A Weekend Trip To Chikmagalur
‘Chikkamagaluru’ is one of the most popular getaways in Karnataka, a state in South India. Regarded as one of the most scenic places near Bangalore, this South Indian town is surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations, large lakes and towering mountains!
In this blog post, you’ll find everything that you need to know to visit Chikmagalur. Starting with what to see in Chikmagalur, we’ve listed down some useful information about where to stay, where to eat and how to get to Chikmagalur.
Go for an early morning jog at Hirekolale Lake
A perfect place to visit in the early mornings, Hirekolale Lake is surrounded by endless coffee plantations. In fact, it is very easy to just think that it’s a beautiful lake in the middle of a thick forest, until you notice the reservoir equipment! Expect to spend about an hour or two here – but go in the mornings, when it isn’t crowded, for the best experience.
Visit the Ayyanakere Lake for a beautiful sunset
This happens to be the most incredible lake in Chikkamagaluru, particularly at sunset. Surrounded by forested mountains on three sides, it has a very beautiful location, even though it is very close to the town. The colors that form the evening palette made us forget that we were in India – almost looks Alpine!
Tip: Go there in the evening, around 5 pm and enjoy the peace and calm. Snack on some spiced puffed rice (Bhel puri) from the local vendors while you watch the sunset.
Another vast water body nestled in between farmlands and mountains, is the Madagadakere Lake. This one does take a little bit of effort to get to, but is usually deserted. There are a few spots where you can hang out by the shores of the lake. The best time to go is in the early mornings or in the late afternoons.
Expect to spend an hour there.
Trekking on the Mullayanagiri Mountain
The Mullayanagiri Peak is the tallest in Karnataka and is quite iconic, in the State’s heritage. In fact, the mountains can be seen from quite a distance as you approach Chikkamagalur and embodies a unique shape. The peak is under an hour’s drive from the town and visitors can drive all the way to the summit and park at the public lot. There are 4x4s that ferry tourists to the peak, upto the walking trail. The walk to the tip, which also has a beautiful shrine there, is about 20 minutes long, and the views are very beautiful!
Expect to spend about INR 400 for a roundtrip jeep ride to the summit – this cost is for the whole jeep, which can seat at least 6 people – so if you are alone, you could find other visitors to share the cost. Expect to spend about three hours in this experience. There are many pick and drop services available to and from the town – so ask your host to get a cheap ride.
Other places near Chikmagalur
Amongst the other places to visit in and near Chikmagalur is BabaBudangiri, another mountain in the same range – you can trek there from Mullayanagiri and it only takes a few hours. Best done at sunrise. It is also considered very holy and is a pilgrimage spot for many Hindus and Muslims!
The best time to visit the nearby waterfalls such as Hebbe and Kalhatti, is during the last two weeks of the the rainy season and after. But watch out for leeches as they are very common around the falls.
You could also considered visitng the Doddagaddavalli Lakshmi Temple, an off beat hermit temple near Hassan.
Where to stay in Chikmagalur
- Stay in one of the numerous coffee estates that have homestays within (these generally have inclusive meal plans with the room rental)
- Stay in a regular hotel in town – there are many on R G Road, the centre of town, and its very easy to commute and shop
- Stay at one of the premium hostels like Zostel – they may be outside town, but are pretty good!
Find your stay in Chikmagalur here
Where to eat in Chikmagalur
New Circle Lunch Home is a tiny cafe on R G Road and popular with the locals fot reakfast and snacks.
Mysore Foodz serves the most amazing local thalis in a rustic setup, right in the middle of town. Another popular restaurant is the Siri Cafe, which is on the way to the Mullayanagiri mountains, good for a quick pitstop for snacks and drinks.
Street food is mostly safe everywhere in Chikmagalur, so don’t hesitate to try!
How to get to Chikmagalur
The best way to visit Chikkamagaluru is to do a roadtrip! It is a 5 hour drive from Bangalore and the roads are quite good, especially through Hassan. There are also many stops you can make on the way, like the Doddagaddavalli Lakshmi Temple or sunflower fields.
Bus to Chikmagalur:
There are many direct buses from Bangalore to Chikkamagaluru bus station. Generally costs about INR 500 to INR 1,000 depending on the type of the bus. The bus from Bangalore to Chikmagalur generally takes 6 hours or more.
Train to Chikmagalur:
Trains ply only to Kadur or Hassan which are at least 40 kms away. So from there, you would have to catch a cab, a local bus or an autorickshaw (tuktuk) to reach Chikmagalur.
Getting around in Chikmagalur
How to do sightseeing in Chikmagalur? This is actually quite easy to do! There are innumerable tuktuks and taxis there and usually seek an honest fare. Most taxis charge around INR 2,500 (USD 35) for sightseeing for one day.