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Nestled in the Baba Budan Hills, Chikkamagaluru is a calm, serene town with hills, valleys, streams and coffee plantations. It is believed that Chikkamagaluru to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the Chief of Sakrepatna kingdom. Chikkamagaluru takes its name from Chikka magal-uru which means “Younger Daughter’s Village“. Another part of the town was bestowed on the elder daughter’s dowry known as Hiremagalur which translates to Hire-magal-uru “Elder Daughter’s Village“.
What makes Chikkamagaluru even more special is that it is the heart of Karnataka’s/ India’s coffee industry. Coffee seed was planted here for the first time in India in the Baba Budan Giri hills. According to legends, a Muslim saint Baba Budan is credited to have brought the coffee seeds into the region, after a visit to Arabia in 1670 AD. The beans planted by him on the hill slopes of Chikkamagaluru flourished, and the Indian Coffee Industry was born. A walk among the coffee plantations, especially during the flowering season (March-April) is an experience to cherish when the air is full of the heady coffee fragrance.
Chikkamagaluru is a trekker’s delight due to its rugged mountain trails, numerous hills, valleys and freshwater streams. It is home to several hills including the tallest peak of Karnataka – Mullayyanagiri Peak.
Explore the many wildlife sanctuaries, ancient temples and forts. Take a stroll through the coffee plantations or catch a magnificent sunset. Experience is the best of the Western Ghats here in Chikkamagaluru.
For further information, visit the official district website click here!
- Belavadi (30 km): Belavadi is home to the famous Thrikutachala (three shrined) Temple, where the idols of Veeranarayana, Venugopala and Yoga Narasimha are located in a single temple complex. It is an excellent example of Hoysala architecture and is one of the largest temples built by the Hoysala kings.
- Angadi: Angadi was the original home of Hoysala rulers before their empire rose to its peak in South India. Today Angadi village has about six temples worth exploring. The name Angadi means ‘shop’ in Kannada. Sala, the founder of Hoysala Empire is believed to have killed a raging tiger in this village, on the orders of his teacher, a Jain Muni. ‘Hoy’ refers to ‘attack’ or ‘hit’. Upon sensing the sanctity of the spot that induced immense bravery into his disciple, the teacher advises Sala to build his empire from here.
- Ballalarayana Durga (70 km): Ballalarayana Durga is a hill fort in Chikkamagaluru that is situated between the towns of Kottegehara and Kalasa. Believed to be constructed during the 12th century, it boasts of a rich history and cultural significance. This vantage point offers some of the best panoramic views of the Western Ghats and can only be reached through a trek amidst the forests. Although the hill fort is in ruins with only periphery walls, it is a major tourist destination as a trekking destination.
Nature & Wildlife
- Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (78 km):The sanctuary takes its name from the Bhadra River, its lifeline. Popularly known as Muthodi Wildlife Sanctuary, after the village on its periphery, it was declared a Project Tiger reserve. But apart from the tiger, it is a great place to sight and observe other mammals, reptiles and more than 250 species of birds, many of which are endemic to the Western Ghats. The state run Jungle Lodges & Resorts runs the River Tern Lodge located on a hillock on the edge of the Bhadra reservoir, near Lakkavali. It is a stone’s throw away from the northern boundary of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Muthodi is the southern part of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and is located in one of the most picturesque forest patches here. The sanctuary is also home to the Jagara Giant, the largest teak tree in the state which has a girth of 5.1 m with a height of 32 m and is said to be around 400 years old.
- Muthodi Game Sanctuary: Muthodi is a wildlife sanctuary 38 kms from Chikkamagaluru. Muthodi was originally designated as Jagara Valley Game Reserve in 1951. Visitors can undertake safari in Muthodi Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Kuduremukh National Park: The Kudremukha (literally meaning Horse Face) Range gets its name from the unique shape of its main peak. The broad hills overlook the Arabian Sea and are chained to one another by deep valleys and steep precipices. It is believed that Kudremukha served as a landmark for sailors in the western coast for over 2000 years. As yet ‘undiscovered’ by tourists, Kudremukha is a trekker’s paradise. Let the wonderland of lush green forests interspersed with rivers, grassy slopes, captivating cascades, caves and ruins amaze you as you trek your way through it. The best time to visit is after the monsoon when everything is lush green and the rivers, streams and waterfalls are at their best. Ganga Moola is a scenic place located in the Bhagawathi forest where the three rivers Tunga, Bhadra and Netravati originate. A shrine to Goddess Bhagavathi and a 1.8m high Varaha image inside a cave are the chief attractions here. The Kudremukh National Park is spread across 600.57 sq km. in Chikkamagaluru and Dakshina Kannada districts, houses a variety of wildlife such as the leopard, Malabar giant squirrel, sloth bear, gaur, sambar, jackal, mongoose, tiger, wild dog, common langur, porcupine, spotted deer, barking deer and giant flying squirrel. The park is home to a variety of birds such as the Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush and the imperial pigeon.
