It’s been quite a while since our fetish with the wonderland that Karnataka is has found expression in many of our travel voyages. Be it Coorg, Hampi or Sakleshpur, Karnataka has never disappointed with the array of wonders it brings up every time to benignly welcome tourists in its gracious environs. This time in our Karnataka itinerary, it’s Chikmagalur that has managed to catch our fancy.
Chikmagalur is for sure yet another world to delight in withing the state of Karnataka. The Coffee Town of Karnataka, Chickmagalur has tourists particularly intoxicated with its serene beauty. While you would be never running out of things to do and places to visit in Chikmagalur, that might even be a cause of concern. Because as much as you would like to soak in the tranquility of the place, you know that you have infinite places to discover to make the best out of your rewinding trip. Here’s a roundup of all the places to visit in Chikmagalur to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the feels of it-
The highest peak of Karnataka, Mullayanagiri is one of the definite places to visit in Chikmagalur. Like every head held high peak that abounds in the southern most part of the country, Mullayanagiri is also a haven for adventure seekers and enthusiasts.
The perfect spot for trekking and camping while in Chilmagalur, Mullayanagari is also steeped in an abundance of nature’s beauty. Lush green grass lines the amazing trekking trail that leads up to this equally green paradise of rugged rockiness.
Exotic flora and the breezy mountain air only hypes up more the adventure this trek has to offer. Easily one of the most ardent of treks that you will encounter in this part of the country, the detour to Mullayanagari will sure leave you craving for more of the glory once you scale its height to experience divinity at the Shiva Temple nestled atop the peak.
Parallel to daunting peaks and green landscapes runs streams and waterfalls to entice you into visiting Chikmagalaur. One such really pretty waterfall that Chikmagalur is bessoted with is the Hebbe Falls.
However it isn’t just beauty that shapes up the falls. The trek up to this waterfall is equally steeped in adventure with dense thick forests dotting its surroundings. Even in all its roughness, the trek is as rewarding as it can get. The herbs infused cold water makes such a resounding, kingly splash that you encounter majesty within the vicinity of the falls.
Also popular as a picnic spot, the Hebbe falls is truly a spectacular sight to behold with its sparkling magical water that is very much a potent elixir. Equally interesting is how the fall diverges into two- Dodda Hebbe and Chikka Hebbe with a variation in the height of fall. But anyway with the tremendous beauty it encompasses, the Hebbe doesn’t really need any other reason to weave magic around you.
Literally translating as Horse’s Face, Kudremukh is the largest reserve of a tropical wet evergreen forest in Karnataka and one of the places to visit in Chikmagalaur. Majestic and enthralling mountain peaks, stunningly calm waterfalls and a lush blanket of greenery lends Kudremukh its irresistible charm and aura. As a detour from the monotony of life, Kudremukh is a place to not miss out on with its diverse beauty and many a places of tourist attraction.
Kudremukh National Park
A true aficionado of all the wonders of nature will undoubtedly discover treasure once they set their sights on the green abode that Chikmagalaur is. A must visit place in this picturesque town is the Kudremukh National Park that sits delightfully in the breath taking setting of the Western Ghats.
The Kudremukh Park is home to not just dense flora and vibrant fauna but also harbours a pleasant climatic air owing to its high altitude location. What’s more, the park also nestles the origin points of the three rivers Tunga, Bhadra, and Nethravati. An ancient cave dedicated to Goddess Bhagavati is another offbeat tourist attraction that lures religious pilgrims and visitors into the park.
You sure can’t set your foot on the Coffee Town of Karnataka and not explore the haven of the aromatic intoxication housed by the famed Coffee Museum. Among the best places to visit in Chikmagalur, the iconic museum run by the Coffee Board of India is a very veritable presence.
A visit to the museum will make you more intoxicated by the refreshing brew you start your day with. From plucking coffee beans to grounding them to extract the finest coffee powder, the Coffee Museum has all it takes to get you hooked to that cup of comfort even more.
