Chikmagalur is a beautiful district situated on the western part of Karnataka. It is mostly popular for its coffee plantations and a pleasant climate. Another renowned attraction that Chikmagalur is known for is its Bababudan Giri ranges. Though it was among the underexplored destinations, the hill station thanks to its picturesque landscapes and greenery has earned a lot of attention from tourists across. The literal meaning of Chikmagalur is ‘Land of the younger daughter.’
There is a rich history attached to how Chikmagalur got its name. It is said that years ago the land of this district was given as a dowry to the younger daughter of a legendary chief who ruled Sakrepatna- Rukmangada. And that is how it was named. Chikmagalur as rugged terrains, stunning mountain regions and also has lowlands. Because it is situated amidst beautiful landscapes and untouched environs, this is one destination that you must explore. There is also a local belief that coffee was first made in Chikmagalur. Ask the locals here and they will tell you that Babu Budan who was a Muslim saint brought the coffee seeds in 1670 from Yemen and cultivated them here. And from there on the plantations just grew and the British also played a big role in the growth. You will also find the Central Coffee Research Institution here.
Apart from all this, the waterfalls of this region also have attracted travelers. There are many waterfalls located in this district like the famous Hebbe falls, Shanti waterfalls and several others. Chikmagalur is a birth place to many renowned freedom fighters, intellectuals and also poets and politicians. In fact, even Indira Gandhi once represented Chikmagalur in the Indian Parliament.
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Sightseeing spots in Chikmagalur:
One of the most serene and picturesque destinations of the state, Chikmagalur should definitely be on your to visit list. Situated at a height of 3400 feet, this hill station will never cease to impress you. Once a melting pot of different cultures, even today Chikmagalur has always welcomed different faiths. There are many places and attractions in Chikmagalur that you must visit. These are some of the best and the most renowned sightseeing spots in this beautiful district that you must not miss on.
Mullayanagiri is one of the best attractions in Chikmagalur. The highest peak in Karnataka, it stands tall at 2000 meters. This place is a favorite among many trekkers since it has some really challenging and scenic trekking trails. For those who do not really prefer adventure activities, they can also consider doing nature walks. At the top of the peak you will also see a beautiful temple that has been built in dedication to Shiva. Many devotees out of sheer dedication and faith trek their way up to this temple. It is located approximately 12 km from Chikmagalur and trust when we say it is going to be one the best experience when you visit this beautiful hill station. The stunning hills with cool breeze gift you with a pleasant feeling. You will find numerous points here that offer breathtaking views.
The best time to trek on this mountain is during spring since summers are unbearably hot. During monsoon, this region receives moderate to heavy rainfall and hence trekking during this season is also not advisable for the risk factor increases. The heavy downpour is risky and you obviously do not want to trek risking your own safety. During spring, the climate is favorable and the whole trekking experience turns out to be one of the best.
The Baba Budangiri mountain range is another great attraction in this quaint district. Away from all the city madness and chaos, you must visit the Baba Budangiri range that is also known as the Chandra Drona Parvatha for some much needed relaxation and peace. This magnificent mountain is known for the shrine that was built for Sufi saint Hazrat Dada Hayat Khalandar. The interesting part about this shrine is that it is meant for both Hindus and Muslims. One of the most prominent attractions, you will also find three different caves here where three siddhas were buried. Every year they host a festival in these caves. So whenever you plan to explore the Baba Budangiri range you must definitely explore these stunning caves. More than the history, these ranges and caves are scenic and intriguing. It is no wonder why people in large numbers frequent this place.
