Unveil South Karnataka – A Weekend Getaway
If trekking and camping is what you crave for, then Chikmangalur and Agumbe make for a great weekend getaway. Go on, pack your bags and let the pirate in you take control!
Chikmangalur is located in the Southwestern part of Karnataka, 251 kms from Bangalore and is nested at the foothill of Baba Budan range. Chikmangalur literally means, 'the younger daughter's town.' As the story goes, this small town is believed to have been given away as dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the famous Chief of Sakrepatna.
It is in Chikmangalur that coffee was first cultivated in India. Shah Hazrat Jamal had carried a strange plant with him from Yemen, being quite unaware of what the horrid tasting berries could produce, until he discovered the magic this plant could create. The plant flourished on the hills of Chikmangalur and this gave rise to the coffee cultivation and plantations that now cover acres of the hills like a lush green carpet.
The town is very peaceful, filled with scenic surprises, hills, green valleys, sparkling streams and coffee blossoms. Chikmangalur is a trekker's delight, with its rugged mountain trails.
Places to visit
You can make a couple of pit stops at Chikmangalur, as places to see around are plenty. Keep an eye out for the road signs, if you’re feeling lucky take a pick from the many listed places and head out. You can literally ‘make your own road.’
The view from the top of Kudremukh can be exhilarating and intriguing. Kudremukh mountain range resembles the face of a horse. It overlooks the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. The fauna across the wet rainforest remains untouched by mankind and the smell of the earth is truly energetic. You can also drive up to Mullaingiri peak, a slight diversion from Chikmangalur. You may experience a sudden rush of adrenaline as you make your way over the mud trail that leads you to the top. As someone once said ‘nature is God’s gift to mankind’, we couldn’t agree more! These places can be covered on the way to Agumbe.
Agumbe is rightfully called the Cherrapunji of South India as it receives the highest rainfall in peninsular India. The place offers breathtaking panoramic views, majestic waterfalls and spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset.
As you make your way through the bends and curves of the Western Ghats you are overwhelmed with the rustic charm of this town called Agumbe. This little town has played home to one of the most popular television serials called Malgudi Days based on R.K Narayan’s novel.
The village is spotted with traditional tiny thatched-roofed huts to larger settlements of tile-roofed stone and brick houses. The locals are very friendly. After a few encounters with them and observing the life around this village you are hit by the harmonious simplicity of the village folk.
Places to visit
Agumbe is a wealth of hidden treasures and a place where dreams turn into reality for every passionate trekker. If you are adventurous enough and confident about making your way around in the woods, then you can venture out on your own. But it is always advisable to take a local guide who knows the trek trails through the dense forests.
Kundadari: Wake up early to catch the gorgeous sunrise from the top of the hill. The drive to Kundadari is around 18 kms from the town and the climb is steep. It’s a breathtaking sight with a stunning view of the soft white clouds and hill tops peeping from below, making you believe that a vast ocean lies in front of you. The Western Ghats truly welcome you.
Waterfalls: Kunchikal falls is one of the highest waterfalls in India and is a breathtaking sight with water gushing down with enormous force. The Onake Abbi Falls, Jogi Gundi, Barkana falls and Hebbe falls is a must see. Make sure you take a plunge into the water and refresh your senses.
The sunset point: After a long day spent discovering the lush green rainforest, watch the sunset in its full glory.
How to get there
The two towns Chikmangalur and Agumbe are well connected by air, road and rail.
Bangalore airport is situated 240 kms from Chickmangalur and Mangalore airport is around 170 kms from there.
The nearest railhead is Kadur 40 kms from Chikmangalur. Hire a taxi to reach the town.
There are frequent buses from Bangalore. KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) provides comfortable luxury buses.
It’s a smooth drive from any of these two cities as the National highways connecting Chickmangalur are well maintained.
Places to stay
From splurge fives stars hotels, spas and resorts to small budget lodges are available in both Chikmangalur and Agumbe. And if you want to experience the authentic, mouth watering delicacies of South Karnataka then home stays would be the best option. Most often than not, these home stays have incredible views that can never be spotted in any guidebook.
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