Chikmagalur, literally means the “town of younger daughter”, placed amid scenic landscape in a fertile valley, it is surrounded by lush green coffee plantation hills. The town is a major trade and commercial centre in Karnataka. The breathtaking views and unpolluted ambiance makes the town a relaxing haven for travelers.
Historically it is recorded that the Chikmaglur city was presented as a dowry to the younger daughter of the unquestioned and legendary figure Rukmangada, the chief of Sakrepatna. The other part of the town, which was given as dowry to elder daughter of Rukmangada is the Hiremaglur. Some of the inscriptions available in Chikmagalur and Hiremaglur point out to the old names of Kiriya-Magalu and Priya Magalu. One of the prime attractions in Chikmagalur is the Mullain Giri, which is the highest peak in Karnataka. Mullain Giri is placed at an average height of about 6,300 ft above sea level. The major attractions of Chikmagalur are the Kondadarama Temple, which is a symbolic blend of Hoysala and Dravidian styles of architectures and the Jamia Mosque. Another attraction is St Joseph’s Cathedral, renowned for its unique shell shaped portico.
The important nearby attractions include 13th century Siddheshwara temple, the grand old cave of Nirvanaswam at Thiruvanahalli and the 17th century Lakshmi Kantha temple.
Chikmaglur has grown to become a modern city with many trade centers & educational institutions. The city has gained a special place in the region as an important center for tourist activities.
You can pack your bags for a travel that lasts for about 2 – 3 days, and you would certainly enjoy the place, and some people can’t get enough of Chikmagalur even after staying there for 3 full days.
Travel within the town has limited options. If one doesn’t own a vehicle, then taxis provide the best means of transport inside the town and charge up to Rs.10/Km. Auto’s are also available but are only recommended for light travelers who are good at bargaining.
Care should be taken when handling the auto drivers since tourists tend to get ripped off as the autos don’t work on meters.
Places to Visit
Primarily being a hill station, summer is the best time to explore this town. The view of the town is supposed to best from the top of Mahatma Gandhi Park also called Ratnagiri hill. Another place to visit would be Kemmanagundi which is about 57 km from Chikmagalur. The road bumpy and takes about 3 hrs to reach there.
A jeep can be hired there to visit Hebbe falls, which takes another 3 hrs for the round trip. It would be sensible to cover Mullayanagiri, Kemmanagundi and the falls on the same day, which would take an additional 5 hrs.
Baba Budan Giri
Baba Budan Giri is one of the most visited tourist places in Chikmagalur.
This peak is located just 28 kms north from the town of Chikmagalur. Named after the Muslim Saint Baba Budan, the peak is also said to have some association with the Hindu God Guru Dattatreya, so it’s considered both sacred for Hindu and Muslim.
Baba Budan Giri, also known as Dattagiri has a height of 1895 meters above the sea level. Close to this peak are the three caves said to have been sanctified by three siddhas containing their icons & tombs. Sheethala is also close to Baba Budan Giri, and it comprises of a Mutt and the dual shrine temple of Seethala-Mallikarjuna.
One can get a glimpse of variety of birds at Baba Budan Giri and beautiful Manikvadhara waterfall is just 1 km away from the shrine. Besides, visitors can have the view of unique mountain flowers named “Kurinji”, which blooms in this peak once in every 12 years.
Stationed in the picturesque surroundings of Karnataka Western Ghats, Horanadu is one of the major tourist spots in Chikmagalur. This enchanting place is just 100 kms south-west from Chikmagalur town and possesses the ancient temple of Goddess Annapoorneshwari.
The temple is restored and renamed as Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoorneshwari. Designed in unique manner, the image depicts the Goddess with four hands holding the Shanka, Chakra, Sri Chakra and Gayathrimantra. One unique thing about this temple is that every visitor is provided with food, along with place to sleep in the temple premises. Situated in middle of thick forests and valleys, visitors are sure to enjoy the scenic view of nature while visiting Horanadu.
Things to Do
The next thing would be to drive up to the coffee plantations. No directions are required as the smell of rich coffee beans provide a reliable trail. Adventurous people can always hike through the mountains or set up camps on one of the numerous peaks. Visiting these places should take you about half a day. Food is not a problem as the budget traveler can look out for the Kamat chain of Hotels to get his money’s worth. Resorts generally cater to expensive travelers whose main idea of a vacation is lot of peace and quiet. Hospitals and Pharmacies are abundant in case of emergencies. Coffee being very potent in these parts is the first thing one would want to buy and is available in the town market. Apart from that, souvenirs native to the town can also be purchased for loved ones