Apart from these attractions Chikmagalur is also known to have many waterfalls. From all the scenic waterfalls, there are some that we listed down for you to know and explore. One such waterfall is the Kalhatti falls where even if you go alone you would still have fun since nature will keep you company. The water cascading from a height of 400 feet above is a sight to behold. What make this waterfall really scenic are also the surroundings. The Drona Hill makes covers most part of the surrounding area and you will also find a scenic and small Temple nearby that was built for Shiva. Waterfalls are a sight that most nature lovers will love. Dense foliage and lush greenery, this waterfall must be explored. This waterfall also has ample options and routes for trekking. A walk through the forest is indeed very exciting. Many people have come here in the past to camp in the surrounding area as well. Once you reach the top, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the eater falling down in all its force.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bhadra wildlife sanctuary is a Project Tiger reserve that is situated on the northwest of Chikmagalur. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions that are home to diverse flora and fauna. People who visit the sanctuary come here for a day outing. This sanctuary has an estimated 33 tigers, apart from which you will also find leopards, chitals, sambhars and also wild boars among several other animals. If you are planning to visit the Bhadra sanctuary, visit only between 6.30 am and 8.30 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm. This is the only time when the sanctuary is open.
You can book a vehicle for Rs 350 and if you want to capture the beautiful sights, you will also have to pay Rs 150 for your video camera.
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Another great attraction is the Manikyadhara falls that are also another most visited attraction. This waterfall is an ideal place to visit with family and friends. The Manikyadhara waterfalls also have thrilling trekking trails. Located in Shola Forest, the views of the water cascading is something that you must visit. And the best part about his waterfall is that you can view the falls at any time of the year. With so much greenery around and untouched surroundings, you are sure have the time of your life here. It will definitely leave a lasting impression. There is an interesting legend about the Manikyadhara Waterfalls and that is once a Sufi saint named Hazrat Dada Hayath Khalandar had visited this region. He was accompanied by four disciples and this group was in search of water. However, they couldn’t find water for a long time when they prayed to God for help. Miraculously, their prayers were heard and a waterfall cascaded.
And this is why the waterfall is considered holy by so many people. People who visit here, especially the believers often offer their prayers to this saint. As per locals, it is also believed that taking a dip in these waters will give yo relaxation since it is said to have therapeutic powers. Another really interesting part about this waterfall is that the water remains cold all through the year, even in summers. If you love bathing in cold waters on a summer day, you must visit the waterfall during this season. It will feel rejuvenating. The Mainkyadhara fall is also visited by Muslims since they consider this place to be holy. In fact, many Muslim devotees also leave any piece of their garment after taking a shower. It is said that by offering a piece of their clothing will help them get all their wishes fulfilled. Unmarried girls do so to find suitable grooms. Now you know why the Manikyadhara waterfall is one of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur. The falls are a must visit whenever you plan to visit Chikmagalur. Apart from the scenic location and breathtaking views, the historical significance is also a reason why you must be here.
Kudremukh national park
Of the many places in Chikmagalur another great attraction is the Kudremukh national park. Kudremukha is a mountain range and a peak in Chikmagalur. Located 96 km from the main city, the most attractive part about this national park is the pristine environs and surroundings. Placed at an altitude of 1800 mt above the sea level, the Kudremukh National park got its name because the hill looks like the head of a horse and in Kannada, the horse is called Kudre. The climate of this place is always pleasant and favorable. And hence even during summers, you can explore the park. And because Chikmagalur is already renowned for its rich wildlife; the National Park also has no dearth of wildlife.
Opening time: December and January is the only two months when this park is open. You will be given two hour son per visit to explore the park.
Entry fees: You have to pay an entry fee and the fees are as follows: Rs 200 for Indian adult, child and also senior citizen. And for foreigners the fee is Rs 1000
After you have visited the Kudremukh national park, another attraction that you must explore is the beautiful Kadambi falls. This waterfall has managed to capture the true aura of this district. If you want to spend some peacefully and serene moments in the company of nature, this is where you should be. The Kadambi falls because of these factors has attracted tourists from all over and we also suggest that you explore this. You will be treated to breathtaking views and also a lasting impression. The Kadambi falls are located in the Kudremukh national park and hence you can explore more than one attraction in one day.