- Mullayyanagiri Peak (25 km): Mullayyanagiri peak is the highest peak in Karnataka with a height of 6317 ft. Regarded as the highest peak between Himalayas and Nilgiris, Mullayanagiri is one of the best treks in Karnataka. The peak gets its name from a small temple at the summit, which is dedicated to a sage Mullappa Swamy, who is believed to have meditated at the cave near the summit.
- Seethalayyanagiri: A temple stop enroute to Mullayyanagiri.
- Kemmanagundi(55 km): The picturesque hill station of Kemmanagundi is located at a height of 1434m above sea level. This was the summer retreat of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV. Ringed by the Baba Budan Giri Range and blessed with silver cascades, mountain streams and lush vegetation, Kemmanagundi’s beautifully laid-out ornamental gardens, enchanting mountains and valleys views are a treat for the eye. The spectacular sunset view from the Raj Bhavan is a photographer’s delight. For the adventurous at heart, Kemmanagundi offers many peaks to scale and intricate jungle paths to explore.
- Manikyadhara Falls: Manikyadhara is a popular waterfall in Bababudangiri hills of Chikkamagaluru district. Manikyadhara translates to ‘stream of pearls’. When sunlight falls on Manikyadhara, water droplets appear like sparkling pearls. Most pilgrims visiting Bababudangiri shrines ensure they also visit Manikyadhara falls and consider the water holy. Accessing Manikyadhara waterfalls involves getting down 200+ steps. The view of the Western Ghats from Manikyadhara waterfalls area is captivating. Watchtowers and resting areas are available along the steps. Locals sell herbs and food products. Height of Manikyadhara falls is 30 ft.
- Sirimane Falls:Sirimane waterfalls is at distance of 15 kms from Sringeri Sharamba temple. The road to the falls passes through Kigga village which is famous for Rishyashringa temple. The road connectivity is good and there is marking all the way to the falls. This is one of the easily accessible waterfalls of this region as it requires a person to descent a few well laid steps to reach near the waterfalls.
- Jhari Falls: Jhari waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Chikkamagaluru district. Jhari waterfall is often visited along with Mullayanagiri and Baba Budan Giri. Water originating in the mountains flows over steep rocks offering a wide and thin white layer of spectacular waterfall. Also known as Buttermilk Falls, Jhari Falls needs to be accessed via 4x4 jeep ride for the last 5 kms.
- Kalhatti Falls(54 km): Water cascades from the top of the Chandra Drona Hill from a height of 45m, to flow before the Veerabhadreshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Kalhatti Falls is located on the way to Kemmannugundi and makes a refreshing stop to visit when in the region. Veerabhadreshwara temple is said to be built during Vijayanagara rule.
- Hebbe Waterfalls: Hebbe Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Chikkamagaluru. A trek from Kemmanagundi along a steep and narrow path leads to these sprightly falls. Surrounded by dense forests and coffee plantations, Hebbe Waterfalls rush down a height of 554 feet in two stages, to form the Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and the Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls). Additional hiking is required to reach the upper portion of the Hebbe Falls. A small pool formed by the falls at its base is ideal for a dip and short swim
- Heggade Falls: A lesser known waterfall located in Jayapura, 22 kms south of Koppa.
- Bandajje Arabi Falls: Close to Ballalarayana Durga and often visited as an extension to Ballalarayana Durga trek.
- Coffee Museum: Coffee museum in chikkamagaluru is a great way to history and processing of coffee. Coffee museum is a Coffee Board initiative, open on all weekdays and located right behind Zilla Panchayat office in Chikkamagaluru.
