The misty roads of Horsley Hills

A view of Forest Bunglow built in 1862.

It was already quite hot in Madanapalle, by the time we had a pit-stop over there, having started driving from Bengaluru, comfortably past seven in the morning. Madanapalle is the nearest town to Horsley Hills, a little hill resort, tucked away in the southwestern corner of Andhra Pradesh, where we were headed to. Horsley Hills is located about 150 km from Bengaluru, and can be reached within four hours.

The somewhat short climb to the hills starts after 20 km from Madanapalle. To our mild surprise, we started feeling a slight chill, after having negotiated just a couple of hairpin bends, and that too in the rather hot summer month. We were in the beautifully-landscaped lawn of the low, British-era colonial building, serving as the front-office of the APTDC Haritha Hill Resort, in no time.

Horsley Hills derives its name from WD Horsley, the British Collector of Cuddapah District, who made it his summer residence, in the middle of the 19th Century. This oldest building in the hill, built in 1862, is now called the ‘Forest Bungalow’. This graceful, low-slung building lies within the lush compound of the environmental park.

The rooms and cottages of the resort lie elegantly scattered, further up the hill, from the reception. There is a wide choice for accommodation, and wild winds category of rooms where we stayed proved to be spacious, and reasonably well-appointed. A small negative point of the place seems to be a general scarcity of water. We quickly discovered that Horsley Hills is pretty much a small place, lying at the very summit of a single hill. However, there are a number of little pathways to amble along and explore, within the limited periphery. There are a couple of nice viewpoints built for a panoramic view of the plains below. The grand spectacle of the setting sun from the high viewpoint at the very summit of the hill is something not to be missed. The more adventurous can trek down the hill, or explore the empty hillock by the side.

There seems to be little something for everyone at this small place. There is an adventure area (for both adults and children), a swimming pool, a mini zoo, and an environmental park having a variety of flora. But what we found to be the best part of Horsley Hills was the mist, which appeared all on a sudden in the night, and stayed on till mid-morning. The power of the mist to turn the mundane into the sublime was fully in evidence, and it appeared that the place had gained a totally new character.

At the end of the day, the quaint little Horsley Hills is just what it is meant to be – an ideal and convenient place for the harried city-dweller, to have a quick recharging of batteries. 

(The author can be reached at andrewsjos@gmail.com)

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The misty roads of Horsley Hills

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