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Chikmagalur or known officially as Chikkamagaluru, is a lush green retreat tucked in the hills of northern Karnataka. Also called the Coffee Land of Karnataka, the district is replete with dense coffee plantations and is the leading producer of coffee in the country. The luxurious natural beauty, rolling hills and valleys, sparkling rivers and waterfalls, and the aromatic coffee gardens are what Chikmagalur is famous for.
Chikmagalur hill station sits in the Malenadu region of Karnataka, at the foothills of the Western Ghats. The district has an elevation of 3580 ft, with the highest point of the region at Mullayanagiri, rising to 6630 ft. The mountains of Chikmagalur are sources of the Tunga and Bhadra rivers. The landscape is dominated by terraced plantations of coffee and tea, thick shrubs, torrential cascades, and scenic valleys. The plantations are regarded as one of the top 25 bio-diversity regions of the world and make for the best thing about Chikmagalur that you can explore.
History of Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur takes its name from the Kannada Chikkamagaḷa ūru that translates to “younger daughter’s town“. In context it refers to the youngest daughter of the legendary chief of Sakharayapattana. The region was once ruled by the famous Hoysala dynasty until the 13th century. The region rose to popularity for its first coffee plantations in India, in 1670, when a traveling Sufi saint, Baba Budan introduced the crop to the country in 1670.
Best Time to Visit Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur enjoys a very moderate climate with good weather throughout the year, making it conducive enough to explore anytime. The summers are warm and pleasant, while winters are chilly and misty. During monsoon, the region receives heavy rainfall. If you want to explore the plantations, forests, and do all kinds of nature activities, the winter months between October to April make for the best season to visit Chikmagalur.
[Also Read: 10 Best places to Visit in South India]
How to Reach Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur district is well-connected to the cities and towns of Karnataka and other neighbouring states.
The closest railway stations in Chikmagalur are located at Birur, Kadur, and Tarikere, with the nearest one being Kadur. You can reach Kadur or any of these stations and then take a local bus service or book a cab to reach Chikmagalur town.
Chikmagalur has good road connectivity with two national highways that pass through the district. There are regular state-run and private bus service that connects this hill station to other major cities of Karnataka like Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga etc.
Alternatively, you can do a road trip from Bangalore to Chikmagalur, Mysore to Chikmagalur, or Shimoga to Chikmagalur, and enjoy the scenic drive through the hills and forests of northern Karnataka. You can book a cab from any of these cities and towns to reach Chikmagalur.
Chikmagalur doesn’t have an airport of its own. The nearest airport in Chikmagalur is Mangalore International airport at Mangalore, at about 152 km from the town. From there you can book a Mangalore airport taxi and drive to Chikmagalur. Other airports near Chikmagalur are at Bangalore and Mysore.
Download our Savaari car Booking app for a smooth and pleasant journey.
Places to Visit in Chikmagalur
With a blissful climate and delightful landscape, Chikmagalur sightseeing is a thrill in its own right.
Here are the best Chikmagalur sightseeing places that are a must-visit–
- Mahatma Gandhi Park – Also called Rathnagiri Bore, the MG Park Chikmagalur sits north of the town. It’s known for beautiful landscaped gardens with colorful flowers and ornamental plants. The lotus pond with a wooden footbridge is the main highlight.
- Rock Garden – a public garden perched on the peaks of Kemmanagundi. There are pathways cut out of rock, an orchid house with several exotic species of flowers, and offers great views of the surrounding hills.
- Hebbe Falls – the most famous waterfall of the region. It sits 10 km from the town in the middle of verdant forests with great views of the Kemmanagundi hills. The source stream splits into the Dodda Hebbe or Big Falls and the Chikka Hebbe or Small Falls.
- Kalhatti Falls – a scenic waterfall in a tranquil natural setting. It sits on the Kemmanagundi hills in the backdrop of dense rainforests, with nature trails. You can trek up to the top of the falls and enjoy the views.
- Dakshinamnaya Sharada Peetham – Also called Sringeri Sharada Peetham, this is the most famous Chikmagalur temple. It boasts the ancient Indian rock-cut architecture and enshrines ancient deities.
- Ayyanakere Lake – one of the most famous lakes in Chikmagalur, Ayyanakere is also the second largest lake of Karnataka. It’s flanked by hills and has a boardwalk for closer viewing. The lake is great for picnics and watching sunsets.