Mahatma Gandhi Park
Mahatma Gandhi Park is also popularly known as Rathnagiri Bore. It is located in the northern side of Chikmagalur and is one of the many other attractions that this beautiful town boasts of. This nature park was initially a forest and was later converted into this park. It shared the forest with the Mullayanagiri site. A lot of thought and effort has gone into ensuring that this park is well designed and made. And when you visit the Mahatma Gandi Park, you will agree that the efforts have truly paid off. The park has wide and beautiful pavements with lawns. This park has been divided with two different entry points. One entry is meant only for walkers while the second one is for vehicles to enter the park. With vibrant and colorful flowers and ornamental plants, the park looks refreshing to the eyes. It also has a lotus pond and a bridge for children to cross. The Gandhi Park besides the Nehru Rose garden also has a magnificent amphitheatre that displays 250 varieties of rose plants. If you love nature and its miracles like the beautiful flowers, this park is sure to leave you stunned. The amphitheatre also hosts several cultural programs of art and music all through the year. Your trip to this place will be more exciting if you get to be a part o these events. Another attraction about this park is the breathtaking view of the Baba Budan giri mountain range. This park caters to mostly nature and art lovers. And amidst all the exploring if you also happen to feel hungry, there is absolutely nothing to worry since the park also had a canteen that serves delicious food items. You can also take a joy ride in their Ratnagiru toy train which is almost one km long ride.
Opening hours of Mahatma Gandhi Park in Chikmagalur: January to December from 06:00 am to 08:00 pm. You can visit the park between these timings after which the park will be closed.
Kodanda Ramaswamy temple
For people who love architecture, the Kodanda Ramaswamy temple is what you must visit. It is a heritage monument with a dry pond next to it. It also conducts a festival called jatra every year. Built in the Hoysala design and architecture, you will love this temple that also exhibits some great carvings and sculptures. The temple has three different parts- one is the Navgraha shrine that is said to have been built in the 14th century. The second one is the Mukhamanatapa that was built during 16th century and the last one is the entrance of this temple that was built during the 17th century. Even if you are not a believer, do visit this temple for the brilliant and beautiful architecture and also for the aura and vibe that you will get experience.
If you want to visit more temples like the one mentioned above, then you must visit the Sharada temple. It is located in Shringeri which is a small and quaint town in Chikmagalur district. The Sharada temple goes way back to the 8th century and is beautifully located by the Tungabhadra River. The renowned Adi Shankaracharya who is one of the most respected Hindu practitioners has also set up his place of practice here. It is said that this temple was built in dedication to the Goddess of wisdom and by offering your prayers to her you learning capacity and capability can be improved. Initially till the 20th century, the temple had a wooden structure. However in an unfortunate incident, fire broke out and the temple was completely destroyed. And today this temple is a perfect South Indian temple. The temple had an image of the goddess that was made of sandalwood and now the goddess image is of gold. It was an under explored temple but now it sees devotees in large numbers from all across India and the world.
This temple is also said to be one of the holiest places in this district. Students who are attempting exams also come here to seek the Goddess’s blessings because they believe it will help the students fare well.
The Bhadra Dam is another attraction that you must not miss out on visiting when in Chikmagalur. It was built on the Bhadra river and the water from this damn is used for irrigation purposes. It is also used as a source of power by the villages that are located nearby. If you want to get a deeper understanding about the local life and people of this place, you can also explore the adjoining villages. And if you are lucky you might also get to spot wildlife on the banks of this beautiful Bhadra River. People who have visited here in the past have spotted crocodiles and deer. Hire a jeep and get on to a safari to have a closer look at the wildlife and also the rich flora.
Things to do:
Trekking in Chikmagalur is one of the most preferred activities by tourists. If you are an adventure lover, you are sure to love the many trekking trails that Chikmagalur has. Of all the trails, the Kemmanagundi trail is said to be one of the most popular one. With breathtaking views of nature, you must trek when in Chikmagalur. Apart from trekking, you can also go shopping in Chikmagalur. Though you cannot buy handicrafts or souvenirs, you can definitely buy coffee beans. Since Chikmagalur is famous for coffee plantations, you can buy authentic coffee beans from here. There is a wide variety of beans that you can choose from.
