The story behind the name
Horsley Hills is a weird name for any hill station I thought. Then I found out that the that the local name of the hill was Yenugu Mallama Konda after a legend of a saintly old woman named Mallamma who lived atop the hill and was fed by elephants (yenugulu). Later on, W.D. Horsley, a British collector, built his home around 1870 after whom it is named.
Google Maps fail situation
The drive was perfect until we hit Chittoor, which was an offroading zone, referring to the roads being dug up extensively for either a bridge or so. Bad roads, dug up roads and the dust with a numerous number of detour signs one had to take, google maps too fell flat with us having to stop frequently to ask for the route towards the hills.
Which was then followed by the climb, which included downing of car windows to welcome cold breeze and a view filled with greenery, sharp road bends and the numerous monkeys one can count.
The Horsley Hills is run by the state tourism board so from your lodging to the food is all by the government stay( There is no private stay, no private resorts, no hotels, restaurants). My family had checked into the Harita Resorts, run by the tourism board. I was under the assumption that the rooms would look shoddy, but I was taken by surprise as we were given a pleasant stay which consisted of an entire unit to ourselves with a separate balcony, living room, spic and span rooms, perfect for a family get-together with space that could house more than 4 people. Also, this stay had features like room service, a swimming pool too also clean rooms and bathrooms.
The chilly connection with food
There is no doubt that Andhraites love their chilly in every dish. Take the buffet served in the state tourism run board which had lip-smacking spicy sambar to go with the rice. Apart from that, they had prominent variety rice like Tamarind rice, Pudhina rice and more with different kinds or poriyal in the buffet along with chips and the Payasam on the side.
Breakfast is mostly down to idly’s, deep fried vadas and a dollop of Pongal on the plate with either filter coffee or tea. (If you’re someone that admires spicy stuff lookout for their chutneys apart from the usual one)
The dinner, however, is a different ordeal as you can order whatever you want also everything you order is good, including the non-vegetarian menu.
But wait…. if you’re not looking at eating in a buffet or settling down for idly’s in the morning there is a beeline of stalls providing food.
Want a crispy dosa or want to take in the cold weather with a bowl of steaming hot Maggie? They have it at! These stalls come as a respite for those who want to try different things throughout the day. A few of the stalls open at 6 am in the morning so you can either have your breakfast early or a late brunch of non-veg food. Want the Molaga Bajji (Chilly fritters) they have that too with an array of options to choose from. One can get their breakfast, lunch, and dinner at these shops that have chairs and tables right outside their shops.
Sightseeing in 2kms
The idyllic scenery, the cold breeze hitting your face, the blooming flowers and long pine trees. A quiet place that shuts by 7pm and is up early in the morning with birds chirping and stalls doling out hot dosas for their customers. Horseley Hills can be covered in a day with sightseeing points that don’t offer much. The tourism board has tried it’s best to make a separate pamphlet for adventure seekers with activities like rappelling, trekking, archery and more. If you’re someone that wants to try the Ayurvedic massage, that’s there too or you could just click photos and go with the flow a no activity schedule.
A hill station that actually has a Zoo inside a Van Vihar park, that was a first off for someone like me. Even though it passes off as a park, this zoo has a 150-year-old Eucalyptus tree till date and is home to birds and animals like deer, rabbits, ostriches, lovebirds, and too many monkeys, there is also a crocodile park and the crocs fraternity is always having a slumber party under the sun.
Next up is towards the slope rocks which is called the Gali banda (windy rocks) a scenic place where one can while away their time, this place does do justice to the whiskey on rocks bit, but since I don’t drink, I’m going to call it Maggie on the rocks. You can take a book and spends hours either early morning or late evening.
The other landmark called the whistling woods which is behind the governers bungalow is a scenic spot, it’s called the highest summit where one can look at the flora and fauna even though you’ll have to take the winding staircase that will make you huff while you reach the spot.
The only spot we missed out was a Gangotri lake that collects rainwater during the rainy season.
Early mornings are cold and misty, the weather is quite pleasant in the afternoon; it’s the only late evening that as the temperature drops night becomes cold.
So if you’re someone that’s looking for a retreat setting, this hill is the perfect place to be with the weather acting like that of Ooty and places that you can cover by a walk or so.
Those looking for an adventure can cover this place in a day and head outwards or opt for the activities provided by the state tourism board.