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Chikmagalur: The Land of Coffee

''A trekker’s delight, this town will surprise you with its majestic beauty and salubrious weather''

LOCATION : This valley is nestled in the Baba Budan hills in southern-western part of the state of Karnataka. The town of Chikmagalur lies near the Malnad region, the hilly wetlands of the state.

ABOUT THE PLACE : Words fall short when it comes to describing breath-taking beauty and landscapes of this small serene town. This fertile valley is drenched in greenery and is situated in the foothills of the mighty Western Ghats. The place enjoys a salubrious climate throughout the year and is a perfect summer retreat and an abode for relaxation.

It is also a renowned getaway known for its coffee and spice plantations and often referred to as coffee capital of Karnataka. The area around Chikmagalur full of coffee plantations is excellent for bird watching.

The place is also strewn with many holy spots and scenic locations and a number of rivers originate from the hills of Chikmagalur. Adding more magic to the place are surrounding waterfalls of Kalhatagiri, Hebbe, Shanti, Manikyadhara and Sirimane. In the vicinity are beautiful hill stations and places of picturesque beauty.

Saint Baba Budan was the one to get the first coffee plant Chikmagalur from West Asia while returning from Mecca. His shrine rests atop a hill in the region. Chikmagalaur derives its name from the word "Chikkamagala Uru", which means "The town of the younger daughter" in the Kannada language. Legend has it that the town was given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the famous chief of Sakrepatna.

Tourists in large numbers throng to the town during Dussehra, when the place renders travellers breathless with its folk performances and the culture. It also attracts trekkers in big numbers every year, the known treks being Charmadi Ghat, Koppa and Mullayanagiri. The famous Mahatma Gandhi Park is also located here. Kannada is the predominant language although locals understand Hindi and English to some extent.

BEST TIME TO VISIT : Although the weather is pleasant through the year, period between October-April is the best time to experience the place at its best.

HOW TO REACH : The nearest airport of Chikmagalur is Mangalore. Then one can board a bus or hire a cab from Mangalore for the destination, which is at a distance of 170 kms and is about 4 hrs journey. If going from Bangalore, cab or a bus would be an ideal medium of transport. From Bangalore almost every hour there’s a bus for Chikmagalur. The distance between the two places is about 250kms. The nearest railway station to the place is Birur.

ATTRACTIONS : Kemmangundi: Also known as K.R. Hills, it is located about 55kms from the town. It is a scenic hill station and an ideal retreat of solitude and natural beauty. Its beautiful gardens and enchanting mountain and valley views are a treat to the eye. The two waterfalls Kalahasti and Hebbe are located here.

Mullayanagiri: The highest peak in Karnataka is 12 kms away from Chikmagalur. It is a part of Baba Budan Giri Range.

Ayyanakere: It’s about 18kms from Chikmagalur town. This ancient tank was constructed by Rukmangada raya, a chief of Sakrepatna.

Sri Guru Dattatreya Bababudanswamy's Darga: Located on the Baba budan hills, this Darga holds equal significance to all.

Ballala Rayana Durga: The ancient ruins of the Hoysala fort are located atop a hill.

Amruthapura: About 67kms away from the main town, this place is known for Amriteshwara temple built in 1196 AD by Amriteshwara Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala ruler Ballala II.

Waterfalls: There are a number of falls around Chikmagalur including the famous Kallathigiri Falls, Hebbe Falls, Shanti Falls and Kadambi Falls.

Kudremukh: Located about 95kms from the town, this hill station overlooks the Arabian Sea and has rich flora and fauna, lush grasslands and dense forests. Ruins and traces of old civilization too form a part of these hills.

Kudremukh National Park: Is the largest declared Wildlife Protected Area of a tropical wet evergreen type of forest in the Western Ghats.

Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (38 km): Is about 38 km north-west of Chikmagalur town. Varied wildlife can be spotted here including Elephants, Tiger, Leopard, Sambar, Chital, Porcupine, King Cobras and Indian Rock Pythons.

Devanur: Houses reknowned 17th century Sri Lakshmikantha temple and the 13th century Sri Siddeshwara temple.

Marle: Located about 12kms from Chikmagalur, Marle is home for ancient temples including the famous Chennakeshva temple.

Bhadra Dam: Built on the river Bhadra.

ACCOMODATION : Shanthi Kunnj Homestay: 0824 248 5180
The Serai: T +91 8262 224903 / 14, +91 9483524903
Coffee Land Homestay: +91 9945039126
Coffee Valley Homestay: 9480444458 / 9482698069
The Planters Court: : +91 8262 235881/2/3
Eagle Eye Holiday Home: +91 9341 415 588 (Preferred), +91 9481 252 153, +91 9379 111 177
Taj Garden Retreat (Resort): (91-8262) 220202 / 220821 / 220824 / 220404
Texwoods (Resort): 9844127341
Winter Greens (Eco Resort): 098 45 747506
Nature Nirvana: 0-98440-42152, 0-94483-64152, 0824 - 4279152
Castle Rock (Homestay): 91 94489 71902/97402 43099, Landline 91 08262-325401

Source / Review By : Mudita Mishra

Mudita is a marketing expert and has worked with Amity University as an Assistant Professor in the past

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