Best time to visit Chikmagalur: Visit Chikmagalur when the climate is really pleasant and soothing. The best time is from September to May. During these months the climate is favorable and you can explore the district comfortably.
How to reach: Chikmagalur is easily accessible from Mangalore. Though Chikmagalur does not have an airport, it is very well connected to major cities like Bangalore and Mangalore. This how you can reach!
If you opt to travel by air, then the nearest airport is Mangalore and it is situated approximately 160 km away from Chikmagalur. Mangalore airport is connected to every major city of the country. You can call for a cab or even a prepaid taxi from the airport.
If you want to take a train to Chikmagalur, you can get down at Gudur railway station which is the nearest at 40 km. Any train from Mumbai, Kolhapur, Hubli and Goa halt at this railway station.
And by road, you can either opt for state run buses or even luxury ones.
Where to stay:
Chikmgalaur has some really great accommodation options ranging from mid range to luxury hotels, homestays as well as resorts. Some of the best hotels are mentioned below:
Mid Range Hotels and Homestays:
Forest Homestay(91 99864 99045, +91 94491 75960 , Tariff- Rs 1800 approx) situated in Maradi village in the Chikmagalur district is a mid range hotel with a Homestay experience. Located right in the middle of coffee plantations and estates, the Homestay is very welcoming and staff is forthcoming providing one of the best services. The location is already scenic and hence there is not much that you need to worry about. To keep you entertained they have many activities like rifle shooting, archery, and also cricket and carom. The rooms are spacious and well equipped with modern amenities.
Hasiru Homestay (081057 58552, Tariff- Rs 4000 approx) is located approximately 25 km from the main town. This again is flanked by scenic coffee plantations and is an ideal place for families, friends and even couples. There are many activities that this Homestay provides with a warm hospitality and also delicious Malnad food items. This is the perfect Homestay where you can escape from city life.
Nature’s Abode Homestay( 080 – 26682233, Tariff- Rs 3000 approx) is where you should be if you want to explore the natural beauty of Chikmagalur. It stands true to its name and is situated amidst serene nature making your stay comfortable and a memorable one. This Homestay is visited by both domestic and international tourists and with many outdoor activities, the numbers have only grown. They have a wide range of both outdoor and indoor games to keep their guests entertained. You can also rent or borrow a cycle and explore the nearby places. At evening, they set up campfire that makes the whole ambiance calm and soothing. For foodies, this hotel also serves delicious vegetarian and non vegetarian food.
Eagle Eye Resort (094812 52153, tariff- Rs 3000 approx) is another great option that you can try. It is situated at the top of a hill at a height of 2900 feet above sea level and thus there is no doubt about the breathtaking views that you will get to enjoy from that top point. It is much more than a regular Homestay and offers everything that a traveler looks for. Situated on the lap of nature, there is a lot one can do here. In fact you can also opt for tree houses that are one of a kind. You will also be treated to Nature Trail Trekking experiences. They have many camping activities along with fishing, swimming, boating, rock climbing, yoga, bird watching, meditation, Ayurvedic treatments and spa massages. All these will help you unwind and rejuvenate. This is an ideal place from where you can take away all your stress. The Eagle Eye hotel also has an in-house restaurant that serves some really delicious dishes. This resort has everything that you are looking for.
