My second day began with a healthy dose of coffee (and maggi) at the Zostel cafe. The staff arranged for an auto for my trip that day. I was lucky to have a reliable auto driver named Vijay, who doubled up as a guide and a photographer.
My first spot for the day was Siri Coffee. Decked with a gorgeous statue of Mother Nature, made of flowers and plants, this was definitely a not-to-be-missed site. The statue even has ornaments made out of plants and flowers. Great for photo-ops and a quick breakfast, this place offers a serene ambience.
While clicking photos there, I bumped into a group of backpackers from Bangalore (2 girls and a guy). They were incidentally my roommates at Zostel that night (they were yet to check in when I met them that morning).
After a date with Mother Nature, I headed towards Mullayanagiri. The highest peak of Karnataka, it stands at a height of over 1,900 metres (300+ steps in total). While I was apprehensive of climbing all the way up to the peak, I was encouraged by Vijay, who assured me the peak was accessible.
As I was halfway through, I was almost swept away by the winds. It was cold up there, but I made it to the peak after stopping to rest twice and taking in the astounding view of the green hills enveloped by clouds.
There is a temple at the top, but since it had started to drizzle a little and the winds were getting sharper, I decided to get back to the base without exploring the peak any further.
The Baba Budan Giri dargah was next on my list. Legend has it that it was Sufi saint Baba Budan who was the first person to bring coffee to India. It is believed he had brought seven coffee beans from Yemen and had started a plantation in the southern Indian hills (the place that is named after him now) at a time when the idea of coffee plantations had not yet reached the country.
The hills around the Baba Budan Giri dargah are enveloped by a thick carpet of greens, which makes it an awesome place to click photos.
The Jhari Falls/Buttermilk Falls was my next destination. The way to the falls isn’t very accessible, as vehicles are allowed till a certain point, after which one has to hire a jeep.
I had to wait for a group to accompany me in the jeep. I thus met four amazing people (all from Bangalore). What followed was a ride I will remember forever. The jeep ride was super bumpy and definitely not recommended for elders or even for young people after they have had meals (for obvious reasons). All through the 15-minute ride, I was praying that the jeep doesn’t get overturned. A 5-minute walk from the jeep parking area took us to the awe-inspiring Jhari Falls. The view was remarkable and made the jeep ride worthy. It being a Saturday, the place was teeming with tourists.
After spending about 15 minutes there, we got back in the jeep and had another 15-minute bumpy ride back to the entrance.
I was hungry and had to check off another place on my list: Town Canteen. On the way, I came across the Honnamanna Falls, which was not too extraordinary.
We finally reached Town Canteen. The place wasn’t too big, but the food was amazing. I gorged on the famed Benne Masala Dosa (butter dosa), filter coffee, and jamun. The jamun was a melt-in-your-mouth delight. After a sumptuous meal, I headed to my last destination for the day, the Hirekolale Lake.
To be honest, I found this lake quite ordinary. There weren’t too many people there either, with just a family of six taking selfies. After a 10-minute break at the lake, I headed back to Zostel.
My day ended with a chit-chat session over dinner, with the group that I had met earlier that day. The cafe was buzzing with people, as it was a Saturday. We had a lovely time exchanging our travel stories.