With the onset of summer, you must have already started looking for cooler habitats. Just about 250 km away from Bangalore city is this pristine hill station Chikmagalur. Since it is at foothills of the western ghats, it offers majorly natural and ethereal tourist’s delights. It is connected to Bangalore very well as it is approx around 250 kms hence tourists can reach easily here from any part of the country. I have visited Chikamaglur few times both in summer and winter and listed down the list of places which should be in your list so pick your weekend on the calendar and head down south.
1. Halebidu Temple – An architecturally grand 12th century Shiva temple is a treat for travelers who are mythologically inclined. It beautifully stretches over a vast land with picturesque entrances, Pillars and ceilings. Since it is not overtly crowded you can spend time near the sanctum of the temple and soak in the energy. This temple is historically relevant too as it was plundered by the armies of Alauddin Khilji twice. However, if you visit this place you will realize that what is meant to survive will always withstand the worst and stand tall.
2. Jhari Falls – The place to start your trip has to be Jhari falls. It opens at 6 am and closes at 5 pm which gives a wide window to visit it. Pick your preferred time and head to the falls. You will have to hire a jeep to travel the last 2 km dirt road to reach the falls. Once you have reached, you will see it for yourself why it is called buttermilk falls as well. Its beautifully cascading water fall will make you want to indulge in its water for sure. There are many levels where you can reach so be careful while you climb up and have fun but don’t miss the gigantic view from the base.
3. Hirekolale Lake – If you can plan the timings of your trip well then go to Hirekolale lake during sunset and be amazed by the splendid golden and gorgeous sunset. It is a man-made lake amidst the Mullayanagiri hills of the western ghats which can make anyone a photographer. You can drive there in your car to enjoy the landscape. Pack a picnic basket and go with your family or friends and watch the sun go down.
4. Hebbe Falls – If you are travelling to Chikmagalur after August then make sure you go to Hebbe falls as it is the ideal time to get in the water. It is about an hour drive from Chikmagalur and is worth your time. To reach the waterfall you will be required to take a jeep ride through the nature, passing trees and heavenly beauty all around. This fall is very slippery and steep so if you are travelling with kids then be extra careful. It is open from 6 am till 6 pm so take as much time you want and forget about the city’s summer heat.
5. Chennakeshava Temple – Its name literally means “Handsome Keshava” and is a standing proof of the secular life of 12th century that not just existed but also flourished at that time. Its exterior and interior structures have pictures that are from both medieval and mythological era. If you are interested in capturing the intricate inscription work and knowing about the historical relevance of this temple then you definitely won’t mind travelling for about 40 minutes to visit this place.
6. Mullayanagiri – It is the highest peak in Karnataka with an altitude of 1930 meters. It gets its name from Mullapa swamy temple on its peak, which was exact place where saint Mullappa Swamy meditated. You can trek your way to the top of the peak. The trek route is steep at places so make sure you are wearing sturdy shoes. Otherwise it’s a breathtaking experience all the way. Driving towards the peak is not advisable as it is very risky and frankly, you would miss out on an exquisite adventure. It’s merely 22 kilometers from Chikmagalur and easy to reach. If you are lucky and weather is appropriate then you will witness clouds passing by on the top.
7. Baba Budan giri – This is a mountain which serves as the other end of the famous trekking trail between Mullayanagiri and Baba Budangiri. Its height is 1895 meters and is known to be a dargah for sufi saint Hazrat Dada Hayat Khalandar. If you don’t feel like trekking here, you can take the city bus and go straight to the top.
8. Belavadi – If you are visiting Halebidu temple then go a little further to explore this small village called Belavadi. It is a home to a much lesser know Veera Narayana Temple. The pillars, ceilings and inner structure are really old but are staunch in its making. The people of Belavadi are extremely affable and keep even the narrow lanes squeaky clean.
There are vast coffee estates so you can quench your coffee addiction here as well.If you have planned to stay more than 3 days then you can visit Bhadra wildlife sanctuary and Sringeri temple as well. Also, Chikmagalur is a city with fairly educated population with a good female to male ratio, it is safely considered as a haven for solo women travelers. However, Solo or not Chikmagalur is a must-go site for all kinds of travelers.