September 25, 2016

Chikmagalur and Nearby Places

Chikmagalur is in south-western part of Karnataka and famous for its Coffee plantations, Mullayanagiri Peak, and Baba budangiri hill ranges. Chikmagalur is also called “Coffee land of India”, but you don’t get to taste the top quality “AAA” grade coffee grown here which is exported elsewhere in world.  More than 70% of the coffee grown in India is from Karnataka. 

In Kannada, “Chikka” means younger and “Magala” means daughter, “Ooru” means Town. Hence Chikkamagaluru means younger daughter’s town and the neighbouring town Hiremagaluru means Elder daughter’s town. Some old inscriptions reveals that these two places were known as Kiriya-muguli and Piriya-muguli. Some major towns in Chikmagalur district includes Chikmagalur, Sringeri, Koppa, Narasimharajapura, Tarikere, Kadur and Mudigere. 

There are so many places to see in Chikmagalur. Even four days may not be enough. Beautiful green hills, buttermilk water falls and Hairpin turns, Green meadows over the hills….. wov it is awesome. You should visit Chikmagalur right after rains i.e. September to March, though you can visit throughout the year. 


This is another perfect day trip from Bangalore where you can spend your weekend and get back to work on Monday. Chikmagalur is just 5 hour drive from Bangalore.

Let me start with two photos to impress about Chikmagalur


Baba Budangiri Hills
Look at the road on the left, and red line in middle and the Grass elsewhere with blue sky...  Feel the breeze there... !!
Chikmagalur Hills
Look at the roads, the clouds, and the factories in middle.... Wonderful, isn't it?  

Note: If you want to straight away jump to photos, scroll down a bit. Lot more photos are added below on each place.


Important Places to visit
  1. Mullayanagiri Peak
  2. Sitalayyanagiri 
  3. Baba budangiri Hills and Dattatreya Baba Budan Swamy Darga & Cave Temple
  4. Manikyadhara falls and Galikere lake (Manasarovar of Karnataka)
  5. Kemmangundi Hill station
  6. Hebbe Falls
  7. Kalhatti Falls
  8. Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary - Safari
  9. Kudremukha View point
  10. Belavadi, Belur and Halebidu (see the below special section to plan this)
Places to visit in Chikmagalur town and Shopping
  1. Coffee Museum
  2. Panduranga Coffee works at MG Road
  3. Chamundi Stores

Important Temples

  1. Sringeri Sharada Peetham - From Chikmagalur 87 Kms
  2. Horanadu Sri Annapoorneswari Temple - From Sringeri via Balehonnur road 44 Kms
  3. Kalasa - Kalaseswara Temple - From Horanadu 7 Kms
  4. Hiremagalur Kodandaramaswamy Temple - From Horanadu, come back via Balehonnur road and after reaching Chikmagalur take the road to Hiremagalur. 
Note: you can also visit Hiremagalur on the last day along with places inside Chikmagalur town as Hiremagalur is within the city limits only. 

How to plan your visit / Tips to plan

Plan for at least 3 nights so that you can see these places in a very relaxed manner. Carry enough snacks and water. These are just my suggestion, plan and spend your own time. Also check the very last photo which has the plan and map.   

Day 1:  Visit the Peaks and Falls
  1. Start early and visit Mullayanagiri Peak first (continue further from Sitalayyanagiri)
  2. On the way down, if interested visit Sitalayyanagiri and do a small trek.
  3. Head to Baba Budangiri Cave temples and then if you like do a small trek on Baba budangiri hills
  4. Visit Galikere which is called Manasarovar of Karnataka. It is a lake on a beautiful landscape. 
  5. From the cave temple, you will find route to Manikyadhara falls, visit the falls. 
Day 2 : Visit the “Ooty of Karnataka" and Waterfalls
  1. From Chikmagaluru, Head towards Kalhatti Falls via Kaimara junction. (on the way if you like stop at Kumaragiri and visit Subramanya Temple).
  2. Visit Kemmangundi and trek
  3. Visit Hebbe falls. (I am not sure about the road condition from Kemmangundi, heard it is not so good, you can also visit Hebbe falls from Baba budangiri)
Note: From Baba Budangiri you can reach Hebbe falls, Kemmangundi and Kalhatti falls and at the same time you can reach all these places from Kalhatti falls as well. Based on your place of stay you can decide these.

Day 3:  Visit Temples
  1. Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple
  2. Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
  3. Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple
  4. Hiremagalur Kodandaramaswamy Temple
Note: Visit in the order above. Go via Balehonnur and return on the same way. 

