Exploring Kemmanangundi- Jewel of Chikmangalur –

Chikmagalur is one of the most sought out Hill Stations in the state of Karnataka and is known for its wild wilderness, Coffee plantations, Ancient Heritage Monuments and a gamut of adventure activities including rafting in the Bhadra River.

Click HERE for Rafting and Adventure Activities on Bhadra and Magundi River

Morning view at Chikmagalure-Kartik Kumar
Morning view at Chikmagalur by Kartik Kumar

How to Reach Chikmagalur District

Railways: Chikmagalur city does not have a railway station. The closest railhead would be at Birur, Kadur and Tarikere and few also opt Shimoga. The Shimoga Express reaches Tarikere and from here one may opt state buses or private taxis to travel further.

Airways: The nearest Airports are located at Mangalore and Bangalore.

Distance Chart for Chikmagalur:

  • Bangalore to Chikmagalur: 245 Kms via NH48
  • Hassan to Chikmagalur: 61 Kms via Belur Rd and SH 57
  • Chikmagalur to Kemmanugundi: 62 kms via SH57
  • Shimoga to Chikmagalur: 91 Kms via NH206 and SH 57
  • Shimoga to Kemmanagundi: 72 Kms via NH206
  • Bangalore to Kemmanagundi: 273 Kms via Shimoga Rd

Places to See Near Chikmagalur

  1. Mullayanagiri Trek (12 Kms): Mullayanagiri is a lush green peak at a height of 2000 metres and offers numerous trekking trails with the Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri Trek being the most popular one. On the top of the Mullayanagiri Hill, there is a Shiva Temple which is quite popular with the locals.The hill terrain of Mullayanagiri and Baba Budangiri are quite popular for trekkers and are referred as Chandra Drona Mountain Range, due to their crescent shape.
Hill Views Enroute Bababudan-Mullyagiri Hills in Chikmagalur
Hill Views Enroute Bababudan-Mullyagiri Hills in Chikmagalur

The hills here are also home to the rare Neela Kurinji or Kurinji flowers (a bright blue bell-shaped flower) that bloom once in 12 years!

Rare Neela Kurinji Flowers, Chigmagalur

Rare Neela Kurinji Flowers, Chigmagalur

2. Chennakeshva Temple , Marle (12 Kms): Here the twin temple structure of Chennakeshva Temple (also known as Kesava Temple) and the Siddeswara Temple dates to 1150 AD (Hoysala Period).

Chennakesava Temple at Marle, Chigmagalur
Chennakesava Temple at Marle, Chikmagalur

The wall carvings and sculptures at Chennakesava Temple are truly magnificent and represent the rich architecture of our country.

3. Veera Narayana Temple, Belavadi (29 Kms from Chikmagalur and 10 kms from Halebid):

Veeranarayana Temple at Belavadi, Chikmagalur
Veeranarayana Temple at Belavadi, Chikmagalur

This temple is a little further up from Marle and was built in 1206 AD and has a trikutachala structure with shrines dedicated to Veeranarayana, Venugopala and Yoganarasimha. Made of soapstone the temple complex has intricate carvings and has a grand entrance.

4. Hoysaleswara TempleHalebid (35 Kms from Chikmagalur): This is undoubtedly the most beautifully constructed temple of the Hoysala Empire (Built in 12th Century) and is one of the largest Shiva Temple of South India!

Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid, Chikmagalur
Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid, Chikmagalur

The temple complex of Hoysaleswara has numerous water tanks, ponds and mantapas and is situated near Dorasamudhra Lake. Interestingly the tank was built 75 years before the temple!

5. Baba Budangiri – Dattatreya Peeta (33 Kms): At an altitude of 1895 meters, it is considered as one of the highest mountain peaks in Karnataka. You can reach here by road which has recently been constructed.

