“In the presence of eternity, mountains are as transient as the clouds.”
-Robert Green Ingersoll
To admire the beauty of nature and the essence of peace, hill stations are the best refuge. These vast expanses colored in the shades of greens can be your next destination. Surrounded by the beauty of the valleys of Western Ghats, there lies the district of Chikmagalur. Located in west Karnataka, this district is situated at an elevation of 1,090m. It has been one of the major tourist attractions of the South for decades and there are many attractive places to visit in Chikmagalur.
But before anything else, a little historical fact behind its name is the most interesting piece of this storytelling. The name Chikmagalur means “Land of the Younger Daughter”. It is said that the place was given as a dowry in the marriage of Sakrepatna-Rukmangada chief’s younger daughter, hence the name! This place legit has the most pristine waterfalls and lush green valleys. If you are a fan of trekking, it has some amazing paths to walk on. If you love photography, it’ll give you a chance to capture some of the best pictures. Here’s the complete list of the landmark places to see in Chikmagalur.
1. Mullayanagiri Peak:
It’s all about trekking, camping and jungle safaris, isn’t it? Mullayanagiri Peak is one of the landmark hills in Chikmagalur. The peak is situated at an elevation of 1,930 meters and is the highest one in Karnataka. It is an integral part of the Western Ghats. When you are at the top, the clouds reach to hug you. And that’s probably the best hug ever! There is also a temple dedicated to a sage named Mulappa Swamy. This temple is situated in the caves that are just feet below the summit. Altogether, it’s an excellent point for trekking and meditating for inner peace.
How to reach: It is almost 20kms away from the district. You can take a bus from the Chikmagalur bus stand or a taxi to reach here.
Best time to visit: In the spring season, from March to June.
- The trail for trekking treasures a lot of adventurous moments for travelers.
- The temple has served as a site for peace and meditation for decades.
- The view from the hilltop is something you should not miss.
2. Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary:
Another amazing destination is the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, located in the Somvarpet district and surrounded by the Western Ghats. This sanctuary is amongst the 21 Sanctuaries in Karnataka. It has a vast variety of flora and fauna, with a dense habitation of evergreen and semi-evergreen trees. The Kadamakal Reserve Forest is an important part of this sanctuary with Pushpagiri being a suitable site for trekking.
How to reach: It is an approximately 4 hours drive from Chikmagalur. A hired taxi should solve the purpose.
Best time to visit: The time from November to March
- This site is open from 5:30 am to 5 pm.
- Jungle Safaris are the best way to tour the forestry and wildlife of this place.
- There are several camping sites where you can set up a camp and eat smores with your loved ones.
- One of the best study sites for botanists, zoologists and ornithologists.
- Trekking up to the Pushpagiri Peak is one of the prevalent activities to do here.
3. Z Point:
On the other hand, if you are looking for a rendezvous point with your lover, then Z Point can be one of your retreats! Surrounded by deep valleys and natural beauty, this attraction will mesmerize your heart and soul. This vantage point is located in Kemmangundi. It is another one of the favorite sites for the adrenaline junkies who love trekking. The steep trek trail is worth every sweat drop of yours!
How to reach: Z point is about 60 km away from Chikmagalur.
Best time to visit: The time from September to May
- A great picnic spot and trekking site with an immaculate view of the whole Chikmagalur district.
- The sunrises and sunsets on a clear day are definitely worth a watch.
4. Kavikal Gandi ViewPoint:
Another viewpoint to relive the beauties of nature, Kavikal Gandi ViewPoint is also known as Horse Shoe Viewpoint. This hill is always breezy and pleasant and one can find a small Hanuman idol at the peak of this hill.
How to reach: It is situated at a distance of 22kms from Chikmagalur, 11kms from Baba Budan Giri and 11kms again from Mullayanagiri peaks.
Best time to visit: The viewpoint can be visited anytime throughout the year.
- The mesmerizing view of the Chandra Drona mountain range can be viewed from the hilltop.
- Professional photographers or someone who loves photography would find this place an amazing one to visit.
