Chikmagalur: Trekkers' paradise

Weekend Getaways

Chikmagalur: Trekkers' paradise

Nestled in the Western Ghats, amidst a mosaic of tropical forests, Chikmagalur is a small town with lush green hills, waterfalls, constant rainfall and pleasant white coffee blossoms to adorn. Being the first town, which introduced coffee to India, Chikamagalur has now become one of the leading producers of coffee. A trekkers’ delight, the district has several rugged mountain trails with waterfalls that cascade along the hills.

Chikmagalur literally means ‘younger daughter’s town’, in Kannada. According to historians, the district was given as dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the chief of Sakrepatna and hence the name. 

The first coffee crop was grown in the Baba Budan Hills more than four centuries ago. People believe that saint Baba Budan, brought seven coffee beans to Chikamagalur from Yemen, while on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He them planted these seeds in the hills of Chikmagalur, which has thus received the name ‘Baba Budan Giri’ (meaning Baba Budan Hills in Kannada).

Located 251 kms away from Bangalore, Chikmagalur has become a paradise for tourists with the coffee estates and lush green hills. The town enroute to many other tourist places like Belur, Hampi, Mangalore, Karwar to name a few, has become a transit where visitors stop by for an overnight stay. Within Chikmagalur, Kemmanagundi, (situated 55 kms north of Chikmagalur), is a scenic hill station, situated on the Baba Budan range at a height of 1,434 m and eight kms from Kemmanagundi are the Hebbe Falls. The Kalhatti Falls are 10 kms from Kemmanagundi where the water cascades down from a height of 122 meters.

Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, standing tall at 1,930 meter is part of the Baba Budan Range. It is a retreat for visitors with the fog-covered hills and gives a picturesque view of a hamlet from the hill top. A temple is located on a small hillock in Mullayanagiri and in summer on clear days sans the rain, one can get a glimpse of the Arabian Sea. 

The  Coffee Board Museum, is another place to visit, which contains a documented history about coffee and its variety. The variety of coffee grown, imported and exported, the method of brewing coffee to get the perfect taste is also showcased here.
With Chikmagalur increasingly becoming a ‘must see spot’ for tourists, The Serai, of Café Coffee Day Hotels and Resorts, located in 70 acre verdant coffee estate and is spread over seven acres, is one such place for an overnight stay. The Persian version of Serai means an ‘accomodation where intrepid travellers rested and relaxed along the way’ and the Turkish interpretation denotes that Serai is a palace of the Sultan.
The luxury resort derives its design from the Indonesian village hut, with 29 designer villas. Each villa comprises of plush interiors which look oriental in every aspect. Individual swimming pools in each villa, spa for rejuvenation, tennis court and a customised golf ground is available for a perfect getaway. Early morning walks in the coffee estate and treks to the nearby fog-covered hills is a must-do at the resort.

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