Chikmagalur- A monsoon holiday
A small town located at the foothills of the Mullayanagiri peak, that is infamous for its coffee plantations & lush forests. Chikmagalur is an ideal weekend break from the hot cities of Karnataka, with year round pleasant climate, and beautiful views.
Chikmagalur has been developed into a tourist hotspot with many hotels that cater to every budget, some really good restaurants where I had the BEST food, and well maintained roads.
Drives in Chikmagalur are beautiful, through forests and coffee plantations, it is green everywhere you look, and the occasional surprise waterfall.
1. Baba Budangiri
It is named after Baba Budan who selected a cave on the mountain to meditte. He is said to have brought 7 coffee seeds from Yemen, and planted them here, which was the beginning of coffee growing in India. He was a 16th century Sufi revered by both Hindus and Muslims. His shrine is atop Baba Budangiri. If you visit during the monsoons like I did, its going to be low to absolutely no visibility at the viewpoints on the hills- all you will see is clouds/fog. Come prepared with jackets, as it was extremely cold & windy on top. We drove to the many viewpoints and the shrine.
There is a popular trekking route at Baba Budangiri as well.
2. Jhari Falls
A very popular waterfalls in Chikmagalur. During the monsoons, people come in buses to jump into the falls, as the falls are magnificent at this time.
3. Hirekolale Lake
This was such a quiet getaway in Chikmagalur, with just two other people on the lake the entire time that we were there. All the crowds are at the temples atop the mountains or at the waterfalls. This is a serene lake surrounded by hills and trees. There is a pier that you can walk on to go into the lake.
4. Mullayanagiri Peak
It is the highest peak in Karnataka at 1930m (6300ft). There is a narrow road that takes you to a certain height from where you have to climb about 300 steps to reach the top, for an expansive view of the the hills around.
It is also possible to trek Mullayanagiri.
5. Coffee Museum
This is a really good museum for coffee lovers to visit. It has informative and well created exhibits that detail the origins of the coffee plant in India, to the functioning of the coffee industry today. There is a short video clipping from a local coffee plantation as well.
6. Watch the rains
I spent a lot of time on the property of the hotel I stayed in, walking through the coffee plantations, watching the rain from the windows, and playing board games. It was a relaxing holiday because of the rains.
7. Go for a plantation tour
Coffee plantations encourage people to visit, ask at your hotel which plantation allows such visits, and take a walk through them. If it is time to harvest, you will see the plantation abuzz with locals women plucking the seeds, else it will be a quiet walk amidst greenery.
8. What to buy
Go in to town, ( I asked at my hotel & at the coffee museum for suggestions on which shop/brand of coffee I should buy), there are many stores selling coffee sourced from their own plantations in the area.
I bought a lot of roasted coffee beans & even some raw coffee beans to take home and for family.
9. Where to eat
I ate most of my meals at the hotel, which was very good, but came out to try the food in town, and stumbled upon Hotel Taj.
I had the BEST mutton sukka here. Everything else that we ordered was good, but I came back here a second time, to have the mutton sukka.
Address: Indira Gandhi road, Jyoti Nagar Chikmagalur 577101.
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