Day 4: Visit Chikmagalur Town and Shopping
  1. Visit Panduranga Coffee works at MG Road and buy coffee and the Moka pot for making espresso.(For online purchase visit this link: https://www.instamojo.com/KarthikSV/percolator-moka-pot-coffee-filter-coffee-mak/?ref=store 
  2. Visit Chamundi stores at MG Road for spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon, Pepper and Cloves
  3. Visit Coffee Museum - A must visit to understand the history of Coffee, varieties in India, process. They also play a video on Coffee production in India which is good. Please note that they don’t sell anything here.

Other Places to see

For Bhadra wildlife sanctuary and Kudremukh you need another day. You can go on safari to Bhadra wildlife sanctuary deep inside the forest to see wildlife. At Kudremukh it is a viewpoint.

Special note on Belur, Halebidu and Belavadi

These are the world famous temples for its highly complex and so intricate carvings and sculptures. This is a MUST visit. Don't ignore. Plan a day for all these places. They are all on the way to Bangalore from Chikmagalur.  Belur is 59 Kms from Chikmagalur. You may want to stay at Hassan and cover these places along with Shravanabelagola.

Check my exclusive blog post on these places here... I am sure after seeing the photos you will visit the place for sure.

Stay options

We stayed at Tata Plantation trails which is little further from Kaimara junction and deep inside the Coffee plantation. Very beautiful location and view of Baba budangiri hills from here. But the cost is on higher side for the facilities you get. Read my tripadvisor review from here. (Click the link).

Other than this you could also try the following, but suggest you to check review sites and decide. Also know the location of the resort as well which will help you to see places around. 
  • The Serai - http://www.theserai.in/chikmagalur.php 
  • The Grand Krishna Luxury Hotel - http://www.thegrandkrishna.com 
  • Thippanahalli homestay - http://www.thippanahallihomestay.com (heritage bungalow)
  • Thottadahalli homestay - http://thotadahalli.com 
  • Eagle eye resorts - http://www.eagleeyeholidays.com
  • The Gateway by Taj - https://gateway.tajhotels.com/en-in/km-road-chikmagalur/ 
  • Mountain Valley - http://www.mountainvalleyckm.com 
  • Jungle Lodges - River Tern Lodge - http://www.junglelodges.com/river-tern-lodge/
  • The Spectrum homestay - http://www.thespectrum.in  

A. Mullayanagiri Peak

Finish your breakfast bit early and start by 8AM. First visit the Mullayanagiri peak. Main reason why I suggest you to start early to Mullayanagiri peak is to avoid the traffic on these narrow hairpin turns and roads. You will find Sitalayanagiri Temple on the way and you need to continue on the same road further to the peak. Mullayanagiri is highest peak in Karnataka with the height of 1925 meters (~2 KMs). The sunset seems to be the best (not sure if you will be able to see sunset except on summer time i.e. April and May). This is one of the best trekking place. 

Please keep in mind: 
  1. Roads are narrow in places, so keep honking. Never mind or feel bad for honking, honking really helps here. 
  2. Drive sensibly, slowly and carefully. Don’t overtake or drive fast. 
  3. Near the peak you will hit upon a narrow cemented road. Dont just go on. Please pull over your vehicle to left and wait, while you wait, ask your companion to walk and reach the end of this road (few meters) and stop vehicles on other end and you cross safely. This is very narrow and unless you are good at reverse driving don’t just keep going.  
  4. Near the very peak, you will find a parking lot where close 20 to 25 cars can be parked. From here you need to walk up to the temple. I guess it is close to 300+ steps. 
  5. You may want to wear the sweaters, jackets as it is bit cold here. 
Once you park, start climbing up on the steps, you will realize you are walking through the clouds. It is like steps to heaven, as you can see only few steps below and above and nothing beyond. As the clouds touch you, you can see the water particles collected on your hair and eye-lids. We remembered and recollected watching a BBC Documentary “Human Planet” where they show a desert. In that desert, the people catch the fog using nets and collect water from fog. In youtube search for “Harvesting Water From the Sky” or Google search “Atacama fog catching nets”. We really felt this phenomenon and was explaining the same to my kids. Harvesting purest water from air is possible here. You might buy this Human Planet BBC Documentary and watch, which is amazing series of video collection of humans surviving in various extreme places of earth.