5. Bhadra wildlife sanctuary:
Tiger is the national animal of India and it’s on the verge of extinction. But thanks to the Bhadra wildlife sanctuary, tigers have found a haven to live. This sanctuary is a part of the Project Tiger. Apart from tigers, there are a lot of mammals living in this habitat. The government organizes Jeep Safaris. So, if you are a Safari lover, then this site is a must-visit for you. And who knows, you might have some tiger sightings too if you are lucky enough!
How to reach: It takes almost 2 hours by car to reach the destination from Chikmagalur.
Best time to visit: The time from October to February.
- The visiting hours are from 6 am to 8:30 am and again from 3:30 pm to 6 pm.
- Jeep safaris are the most exciting thing here in this wildlife sanctuary. Sightings of endemic bird species, tigers and leopards can help you get one of your next best photographs.
- Bhadra dam, one of the most functional dams in India, is another architectural masterpiece. This dam is situated over a tributary of the Tungabhadra River, which is River Bhadra.
6. Kudremukh National Park:
If one wishes to witness a natural wonder, Kudremukh National Park is just the place! Kudremukha is also the name of a small mining town situated in the area. The name means “horse face” and the Kudremukha peak looks just like that. The national park houses some of the exotic floral and wildlife species. It falls under the Global Tiger Conservation Priority-I.
How to reach: It is 96kms away from the main district of Chikmagalur and can be reached by car drive.
Best time to visit: The best time to explore this place is from October to May, whereas the wildlife glorifies the most from December to February.
- The Park is open from 6 am to 6 pm every day.
- Lakya Dam lake is one mesmerizing sight to see.
- The Kadambi falls is situated right inside the Kudremukh National Park. This pristine waterfall is a good trekking site too.
- The wildlife and the exotic species which inhabit the place are the highlights of this park.
7. Baba Budan Giri:
Baba Budan Giri is a mountain in the Western Ghats range. Often known as Dattatreya Peeta, it has a shrine of a Sufi saint and is an attraction for many Hindu pilgrims. Baba Budan Giri is one of the main peaks of this range and is a fabulous trekking and camping site. In addition to this, three large caves have been charming visitors for decades.
How to reach: It is 33kms away from Chikmagalur and can be reached in 1.5 hours.
Best time to visit: The time from September to early March.
- This hilltop has the most beautiful and photogenic sunsets.
- The peaceful environment lets you meditate and channel your thoughts in the best way possible.
- The Manikyadhara Falls is one of the sightseeing spots in the area.
- A lot of good eateries are located within 11kms radius of this spot.
8. Hebbe waterfalls:
If waterfall sounds satisfy your heart, then the Hebbe Waterfalls is one of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur for you! The fall is about 551 ft. high and rushes down in two stages. The bigger fall is called Dodda Hebbe (big falls) and the smaller fall is known as Chikka Hebbe (small falls). It is situated in a coffee estate. The area is also a good spot for small treks and hikes.
How to reach: The easiest way to reach the fall is by hiring a 2 hours taxi from Chikmagalur.
Best time to visit: during the monsoon when the water flow is at its peak, this is one of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur.
- The fall is open from 8 am to 6 pm.
- The pool that forms around the fall is a good place for dipping and short swims.
- After reaching the site, an additional short trek is required to reach the main point of this twin stage falls.
9. Kallathigiri Falls:
With a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kallathigir falls is another precious destination where the visitors can bathe and dip. It is a magnificent natural abode and one of the first waterfalls in Chikmagalur. The falls is 430 ft. high from sea level. The temple is named the Veerabhadreshwara Temple and a three-day fair is arranged every year as a tribute to the god. It is also suitable for short treks.
How to reach: Once at Chikmagalur, this falls is 50kms away. An 80 minutes’ drive solves the purpose.
Best time to visit: the falls can be visited throughout the year. However, visits in the summers are relaxing and the monsoon is the peak season to enjoy its beauty.
- The fall is open from 7 am to 6 pm and 50 Rs., that is the entry fee, has to be paid for every car entering.
- The trekking trail is a delight for beginners as well as advanced trekkers.
- The temple is a holy spot and the water is considered to be holy among the locals.
- The vast range of greenery around the falls is a bonus for the photographers.
