Chikmagalur was always mentioned by my dad and his cousins with a lot of affection as they spent all their holidays in their maternal Grandfather’s coffee estate. I have heard many incidents and stories that my dad and his cousins experienced in the estate. My love for nature and Chikmagalur was triggered by their memories of walking into the estate, picking and biting into Juicy Figs, Jackfruit, and Pomelo/Grape Fruit; admiring Orchids and plucking spikes to present it to their grandmother; rafting in the pond; hearing the roar of tigers and panthers; climbing trees; swishing twigs in the night that would emit light and many many other exciting activities!
Picture1 – Wild Fig (left), Orchid Cymbidium Bicolor (right)
Picture2 – Jackfruit Tree
Chikkamagaluru also spelled as Chikmagalur and Chikmagalore is a town located in Karnataka at a distance of 160 Km from Mangalore, 251Km from Bangalore and 40 Km from Kadur where the Hoysala rulers started their dynasty. Chikkamagalur means “the town of the younger daughter” in Kannada. This town was given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, who was the chief of Sakkarayapatna. Another town 5 Km from here is known as Hiremagalur meaning “the town of the elder daughter”.
Picture3 – M.G.Raod, Chikkamagalur
The city of Chikmagalur is surrounded by beautiful hills that are a part of the Western Ghats known as Baba Budan Giri. “Giri” in Kannada means Hills. The highest peak in Karnataka, Mullayyanagiri is a quiet getaway from Chikkamagalur.
Picture4 – Baba Budan Range of Hills
Around 2,100 square kilometer of the district is covered with everygreen to deciduous forests. There are many other interesting places in and around Chikmagalur making this a favorite destination for tourists, trekkers, birders, botanists, wildlife enthusiasts and pilgrims. Wild Orchids enthusiasts will have their time of their lives…trust me…I have seen and photographed innumerable wild orchids in these regions!
Picture5 – Insect (left), Fern (right)
In India Coffee was first cultivated in Chikmagalur on Baba Budan Giri in 1670 AD. As per the legend,saint Baba Budan on his way to Mecca came across the caffeine delight Coffee in Yemen, Saudi Arabia. He carried some beans to India and planted in the hills of Chikkamagalur, and the hills were renamed as Baba Budan in his honor. Now, Coffee is the major crop in this district. Coffee variety Arabica is grown in 85,465 hectares in higher elevation and Robusta variety is grown at lower elevation. Chikkamagalur has the distinction of being a host to the only Coffee Research Station in Asia.
Picture6 – Coffee Plant
The famous and successful café chain “Coffee Day” headquarters is situated in Chikmagalur.
Picture7 – Hills surrounding Chikkamagalur
The major Rivers of Karnataka Bhadra, Tunga, Hemavathi, Netravati, and Vedavathi originate from Chikmagalur district. The district is rich in iron, magnetite and granite deposits.
Picture8 – The forests as you drive out of Chikkamagalur
Interesting places around Chikkamagalur are:
Mahathma Gandhi Park
Baba Budangiri Hills
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Kodandarama Temple, Hiremagalur
Kalhatagiri falls/Kalahasthi/Kalahatty Falls
Amriteshwara temple at Amrithapura
Type of Place: Hill Station /Town
Distance: 251Km from Bangalore, 160 Km from Mangalore and 40 Km from Kadur
Transport: Well connected by road, the nearest airport is Mangalore (170 kms), nearest railhead is at Kadur
Facilities: Hotels, Home Stays and Resorts are available