up to the Horsley hills. Hope you have a great trip

  13. AllGudThings

    This seems like a perfect weekend getaway for us. The whole place looks so clean green and beautiful. The yellow blossoms on the mountains are adding an extra charm to the place. Hope to visit it once around Bangalore.

    • Ami

      It is a lovely drive and day trip from Bangalore. A small piece of paradise. Glad you liked it too. Cheers

  14. Medha Verma

    Ami, I get to learn about so many places in India through you, that I’ve never ever heard of. Horsley Hills looks like a great weekend getaway, with so much wildlife. Monkeys, deers, crocodiles, wow! Also, the yellow flowers look so lovely. And you can do adventure sports also, it can’t get better than that 🙂

    • Ami

      Indeed and frankly, the drive was fun too. Am glad to have found this place myself. Cheers

  15. sagar

    Does the road to the Hill is too sloppy , can we dirve on uphill easily or it takes effort to climb up . how is the road to climb the hill ?

  16. Rex Edwards

    I have to say this was my least favorite place in India and it was hot. However, I love the write up and the site as a whole.

    • Ami

      Ah, I guess, it might have not been pleasant if it was hot. Luckily for me, I went in the right season and possibly the right day and found it amazing. Thanks for stopping by with your lovely compliments.

  17. ROHIT

    Hi Ami,

    I am planning to Travel down there from bangalore but not able to get the bookings done online. planning to stay there for 2 nights and travelling with family. Will we be able to get the room booking done once we reach there.


    • Ami

      It might be a chance to take. Likely you will get it as it is generally not too crowded.

  18. Alpana Samanta

    Hi Ami,

    Thanks for the blog.
    My parents are coming in August to bangalore and we are planning to visit this place.
    Will it be a good time to visit? Is one day trip enough?

    I heard from my colleague that there is a farm nearby where you can see lot of plantations. It is worth seeing.
    Any idea on that?


    • Ami

      Thank Alpana. I am not sure of August owing to the rains around. Also, no clue about the farm. I would love to know more whenever you get any information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.