Located in the valley of the beautiful Baba Budan Hills, Chikmagalur never fails to surprise you. Landscaped to perfection entirely by nature, it is set amidst undulating coffee plantations, dazzling forests, silver waterfalls and beautiful blossoms. Its natural bounty and easy accessibility make it one of the most-loved weekend getaways with the best picnic spots, scenic treks and not to forget ancient temples.
The last mentioned is one of the least explored attractions of Chikmagalur, at least by the holiday tourist crowd. The whole district is dotted with numerous holy spots and similar tourist places.
The magnificent Amrutheshwara Temple, built in Hoysala style in 1196 AD is located in Amruthapura, 67 km north of Chikmagalur town. The beautiful structure made entirely of black soapstone is flanked by a coconut grove and showcases circular carvings on the outer walls. The sanctum has a single tower and a large open mandap. The main sanctum is square and is richly adorned with sculptures of demons. Floral designs on the ceilings and the panels depict carvings from Hindu epics including the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Kodandarama Temple at Hiremagalur (247 km from bangalore) is one of the most fascinating monuments around. A marvelous blend of Hoysala and Dravidian architectural styles, idols of Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana, are placed in the inner sanctum. Around them, you can find smaller shrines with idols of other gods and goddesses, including Hanuman, Lakshmi, Ganapati, and Garuda. The temple is famous for its annual jathra festival held in February and March.
The highly revered temple town of Sringeri (103 km) is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It is the home of the Sri Sringeri Sharada Peetham, established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya as a center of learning and spiritualism. It is also adjacent to two of the most popular temples in the state.
The Sharadamba Temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning and wisdom. Originally constructed in wood, the temple reconstructed in Dravidian style after being ravaged by fire.
The Vidyashankara Temple built by the rulers of Vijayanagara dynasty and combines the Hoysala and Vijayanagara styles of architecture. The main sanctum has 12 pillars dedicated to the 12 zodiac signs, and the highlight of the construction is the how the sun shines on only the corresponding pillars according to the months. Carvings of Jain, Buddhist and Hindu mythological characters fill the alcoves of the temple.
Located almost 100 km from Chikmagalur, the tiny temple town of Horanadu is famous for the Annapoorneshwari Temple, which sports an idol of the beautiful goddess made in gold. This temple advocates the belief that its devotees should never face a shortage of food and provides a three-course meal to all visitors
Note: All men visiting the temples might be required to remove their shirts, but may cover their shoulders with a towel or shawl. Traveling by car or tourist cabs is the best choice if you wish to cover all these nearby places.