Just before entering the Mullappa swamy temple on top, you will see a compound wall and on right side below you will see the Nandi. Below this Nandi there are ways to trek little further. But one needs to be very careful and be very cautious. Though things might look very clear, all of a sudden clouds might come and you will loose the visibility. So be very very careful. In summer I heard it will be very clear. 

If you like astrophotography, then you can stay near the temple on tents. Priest here might help. But I don’t know any details, you need to check. All I could see is that, in the Temple Prakaram on peak there are few houses where the priests stay. 

B. Baba Budangiri Hills and Dattatreya Baba Budan Swamy Darga & Cave Temple

Once you visit Mullayanagiri you can head to Baba budangiri hills and the cave temple. Here you must visit the cave temple which is really nice. Galikere is a lake which is very close from this Darga and it is called Manasarovar of Karnataka. From the cave temple, you can see the hill ranges where you can go on trekking. From here the Manikyadhara falls is very close and you don't want to miss it too.

C. Kemmangundi Hill Station

Be prepared to trek with Salt as there are leeches. Don't just pluck them out if you find them on your body, spray salt on them and they will leave you. For sometime the bleeding wont stop, but eventually it will stop after few minutes. Nothing to worry about.

Here there is a Rock garden which is really cool for kids to hang around and Z-point where the sunset is beautiful. If you go little further you will see Shanthi falls. And still further if you could trek you will have a wonderful view of the valley below.

D. Temples Visit

You need a full day to visit the temples Sringeri, Horanadu, Kalasa and Hiremagalur. Start early morning after breakfast from Chikmagalur.  Take the route which goes via Balehonnur to Sringeri.  Visit Sringeri first.   

At Sringeri, you could see three temples in same complex, as you enter inside from the majestic temple tower 
1. The old temple you see is Sri Vidyashankara temple 
2. Sri Adishankaracharya Temple and  
3. Thorana Ganapathi Temple are next to each other.   

There is also a mantap where there are pictures with stories. See below the pictures. You can buy the Prasad incase if you run out of snacks.   

After Sringeri, head to Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple via Balehonnur. This temple is open all the time even in noon time. After darshan, have the Prasad Bhojana (or) Free Food at the temple itself. This is one of the India's Mega Kitchens and they serve food to all the pilgrims at all times. You get plenty of Rice, Vegetables Sambar,  Rasam, Payasam or Kheer (sweet) and Butter milk in a traditional authentic Karnataka style. Very tasty, clean and hygiene. Everyone who visit this temple have the food here without fail.  

After having the food at Horanadu, head to Kalasa if interested. You get to see Kalaseshwara swamy temple. After this you can head back to Chikmagalur via Balehonnur and visit Hiremagalur.   At Hiremagalur, there is a very famous Kodandarama swamy temple. This is considered to be more than 1000 years old. 

E. Other Details

There are plenty of water falls and many other places to visit in Chikmagalur. If you have time you can definitely spend time visiting these places. Check the very last two photos. That is the map designed by Deepak at Panduranga Coffee works Chikmagalur. That has the list of all the places and itinerary as well which is very useful. Thanks a ton to Deepak for this wonderful and very useful map. You could see him always at this shop. Dont forget to buy the Moka Pot (click this Wiki link to read about it) to make espresso. 

Photos of Mullayanagiri


Mullayanagiri Peak Entrance
Mullayanagiri Peak - Starting point and the Entrance Arch to the Temple

Mullayanagiri Peak steps
Steps to Heaven ? Steps that lead to the peak where Mullapa swamy temple is there. Very windy and foggy here. The clouds touch you and pass...

Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
Mullapa Swamy Temple entrance with compound walls

Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
On the left side of the compound wall, you could see Gods
Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
On the right side of the compound wall, you could see Gods as well


Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
View of the Temple and the Prakaram (path around the temple) around the temple

Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
View of the Temple entrance



Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
Stone inscription about this height and the Temple

Nandi at Mullayanagiri Peak
Nandi at Mullayanagiri Peak, there seem to be some path on left side where people go on small trek. But we could not see due to heavy clouds and did not try it.


Cows at Mullayanagiri Peak
Not sure how they came here. They were cuddling and sitting together to avoid the cold breeze. 

Prakaram of Mullapa Swamy Temple at Mullayanagiri Peak
Do you see the houses on left side?, they are on Temple Prakaram, Priests stay here looks like

Fog catching at Mullayanagiri Peak
We recollected the "Human Planet" Blueray series where high nets were used in deserts to collect the water from fog. Same happened here to us, awesome... They are not from drizzle but from the passing clouds and water particles in it


Wild Flowers at Mullayanagiri Peak
Look so beautiful isn't it? Wild flowers !