Greenery inhabits even the confines of the museum with small coffee plant pots further serving to enhance the distinctly caffeine feel of the place. For coffee lovers, this place sure is an irresistible haven to seek out nestled in the most tranquil of surroundings.
Relatively less known but at least as enriched with natural beauty is the Ayyanakere Lake, which is one of the places to visit in Chikmagalur any time you land up there. A tranquil calmness that inhabits the gorgeous lake will make you lose count of time as you gaze away at the sparkling waters while feeling the crisp breeze sway over your body and soul.
Housed within the Malnad region, this second largest lake in Karnataka also sits pristinely with a conical hill, the Shakunagiri gracing the backdrop. The spot offers a perfect resting spot to take in spectacular views of the sun gracing the horizon. What’s more you can also camp in those surroundings of pristine beauty if just gazing at the sight does not satiate the beauty seeker in you! For some more adventure, you can also fish out the lake just for the thrill and feel of it!
A popular temple town and a must visit place in Chikmagalur is Sringeri, located on the banks of the Tunga river. A center of Vedic philosophy, Sringeri however draws not just on the historical importance. Nestled amidst the rich biodiversity of the famed Western Ghats, Sringeri is as revered for its beauty as for its heritage. Art and architecture, history and heritage come together in this quaint ancient town to present a diversified version of the beauty embodied by Chikmagalur.
Sringeri Sharda Peetham
Sringeri is particularly famous for being home to the revered Sharada Peetham- the first of the four Advaita monasteries established by Adi Shankara. A pilgrimage site, the Sharada Peetham sits daintily against the backdrop of the beautiful Malnad hills and lures tourists with its beauty as well as significance. Weary souls for sure will attain peace within the confines of this remarkable place of architecture.
Bhadra river (for rafting)
While Chikmagalur might not sound like the place for adventure junkies with its tranquility, the place sure can throw up a few surprises. Rafting in the Bhadra river is a quite off centric activity to indulge in during your visit to the Karnataka hamlet.
What serves to make rafting along the Bhadra waters a rather extraordinary experience in southern India is the pontoon experience that puts you on course for some really enjoyable time along the smooth flow of the river. Gushing through a route densed by thick wood surroundings, the rafting experience is as delightful as the place that harbours it.
Veera Narayan temple
Chikmagalur is home to quite a few places steeped in historical and spiritual relevance. One such tourist attraction in the place is the Veera Narayana temple, one of the most ancient of temples in India.
The 12th century religious specimen houses three shrines, all dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Hoysala style of architecture is manifested in splendid form in the temple with beautifully carved roofs and plain walls. Age old culture and architecture comes alive in this mystical place located at Belavadi somewhere in Chickmagalur.
The land of hills and coffee, it is no wonder that among the places to visit in Chikmagalur is yet another mountain range. The Baba Budan range, known also as the Dattagiri Hill range, is one such must visit tourist attraction in the place.
The most interesting thing about the Baba Budan range is that even when the shrine here reknowned for being home to the Sufi saint Baba Budan, the shrine is also believed to be associated with Hindu God Guru Dattatreya. What better way to seek the unity in diversity of India other than in a place besotted with so much uniqueness in its natural bounty and historical significance?
And that’s not even all about Budangiri. The place is also probably the first ever place in India where coffee was grown. Hiking and trekking along the dense forest dotting the hilly range also adds to the exotic appeal. We sure don’t need any other reason to be on Baba Budangiri when we already have coffee!
Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
One of the most striking specimen of architecture in Chikmagalur is the Horanadu Annapoorneshwari Temple. Grand in its sight and evoking spirituality in the reverence it inspires, the temple is also rested amidst a pleasantly scenic setting.
Standing magnificently along the banks of the Bhadra river, the Annapoorneshwari Temple stands out with the divinity it inspires. The colorful entrance and the ambient surroundings also make the temple a place enticing enough to seek beauty in as much as it is a haven for weary souls to rediscover their peace.
Z- Point might not be the most raved about of places to visit in Chikmagalur but the picturesque spot is indeed every traveller’s wonder. Like most of the captivating town, Z- Point is also resplendent with the unparalleled beauty of the Western Ghats and is exuberant with all of nature’s lush glory.