The Last Resort(078290 26617, Tariff- Rs 3500) is one of the most affordable resorts in Chikmagalur. Situated amidst nature and such lush environs, the outside of the resort has a charm of its own and hence the views that you get from your rooms is guaranteed to be one of the best. Most of Chikmagalur’s tourist attractions and sightseeing spots are closely located to this resort and hence you can save a lot of time on your traveling. This resort is ideal for any kind of traveler including families, coupes or even large corporate groups. It is more like a Homestay and they do everything in their capacity to ensure that you are comfortable. Because it is located on the foothills of the majestic Kemmanagundi, the landscapes are sure to leave you stunned. Apart from all this, they also have an array of activities for you to choose from so that you do not have to spend a single minute bored. From campfire, volley ball, dart board games, carom, nature walks, badminton to archery and even gun shooting, there is a lot one can do here. They have 21 independent cottages that have attached bathrooms.
Luxury hotels and resorts:
The Planters court (+91 8262 223 5881) is a luxury hotel and is also one of the oldest in Chikmagalur. Their accommodation has three suites. The rooms are spacious and neatly done. They also have multi cuisine restaurants that serve delicious and mouth watering dishes. Your stay is going to be an enriching one. All the major attractions of this hotel are closely located to this hotel.
Another great hotel is the Gateway hotel that is situated on KM road. The very first thing that you will notice when in this hotel is the colonial architecture and that is sure to impress you. The surroundings are equally mesmerizing and enchanting. With all the modern amenities and facilities provided, this is one stay option that you must consider.
The Serai resort (082622 24903, Tariff- Rs 24,000 to 35,000 approx) is also a luxury hotel that is also very popular. Situated exactly 250 km away from Bangalore, this is where you should stay when you plan to visit Chikmagalur. Live like a royal and be treated to all the good things of this hotel. From coffee walk, archery to cycling, The Serai has many activities to offer that will ensure your stay in here is memorable one. They have different types of villas and estates with a private pool and also a Jacuzzi to help you unwind and relax.
Primrose Villas(8884561010 , Tariff- Rs 15000 approx) is a luxury boutique hotel that offers luxurious stay in Chikmagalur. The scenery and the breathtaking views that you get from the rooms here will leave a lasting impression on you. They also have glass houses here for accommodation. A stay in Primarose villas will give you a break from the chaos and drudgery of city life. They also have a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. Visits to Bhadra Tiger reserve, Belud, campfires, coffee estate trekking, nature walks, are some of the many activities they offer their guests. Apart from that they also have many sports like cricket, football or even golf. This luxury boutique hotel has also managed to be a part of the many reputed magazines. There is absolutely nothing here that my disappoint you. All the activities with modern amenities and facilities, your stay at Primarose Villas is rue to be one of your best experiences.
Where to eat:
You will find many places to eat from in Chikmagalur. From budget to high end restaurants, they is lot that you can choose from, Most of these restaurants serve local cuisine that is also called as Malanadu. Among all their cuisines, the most famous dish in Chikmagalur is the Akki roti with Kaikadbu. When you visit places like these, you should prefer eating local cuisines. And if you still want to stick to relishing international cuisines, you will do find lot of options for the same.
For budget eating out, you must try the Eats of Arab (9449206883) that is one of the most famous restaurants of Chikmagalur. They are known for their Hyderabadi biryani and also shawarma. They serve Arabian cuisine. And to relish these you do not even have to a burn a hole in your pocket. When in Chikmagalur, do try their food.
The Maharaja restaurant (091487 67790) is the restaurant where you should be if you want try some really delicious non-veg food. The prices are pretty reasonable and the services are prompt and good. You should be here if you want to satiate your cravings without having to pay a bomb.
Another really good restaurant is the Food Palace that is a typical budget hotel. Do not go expecting royal treatment and fine dining experience. Come here only if you really want to satiate your hunger pangs under pocket friendly prices. They serve fast food mostly and is known for evening snacks and also breakfast.
Salpicon (098452 31359) is a unique burger shop where they make burgers with different flavored herbs on them. Apart from the delicious burgers, their sea food platter is also something that you must definitely try. Grab a quick bite form this place and head to your next attraction site. They have a friendly staff and their prices are pocket friendly too. So much good food to eat under such minima prices, we are sure there is nothing more that you can ask for.