Car Parking at Mullayanagiri Peak
You could park around 25+ cars here and also few meters before there is a place where 6+ cars can be parked. From here you need to walk on the steps to peak.

Sri Sitala Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple Sitalayyanagiri
Sri Sitala Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple Sitalayyanagiri. Opposite to this temple, people go on small trek and for the view point.  

Chikmagalur Landscape
Another view of the Grass hills and haipin turns

Chikmagalur Landscape
Yet another photo of the beauty of Hills and roads
Chikmagalur Landscape
Closeup of the roads on the hills

Chikmagalur Landscape
Green, Green and Green elsewhere except on top which is blue and white !

Chikmagalur Landscape
Yet another shot of the landscape !

Small stream of water at Chikmagalur
You could see this at many places while you drive..... 

Photos of Baba Budangiri Cave Temple and Hills

Baba Budangiri Hills
As you enter Baba Budangiri this is what you see, direction board and the cave temples, Pilgrimage to both Muslims and Hindus.

Sri Guru Dattareya Baba Budan Swamy Darga
Sri Guru Dattareya Baba Budan Swamy Darga, Entrance to the Cave Temples

View of Sri Guru Dattareya Baba Budan Swamy Darga
Beautiful view of Sri Guru Dattareya Baba Budan Swamy Darga from Baba Budangiri Hills
Baba Budangiri Hill
View of roads on the Baba Budangiri Hill leading to the top

Trekking path at Baba Budangiri Hill
Trekking path at Baba Budangiri Hill
Baba Budangiri Hill
Direction Board at Baba Budangiri Hill, Before the cave temple

Baba Budangiri Hill
Direction board at Baba Budangiri Hill, after Cave Temple
Baba Budangiri Hill
Parking space at Baba Budangiri Hill (after the temple, go straight up), where you can do a small trek

Chikmagalur Landscape
Panoramic view from the road

Photos of Kalhatti Falls


Direction board at Kalhatti Falls
Direction board at Kalhatti Falls showing way to Kemmangundi further straight, for Kalhatti you will take left up 
Kalhatti Falls
View of Kalhatti Falls and the temple

Kalhatti Falls
Close view of the Kalhatti Falls and Temple

Kalhatti Falls
View of the Kalhatti Falls and the sculptures on rocks

Kalhatti Falls
Kalhatti Falls

Chamundeshwari Temple near Kalhatti Falls
Chamundeshwari Temple near Kalhatti Falls

Kemmangundi Hill Station - Ooty of Karnataka

Kemmangundi Entrance and Tanigebyle Wildlife range
Welcome board at Kemmangundi Hill station - Tanigebyle Wildlife range and Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary limit starts here (see the board that is behind the first one, zoom in to read)

Kemmangundi Hill station Entrance
Checkpost and Ticket counter at Kemmangundi Hill station

Kemmangundi Hill range
Beautiful view of the Kemmangundi Hill range

Direction board at Kemmangundi Hill station
Places to see board with direction at Direction board at Kemmangundi Hill station

Kemmangundi Hill station
Do you see the Jeep?, that is the last place where you can park your car and walk. Carry salt for leeches. I took this photo from Shanthi falls place.

Shanthi Falls at Kemmangundi Hill station
Shanthi Falls at Kemmangundi Hill station

Trek path at Kemmangundi Hill station
Trekking path at Kemmangundi Hill station

Restaurant at Kemmangundi Hill station
Restaurant at Kemmangundi Hill station
Kemmangundi Hill station
Direction Board at Kemmangundi Hill station, displaying distances, I see a Jaguar valley... Wov !

Trekking path at Kemmangundi Hill station
Trekking path at Kemmangundi Hill station, be very careful. Carry salt for leeches.

Kemmangundi Hill station
Close look at the Grass at Kemmangundi Hill station... 

Wild flower at Kemmangundi Hill station
Nature is so beautiful at Kemmangundi Hill station...

Wild flower at Kemmangundi Hill station
Did you spot the Ant ? at Kemmangundi Hill station...

Wild flower at Kemmangundi Hill station
Nature has tons and tons of colors, shapes...., God is really great ! at Kemmangundi Hill station

Wild flower at Kemmangundi Hill station
Another wild flower, at Kemmangundi Hill station..

View from Kemmangundi Hill station
Do you see the road? That is the road you used to come here to Kemmangundi hill station

View of Kemmangundi Hill station
Yes, that is the Kemmangundi Hill station. Do you see the Water falls? That is falling from so high and in silver color? See the next photo for the close capture...

