Chikkamagaluru over a cuppa

Chikkamagaluru over a cuppa
There are trips, weekend getaways and there are experiences. My cycling expedition to Chikkamagaluru was one such trip during the non-holiday season and without any traffic.

I decided on this approach as I planned to experience the joy of climbing the highest peak in Karnataka on a cycle. The place is known for its coffee and picture perfect landscapes that has been a popular destination for many movies.

My idea was to explore the hills of Mullayanagiri the highest peak in Karnataka at 1930 m above sea level, Bababudangiri and Gaalikere. As all of these fall along the same route, I chose to stay right at the foothills of these majestic mountains. Javarain, a luxurious resort gave me the perfect base camp for my ascents.

I drove down in a sedan with a roof mounted bikerack. I carried my mountain bike and road bike as I was not convinced about the road conditions in the last mile near summit of these mountains. I left at about 7.30 am and ‘Pink Floyd’ and JJ Cale gave me company through the way. NICE Road is a good test to ensure your bikes are secure. I continued towards the Bengaluru-Mangaluru highway and in no time, I was at Belur Cross for my customary breakfast at Mayura. From there the journey to Hassan took no time and I chugged along the bypass to reach the Belur Road.

From here the roads were relatively narrow but started to unfold plush green fields. I reached the Chikkamagaluru town via Belur and then headed towards Javarain, which is on Mullayanagiri Road.

After a few turns of coffee and some ascending, I was at the resort well within lunchtime. After a conscious calculated calorie intake of spicy Malanad cuisine and a nap, I hurried myself to the cycling paraphernalia as I decided to ascend to Mullayanagiri. The tallest peak in Karnataka, offers some spectacular views during the sunset hours. I started rolling gently as it is a continuous gradient all the way to the top. Every turn unfolds a different coffee estate until there is a sharp turn to take a deviation to Mullayanagiri climb.

From here to Sitalayanagiri has the most beautiful roads with sheer drops to the left and breathtaking views of the coffee landscape. On a clear day, one can see the Hirekolale Lake as well. There is a Shiva temple at Sitalayanagiri where the water level remains constant throughout the year. From here, the gradient is very steep and the roads are bad and narrow. It was a bit misty here and all I could feel was the sounds of the forests with an orchestra of the winds. I made it to the Mullayanagiri parking lot without getting off the saddle. I tied my bike to a pole and climbed the steps to reach the temple which is named after the sage Mullapa Swamy, who is believed to have mediated here.

From the temple, one can see the Bababudangiri and Kemmangundi ranges. After spending sometime there I let gravity take me back to the resort.

I woke up next morning to the sounds of the whistling thrush. After a relaxed walk, I had a good breakfast. I left immediately after lunch as the distance was more. Just before the descend to the Attibele near the checkpost, it started to show signs of a massive downpour. A short scramble on the rocks take you to a high point, where you can see grand vistas. I stopped to take some pictures and headed towards Bababudangiri and Gaalikere. This has to be the most thrilling riding experiences I’ve ever had. The sights there included gentle slopes and spectacular scenery.

With hardly anytime to descend, I took a jeep ride back with the bike all the way to the checkpost and then once again let the gravity do the talking. Bababudangiri is named after the saint Baba Budan, who is believed to have brought coffee to India. All these exiting stories unfolded over evening conversations at the tree house, back in the resort that overlooks Mullayanagiri. With a comfortable pain, I collapsed for the night while a sense of satisfaction enveloped me and I hurried back to the reality of life the following morning.

(The author can be contacted at

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