If you are okay splurging on food, you must visit the Peaberry which is located at the Gateway hotel. They have excellent buffet dinner that will cost you about Rs 1500 per person. Because the hotel is a part of the Taj group, the food is prices accordingly. But whatever dish you try here is a true value for money. The Peaberry also serves both international local cuisines.
Short trips to places from Chikmagalur:
If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can explore many other places situated near Chikmagalur that are equally scenic and beautiful. We have listed down few places for you to head from Chikmagalur if you want to explore a bit more.
Belur is a great getaway from Chikmagalur that should be explored. It is a quaint town that is situated on the banks of the alluring river in Hassan, Karnataka. Sitated 53 km away from Chikmagalur, it was initially called as Velapuri and used to be the second capital of the Hoysal Empire. It is after the Delhi Sultanate took over that Belur became the capital. Belur is popularly known for its beautiful and charming temples. You will get to see the Hoysala architecture and the city’s culture. One of the most important attractions in Belur is the Chennakesava temple complex that was built in dedication to Chennakesava who is also a form of Vishnu. The complex also has two other beautiful temples, one being the Kappe Chennigaraya temple that is believed to have been built by the wife of Hoysala king. Ivory, green soapstone and sandalwood was used to build these temples. The temples built here have been compared to the renowned Khajurao temples. Another attraction in Belur is the Pushkarni that is a step wall.
It is said that the temples were built in 103 years and it was built to dedicate and celebrate the victory of King Vishnuvardhana in 1117. Once in Belur, apart from these temples there are many other attractions and also good accommodation options to stay at. These stay options range from budget, mid range to luxury catering to every kind of traveler. You will also find some really good eat out options that serve delicious India cuisines. Do not expect international cuisines in this quaint town.
Before you leave from Belur, make sure to visit Halebeedu which is a small town in Hassan district. Locals believe that a trip to Belur is incomplete till you visit Halebeedu. This town is also equally popular for its temples. Halebeedu is also a part of the Golden Triangle of Karnataka tourism.
Another great tourist attraction that you must visit from Chikmagalur is Agumbe that is also known as the Cherrapunji of South India. Popular for its picturesque landscapes and pristine surroundings, Agumbe is beautifully placed at the top of the stunning and magnificent Someshwara Ghat. Agumbe is situated in the Shimoga district and it receives the second highest rainfall in the country. Most of the travelers who visit and explore Agumbe come here for one reason and that is the trekking activities. Agumbe has some really great trekking trails. Imagine trekking through dense forests and scenic waterfalls- magical right? The trek offers breathtaking views of nature and the pristine surroundings that look green washed. After a good experience in Chikmagalur, a visit to Agumbe is just going to make it even more memorable. And to experience serenity and peace, the Sunset point is one attraction that you must visit. It offers panoramic views of the valleys and also the nearby countryside.
The Agumbe rainforest is also very famous since this place is well known for its bio diversity that is very rich and also the many medicinal plants and herbs that it houses. It is one of the biggest stretches of forest in India. Another thing that Agumbe is known for are the many waterfalls like Kunchikal falls, Jogigundi waterfalls, Onake Abi falls and also the Barkana falls. The waterfalls are among the most popular and the most visited ones. If you want to witness these falls in their might best, you should visit Agumbe during monsoon. In fact this place has also been the main shooting location for the famous movie Malgudi that was based on the book written by RK Narayan. The house that you see in the movie is now over 100 years old and still stands as strong as ever.
Also known as the King Cobra capital because of the large number of snakes that it has, people who love wildlife is sure to love this quaint and charming town. On your visit to Agumbe, you also do not have to worry about the accommodation since it does have many decent hotels and resorts to stay at. They all range from budget to luxury hotels. And with satisfying services provided, your stay in any of the best hotels of the town will be a comfortable one. If you still do not find too many stay options in Agumbe, you can also look for options in Udupi that is situated 53 km away from here. Do not miss out on trying their vanilla flavored tea from stalls set up in and around Agumbe.
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