Things to Do in Chikmagalur
The diverse and rich landscape of the region offers endless options for adventure activities in Chikmagalur.
- Take a guided tour of Chikmagalur coffee estate and experience the detailed processes and techniques that go behind your favorite brew. You can also sample fresh coffee. Karadigundy, Woodway, and Jungle Greens are some of the famous coffee plantations in Chikmagalur
- Explore the hills of Baba Budangiri. Also known as Chandra Drona Parvatha, this fabulous spot in the north of town has many intriguing caves and scenic points for spectacular views of the mountains. You can trek or hike through the mountain trails, or head to the sunrise point. A hilltop point, the sunrise point is famous for exceptional views of morning sky.
- Do the short Z point Chikmagalur trek. It’s a must-do trek in the Kemmanagundi hills, that start at Raj Bhavan. The route is easy and passes through small waterfalls and gorgeous valleys.
- Take the famous Mullayanagiri Chikmagalur trek. The hills house the highest peak of Karnataka, surrounded by picturesque valleys and lush coffee plantations. You can trek all the way to the top where a Shiva temple sits on a steep slope.
- Do a tour of the Coffee Museum. The conservatory documents and displays tell you everything about history of coffee in India, coffee business, its production and brewing process. You can walk around and also see traditional equipment and different methods of producing coffee across different times.
Best Places to Eat in Chikmagalur
The food scene here is dominated by traditional Kannadiga cuisine but also influenced by its multicultural community and colonial heritage.
These are some of the best places to eat in Chikmagalur –
- Café Agape, RG Rd, beside Bhuvanendra School, Vijayapura – Charming multicuisine cafe against the backdrop of hills covered with coffee plants.
- Khansamma Restaurant, Mahar aja INN, Indira Gandhi Rd, Joythinagar– locally popular restaurant serving Mughlai dishes.
- Town Canteen, SH 57, RG Rd, opposite Government Polytechnic, Vijayapura – casual eatery serving south Indian meals and snacks.
- The Rider’s Nest, Ramanahalli, Road Mullayyana giri road – biker-themed restaurant serving continental and Indian dishes.
- Town Tables Restaurant, Indira Gandhi Rd, Joythinagar – themed family restaurant serving multi-cuisine Indian dishes.
Popular Places to Visit near Chikmagalur
Explore these other popular attractions near Mcleodganj for a wholesome vacation:
Jhari Waterfalls, 23 km – Also called Buttermilk Falls of Chikmagalur, this beautiful natural cascade sits in Attigudi and is one of the most scenic spots in the region.
Belavadi, 29 km – A national heritage site, the small town is known for its ancient temples sitting amid delightful natural surroundings. It is one of the prime attractions in the state, and is dotted with green farms, meadows, rolling hills, making it a perfect place to unwind outside the busy town.
Kudremukh National Park, 59 km – A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this natural wildlife sanctuary is a famous tourist spot. You can try various sightseeing options as well as the outdoor activities, like forest walks, safaris, and wildlife photography.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, 79 km – This expansive wildlife enclosure is one of the most-frequented ones here. It houses several species of animals, birds and plants. You can do jungle safari and try spotting Chinkara, four-horned antelopes, jackals, leopards, black bucks, and jungle cats.
Seethalayanagiri, 36 km – Sitting at an altitude of 5000 ft, Seethalayanagiri is one of the most prominent trekking places near the place. The endless views of the Western Ghats surrounded by dense rainforests, coffee shrubs, and hilly flora, this is a sheer sensory treat for nature lovers and trekkers.
Abbey Falls, 148 km – The Abbey Falls in Madikeri district is the most popular and most frequented waterfall destination in the region. The upper streams of the Cauvery River flows down through thick coffee plantations and forms the Abbey Falls. A hanging bridge opposite the falls, serves as a viewing point. The drive to Abbey Falls from Chikmagalur through hilly slopes and plantations, is also quite thrilling.
Chikmagalur Hotels & Resorts
To make your vacation truly comfortable and memorable, here are some of the best places to stay in Chikmagalur –
- Mountain Valley Homestay
- Tresca – A Luxury Hotel
- The Vintage
- Nature Bowl Resort
- Aura Homestays
- Robusta Inn
- Nenapu Homestay
- Coffee Estate Plantation Stay