Manikyadhara is one of the mesmerising water falls in the Western Ghats. This falls is located just three kilometres away from Dattagiri of Chikmagalur which is also known as Bababudangiri of Chandradrona parvatha confluence.
Manikyadhara falls is nestled between Voddina gudda and Basavana gudda which are at a height of 6,000 ft above sea level. These hillocks are covered in shola forest, which is the birth place of the Manikyadhara stream which flows majestically inside here. It is also known as Nellikayi theertha. This cascading stream leaps from the rocky bed at the end of the forest forming the mesmerising Manikyadhara waterfall.
Manikyadhara can be reached by foot or vehicle from Dattatreya peetha. Riding through the verdant landscape and several scenic spots is a wonderful experience. The small road offers you enchanting views of surrounding hills and leads you to a grass land surrounded by blissful hillocks. From here, one has to climb down around 200 steps at the edge of the hill to witness the beauty of Manikyadhara. Concrete steps are well laid and fenced on either side for the safety of the tourists.
Water falls from a height of 50 feet here. The falling water spills down to the ground like tiny pearls, glittering in sunshine. As the water droplets fall like shining pearls this falls is known as Manikyadhara falls.
During Monsoon the water flow is high. During dry season, however, the flow is significantly less. But, there is water the year round, very cold. Undaunted, tourists readily take bath in the chill waters.
It is believed that the water of Manikyadahra has remedial qualities to cure many physical ailments. At the bottom of the falls a tank has been built to help several pilgrims take bath at a time. The Muslim community also holds the place sacred and Muslims take a bath here before offering prayers at the Darga located at Bababudangiri.
There is also a tradition that those who take bath in the Manikyadhara falls have to leave a piece of cloth that they wear while taking bath in the area. Though there are dustbins, pilgrims continue throwing their clothes on the steep slopes and adjacent rocks of the falls turning the beautiful place into an eyesore.
Authorities have begun levying penalty on those found throwing their clothes into the valley or rocks. A notice board also requests pilgrims to maintain cleanliness in the area. But this natural splendour continues to be polluted.
Some tourists are also contributing towards making this place dirty. One can find glass and plastic bottles, plastic covers and other waste strewn in the area. The region is a trekkers’ paradise. One can reach this place by trekking from Attigundi village en route Bababudangiri Hills from Chikmagalur. Surroundings of Manikyadhara also offer an excellent opportunity for trekking.