10. Hanumana Gundi falls:
This is one of the less-talked-about falls. Enveloped by the Western Ghats, the Hanumana Gundi falls is another gem of nature. The locals also call it by the names Sutanabbe Falls or Soothanabbi Falls. Managed by the forest department, the place is surrounded by lush green plants and serves as a good spot for picnics.
How to reach: This spot is near the Kudremukh Natural Reserve. So, you might want to drop a visit while you are on the way.
Best Time to visit: Monsoons
Highlights: A good place to visit in Chikmalagur if you want to spend a refreshing time with your friends and family.
11. Jhari waterfall:
Another popular waterfall in the district Chikmagalur, the Jhari waterfall is a serene location for enjoying nature’s beauty. This place is perfect for photography, romantic ventures and spending a good time with your family. Some homestays are situated right in the area. So, if you want to spend a day or two in the laps of mother nature, then this site is suitable for you.
How to reach: this place is approximately 25kms away from Chikmagalur Bus Stand.
Best time to reach: The time from August to January.
- This fall is also called the Buttermilk Falls.
- The pool is appropriate for dipping and short swims.
- Homestays let you enjoy the aroma of coffee plantations and greenery.
12. Hirekolale lake:
Hirekolale lake is a magnificent water body surrounded by the huge hill ranges of the Western Ghats. One can pinpoint the Mullayanagiri hill from here. The view at the time of twilight is indeed breathtaking and your Chikmagalur sightseeing is incomplete without visiting this place.
How to reach: It is 10kms away from the Chikmagalur bus stand.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year, especially at the time of twilight.
- There are several photogenic spots around the area.
- The scenic beauty of the lake and the mountains surrounding it will make you feel peaceful.
- It is a good spot for picnics with your friends and family.
13. Ayyanakere Lake:
This lake is situated in the valleys of the Western Ghats, in the town of Sakarayapattana. Another spot full of scenic beauty and photographic ventures, the Ayyanakere Lake will truly captivate you! The lake is said to be constructed by Rukmangada Raya, the then ruler of the town.
How to reach: It is approximately 22kms away from Chikmagalur and can be reached by car drive.
Best time to visit: Throughout the year.
Highlights: Visitors mainly come here to relax and enjoy the view via boating.
The Kyathanamakki is a scenic hill station that allows you to have an adventurous trip. It is located near Chikmagalur and tourists often flee to this site to see one of the best sunset views from the hilltop. The roads are blissful for a car drive. There is a 3kms trekking trail to reach the hilltop.
How to reach: 2.5 hours car drive from Chikmagalur.
Best time to visit: In the monsoon or the winter season.
Highlights: One of the best photography points and the stay here is an amazing experience.
Kemmangundi is another hill station located in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. It was once the summer retreat of King Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV. Therefore the locals have also named it as Sri Krishnarajendra Hill Station to pay the tributes. The Baba Budan Giri range surrounds this station which makes it an awesome location.
How to reach: A 1.5 hours drive from Chikmagalur will take you to Kemmangundi.
Best time to visit: During the time from August to February, this is one of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur.
- The Kemmangundi peak has a picturesque view of the sunrise and sunset.
- The valley is surrounded by ornamental gardens.
- Trekking and hiking are some of the common activities to do here.
16. Ballalarayana Durga Fort:
Remains of a centuries-old fortress, the Ballalarayana Durga Fort is located in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. Enthusiasts of history often flee to this attraction to discover ancient mysteries. The fort is present up above at a good height and the fog during the monsoons gives it a spectacular effect. This fort was constructed in the 12th century, by the wife of Veera Ballala l.
How to reach: Another 2-hour drive from the main city of Chikmagalur.
Visiting hours: The fort is open from 6:30 am to 6 pm.
- The trekking is a bit confusing because of the intertwined trails. During the monsoons, the trail is slightly slippery.
- A great camping site; the tents can be set up at the base.
- Picturesque view of the mountains and sunsets.
17. Mahatma Gandhi Park:
A leisure point in the heart of the Chikmagalur district, the Mahatma Gandhi Park is a visual pleasure among the Chikmagalur tourist places. It mostly attracts children because of the round-about toy train service. People come here to relax and to take a break from their daily life’s hassle.
