Chikmagalur often referred to as the coffee land of Karnataka, is a hill station located in the South West of India. The hill station has rolling hills, valleys, and mountain ranges ideal for trekking, sprawling coffee plantations and tiny creeks and gushing waterfalls. If you're planning a trip to Chikmagalur and wondering what to see, below is a list of places to visit.
Baba Budangiri Hills
Baba Budangiri is a mountain range located in the Western Ghats and is a popular tourist destination and trekking trail in Karnataka. The crescent moon-shaped hill is also known for its sprawling coffee plantations and the rare Neel Kurinji flowers, which bloom once every 12 years. While here, pay your respects at the shrine of Sufi saint Baba Bundan, who is believed to be the first person to introduce coffee to the country.
Luxury Hotels to Stay in Chikmagalur On StayEatSee
Mullayanagiri, which stands at 6317 feet, is Karnataka's highest peak and a popular trekking destination. It is a steep trek located in the Chandra Drona hill range of the Western Ghats with small streams, creeks, and a cave hidden among the greenery. On reaching the hilltop, there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, where you can meditate.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
The tiger reserve is surrounded by Mullayanagiri, Hebbe Giri and Bababudangiri hills and
has a diverse range of flora and fauna making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. In addition to thirty-plus tigers, the forest is also home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Additionally, you can also see the largest teak tree in the state. Book a jeep safari to witness the forest patch at its best.
The peak is named after the shape of a horse's face (“Kudre” translates to a horse, while “Mukha” means face in the local language). The hills overlook the Arabian Sea and are believed to have served as a landmark for sailors on the western coast for over 2000 years and are yet another trekker's paradise. The peak is best visited after the monsoons when the lush greens are in full bloom and the streams are gurgling with water.
Hebbe Falls is located 65 kilometres from Chikmagalur in a coffee estate. The water gushes in two stages, Dodda Hebbe (big falls) and Chikka Hebbe (small falls). Take the beautiful hike down to the falls if you're up for it; if not, you can also reserve a forest jeep to get there. Avoid going during the monsoon season due to the large number of leeches, slippery stones, and torrential rain.
Bhadra Dam is 75 kilometres from Chikmagalur and is built on the River Bhadra, a tributary of the Tungabhadra. The dam has four gates with water gushing out of them. It is best visited in the evening for the stunning sunset view. The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhadra Reservoir are located near the dam, and one can plan an itinerary that includes all three.
Also known as the buttermilk falls, Jhari Waterfalls is tucked away in a dense forest and coffee plantation. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions located 24 kilometres from Chikmagalur and is situated close to the Mullayanagiri and Baba Bundangiri hills. It flows at multiple levels, resulting in a natural pool-like formation at the bottom, ideal for laying back and relaxing.
Kallathigiri falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the coffee town. It cascades down the Chandra Drona Hills from a height of 400 feet. The Veerabhadra temple, a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in the heart of the waterfalls, surrounded by lush greenery, including cardamom trees and several shrubs. Two trails lead down to the falls: one directly leads to the falls while the other takes you through a coffee plantation.
Whether you're a coffee connoisseur or simply enjoy the beverage, the Coffee Museum should be on your list of must-see places in Chikmagalur. The museum is located in Dasarahalli, close to the city centre. Learn the history as well as the technical aspects from harvesting coffee to roasting, grinding, and tasting the beans. You can read through the coffee encyclopaedia or watch engaging documentaries at the museum.
Chikmagalur has a scenic manmade lake in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri Hills, in addition to numerous waterfalls and peaks. The lake was originally built as a source of drinking water for the charming town but has since evolved into a tourist destination for those who want to see the beautiful lake surrounded by forests and hills. Visit the lake in the evening to catch a glimpse of the sunset.
The hill station, which translates to "red soil pit" in the local dialect, is located 1434 metres above sea level. Maharaja Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV (the 24th Maharaja of Mysore) was so taken with the surrounding Baba Bundan Hills that he decided to make Kemmangundi his summer retreat. Beautiful gardens with views of the mountains and valleys surround this land of red soil.
Sri Veeranarayana Swamy Temple
A little further from Chikmagalur at a distance of 29 kilometres is the little village of Belavadi, known for the Veeranarayana Temple. This 13th-century temple built in the Trikuta style of architecture is spacious, surrounded by expansive lawns. While Sri Veeranarayana is the main deity here, the temple also houses idols of Yoga Narasimha and Kolalu Gopala. The unique Hoysala monument is visited by history buffs as well as other tourists.
Sringeri Sharada Peetham
The 8th-century Sringeri Mutt was built by Sri Adi Shankaracharya and is a prominent historic destination. Goddess Sharadamba, an incarnation of goddess Saraswati is the main deity here, with the idol made of gold. The temple features a Dravidian style of architecture with wooden and stone work all around.
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
If you're a fan of history, then visiting Ballalarayana Fort should be on top of your list. The now-isolated and ruined fort was built by the Hoysalas renowned for being patrons of art and architecture. The fort is nestled in a dense forest 1509 metres above sea level overlooking the town of Sunkasale. On your way, you will also find a Kalabyraveshwara temple located beneath the fort.
Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
The temple is tucked away among forests and valleys on the banks of the Bhadra River. The gopuram stands tall with sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses, and the ceilings are embellished with intricate carvings. The shrine is dedicated to the food goddess Annapoorna, and all visitors, regardless of creed or caste, are served meals at the temple.
Z Point is at a height of 1500 metres above sea level and is just 5 kilometres from Kemmanagundi. It is yet another trekking destination surrounded by deep valleys and steep hills with small waterfalls in between. It is an easy one-hour trek suited for beginners and one can also choose to camp here.
Images are sourced from Chikmagalur Tourism website