A view of the sweeping beauty can however be a hard reward to be achieved. It takes a really momentous trek up to Z Point to witness Chikmagalur in all its ravishing charm. Deep gorges, dense forests, bottomless ravines, the narrowest of trails- Z Point isn’t accessible to all. But for those who manage to ward off all such daunting surges of the adventure filled trek, the reward is truly breath taking.
The ascent to the top lends you a glorious feeling of being at the top of the world. The fresh and cool mountain breeze passes by gently as you stand marveled at the sight unfolding before you. It’s as if you are in a daydream, only that it’s better- it’s all very real!
Chikmagalur is mesmerising and breathtaking in all of its bestowings but one particular place that will have you taken aback is the Hirekolale Lake. Even when you would not be leaved gaping at this man made lake otherwise, come sunset and you will know the beauty it can bring down on the place.
The last rays of the sun endow a golden glow to the gleaming waters that is truly a sight to behold. Enchanting and pretty in the glorious gradient, the Hirekolale Lake is one of those spots in Chikmagalur that will make your every click Instagram worthy!
You can take in the beauty of the Jhari Waterfalls merely by witnessing the milky flow of the water cascading along the ruggedly, steep rocks. Also aptly called the Buttermilk Falls, the waterfall is indeed steeped in breathtaking beauty. Nestled amidst dense forests and coffee plantations, Jhari waterfalls offers perfect serenity to unwind and relax while splashing in the cool, sparkling waters.
A small town somewhere near Chikmagalur is Kalasa that is located on the banks of the Bhadra River. The place is famous for being home to the Sri Kalaseshwara Temple but is a gem still relatively obscured with more prominent names nearby. Pleasant and ambient in its surroundings, Kalasa makes for a great spot to stop by if you are in Chikmagalur.
The evergreen environs of Kudremukh has the Kadambi waterfalls flowing through in all its gushing might. This exquisitely gorgeous fall is for sure one among the best places to visit in Chikmagalur. The pristine settings inspire not just awe in its beauty, it also lends the place a serenity that truly rejuvenates you. Popular also as a picnic spot, the Kadambi fall is truly a spectacular sight to behold in Chikmagalur.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Snow clad mountain peaks looming in the horizon, majestic wildlife seeking out the grandeur of the lush greenery, exotic flora housing some diverse species of birds- all conjures up the beauty that the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Chikmagalur is famous for.
With the Bhadra river in full flow inside the sanctuary, the place also offers avenues for water-based adventures, trekking, island camping, bird watching and rock climbing, apart from a full fledged wildlife safari. A visit to Chikmagalur would be incomplete if you miss out on the beauty of this flourishing abode of nature.
Yet another waterfall dotting the list of places to visit in Chikmagalur is the picturesque Kallathigiri falls. However it isn’t just the panoramic expanse of the falls that is majestic. Within the rocks of the waterfall is also a beautifully carved temple- the Veerbhadra temple. Even the Kallathigiri water is supposed to be infused with herbal goodness, that which also supposedly acts as an elixir.
Beset between incredible vistas of greenery and rocks, the falls is as much a delight for adventure seekers as any other. From meandering their way to the cascading waters to scaling the slippery rocks to the temple, Kallathigiri is an adventurous plunge into beauty.
Another man made structure in Chikmagalur that you must not miss out on is the Bhadra dam. With generously flowing backwaters that lets you kayak and sail your way through them, the Bhadra dam offers ample avenues to have some fun.
You can just take in the expansive view that a stand on the dam guarantees or you can manage to catch pretty glimpses of the sun going down if you get the timing right. Interestingly, the dam also turns into a spectacular sight of colors once the water in it exceeds a certain limit. The Bhadra dam is indeed a place like no other you will ever discover in and around Chikmagalur.
Vidya Shankara Temple
Sringeri in Chikmagalur is the Vidya Shankara Temple that enthuses one and all with its architecture. However, it isn’t just the chariot styled structure on a striking sculpted plinth that is the only defining feature of this place of reverence.