Baba Budan Giri Hills in Chikmagalur
Baba Budan Giri Hills in Chikmagalur

Baba Budangiri is named after a Muslim Saint, Baba Budan (17th Century) who as per legends also introduced Coffee to India (he brought coffee beans from the port of Mocha, Yemen in 1670 AD.) The place is also a pilgrimage spot for Hindu’s due to the Dattatreya Peetha, where Sri Dattatreya Swamy resided and had meditated here for many years. Here one must visit the mystical 3 caves where the Siddha’s were buried and are still worshipped.One may also trek to Manikya Dhara Falls, which is a 7 Kms trek from Baba Budangiri.

6. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary (35 Kms): is also referred as Muthodi Wildlife Sanctuary. The place has lofty mountains and river streams making it an attractive nature reserve.

Water Stream flowing at Muthodi Reserve, Chikmagalur
Water Stream flowing at Muthodi Reserve, Chikmagalur

Barking-deer-muthodiMuthodi Forest is also popular for Birdwatching, Tiger Spotting and Elephants that roam wildly. Spotted Deers, Red Squirrels and a variety of other wild animals can easily be found here.

7. Veerabhadra Temple, Balehonnur (45 Kms): Balehonnur is a scenic place known for its enchanting landscapes and coffee plantations. The place is also a popular pilgrimage spot for the Veerabhadra Temple where the metallic idols of Veerabhadra & Bhadrakali are worshipped.

Other Excursions:

Ayyenkere Lake: is located on the other side of Chikmagalur and makes for a nice picnic spot.

A lookout point on Ayyenkere Lake, Chikmagalur
A lookout point on Ayyenkere Lake, Chikmagalur

Ballalarayana Durga – Fort: Standing at a height of 1509 metres, the Ballalarayana Durga Fort is a reminder of its lost dynasty. Constructed by the wife of Veera Ballala l, the King of Hoysala Dynasty, the fort walls are what remains but the views from the top are worth the trek.

View of the Ballalarayana Durga-Fort taken enroute by Mr. Rakesh Holla
View of the Ballalarayana Durga-Fort taken enroute by Mr. Rakesh Holla

The trek takes about 3-4 hours (one way) and takes you along dense forests and then Shola grasslands. And don’t be surprised to meet or see some wildlife roaming here and there! More on the Trek

Take a drive from Khandya to Kudure Abbi:  located 45 Kms on the Chikmagalur-Shringeri Route, this place is great road drive destination. The hilly terrain, winding roads, thick forests and the lush green Coffee and Tea plantations are a pleasant drive. Khandya has the temples of Markandeya and Janardhana, Markanda

Khandya has the temples of Markandeya and Janardhana (Sage Markanda performed penance here) and the place is also important as Hindu offer the ashes of their dear departed ones here at the Bhadra River and attain salvation.

Stone formations called 'KudureAbbi' at Kandya, Chikmagalur
Stone formations called ‘KudureAbbi’ at Kandya, Chikmagalur

Interestingly the stones here at the Bhadra River resemble horses hoops which are called ‘Kudure Abbi’.

Beautiful carved roof at Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoomeshwari Temple
Beautiful carved roof at Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoomeshwari Temple

Annapoomeshwari Temple, Horanadu (100 Kms from Chikmagalur): Horanadu is a charming town known for the recently renovated Adi-Shaktyatmaka Shri Annapoomeshwari Temple.

You may also visit Kalasa, which is located 7 kms from Horanadu and one of the pancha-Kshetras. Here there is a Sri Kalaseshwara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

What to Shop/Eat at Chikmagalur

  • Did you know  the headquarters of the famous ‘Coffee Day’ is located in Chikmagalur and it also houses a ‘Coffee Research Station’ which is the first in Asia!
    CoffeeDay-Chikmagalur
  • The Coffee Yatra Museum is also a must visit and is situated behind Zilla Panchayat Office, Chikmagalur.
    Inside the Coffee Museum at Chikmagalur
    Inside the Coffee Museum at Chikmagalur

    Here the history and how the Coffee in India evolved in depicted with manufacturing methods and styles with descriptive information.

  • Pandurang Coffee shop is one of the best Coffee Shops in Chikmagalur and a must visit.
  • Buy Coffee, Tea, Cardamom, Pepper and Green Tea. You may also buy bamboo crafts and other local handicrafts.
  • Do visit the Town Canteen’ located on RG Road that serves amazing butter dosa & yummy breakfast options.
  • Salpicon at KM Road makes delicious Burgers with different herbs.

