Nandi Hills is unique in many ways. Home to South India’s only cloud forest, this region has made it possible for thousands of birds and butterflies, over 100 varieties of plants, trees and creepers and other indigenous life forms to coexist and thrive. Nandi Hills also has a rich, captivating history; untouched hiking and adventurous trails; and a proud community – all of which are waiting to be in the spotlight.
Following the awareness we strive to create through Nandi Habba, United Way of Bengaluru will launch a 3-year initiative to restore the heritage and ecology of Nandi Hills, bring back livelihood opportunities to the locals and also enhance the experience for tourists visiting Nandi Hills. The Nandi Hills Heritage Restoration (NHHR) project will comprise of five initiatives.
Restoring Nandi Heritage Site
UWBe, in partnership with Government of Karnataka and Tourism Department, plans to identify places in Nandi Hills that are of cultural, historical, environmental and ecological importance. Further, UWBe will liaise with agencies to place heritage tags on various monuments and sights, map-out heritage and historical trails, with special emphasis on preserving and promoting ‘Tipu Steps’ and the surrounding areas.
Reviving local ecology
Nandi Hills’ cloud forest is one of the most fascinating ecological phenomena in South India. Hundreds of different species migrate to the Nandi Hills every year and UWBe strives to preserve and enhance their habitats for decades to come. The organisation will select native and symbiotic species of plants and trees and conduct plantation drives in pre-identified areas, away from the grasslands around the hills. Information centres, pocket books and display boards will also be developed for the convenience of tourists during the course of this initiative.
Creating sustainable livelihood
Creating a sustainable livelihood for residents of Nandi Hills is a vital component of the NHHR project. UWBe in partnership with organisations with the expertise to train will strive to empower locals as Karnataka Tourism certified heritage experts, naturalists, tour-guides, educators etc. so they can support themselves and their family without needing to migrate to other cities.
Rejuvenating water body
Nandi Hills used to be the point of origin for a number of prominent rivers of South India. But climate change and rapid urbanisation in surrounding areas has caused these sources to dry up and die out. UWBe has championed the cause of rejuvenating lakes in Bengaluru through Wake the Lake initiative. With continued efforts, UWBe has not only impacted 16 lakes, but also revived the flora and fauna in regions surrounding the lake. With the accumulated experience and expertise, UWBe will now attempt to rejuvenate water bodies in and around Nandi Hills and restore ecological balance.
Managing solid waste
The Nandi Hills community currently consists of 1286 households with over 6000 residents. But the community’s waste management system is far from ideal. UWBe plans to conduct community sensitisation drives and implement a decentralised solid and liquid waste management system to effectively manage the waste being generated within in the community and in the Nandi heritage sites.