Intricate craftsmanship has been beautifully manifested throughout the length and breadth of the temple but it is the twelve zodiacal pillars inside the temple hall that bear utmost significance. These zodiac representation stambhas are arranged in a way that sun rays fall on each of them in chronological order of the twelve months of the Hindu calender! To witness such an ingenious piece of architectural marvel and not be marvelled by it is not among the things you would do in Chikmagalur.
Chikmagalur abounds not just in waterfalls, but waterfalls that specifically have the touch of spiritual sanctity and herbal goodness inherently flowing through them. The Manikyadhara falls however take this magic a bit further as it spins fairytale even with its name- literally translating as the string of pearls!
The waterfall is locally known as Nelikayi Theertha and is quite a conglomeration of religious beliefs. The site is considered holy by people of both Hindu and Muslim communities and with ample natural beauty is also as splendid a place to just frolic about.
A main attraction in the Baba Budangiri Hills, Manikyadhara is for sure one of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur. The misty hills form the perfect backdrop to the picturesque falls which surprisingly continues to be boisterous with icy cold water flowing even in the summers.
To enjoy an up and close view of the beauty that Manikyadhara encompasses, you need to descend a flight of some 200 stairs that somehow sounds pretty mystical to me. Small but sacred, the falls also leads to various trekking trails and offers exquisite camping options amidst the lush greenery and serenity.
A paradise less explored and a hill station less crowded, Kemmanagundi remains true to its pride of being the King’s retreat while escaping the scorching summers of Mysore. Tranquil and green like the whole of Chikmagalur, the mesmerising appeal of Kemmanagundi canonot be deciphered unless you have had the fortune of being there in your own person.
Nature is found in abundance in this very offbeat of summer destinations- what with the cool mountain breeze and the crystal clear springs transporting you to a parallel world of unheralded peace and serenity. Breathtaking and soul soothing, Kemmanagundi remains one of the most sought after places to visit in Chikmagalur.
Kavikal Gandi viewpoint
A prominent hill viewpoint in Chikmagalur region is the Kavikal Gandi viewpoint, translating literally as the Horse Shoe point. The view point offers a spectacular view of the Chandra Drona range and with the continuous breezy flow it’s actually a treat to stand atop the hill and soak in as much of nature as you can!
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
Isolated and remarkably obscured, the Ballalarayana Durga Fort is one of the few forts in the Western Ghats and one of the many places to visit in Chikmagalur. The fort exists now only in its ruins but is a reminder of the majestic past legacy it bears. However, nestled amidst dense forests and foilage, the ancient structure is very much one that is somewhat spooky and mysterious. A trek to the archaic fort still is worth the effort since the view that greets you once you are at the top is one that will have you in awe of the splendidly beautiful place you are currently wandering in.
Another mountain peak that dots the landscape of Chikmagalur is Seethalayanagiri that is one of the most prominent of tourist places to visit in Chikmagalur. A small hill, Seethalayanagiri also nestles a small quiet temple, the Seethala Mallikarjuna Swamy, a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Interestingly, the temple houses a linga that remains partially submerged in water all throughout and is another of the mystical places in town.
While your visit to Chikmagalur will never be complete unless you take a tour of the abundantly breathtaking coffee plantations, there’s another lesser known aspect of the place that needs to make it to your Chikmagalur itinerary.
The quaint Karnataka hamlet comes alive once in every 12 years with a distinct plunge into all things purple. Beautiful purple hued Neelakurinji flowers bloom in abundance throughout the valley mainly on the hilly stretches of Mullayanagiri and Seethalay lending the region a beauty that is unparalleled. However apart from the breath taking view it is also the sheer uniqueness of the experience that makes it all the more special.
Since the flowers come to bloom after a definite time period, it would be worthier if you could adjust your visit to Chikmagalur to make it coincide with the really remarkable splash of color that comes to carpet the place. After all, what’s with visiting a place and not witnessing it in all its plump glory? We say, absolutely nothing!