Accommodation In and Near Chikmagalur

The Planters Court: is one of the oldest business and leisure hotel of Chikmagalur. It offers a calm and relaxed environment for travellers and has the best of corporate facilities for Business travellers.
Tariffs: 2000-2500 INR Visit Website

Devigiri Homestay: is beautifully nestled in the Baba Budangiri range and is a nature lover paradise. It is located on the Hosa Road at Arasinaguppe, Chikmagalur and offers you enchanting views of the surrounding ghats and valleys. The place is ideal for camping out too.
Tariffs: Tree Houses and Wooden Houses- 2500 (includes Breakfast & Dinner), Installable Tents – 1200 PP (includes Breakfast), Fixed Tent – 2000 (includes Breakfast & Dinner), 1000 PP (only Stay) Visit Website

Bean Zone Homestay: is a charming Heritage Bungalow located within the coffee plantation at Hosthota Estate, Chikmagalur. The offer you an amazing range of Malnad or Malenadu Cuisine.
Tariffs: 2000 INR with all 3 meals + evening snacks. Visit Website

DM Villa: is a comfortable Guest House perfect for trekkers and groups. It is a private Villa and 4 bedrooms with 2 large living halls and is located just on the outskirts of Chikmagalur City. Tariffs: 1000 (for Stay) & 1600 INR with 3 meals pp Visit Website

Athithi Homestay: This is a place that welcomes and cares for you with love. Surrounded by pine trees and lush greens, Athithi is located just 12 kms from Chikmagalur and offers a beautiful stay option.
Tariffs: 1950 PP (including all 3 meals + unlimited Tea/Coffee) and a 3 day package will b3-day 1750 PP Visit Website

Tusker Trail: is ideally located at Durgamba Estate, Mallundur Post and is just 5 kms away from the Bhadra Wildlife Reserve, Chikmagalur and the cottage offers 3 spacious bedrooms with attached toilets and separate dressing rooms. Tariffs: 2000-2500 PP including meals and other activities. They also arrange jeep Safari to Bhadra Reserve Forest at 450 PP Visit Website

The Coffee Bean Homestay: is located 20 kms from Chikmagalur and is a 100-year-old Heritage Home. Situated in the lush green ghats, the property is enchanting and a lovely accommodation that offers 4/5 unique bedrooms with a private balcony. Tariffs: Starts at 2250 INR (Stay only) Visit Website

Pavanaganga Homestay: constructed in the year 1812, the property was first known as Bare Khan and later converted into one of premier coffee plantations of Chikmagalur. The Pavanaganga Homestay is located in MelenaHuluvathi village, which is about 20 kms from Chikmagalur. Tariffs: 3450 INR (includes all 3 meals) Visit Website

Honeyvale Heritage Homestay: is a premier coffee plantation that is spread across 200 acres of mountain terrain at Kottigehara, Chikmagalur and is located on the Balehonnur Road.

The Honeyvale Heritage Home was constructed in the year 1890 by Sir J.P. Morgan and has been maintained with the original floorings, fireplace and the colonial style furniture. This place is ideal for a memorable homestay for all. Tariffs: 3000-6200 INR Visit Website

Shanthi Kunj Homestay: is perfectly situated by the Bhadra Riverside and adds up to the beauty of living in the wilderness. True to its name Shanti Kunj offers peaceful stay and the best in facilities and is situated close to Balehonnur town of Chikmagalur district.
Tariffs: 4000 (includes all meals + evening snacks & Open jeep ride through the jungle reserve). They also arrange for a govt. official to take you trekking in the Bhadra Reserve Forest. Visit Website

The Serai: is perfect for those who crave luxury and the place is exclusive be it the world class restaurant ‘Odyssey’ or country’s most exquisite lounge bar. Tariffs: 23000 INR onwards Visit Website

For more packages and accommodation options Visit HERE

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Kemmanagundi

Kemmanagundi is from Chikmagalur and is still a lesser explored hill station of Karnataka but a favorite among the trekkers and wildlife enthusiasts.

kemmangundi-peak

The entire area is covered with red soil (‘Kemmanagundi’ is a combination of Kannada words ‘kempu’ (red), ‘mannu’ (soil) and ‘gundi’ (pit)! and has lush green forests, moss covered trees, thick bamboo groves and beautiful waterfalls and fresh water streams that run through the valley and crevasses. This makes it an ideal destination to visit just after Monsoons. It is perfect for a summer getaway as the weather remains quite pleasant. But be prepared as the nights can become cold even during summer season.