Visiting hours: It is open from 10 am to 6:30 pm.
Entry fees: 2 Rs per person entry fee and 10 Rs per person if opting for the train ride.
Highlights: An attraction for children to spend a good time exploring the different elements of the park.
18. Bhadra Dam:
The project of Bhadra Dam was managed by the National Water Management Project to solve the water and irrigation issues around the district. Since then this dam has attracted many tourists and is one of the mainstream attractions of Chikmagalur. This dam is built on River Bhadra, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River.
How to reach: It is on the outskirts of Chikmagalur and is about 77kms away.
Visiting hours: The Dam is operative all day. However, it is advised to visit it between 10 am to 4 pm.
- An attraction for students who want to marvel over the wonders of engineering.
- It is also a good source of hydroelectric power.
19. Kodanda Ramaswamy temple:
Signing off your Chikmagalur sightseeing by visiting the Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple is probably the best climax for your trip. Dedicated to Lord Rama, it is a Hindu temple and the main sanctum has a life-size idol of Lord Rama along with that of Devi Sita and brother Lakshman. The temple is built beside River Tungabhadra and the essence of the whole area is very holy.
How to reach: A local public vehicle will take you to the place.
Visiting hours: The temple is open for worship from 7 am to 12:30 pm in the day and 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
- One quick heads-up for visiting here is that the temple has a strict rule of decent attire. If not, the entry is restricted.
- The serenity and peace of the temple will help channel your thoughts.
- The architecture is unique and has a historical significance of its own.
20. Coffee Museum:
The coffee museum is one of the topmost Chikmagalur sightseeing points. This museum houses information about the whole history of coffee: from the very first plantations to the latest varieties. With all these, there’s a lot to learn about your favorite morning drink!
Visiting Hours: It is open from 10 am to 6 pm
21. Tea Plantations and Coffee Estate:
Chikmagalur is best known for its coffee and tea plantations. If you like the aroma and vibe of plantations like these or if you are a budding botanist, then these plantations will blow your mind. Several tea and coffee estate homestays allow you to breath-in the fresh scents of these exotics. The tour of these plantations involves demonstrations of leaves/pods plucking, processing, tasting, etc.
Some of the tea and coffee estates are:
- Kelagur Coffee and Tea Estate
- Siri Coffee Bar & Khushi Homestay
- Goomankhan Tea Estate
So what is making you wait? Book your tickets to Chikmagalur and set off for an amazing adventure. Whether you are a silent nature lover who finds peace in the green valleys or an energetic adventurer who loves trekking and safaris, Chikmagalur is a place for all kinds of travelers.
Q1. What is the easiest route to reach Chikmagalur?
Ans. The nearest airport to Chikmagalur is Mangalore. So, you can book a direct flight from your location to Mangalore. After that, you can take a 4 hours taxi from the airport itself to reach the destination. There are currently no trains available on this route so a taxi is the best option. Upon reaching, you can visit the Chikmagalur tourist places at your leisure.
Q2. What is the best time to visit Chikmagalur?
Ans. Since it is a hill station and every similar tourist place has its own peak time, the best time to visit Chikmagalur is from September to May. Even though the climatic conditions are pleasant throughout the year, the temperature during this time is especially cool and breezy, with a range of 14°C to 30°C. The temperature is just perfect for Chikmagalur sightseeing.
Q3. What are the best residing options in Chikmagalur?
Ans. To enjoy the whole essence of Chikmagalur, you should book a homestay in one of the tea or coffee estates. The lush green valleys and the smell of the plantations will give you a wholesome experience. However, hotels are also available in the main township area.
Q4. What is Chikmagalur famous for?
Ans. This place has one the most scenic mountains and the weather is remarkable throughout the year. In addition to that, the tea and coffee cultivation here makes Chikmagalur one of the famous tourist spots.
Q5. How many days should I plan the trip for?
Ans. The ideal duration of a trip to Chikmagalur is 5D/4N. The sightseeing mostly involves trekking up the hilltops which can be tiring at times. If you want to visit all the major attractions without exhausting yourself, a minimum of 5 days is optimal.