Travel to the Hill Station of Chikmagalur in South India with us ! 🙂
Distance from Bengaluru to Chikmagalur is 243kms and takes around 5 hours to cover by road. Distance from Belur-Halebidu to Chikmagalur is 25kms and can be covered in an hour.
Interesting Facts :
[ Chikmagalur literally means The Land of the Younger Daughter. It is said to have been given as a dowry to the youngest daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna.
Chikmagalur is a hill station in Karnataka, a state in southwest India. Chikmagalur is famous for its serene environment, lush green forests and tall mountains. Baba Budangiri, Mullayanagiri, Hebbe Falls, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Kemmanagundi are among the must visit places while in Chikmagalur ]
DAY# 1 : Back to the trip ! We reached Chikmagalur late afternoon . After experiencing sunny weather throughout the journey , we were looking forward to enjoy the chilly hill station weather !
After resting for a while and spending sometime with our family in Chikmagalur city, we left to visit Rathnagiri Bore.
Fun Facts –
[ Rathnagiri Bore also called Mahatma Gandhi Park in chikmagalur has turned as a star of attraction to the local people as well as tourists for evening outgoings and weekend holidays.
This nature park was previously an open mini-forest which was later converted to beautiful garden, designed with pavements and lawns with a site of iconic Mullayanagiri hillock in the backdrop. The park has a wide collection of colourful flowers and ornamental plants. Among other attractions of the park are the lotus pond, Nehru Rose Garden, green house, and a children-cross bridge. ]
It has a kilometre long fun toy train ride for children as well as adults around the hill ! A must try for all , specially around sunset. It has the Darjeeling train ride feel to it .
After enjoying the sunset there we headed to the market to pick up spices and filter coffee powder and headed back home.
TRAVEL TIP : Visit Rathnagiri Bore atleast an hour before sunset to be able to enjoy the place properly. Also, when in Chikmagalur do pick up spices and coffee ! 🙂
DAY# 2 :
After enjoying the hearty breakfast of neer dosa, sheera, ghee roast eggs, mangalore buns & dahi poori so lovingly prepared by our aunt we left.
Next we were headed towards Nature Nirvana Homestay, Bynekhan Estate, Attigundi.
Having spent around 12,000/- for a 2 day stay @ Nature Nirvana (a bit on the expensive side for a homestay) we were looking forward to living in luxury.
TRAVEL TIP : You will get lots of budget homestays which are not situated in coffee estates.
On our way we passed Kaimara and headed towards Attigundi. Soon we were welcomed by coffee plantations on both sides.
Few kilometres ahead we could view the hilly ranges ahead. What a spectacular contrast it was ! The hilly range on the right were covered with plants & trees , while the hills on the left seemed naked , sparsely covered with shrubs.
Although we stopped several times to try to capture this beauty, the snaps were just no comparison to reality ! So after a few tries we finally gave up & proceeded.
Soon we reached the entrance to the coffee estate. The homestay was located around 7 kms inside the estate providing extreme seclusion.
Since Attigundi is at a high elevation I was a bit dejected as the 7km diversion from the main road was one of continuous decent. We took almost 30 minutes to cover the 7kms ! This road was meant for SUV’S & Jeeps ! Thankful that our Hyundai I20 has highground clearance we moved ahead.
Finally we reached the homestay ! We were welcomed by the site of 3 adorable little dogs running towards us, greeting us as if they have known us forever ! A sight etched into my mind for years to come.
My first sighting of cherry red, ready to pluck coffee seeds got me super excited ! Simply a beautiful sight to see ! I plucked few of those gorgeous seeds & leaves to take back as souvenirs.
Nature Nirvana is at a distance of 34kms from Chikmagalur, but the drive took us 2 hours to reach ! The coffee estate is being run by the owners since 1970. The accommodation was quite basic for the price we were charged which i was not happy about .
The estate has hills, lake & a small waterfall, something that is common amongst all coffee plantations. Enjoying the clean, fresh, pollution free air we set out to explore the estate.
