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Things To Do In Chikmagalur
There are a number of things you can do in Chikmagalur. So make yourself a wonderful trip to this hill station in Karnataka, the charming little town by the Western Ghats, which is such a marvel of beautiful nature that you would want to go exploring. Chikmagalur is going to keep you on your feet; trekkers, wildlife enthusiasts, history buffs, sports enthusiasts and pilgrims alike. The luxuriant greenery that envelops the place will keep you tranquil and take your mind off the drudgery of life in the city. It goes without saying that Chikmagalur is bound to keep you up and about through your trip. We will tell you about the things you can do, while in the Land of Coffee.
If there are rolling hill ranges, there’s bound to be trekking tours. In Chikmagalur you will be spoilt for choice, for each trek path vies with one another to be the best. You can pick on the trekking trio - the Sheetalagiri, Baba Budhangiri and Mullayangiri trek. It’s easy to walk up the trekking trail between Mullayangiri and Baba Budhangiri. Up at the top everything’s covered with mist and it’s so very beautiful. Devaramane, the slopes that burst into carpets of the blue blossoms of the Kurinji flowers once in twelve years also makes for a great trekking route, suffused with its gentle slopes, misty hillsides and streams on the sidewalks.
If you’re an avid coffee aficionado, you’d want to know where the coffee you drink comes from. Chikmagalur is home to coffee and while you travel around the town you’re bound to see undulating valleys filled with fields of coffee plants and the aromatic whiff of coffee in the air. If you are staying in a homestay in Chikmagalur, the host will arrange for a trek along the plantations since most resorts and homestays are surrounded by coffee plantations. You’ll learn about the history of coffee and the life of the planters. Take along your camera, for apart from getting delighted with the nature trail, you can spot a variety of smaller animals and wild hill birds.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is also a Tiger Reserve that shares its space between Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts.
The Sanctuary has tigers, elephants, and species of deer, sloth bears and about 250 species of avians. Upstream you’ll find Marsh Crocodiles, Common and Smooth Indian Otters. Even if spotting a tiger is rare, you can watch the birds and imbibe the virgin greenery of the forest that is watered by the Bhadra River and its tributaries.The Sanctuary is surrounded by Baba Budhangiri, Hebbegiri, Mullayangiri and Gangegiri hills. The state run River Tern resorts in the Sanctuary will arrange for a safari into the wilderness. The Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is about 79 km from Chikmagalur.
You can spend an idyllic weekend visiting the waterfalls of Chikmagalur. The waterfalls look amazing during monsoon, with a spurt of greenery around them. Some of the most popular waterfalls of Chikmagalur are the Kallathigiri Falls, with a temple of Veerabadra swamy in its midst, the Hebbe, Jhari Falls and the tiered Hanuman Gundi Falls at Kudremukh National Park. Most of the waterfalls are accessible to people and during peak seasons tourists gather at the Falls for a refreshing drench!
The Bhadra River has its origin in the Western Ghats. From the hills it flows down all the way through the Deccan Plateau and through the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. Most homestays and resorts can arrange for rafting and other water based sports on the Bhadra River. It’s a unique experience rafting on the white water of a mountain river as it flows past the Western Ghats and the lush wild greenery of the forested regions.
What better a place to know about the origin and history of coffee beans than in Chikmagalur. Visit the Coffee Museum to learn about the types of coffee in the world, the process of making the perfect coffee powder right from picking, drying and grinding till the powder hits the market. Along with a gallery of coffee beans, coffee roasters and manual grinders you can watch a live demonstration on video and visit the laboratory with a guide. The Museum is open 9.00am-5.00pm on weekdays.
Festivals and Fairs
The people of Chikmagalur celebrate a number of quaint folk festivals and dances like the Dollu Kunitha of the Kuruba people who commemorate the harvest season and Dussehra with this dance, a rhythmic patterned swirling dance that involves beating on a large dollu or drum. Veeragase Kunitha is also performed during Dussehra with the performers enacting the Shiva Puranas. Shiva is considered the chief deity of the region and festivals and fairs like the Kailash Fair celebrate the glory of the Lord. Some of Chikmagalur’s other dance and drama forms include Bharatnatyam and Yakshagana.
Most of the shopping zones are in MG Road in Chikmagalur. Needless to say, you can shop for fresh filter coffee and beans, Natural Vanilla tea, pepper, Indian black vanilla beans, cardamom and cashews from the plantations, an amazing variety of dry fruits, chocolate almonds, flavoured cashews, homemade chocolates and crystallized ginger. Take home beautiful souvenirs made of sandalwood, rose and teak wood and artefacts like clocks, flowerpots, dining tables and chairs made of the wood of coffee stems.
There are many numbers of good homestays within coffee plantations that offer a comfortable stay along with tours through the plantations and lots of weekend activities. You can choose one depending on your budget, for you’d find homestays and resorts that suit all budgets. There are a choice of hotels near the Chikmagalur bus stand, which are also easy on your travel plans. For more exotic stays, you can even find a resort on the foothills of the Mullayanagari or near the Bhadra Reserve. You could even base your stay at neighbouring places like Mudigere, which is about 30 km from Chikmagalur.