Things to do in Chikmagalur, the Coffee Capital of India

Chikmagalur is a calm, serene hill town full of scenic surprises, with the surrounding hills and forests – bewitching by any standard. It is amply blessed with serene hillsides and vantage points for one to gaze upon nature to the heart’s content.

This treasure trove of nature’s bounty lies at the foot of the Sahyadri hill range in South India, 1,000 meters above sea level and surrounded by a multitude of peaks, making it a nature lovers’ delight. Scenic hiking trails, soaring hill tops, rolling coffee plantations, colonial era bungalows, tranquil streams and majestic waterfalls in emerald green forests.

All lying in wait to enrapture you, a mere five-hour drive from Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. A Chikmagalur homestay can be the perfect getaway for travelers who wish to luxuriate in the lap of nature.

Indulge in Nature

Numerous high altitude treks with spectacular views await adventure lovers here. One can either opt to relax in a local home-stay after an exhilarating daylong trek or spend the night atop a misty peak. The more popular routes are the climbs to Baba Budangiri, Kemmangudi and Mullyanagiri peaks.

A trek to the Kudremukh peak will provide both the novice and seasoned trekkers a perfect platform for a tryst with adventure. The Hebbe Falls, a 168 meters tall cascading column of water in the midst of rich forestland is a spot popular with the trekkers as well as the casual tourists.

Located between the Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary is a major part of Project Tiger in south Asia. In addition to a large tiger population, it is also home to a multitude of exotic wild animals and birds.

Pamper the Spirit

The district is also home to a number of holy spots. The most popular religious destinations are Hornad and Dharmasthala Temples, as well as the Sharadamba Peeta in Sringeri. The latter is the first maṭha established by Adi Shankara in 8th century CE.

Also close by Chikmagalur are the centuries old temples of Belur (Vishnu) and Halebid (Shiva). They sport some of the most detailed and intricate architecture and sculptures seen in south India. The sculptural splendor of the Belur-Halebid is said to rival those of the more famous Khajuraho and Konark temples in north India.

It is recommended to stay in Chikmagalur and cover the nearby spots over the day.

Coffee All Around

The air in and around this sleepy hilltown thick with the rich aroma of coffee, thus earning the town it’s nickname – “The Coffee Capital”. Even the omnipresent ‘filter coffee’ – a delicious concoction of rich coffee in boiling milk topped off with a generous serving of sugar – that you get here is deliciously unique from that available elsewhere.

The Coffee Museum is a must visit attraction for not only the connoisseurs, but for casual lovers of coffee as well. It also functions as a liaison and quality lab for CCRI (The Central Coffee Research Institute) where the quality of coffee is tested and analyzed. One can learn in detail about the coffee making processes – from plucking the beans to the history and tradition of Indian Coffee.

Accommodation is aplenty, ranging from five-star luxury to more down to earth cottages and home-stays in and around Chikmagalur town. However, it is always advisable to plan and book ahead during the peak holiday season.

Author Bio:

A nature enthusiast from a very young age, Preeti took to the field of hospitality and travel management after completing her studies. She combines her love for everything environmental with a passion for adventure at DM Villa, a home away from home in the Coffee Capital of India.