Our guides were the 2 adorable super excited dogs who were enjoying showing us the way around , patiently waiting like bodyguards while we took in the view around us.
Being dog lovers we loved the attention we were being given by these cute little furry animals .
After visiting the small lake in the estate we went on to look for the mini waterfall. The soothing sound of the water running down the stream all the way to the waterfall and beyond, can be heard all around the estate .
Enjoying the view of the water gushing down the fall and after taking a few snaps we moved on to find the sunset point. Failing to find the sunset point and as the sun was setting already, finding the best spot we could we took in the moment.
At 5:50pm the sun started setting into the hills. Fascinated by the myriad of colours filling the sky . Within minutes the magnificent orange globe of light changed to red as it disappeared.
We then headed back to the homestay to enjoy coffee made from beans grown at the same estate with a plate of bhajiyas, sat enjoying the chilly weather. Ah Bliss !!
As it grew dark we could get a clear sighting of the stars & the halfmoon. What a view ! My husband decided to try a shot at capturing this scene and set out with his Nikkon & Tripod . While I decided to enjoy the beautiful chilly weather with a walk accompanied by me new bestie Browny !! 🙂
Woke up to the sound of gushing water and birds chirping . ! If only every morning was this chilly and the air this fresh !!
The view of the sun, light falling on the hill range makes the moment seem magical.
Dewy plants around us, the ground wet from the mist, even our car was covered with dew ! Such a refreshing site for a city dweller !
I couldn’t help but hope that my generations to come would get to enjoy nature like this!
Hope that our world will be preserved & protected for the future generations. .
We left for Baba Budangiri. The harsh winter heat scorching our skin with all it’s glory.
Fun Facts –
[ 36 km from Chikmagalur, Baba Budangiri (also known as Dattagiri & Chandra Drona Parvatha) is a mountain in the Baba Budan range with 3 large caves said to be holy.. At an altitude of 1895 m, this is one of the top places for trekking in Karnataka .
Trails through forests and grasslands lead up to Mullayanagiri Peak.The best time to visit Baba Budhangiri is from September to Early March. Road access is also available till Budangiri peak.
Baba Budangiri is named after the Muslim saint, Baba Budan who used to reside here.
This place is also important for Hindus as Dattatreya Peetha. A cave here is believed to have been the residence of Sri Dattatreya Swamy. An annual Jatra or Urs, which is held for three days after the Holi Festival according to Hindu calendar, is attended by both Hindus and Muslims.
Timings to enter are 8 AM – 5 PM .
The main peaks in this range are the Mullyanagiri and Baba Budangiri. Collectively, these peaks are known as Chandra Drona Mountain Range as they naturally form the shape of a crescent moon. Mullayanagiri (20 km from Chikmagalur, on the way to Baba Budangiri) is the highest peak in Baba Budangiri Range with an altitude of 1950 meters (the tallest peak in Karnataka). ]
The ascent was narrow with hairpin bends but it was the scenery that took our breath away ! Watching the hilly range covered mostly with grass & shrubs we proceeded. The folds created in these hills over the years give these hills an awe inspiring beauty !
On our way we saw a small lake amidst the many hills on top, very unlike what i was imaging Baba Budangiri to be. There was a huge cellphone tower on one of the hills but absolutely no network on our phones ! Staying there our biggest problem was no network coverage.
It was December end when we visited Chikmagalur, coincidently we were there during the 3 days the annual Jatra takes place. Due to the security and the crowd we decided to not visit the holy caves.
We then headed towards the Manikya Dhara Falls.
Fun Facts –
[ At a distance of 7 km from Baba Budangiri Dattatreya Peetha, 36 km from Kemmangundi & 29 km from Chikmagalur, Manikya Dhara Falls is situated in the dense forest of Baba Budangiri hills in Western Ghats of India. It is another popular attraction not to miss in a Chikmagalur
With a height of about 30 feet, the waterfall is situated midst dense Forest offering great views of Baba Budangiri Hills. Locally known as Nellikayi Theertha, this waterfall is considered as a holy site by Hindus as well as Muslims. Manikya Dhara, which literally means a string of pearls, is the ideal site for people looking for a peaceful and scenic atmosphere. According to the legend, saint Baba Budan along with his 4 disciples came to the site in search of water. After their prayers, they were blessed with water flowing from the mountains in the form of this waterfall.