- Central Coffee Research Institution: The district also houses the Central Coffee Research Institution formerly known as the Coffee Experimental Station started in 1925 under the stewardship of late Dr. Leslie C. Coleman. Now spread over an area of 119.86 hectares, the institute conducts research to evolve strategies aimed at increasing productivity and improvement of the quality of coffee.
- Chikmagalur Golf Club: Nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Baba Budan Giri range, the Chikmagalur Golf Club is a 18 hole Golf course spread over 82 acres. It is one of the most challenging and picturesque golf courses in the country.
- Ayyanakere: Ayyanakere, a large lake in Kadur taluk of Chikkamagaluru district is also called Dodda Madagadakere. With Baba Budan hill range in the backdrop, Ayyanakere offers interesting vistas. Ayyanakere is the biggest lake in Chikkamagaluru district and second biggest in Karnataka (Shanti Sagar in Davanagere is the largest). Ayyanakere provides water to agricultural fiends in the region, supporting over 1754 hectares (17.54 sq kms) of farmland. Ayyanakere was man made, built by a local ruler Rukmangada Raya and subsequently renovated by other kings who ruled the region, predominantly Hoysala rulers. Ayyanakere is spread over 189 hectares (1.89 sq kms) and can store about 420 million cubic ft (11.89 million cubic meters) of water.
- Khandya: 42 kms from Chikkamagaluru on the Sringeri route, a very scenic journey on winding roads, passing through hills and dales, running brooks, manicured coffee & tea plantations and thick forests leads to Khandya. Home to temples of Markandeya and Janardhana, Markanda sage is believed to have performed penance here. The river Bhadra flows past the temple, taming the hard stones into different shapes, by constant friction of the loose rocks.
- Bird Watching: Over 200 species of birds reside or visit during migratory season to the forests of Kuduremukha.
- Trekking: With permission from forest officials, day treks can be undertaken in the hills of Kuduremukha. Camping is not allowed hence hikers need to return before sunset. Besides popular trek to Kuduremukha peak, other trekking trails are Kurinjal Peak, Gangadikal Peak, Seethabumi peak, Ballalarayana Durga, Valikunda and Narasimha Parvatha.
- Neelakurinji Blooms in Chikkamagaluru: The Western Ghats specially Chikkamagaluru along with Kodagu in Karnataka gives a fabulous opportunity for travellers, to see hill sides covered with a spectacular carpet of purplish-blue flowers. This spectacle occurs when the Neelakurinji flowers bloom once in 12 years.
- White water rafting: Private operators conduct white water rafting in Bhadra river. Typical ride covers 3-4 kms with 3 rapids. Check www.acepaddlers.com
- Jeep Safari: Forest department organizes Jeep Safari inside Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. Forest Safari in Bhadra has high probability of tiger and leopard spotting as over 30 tigers and 20 leopards are based in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Coffee Plantation Tours: Coffee Plantation tours are operated by private tour operators. Most home-stay owners also facilitate plantation tours
- Camping: Overnight camping in safe, secure and scenic locations is organized by private operators.
- Sringeri (90 km): One of the holiest and most important Hindu pilgrim centres, Sringeri was the site of the first of the four Peethas (centres) established by the great sage Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of the Advaita philosophy. Sringeri has the Sharadamba Temple dedicated to Sharadamba, Goddess of Learning and Wisdom. The temple is famed for the matchless beauty of the idol. Nearby is the Vidyashankara Temple which is an architectural marvel – its 12 sculpted pillars, each representing a sign of the zodiac, are placed so that the sun’s rays fall on each successively, in the order of the solar months.
- Temples in Chikkamagaluru: Bola Rameshwara, Kollapura Mahalakshmi, Kannika Parameshwari, Rukhmai Panduranga and Kattimaramma are most popular temples in Chikkamagaluru town.
- Amritapura: Amritapura is popular for its Hoysala style Amriteshvara temple. Amriteshvara temple was built in 1196 AD by Amriteshvara Dandanayaka, a commander of Hoysala king Ballala the second. Delicacy of hand crafted artwork, originality of design and fine feathers make Amriteshvara a high class structure of Hoysala period.