Visit For:

Shivgiri:  is 25 Kms from Kemmanagundi and is located within the beautiful Chikmagalur District near the Yemmedoddi Village of Karnataka. The area covers part of the Hoggarekangri hills and offers the best in nature tourism.

shivgiri_ban8

Where to Stay:
Shivgiri Trails Estate Homestay:
Tariffs: Visit Website

Z Point, a View Point at Kemmanagundi, Chikmagalur District
Z Point, a View Point at Kemmanagundi, Chikmagalur District

Z Point and Shanti Falls (5 kms): Z point is an easy 5 km trek from Kemmanagundi and 3 kms from Raj Bhavan. The point offers valley views, thick forest peaks and natural surroundings. The Shanti Falls are small in size but a pleasant sight for the trekkers and is just a km away from this point.

Hebbe Falls, Kemmanagundi
Hebbe Falls, Kemmanagundi

Hebbe Falls (8 Kms from Raj Bhavan, Kemmangundi): cascading from a height of 550 feet in two stages, the Hebba Falls have Dodda Hebbe (Bigger Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Smaller Falls). Both these falls are quite attractive and fascinating and can be seen from far away now as the route comes under the tiger reserve.
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Kalathgiri Falls (10 Kms): Kallathigiri falls are also referred as Kalahasthi falls and are considered to have been discovered during the Vijayanagar Rule. There is an Ancient Veerabhadreshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The enchanting little Kalhattgiri Temple, Kemmanagundi
The enchanting little
Kalhattgiri Temple, Kemmanagundi

The waterfalls are refreshing and the sculpted Elephants on the stones would fascinate you. As legends go, Sage Agastya also stayed for for a while. The 10 kms trek is simple and takes you along coffee plantations and thick forest land and you may opt for different routes to reach the temple.

Amruthapura (40 Kms): is a historical and ancient heritage site famous for Amrutheswara Temple (dates back to 1196 A.D  – Hoysala period). The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the location surrounded by coconut groves and Palm trees is beautiful and scenic.

The Amruteshwara Temple. Image Credit @ Wikipedia
The Amruteshwara Temple. Image Credit @ Wikipedia

Amrutheswara Temple is located near the Bhadra Reservoir and is known for its amazingly intricate architecture and impressive ceilings. It was built in 1196 AD by Amruteshwara Dandanayaka, who was General of the Hoysala Ruler – Veera Ballala II. What’s distinctive here are the 140 stone panels that create the Mandapa and depict the Hindu mythological scenes, characters and designs. Interestingly the southern side has scenes depicted from the ‘Ramayana’ times, while the North side shows scenes from the ‘Mahabharata’. Locals also worship the idol Sri Sharada Devi Temple located inside the temple complex, which is known to fulfilled any issues related to eductation!

From Shimoga, the temple is 47 Kms and 9 Kms from Tarikere. 

Places to Stay at Kemmangundi

Raj Bhavan: was once the summer retreat of Mysore King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and is now under the Horticulture Department who develops and maintains the resort. It has decent accommodation and you can book a room for as low as 300 INR. The sunset from Raj Bhavan is an experence in itself!
For booking during season: 080-26611925, 26571925 (Department Head Office, Lag bagh)
For booking in non-season: 08262-24126, 235334 (Horticulture Department Guest House) Visit Website

Ranger’s Camp: is located at the foothills of Kemmanagundi and is an ideal getaway for a relaxing trip in this enchanting hill station. They even have a swimming pool beside other games and activities.
Tariffs: 1750 INR PP (including all 3 meals) Visit Website

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