For the adventure lovers who have to clamber every mountain or mole hole they sight, Chikmagalur is your answer. Scaling Mullayanagiri peak is an experience worth raving about. The peak is 2000m above sea level and offers numerous trekking paths. The view after the uphill climb is breathtaking with the vast expanse of coffee estates basking in the lukewarm sunlight. For the folks who want this experience but not the exaction, Jenukkal Gudda(beehive hill) in Sakleshpur is a viable option. Picturesque landscapes, the sun playing a boo, honey-dipped skies makes it with worth the effort topped with carpets of velvet green stretching to the zenith.
To invoke that inner tranquillity, to re-live a facet of the past, or to soak in the architectural grandeur of our ancestors, stop at the Belavadi temple. This monument is lesser known and hence saves you from the horde of tourists making it an ideal hub for a halcyon holiday. Misty Manjarabad in Sakleshpur takes you back to the time of Tipu Sultan with labyrinth fort nestled among the coffee plantations. To be dazzled by the star-shaped splendour, climb atop a hill starting at Donigal located at a distance of approximately 9.5km from the fort.
A rutted ride through the rocky roads enveloped in the windy whisper of tall trees takes you to the most resplendent waterfalls of Chikmagalur, Hebbe falls. It is nestled among thick coffee plantations and inside Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. The falls cascades into two stages, Dodda Hebbe and Chikka Hebbe.The water is generated from the springs of the mountains and is said to be infused with herbs aiding in the cure of skin diseases.
The thunder of the falls, the gentle ripple of water sliding along the gleaming pebbles is the perfect spot for soaking your tired feet or drenching yourself in the shower of mountain rawness.
Sakleshpur, not left too far behind offers Abbe falls or Manjehalli falls where you can enjoy a serene picnic with the waterfalls completed by a picturesque view of the Pushpagiri mountains. Wade through the pool or stand right below it to experience the gentle stupor shaken by the torque of this magnificent waterfalls.
Coffee traces its origin to Chikmagalur. Treat your eyes to the vast expanse of the estates landscaped to perfection on the rocky hills. Enjoy a warm mug of freshly brewed coffee with the towering mountains covered in emerald awning coupled with the windy whisper and the crackling bonfire.
You can also hike through the circuitous terrain or indulge in some trekking to etch in your memory the opulence of the countryside with some incredible photographs.
For the curious minds that ponder over how coffee transforms into an invigorating drink, several plantations and homestays offer to take you around to show how the berries are chosen, treated and dried. The blast of aroma that hits when you take a puff of coffee bathed air is beyond what words can describe.
Bhadra forest reserve in Chikmagalur is home to tigers, black leopards, black cats and a variety of birds. Embark on a wildlife safari conducted by the forest reserve to infuse in verdant vegetation, puffy clouds, cerulean skies and the gentle snapping of twigs set against the backdrop of gabbing rivulets, voluble streams and strident crickets make it encompassing enlightenment.
Since the lifeline of Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur is tourism, the place is inclined towards what the crowds prefer making the homestays offer a gamut of delectable options from the kitchens of North and South India.
The local cuisine is heavily influenced by the Malnadu style both at Chikamagalur and Sakleshpur. Warm akki roti with the lightly spiced coconut chutney, fish curry cooked in coconut milk , Kakadu is key in the local platter.
Indulge in thinly sliced banana chips with a light sprinkle of salt to accompany the nippy weather.
Don’t forget to complete your meal with a cup of freshly brewed home-grown strong filter coffee.
The best time to visit both these places is the time period from September to May. Monsoon makes the paths slippery and inaccessible by roads.
By road: Chikmagalur is about 240km away which makes it easier to drive by a car or a tempo traveller. The route encompasses Channrayapatna, the toy town, history-soaked Belur, quaint little hill station, Hassan making the journey as scenic as the destination teeming with foliage and waterbodies. There are also numerous buses plying from Bangalore with convenient pickup points. Both state travels and private buses vie this space with frequent vehicles spanning across different times of the day to accommodate the convenience of the traveller. Most travellers prefer a late-night bus as the journey takes an approximate of 8 hours to watch Chikamagalur wake up to the gentle nudging rays of the sunshine.
By rail: To reach Chikamagalur by train from Bangalore, there are limited options. The Yeshwantpur Chikamagalur fast passenger train is your best bet. There are also trains offering services till Kadur from where you have to reach Chikmagalur by bus or by renting a cab.
By air: Chikamaglur does not have its own airport and the nearest airport is at Mangalore. A 3-hour drive from there will land you at Chikmagalur