Don’t you simply love the aroma of fresh brewing coffee? Now, imagine that aroma all around in the air perpetually. No, it isn’t a fantasy world but India’s very own coffee land Chikmagalur- the coffee capital of India.
A tiny town in Karnataka, Chikmagalur, besides producing almost all the Indian coffee you have had in your lifetime, is also famous for being a quaint getaway for busy city folks. However, don’t mistake it to be a sleepy town as there is a lot you can do here. Taking a walk in the coffee plantations and being content all the time seems to be the favorite pastime of travelers visiting Chikmagalur. If you need something more adventurous, how about hiking to the highest peak in Karnataka? Or enjoy a waterfall in the wilderness?
Whatever you do in Chikmagalur, you are bound to fall in love with nature all over again. If you are planning to visit this coffee-heaven, these are the experience you must take-
The Mullayanagiri Trek-
Standing tall at 1930 Metres, Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka. It is, without a doubt, the best place to view a sunrise from. It is a part of the famous Bababudangiri Range, 25 Km away from Chikmagalur.
The peak is almost always covered with clouds and surrounded by a chilly breeze. Travelers can take their vehicles very near to the peak and then climb close to a 100 steps to reach the peak. All the effort seems worth when one reaches the top.
There is nothing all around other than mist and you literally feel at the top of the world!
The Kalhatti falls are located around 50 Km from the main city of Chikmagalur. Like a lot of destinations in India, this waterfall has its place in myths and legends as it said a renowned sage prayed here for a long time and the water flowing here has healing powers of its own. That’s why it has a temple built right next to it.
You can climb the slippery rocks leading to the waterfall to enjoy the cool, cascading water and enjoy the wilderness around.
Baba Budangiri hills-
Capable of mesmerizing even the seasoned travelers with their beauty, Bababudangiri hills are the not-to-be-missed-at-any-cost destination near Chikmagalur. The best time to visit is from September to March. The beautiful grasslands on these hills will make you want to build a little hut for yourself and stay here forever!
The most interesting fact about them is that India’s first coffee plantation was established on the slopes of Bababudangiri hills.
Bababudangiri Datta Pet-
There are three large caves, said to have been sanctified by three Siddhas contain their tombs and an annual Jatra is held in their honor. The enthralling scenery around makes this a frequently visited pilgrim centers. This holy place is worshipped by both Hindus and Muslims. A beacon is lighted here during Diwali that can be seen at Chikmagalur.
Fun fact: The peak gets its name from the Muslim saint Baba-Budan, who resided here for a long period of time.
Jhari or Buttermilk Waterfalls-
When they say that the treasure is at the end of the tunnel, they’re right. Jhari falls is that one treasure you’ll be glad you found. The only way to reach the magnanimous waterfall is by a rented jeep.
Halfway on your drive (which itself is quite adventurous with the narrow path along with steep slopes and no proper roads), you will hear the sound of heavy water falling down, getting you excited to see the mighty falls.
Passing the trees and dead trunks you will stand in front of Jhari falls which is one of the prettiest waterfalls. The water splashes on the ground from an impressing height. While admiring the magnanimity of the falls, I realized that a rainbow had formed which looked pretty mesmerizing.
Situated amidst the huge mountain ranges covered in green with the lake in the backdrop, Hirekolale Lake has been able to gain a lot of prominence in becoming the favorite spot for travelers.
The beauty of the lake enhances when visited during sunset as the saffron color of the sunrays gets reflected thereby making the place appear magical. This exquisite manmade lake is situated at a distance of 10 km from Chikmagalur and 50 km from Kemmangundi from where one can view the popular hills of Mullayanagiri.
The sole purpose of the development of this lake was to supply water to the town of Chikmagalur and assist in the irrigation of lands in all the villages situated nearby.
A drive to the Hirekolale Lake is mind-stirring with a perfect picture postcard setting. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains in the Western Ghats thereby making it a breathtaking destination. The place also provides an ideal setting for the photography lovers who wish to add a pleasant sun shot to their big album of travels. This man-made lake is a stunning delight for every tourist in Chikmagalur and should not be missed out on if at all you are planning a trip to the town. The Hirekolale Lake is going to provide you with a perfect getaway to unwind away from the busy life of the city.
This hill station is located in the Tarikere Taluk. The hill station is situated at an elevation of about 1400 meters. Also known as the Sri Krishnarajendra Hill Station, Kemmangundi was frequented by kings as a summer retreat center.
He wished to build a resort in Chikmagalur. He then handed over this resort to the Government of Karnataka. In fact, it was donated to the government as an act of generosity. The Department of Horticulture now oversees and maintains this place.
Given this fact, Kemmangundi is a beautiful and outstanding hill station. The gardens laid out in this region are landscaped to perfection. Surrounding Kemmangundi are magnificent mountains, hills, and valleys. The scenic beauty on offer is spectacular. You cannot ask for anything better.
There is a guest house named Raj Bhavan in the vicinity. A must-visit attraction is the Rose Garden. The Raj Bhavan is used by visitors to experience beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The view of this magnificent routine of nature is best observed from here.
Another interesting place of visit is the Z point. Being a vantage point, you need to trudge upon an inclined plane for close to an hour to get here. This is yet another place to view the sunrise and sunset and is the extreme tip of the Kemmanagundi Hill region.
- The best way to reach Chikmagalur is by an overnight KSRTC Volvo bus which might cost around INR 500-550.
- Renting a taxi is the best possible way to explore in and around Chikmagalur since a few spots are as far as 60 km. A taxi would cost around INR 2000-2500 for a day.
- Have a benne masala dosa (butter masala dosa) and filter coffee at the famous Town Canteen for only Rs.63. Wander around the town and see the mountains everywhere you go, just like people say they see the Eiffel tower wherever they go to Paris.
- Enjoy the relaxed stay at Zostel which is literally surrounded by dense jungle all around it and enjoy evening bonfire with Maggi and your cup of coffee in the chilling weather of the coffee land.
- I stayed in an 8-bed mixed dorm which costs as low as INR 399 per night but this was one of the best stays.
- Have a quick meal at the beautiful Sirri Cafe.
Till then- KEEP TRAVELING. KEEP WANDERING.