Who hasn’t heard of Chikmagalur or more often known as the Coffee Capital of Karnataka? What is truly remarkable is the weather – quite pleasant round the year, even in sizzling summers. That coupled with mesmerizing undulating hilly landscape spotted with homestays and resorts.
The hills around Chikmagalur are resplendent with Coffee plantations. Some major plantations here spread over a few hundred acres! Long walks or treks amid the undulating coffee shrubs can be an experience in itself. These plantations also rear livestock including like cows, goats, and poultry, not to mention man’s best friend – dogs!
Some old school plantation guest houses still have wood-burning boilers to bring you hot water and quaint practices like drying pepper or beans under the sun is still the norm. A place and times very different from the urban lifestyle we’re used to.
This hilly district was full of forests, grasslands and streams until coffee began to be grown here. Legend has it that while returning from Haj in the 17th-century, Sufi saint Baba Budan brought with him a handful of unroasted coffee seeds from Yemen.
These fragrant Arabica seeds — easily took to the region of heavy rainfall and high altitude. After some determined endeavors by British and then Indian planters, most of the landscape is now awash with slopes of dark-leaved coffee shrubs peppered with trees of silver oak, dense vines and fertile orange trees.
If you are enamored of all the coffee around, then it’s time for a cuppa. 3 prominent sources of coffee powder are can be found on the main street of MG Road – Jayanthi Coffee Works, Panduranga Coffee Works and Vasavi Coffee Co. if you would fancy a foaming, golden-brown cup of filter coffee, the best bet would be either the Hotel Soundarya opposite the Chikmagalur bus station or the tiny Sree Vishnu Sagar inside.
The Ideal Stay
The best accommodation you can opt for in this hilly district is at a home-stay. You get the convenience of a residence plus the famed hospitality of “malanadu”. Whether traveling with family or as a group, this could be an ideal setup for everyone to enjoy. Spending a few days in a Chikmagalur homestay for even a few days can really help you relax and rejuvenate.
The cuisine to be sampled include ample varieties of local malanadu delicacies and more urban Chinese dishes(!!).
If you are lucky enough, you get to enjoy dinner around a campfire in the evenings. You will sure have a nice time singing and dancing around the campfire not to mention fanning the dying embers to get sparks going – an experience that is a must have.
Most homestays in Chikmagalur are 30 – 45 mins away from the town proper. One thing to consider when opting for a homestay is the distance from the town center depending on the length of your stay. You will need at least a couple of days to explore the plantation life fully. However, if you plan on outings everyday, then it’s better to opt for a resort or lodging near Chikmagalur town.
Related Post: The mountainous splendors of Chikmagalur