Chikmagalur - The Land Of Coffee

Tripoto

Chikmagalur, or Chikmagaluru, is a town in Karnataka. The birthplace of coffee in India lies at the base of the hills is surrounded by a backdrop of the Western Ghats, just a shade darker against the bright blue sky. The town made me fall in love at the first site. Being a huge coffee lover, this place had been on the list for almost two years now. It has easy access by road from Bengaluru - 245kms and Manguluru - 151kms. The many coffee estates are situated around the picturesque hills, a little way away from the town. Apart from being famous for its coffee, it is also famous for spices! You will find many odd shops selling great arabica coffee and beautiful spices around M.G road in Chikmagalur. So here's my three day itinerary in coffee land - chill, coffee, repeat.

Day 1:

We left early from Bengaluru and reached Chikmaglaur by 2.30pm. We were staying at the Taj resort and all we did on the first day, was relax. They had a little get-together for all the guests at 5pm with fresh brewed coffee and snacks. We were greeted with rain as we made our way to the pool for coffee. Aah the perfect weather and coffee, with the mountains framing my vision! :) We went to a 1500 year old Rama temple in Chikmagalur. On the way back, we dropped by the coffee museum, which was extremely informative - if you are a coffee aficionado, you will be enthralled by the information and the effort that is put behind your daily cuppa. You will get a chance to know the history and the process right from plucking, to roasting and powdering with the perfect concentrations of coffee and chicori to suit your taste.

Photo of Chikmagalur - The Land Of Coffee by Maitreyee

Coffee sessions at the Taj Gateway

Photo of Hotel Taj, Indira Gandhi Road, Joythinagar, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee

Day 2:

The second day was all about exploring the temple culture of this part of Karnataka! There are three really beautiful temples at 25-35kms from Chikmagalur. Belur and Halebidu are the most well known one's, however, the Veernarayana temple at Belvadi is equally beautiful even though not equally famous. These three gems from the Hoysala empire, are a treat to the eyes with intricate carvings around their outer and inner surface. The detailing in stone depicts many famous tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata in excruciating details. All the temples are open to tourists from sunrise to sunset. We were back at the hotel in time for a dip in the pool followed by our evening coffee ritual.

Photo of Veeranarayana Swamy Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee
Photo of Veeranarayana Swamy Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee
Photo of Veeranarayana Swamy Temple, Belavadi, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee
Day 2
Photo of Halebeedu, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee
Photo of Halebeedu, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee

Day 3:

There are numerous treks around Chikmagalur, the most famous one is probably the Mullyangiri trek, being the highest peak in Karnataka. The trek starts from a point in the valley, however, if you are not much of a trekker, you can reach upto a certain height by road (smaller cars/LMVs can go further up). The views of the sprawling valleys are truely amazing and it is definitely worth a visit. On the way to Mullyangiri lies the Jhari falls, or the buttermilk falls. To reach the falls, one must park along the road and take a ride in the private jeeps that are available there (they charge ₹600 every jeep which fits about six people). The ride to the waterfalls goes through a coffee plantation on dirt roads. Once you reach the parking point of the jeeps, it is hardly a 300 mt walk till you reach the falls. We visited the waterfalls in early May, which are summers in India, and it was still extremely beautiful! The next stop was the infamous Baba Budangiri's shrine. He was the first person who brought the coffee plant to India. The shrine, located at a dizzying 6317ft is not too special structurally, but the ride up there is sure to give you an adrenaline rush. On the way back to Chikmagalur, we stopped at the famous Siri cafe with a women's statue adorned in flowers and lawns. Last but not the least, how could we call the trip to an end without a good old Ayurvedic massage at the hotel spa?

Jhari or buttermilk falls

Photo of Jhari Waterfall, Thippanahalli Estate Road, Inam Dattathreya Peeta, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee

Jhari or buttermilk falls

Photo of Jhari Waterfall, Thippanahalli Estate Road, Inam Dattathreya Peeta, Karnataka, India by Maitreyee
Day 3

Baba Budan-giri

Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Maitreyee
Photo of Baba Budangiri, Nagenahalli, Karnataka by Maitreyee

Tips:

If you prefer quiet, try to visit the buttermilk waterfall a little early as it gets really crowded with people (bathing and noisy). Also, the ride to the waterfall is VERY muddy, dusty and bumpy. Do avoid if you are allergic or have back problems.

The coffee museum is closed on Sunday's!

Before going to Chikmagluru, I had a very different idea about it. I imagined it to be like Coorg or Ooty, with open estates along the roads, but almost all the estates in Chikmaglur are private and you'll get a much more authentic experience by booking a stay with one of the many home-stays that are ON the estates.

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