People believe that bathing in this fall can cure various ailments. It is one of the main attractions of Baba Budangiri Hill. There are several shops around the fall that sell herbal medicines. The specialty of the fall is that it does not get drained during the summer ]
The topography here was very different from that of Baba Budangiri. There were flat farmlands and some hills at a distant. The waterfall actually looked like a string of pearls with the sunrays falling on it. There were numerous people standing below it, enjoying getting drenched.
Before leaving we caught a glimpse of a temple at the tip of a hill at some distance , since we were short on time we did not get to explore it.
Heading down we spotted a connecting hill which seemed isolated & decided to do a mini trek of our own. Managing to get some lovely pics we headed towards Mullyanagiri.
Mullyanagiri is at a distance of 20 kms from Baba Budangiri. It is the highest peak in this range with an altitude of 1950 meters.
Fun Facts –
[ Regarded as the highest peak between Himalayas and Nilgiris, Mullayanagiri is one of the best treks in Karnataka and among the top trekking places to visit in Chikmagalur. It is also one of the top attractions you must include in Chikmagalur.
The peak gets its name from a small temple at the summit, which is dedicated to a Tapasvi Mullappa swamy, who is believed to have meditated at the cave near the summit. For adventure enthusiasts, the location offers an opportunity to engage in activities like mountain biking, trekking and road biking. Being the highest peak in Karnataka, it offers some very interesting trails. The trek route to the peak begins from Sarpadaari, which is connected with Chikmagalur by road. This is 3 km long moderate level trek which is fairly steep and takes about 1.5 hrs to reach the peak. Direct road access is also available closer to the peak which needs less than 1 km trek and take about 20-30 mins.
The valley views from the top of Mullyanagiri are breathtaking. The landmarks on the trek path are a small stream, a Nandi statue and a cave with a small water source inside. The Sunset presents a spectacular view from the peak. ]
The steep narrow road upwards is in a bad state, filled with huge potholes and is definitely not safe for cars with low ground clearance and less horsepower! The higher you go the more scarier the route gets due to the steep slope and bad road conditions.
And the fact that there are no railings along the sides makes it really dangerous. At one point I even thought we were gonna fall of the cliff !! Once you ascend, due to the narrow slope it is not possible to turn back halfway so Beware !
TRAVEL TIP : Do not attempt going to Mullyanagiri without an SUV ! Also you need to have real good driving skills for the ascend here !
Struggling to get to the top after ending up burning the car tyres at the dangerous curves, hoping the risks were worth the view, we finally breathed a sigh of relief !
The view from the top was more impressive than the one from Baba Budangiri. To reach the top of Mullyanagiri one has to climb alooot of steps.
As we had done enough trekking for the day we decided against it. The view from where we were standing was spectacular enough. So we found a nice isolated cliff to go sit & enjoy the view from.
The glorious view of sunrays falling on the hills & the valley below was a one of a kind experience !
Taking in this beautiful moment we sat longer, unwilling to leave. The need to navigate the risky descend before sunset , made us get back in the car. Soon we had put the nerve wrecking descent behind us. It was time for sunset already ! Finding a good spot by the road we stopped to enjoy the sunset . Happy with all we had achieved to do in the day, we went to sleep listening to crickets chirping and water rushing down the stream.
TRAVEL TIP : If staying in Chikmagalur make sure to stay in homestays which are not situated deep in coffee estates if you do not want to have to spend 20-30 mins just getting outside & inside the estate. Something which we found to be extremely inconvenient especially without an SUV.
DAY #4 :
Leaving the estate early next morning we were able to reach Chikmagalur city by 8am as the way back from Attigundi to the city was literally traffic free! After refuelling we headed towards Sringeri . And thats a story for the next post !