- Horanadu (90km): Horanadu is situated in the midst of thick forests and is a centre of Devi worship. It has nature in all her resplendent glory. Horanadu is home to Sri Annapurneshwari Temple, dedicated to Goddess Annapurna (meaning feeding one and all). It is believed that devotees who seek Her blessings would never have scarcity of food. Horanadu Annapurneshwari temple is believed to be constructed 400 years ago by Saint Agasthya Maharishi. Annapurneshwari translates to Goddess who provides food and fulfils hunger. Since its inception, Annapurneshwari temple has been known to provide free meals to all devotees visiting the temple. Main deity Goddess Annapurneshwari, made of gold, is seen standing with 4 hands, holding Shankha (Conch Shell), Chakra (wheel), Sri Chakra and Devi Gayatri in her hands. With silver coloured Adishesha (snake god) over the head, fully decorated Adishakti Annapurneshwari is a divine sight not to miss. Horanadu temple also has shrines dedicated to Udbhava Maha Ganapathi, Anjaneya Swamy and Sri Navagraha.
- Kalasa (90 km): Kalasa is located on the banks of Bhadra River and is home to Pancha Teerthas (five Sacred Ponds) namely Rudra Teertha, Amba Teertha, Naga Teertha, Varaha Teertha and Vasishtha Teertha. You can also find temples dedicated to Lord Shiva called Kalaseshvara Temple and Agastyeshvara Temple. Kalasa is one of the five sacred religious places in the region: Kalasa is one of the ‘Pancha-kshetras’- other four being Khandya, Hebbe, Somapura and Kudli.
- Hiremagalur: Hiremagalur village is popular for its Kodandarama temple, featuring deities Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta. Hiremagalur is just 3 kms away from Chikkamagaluru.
- Imam Dattatreya Peetha (30 km): Situated on the Baba Budan Giri Range is the Imam Dattatreya Peetha, a shrine venerated by Hindus and Muslims alike. The range is also called Chandra Drona Parvatha, as it resembles a crescent. Baba Budan Giri (1895 m) takes its name from the Muslim saint Baba Budan who resided here, and is credited to have brought the first coffee seeds into the region, after a visit to Arabia. A laterite cave here is believed to have been sanctified by being the residence of Dattatreya Swami as well as Hazrath Dada Hayath Mir Kalandar. Worship here is conducted by a fakir, and the annual jatra or urus is attended by both Hindus and Muslims with great fervour.
- Ambale: Home to four temples: Lokeshwara, Chennigaraya, Veerabhadra and Gopalakrishna.
- Angadi: Home to Goddess Vasantika and ruins of five other temples including two Jain basadis.
- Asandi: Home to Chandikeshwara, Veerabhadra, Gangeshvara and Brahmeshvara temple.
- Balehonnur: Home to Rambhapuri Matha and Veerabhadra temple
- Brahmasamudra: Home to two Hoysala era temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
- Devanur: Home to Lakshminarayana and Siddeshwara temples
- Hariharapura: Home to Varadaraya Venkataramana temple and a well known Smartha Matha.
- Jayapura: Home to two Hoysala era temples: Chennakeshava and Lokeshwara.
- Kalasapura: Home to two Hoysala era temples: Cheluva Narayana and Mallikarjuna.
- Marle: Known for its fine Hoysala temples: Chennakeshava and Siddeshwara
- Mudigere: Home to Singeshvara temple ruins, Lakshminarayana temple and Rameshvara temple.
- Yedehalli: Home to three Jain basadis and Yakshi Jwalamalini temple
- Kigga (95 km): Kigga is a small village located near Sringeri. The main attraction here is the Sri Rishya Shringeshwara Swamy Temple. The temple is named after the famous sage, Rishya Shringha of Ramayana fame and it is believed that the town of Sringeri gets its name from this great sage. This village is famous for its landscapes and the trekking route that leads to the peak of Narasimha Parvatha. The approach road to Sirimane Falls go beside this temple.
- Samse: Home to Chandranatha and Padmavati basadi.
- Tarikere: Features Hoysala era Keshava temple with well carved motifs and excellent display of worksmanship
- Devaramane: Popular for Kalabhaireshvara temple.
- Vidyaranyapura: Home to Harihareshvara temple said to be built in14th century and several other 17th century shrines.
- Yallambalase: Home to Keshava temple and two different Kalleshwara temples