A district with multiple hill stations is a sign that God exists and Chikmagalur proves that beyond a splinter of doubt. Located at the very beginning of the Western Ghats, Chikmagalur translates as the younger daughters town with the legend going on about how the town was the dowry given by Chief Rukmagandas during his youngest daughters marriage. But history aside, Chikmagalur has loads to offer the wide-eyed traveller who loves nature. So if youre one of those gentlemen (or women), then keep reading, for heres our attempt at unravelling Chikmagalur.
How to reach
The distance to be traversed from Bangalore to Chikmagalur is 245 km and there are frequent KSRTC buses from Majestic Bus Terminal that leave every hour or so in the evening. The average cost of a ticket is pegged at around Rs 350 and one can cheaper/more luxurious options for Rs 250/Rs 500, respectively.
If youre travelling by train, you can take a direct train (Train number 56278) from Yashwantpur Junction to reach Chikmagalur. Other options include taking trains from Bangalore city to Kadur/Birur, each of which are around 40 km from Chikmagalur. The train fare is Rs 200 with the general compartment tickets being priced as low as Rs 50.
Image by Vinodtiwari2608/CC BY-SA 4.0
Chikmagalur is located 1090 metres above sea level.
Due to the altitude, Chikmagalurs weather remains pleasantly cool throughout the year and rarely breaches the 30 degree barrier. The average annual temperature is pegged at around 21 degree Celsius with winter temperatures hovering around the 10 degree mark. The best time to visit Chikmagalur will be between October and March, when the climates cool and breezy.
Places to visit
When it comes to sightseeing, Chikmagalur has tons of tourist places for everyone-be it an enthusiastic youth who wants to trek or an old couple on a pilgrimage, Chikmagalur has got your back big time. Heres where you should be once you reach Chikmagalur.
Image by Srinivasa83/CC BY-SA 3.0
Hills and hill stations
Kemmanagundi: The biggest draw in terms of footfall, Kemmanagundi is a hill station located near Chikmagalur that is downright gorgeous. The hill station is known to host Raj Bhavan, the summer palace of Krishnaraja Wodeyar and is known for its waterfalls, meadows and lush gardens. To know more, about the place read the NearFox guide.
Kudremukh: A less popular hill station when compared to Kemmanagundi, Kudremukh is ideal for those who prefer to take solitary vacations away from the maddening crowds and popular touristy hotspots. A little far off from the town centre (about 93 km) but totally worth the trip.
Baba Budangiri: A hill with a shrine dedicated to Saint Baba Budan, the Baba Budangiri is one of the tallest peaks in Karnataka at 1930 metres. The shrine is a popular pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Muslims where they continue to pay homage to the Fakir. Also known as the Dattagiri Hill range.
Mullayanagiri: The highest peak in Karnataka at 1930 metres, Mullayanagiri is known for its trekking trails and options for mountain biking.
Image by Srinivasa83/CC BY-SA 3.0
Manikyadhara Falls: Located approximately 40 km from Chikmagalur, this is located near the Baba Budangiri hill range and is a holy spot for both Hindus and Muslims.
Hebbe Falls: A waterfall that is believed to have medicinal and healing properties, Hebbe Falls are also one of the tallest in Karnataka at 168 metres.
Shanti Falls: A smaller waterfall, this ones ideal for couples on a romantic break as the area near the water fall resembles a hidden cove.
Kalhatti Falls: Located near Kemmanagundi, Kalhatti Hills is visited by scores of families while visiting the nearby Veerabhadreshwara Temple. The site offers a great view of the Chandra Drona hills.
Bhadra Wildlife Santuary: If youre a wilderness explorer like that kid from the animated gem Up, then Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is the place for you. A Project Tiger Reserve, the sanctuary is abundant in both flora and fauna and is a great place to spot Gaurs, Chital, Elephants and leopards.
Coffee plantations: Chikmagalur is known as the coffee town of Karnataka due to the sheer number of coffee plantations located inside the district. The areas near Baba Budangiri especially have a large number of plantations and private tours of the area are often the best way of exploring them.
Sringeri: A serene pilgrim spot that resides on the banks of the Tunga river, Sringeri is a photographers paradise as it gives the delightful combination of architecture (with the 12 zodiac pillars in the Vidya Shankara temple) and nature (the lush coconut trees lining the verdant banks of the river).
Things to do in Chikmagalur
We know the obvious answer to this would be sightseeing as that is the purpose of every journey we undertake. But there are several real activities that one can undertake whilst at the place. They are as follows:
Trekking: With spots like Z-point and Mullayanagiri, which are covered in craggy paths and curvy roads, its hardly a surprise that Trekking is the activity to indulge in when youre in Chikmagalur. A single trekking trip costs around Rs 1000 per person and there are tons of local organisers catering to the adventurers.
Wildlife Safari: A safari at the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary should be high on every tourists list as the sanctuary is one of the best protected areas to experience a day safari due to its well laid down paths and enviable fauna.
Visit the religious shrines: You may not be a believer but a visit to the many shrines and temples in Chikmagalur will make you a believer in the beauty of the ancient. The stone carved temples located in quaint, untouched locations are a sight to behold and will please even the most hardcore cynic.
River Rafting: Though still in its nascent stage, river rafting is an emerging activity in Chikmagalur and with the many rivers offering Grade 2 and Grade 3 rapids during monsoon. The rates too are nominal with a packages costing around Rs 2500-3000.
Hotels, home stays and resorts
Few can complain about Chikmagalur when it comes to accommodation as the town is filled with options for the weary travellers. We have managed to list down a few.
Budget hotels and resorts
Hotel SK Regency: Rs 1500 per night
Rest Inn: Rs 1400 per night
Tex Woods: Rs 3500 per night
The Planters Court: Rs 2400 per night
Crystal Inn: Rs 2900 per night
Ozone Valley: Rs 1400 per night
Image by Pixabay
Luxury hotels and resorts
The Serai: Rs 24000 per night
Taj Gateway Hotel: Rs 8000 per night
Silent Valley Resort: Rs 4500 per night
Thotadhahalii Homestay: Rs 7000 per night
Avathi Homestay: Rs 2500 per night
Mekhanagadde Homestay: Rs 2000 per night
Chikmagalur Plantation Bungalow: Rs 4000 per night
Keremakki Homestay: Rs 2500 per night
Koffeewoods Homestay: Rs 4000 per night
Forest Homestay: Rs 4000 per night
So when lifes playing chiggy-wiggy with your routine, then head Chikmagalur!
The main image for this article has been sourced from Wikimedia. Image by Vinodtiwari2608/CC BY-SA 4.0