Chikmagalur has a lot on offer even the most jaded of travelers – an utterly green and untamed landscape teeming with lush green rain-forests, plantations of tea, coffee, teak, pepper and rich paddy fields, misty hills and the beautiful Bhadra River. You shouldn’t miss a chance at a home-stay amid the relatively unexplored natural beauty of Chikmagalur.
A picnicking at Ambutheertha
Rise at the break of dawn, pack a picnic and head to Ambutheertha, a little hideaway that lies just beyond the town of Horanad. This is where you can witness the Bhadra River sashaying among boulders resembling blocks of cheese, the eyes in them, the result of years of weathering. It can be an absolute pleasure to laze about on the rocks in the warm morning sun doing absolutely nothing.
A break at Magundi
Once you have had your fill of the picnic at Ambutheertha, on the way back to your Chikmagalur resort, be sure to stop over at the Magundi Village. Here you can go kayaking down the river, with the teeming Bhadra Forest on either side. There are several organizations that offer kayaking and other adventure facilities.
Drive through Muthodi Forest
After all that kayaking, you’ve probably built up a big appetite. You can proceed to wolf down some idiyappam or other malnadu delicacy and proceed on a drive through the Muthodi Forest, keeping an eye out for the numerous birds and insects all around. Those inclined so can also visit one of the several temples in the area – at Sringeri, Belur, Horanad and Halebidu.
Darshan at the Veeranarayana Temple
If you want to avoid crowds, the beautiful (and little-known) Veeranarayana Temple in Belvady is a must visit. The structure falls under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India, with the temple located in an idyllic village. One of the biggest constructions of the Hoysala Empire, the temple has soapstone pillars with some intricate and detailed carvings. It radiates a serene aura that most other religious places of it’s ilk seem to lack these days.
A breathtaking sunset
Evenings are the ultimate to experience in Chikmagalur and that too best atop the hills. You have the choice of several peaks: Kemmanagundi, Baba Budangiri and Bendgall. Those who don’t mind a steep climb can opt for the ‘Sarpadhari’ route to Mullayanagiri, the tallest peak in Chikmagalur. The 400-odd steps journey to reach the temple atop the hill is worth just for the view that awaits you – one that will definitely take your breath away.
The Pleasures of Malnad
It’s unlikely that many of you have might have heard of Malnad cuisine. Distinct from the Mangalorean cuisine, it is a delectable mashup of both Mangalorean and Coorgi styles of cooking. Over the years, Malnad cuisine has evolved as a micro-cuisine with a significant following of its own. With amazing delicacies such as Gojju Avalakki, Shunti Thambuli, Patrode, Mavinkaye Saru, Kayi Sasuve Chitanna and other desserts, the most popular dishes are the Haluvayi and Kayi Kadubu. Be sure to ask for some at your Chikmagalur holdiay home. A vast spread of delicacies of Malnad cuisine laid out on banana leaves is enough to give any thrifty eater serious food lust.