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Chikmagalur Tourism And Travel Guide
16.5° C / 61.8° F
September to May
4 to 5 Days
Bajpe International Airport (157 kms)
Kadur Railway Station (41 kms)
Chikmagalur, one of the most exquisite places of Karnataka, lies in the western parts of the state. With a magnificent assortment of the popular summits of the Western Ghats among its precincts, Chikmagalur can verily be called one of the most noteworthy hill stations of South of India.
Chikmagalur has some of the most gorgeous vast expanses of natural landforms, including soft rolling hill ranges, valleys filled with coffee plantations and the seasonal Blue Kurinji flowers, pristine clear streams that surge down from the Western Ghats, sparkling lakes and cascading waterfalls. There are a number of manmade wonders too, like ancient temples and ruined forts spread about high on the mountains, in the caves and on the slopy green valleys. Chikmagalur is the Land of Coffee. You find coffee plantations everywhere, with the faint aroma of coffee blossoms in summer and the planters busy picking harvest in winter. This makes tourism in Chikmagalur so unique, as you will learn through
this short travel guide.
How to Reach
Chikmagakur has good access from most major cities and neighbouring towns by road. The easiest way to reach Chikmagalur would be by train to the nearest railway station and then by road.
You could book a flight to the Kempegowda International Airport at Bengaluru or the Bajpe Airport at Mangalore. Buses or cabs are available from both cities which can be used for a trip to Chikmagalur. Chikmagalur is about 265 km from Bengaluru’s airport.
There is only one train i.e. the Yeshwantpur-Chikmagalur Fast Passenger that arrives and departs from Chikmagalur. Otherwise the nearest rail heads to Chikmagalur are Birur and Kadur that have good access to cities like Bengaluru. There are plenty of buses at Birur and Kadur that run to Chikmagalur. Travelling by train is one of the easiest ways to reach Chikmagalur.
You have an easy way into Chikmagalur from cities like Mangalore, Bengaluru and Mysore with KSRTC or private buses. You could also hire a cab or drive to the hill station from any of these major cities or from neighbouring tourist places like Sringeri, Belur or Halebidu.
There are local buses for the uplands, along with auto rickshaws and cabs that can take you around the town, which is not large but a lively, active place. Plantations that fix up with accommodations have guides who can arrange for vehicles for sightseeing.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Monsoon rains are quite heavy in Chikmagalur in Malenadu, so the ideal months would be from September to May.
It’s a hot season, but tourists make a beeline to Chikmagalur for the misty township with hilltops and streams that make a great getaway from the scorching heat of the cities. Take respite from the heat with water based sports, drive up the cooler peaks or soak into the fresh fragrance of coffee flowers.
The hillsides turns verdant and most refreshing with the rains, but activities like trekking or water sports might be cancelled thanks to the showers that turn trek trails slushy. Monsoon is off season in Chikmagalur.
Winter turns this hill station the most charming and picturesque place. The monsoon showers leave a fresh luxuriantly rich landscape in its wake. You can go sightseeing, trekking or just while away your time at the homestays among the plantations. The ideal time to visit Chikmagalur begins with winter and runs through into summer.
Things to Do
Some of Karnataka’s best waterfalls are close to Chikmagalur, like the Elaneeru or tender coconut Waterfalls, near the Kalasa-Kudremukh main road. The Elaneeru is one of nature’s stunning marvels!
Temples atop Hills:
Some of Chikmagalur’s glorious temples and forts are on the hills. Trekkers and pilgrims alike visit the Bairaveshwara Swami temple at Devaramane Hill, Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Sheetalagiri and the Cave temples at Mullayangiri.
This is one of Chikmagalur’s most beautiful, inspiring, almost a poetic place of interest. Do visit the manmade Hirakolale Lake, which is located a little further from the Mullayanagari Peak and about 10 km from Chikmagalur. Surrounded by the hills and the dense greenery of the foothills, the lake is such a peaceful place to spend an evening while watching the sun set.
Kalasa, the Temple Town:
Take a trip to Kalasa, the temple town on the banks of the River Bhadra. According to mythology it was from Kalasa that Sage Agasthya watched the divine Wedding of Shiva and Parvathi that was held in Mt. Kailash. The town gets its name from its Kalasa or pot-like shape when viewed from the altitude of the Duggappana Hill close by.
The Chikmagalur Golf Club, envisioned and created by golf course designer Phil Ryan, is at the foothills of the Baba Budhangiri Hills. This is the right place for you, if you’ve dreamt of playing a game of 18 holes in a green meadow with giant peaks at the backdrop. The club offers accommodations to tourists, with Indian and Continental cuisines on the table.
Coffee with Chikmagalur:
Chikmagalur is synonymous with coffee. The landscape is one big carpet of coffee plantations and the aroma of coffee lingers in the air. Check out the diverse flavours of coffee brewed, be it Blended, Vanilla, Arabica, Black Coffee with jaggery or cold coffee with cinnamon!
Take a trip to the twin cities of Belur and Halebidu, the ruined capital cities of the 12th century Hoysala Empire. There are an immense number of temples in the two cities that stand as examples of the unique styles of Hoysala’s architecture. The Chennakeshava temple at Belur and Hoysaleshwara temple at Halebidu have been proposed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
You should definitely try out Chikmagalur’s Malenadu cuisine of Karnataka which has some of the most delicious diverse forms of food. Apart from indulging in their staple rice and fish, served steaming hot on plantain leaves, check out their Koli Saaru or Spicy Chicken Curry, Benne Kadupu or Butter rice Dumpling, Kaime Unde which are mutton balls cooked in spices and Kalule Palya, stir fried tender bamboo shoots. Some of the talked about foodie’s favorites while at Chikmagalur are of course, the town’s coffee and banana chips. There are a number of restaurants that serve most delicious Malenadu cuisine including The Serai, the Town Canteen for its dosas, the Food Palace for its South Indian fare and others like the Club House at Planters Court and Coffee Barn Café set amid the lush plantations.