View of Kemmangundi Hill station
Close capture of water falls at Kemmangundi Hill station
Direction board at Kaimara Junction to Mullayanagiri Hills
Direction board at Kaimara Junction showing way (take left) to Mullayanagiri

Goddess Kaveri at Siri Coffee shop Chikmagalur
Beautifully decorated garden and the Goddess Kaveri on the way to Kaimara junction from Chikmagalur

Goddess Kaveri at Siri Coffee shop Chikmagalur
Another view of Goddess Kaveri, how beautiful, wov !

Photos of Sringeri Sharadha Peetham

Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple Tower
The majestic Temple tower of Sringeri Sharadha Peetham

Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple
Beautiful view of Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple, Look at Dwarapalaka (zoom in) 
Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple
Here you can read the story with pictures and notice the traditional style tiles

Sringeri Sharadha Peetham Temple
Sringeri Adishankaracharya Temple and Thorana Ganapathi Temple

Tunga River near Sringeri Sharadha Peetham
Tunga River near Sringeri Sharadha Peetham

Photos of Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple


Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
Entrance of Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple

Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
Queue system for Prasad Bhojana (Free Food) Hall, India's one of the Mega Kitchen is here, you get nice food here.

Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
View of the big hall where you can have free food, you get Rice, Vegetables Sambar, Rasam, Payasam or Kheer and Buttermilk

Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari
Goddess Sri Annapoorneshwari - Goddess of Food

Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple
Steps to Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple

Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple Parking
Car Parking place for Horanadu Sri Annapoorneshwari Temple

Photos of Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple


Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple
Kalasa a small village and the view of Kalaseshwara temple

Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple Vimana
Vimana of Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple
Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple
Paintings of Story on the walls of Kalasa Kalaseshwara temple

Other Photos of Chikmagalur


Camphor Tree Leaves
This is the leaves of Camphor Tree

Camphor Tree
Have you seen before? This is Camphor Tree, we seen inside Coffee Plantation

Plant with Transparent stem
Notice the Transparent stem of the plant, it seems kids play with this by keeping this onto a ink mixed water and see the water going up the stem

View of Baba Budangiri Hills
View of the Baba Budangiri hills from the resort

Coffee Plantation Chikmagalur
Notice the Silver Oak trees in between the Coffee Plantation - Arabica plantation

Tree with Lichens and moss
Beautiful view of the Tree with Lichens and moss
Wood Sorrels Or Puliyarai Keerai in Tamil
Wood Sorrels Or Puliyarai Keerai in Tamil, Commonly seen inside Coffee Plantation

Fig Tree
Fig tree with Figs hanging on the trunk below

Fig Tree
Closeup of Fig fruit hanging on the trunk below of the Fig tree 
Silver worm in Coffee Plantation
This is a commonly seen insect "silver worm" in Coffee Plantation

Silver worm in Coffee Plantation
Once touched, this rolls itself like this.

Photos of Coffee Museum

Coffee Museum Chikmagalur
View of the Coffee Museum, Chikmagalur

Coffee Museum Chikmagalur
Indian Coffee History display at Coffee Museum Chikmagalur 
Coffee Museum Chikmagalur
Display of Coffees of India at Coffee Museum Chikmagalur

Coffee Museum Chikmagalur
Display of Coffees of India at Coffee Museum Chikmagalur

Photos of Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple


Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple
God Ram, Lakshman and Seetha on Left side

Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple
Inside view of Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple

Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple Tower
Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple Tower

Hiremagalur Kodandarama Temple
Ram or Kodandarama

Important Chikmagalur Tourist places map and details by Panduranga Coffee Works


Chikmagalur Map by Deepak Panduranga Coffee Works
This is available at Panduranga Coffee shop

Chikmagalur Map by Deepak Panduranga Coffee Works
Backside of the map with details of itinerary

Hope you liked this blog post, share with friends and family. Don't forget to add your views / suggestions below.  

See an issue or typo please let me know through your comments I shall correct it immediately. Thank you. 

8 comments:

  1. Awesome compilation..thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback, happy to know you liked it.

      Delete
  2. Superb Photos.. On checking out this feeling I should be there :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. wow...beautiful places...great details...lovely lovely captures...

    all are super..

    happy to follow ..

    have a great day..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Happy to know you liked this blog.

      Delete
  4. Nicely complied. Hats off. Seem you will make me travel sometime here :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for the feedback, happy to know this was useful.

      Delete

Thank you for your comments