Chikmagalur literally means 'The Land of the Younger Daughter'. It is said to have been gifted as dowry to the younger daughter of a legendary chieftain here, and there is also a place called Hiremagalur, 'Land of the Elder Daughter' which is also a part of the Chikmagalur district now.
Although the town of Chikmagalur is a very quaint one and can be best described as an abode for relaxation, the surrounding region has a varied landscape - from the low flatlands to the hilly regions. It is a perfect place to head to for a relaxing break during the weekends. Here is a guide to the various attractions in Chikmagalur.
The Amrutheshwara Temple is situated 67 km to the north of the town and is a popular pilgrimage site. It was constructed in the year 1196 under the rule of Veera Ballala II the Hoysala King.
It includes a shrine of ekakuta design, a wide open hall and a closed mantapa that connects with the open hall. Upon visiting the site, devotees can observe that the temple is embellished with sculptures of Kirthimukhas or demon faces.
The main attraction of Amrutheshwara Temple is the series of glistening pillars that support the ceiling. On closer observation, you will see that inner ceiling is adorned with carvings of floral patterns. The open mantapa consists of 140 panels that display Hindu mythological characters.
The north side of the wall showcases important events of Mahabharata and the life of Lord Krishna. Moreover, events from the epic Ramayana have been displayed in an anti-clockwise manner on the south side of the wall. Tourists can also exploreBhadraRiver Dam that is located in vicinity of the Amrutheshwara Temple.
Photo Courtesy: Pramod jois
Baba Budan Giri
The Baba Budan Giri Hills is renowned for its forest range. Otherwise known as Dattagiri Hill Range it lies at an elevation of 1895 mt. It is located at a distance of about 28 km from the town and is a pilgrimage spot for Hindus as well as Muslims. Due to this, the site has been named after Hindu God Guru Dattatreya and Muslim Saint Baba Budan.
Travellers planning trip to Baba Budan Giri can explore three caves that are believed to have been sanctified by three siddhas. Sheethala is another renowned attraction located in proximity of the site, that includes dual shrine site of Seethala-Mallikarjuna and a Mutt. It is perfect for tourists who are interested in undertaking activities like hiking and trekking.
There are two popular mountain ranges of this region, namely Mullayanagiri and Dattagiri. If lucky, then people may get the chance to view 'Kurinji', a mountain flower that blooms once in every 12 years. The site is an ideal choice for people who wish to undertake bird-watching as well.
Photo Courtesy: Mithun P S
Manikyadhara Falls is situated 40 km fromChikmagalur in the vicinity ofBaba Budan GiriHills enroute to Kemmannugundi. The waterfall lies at the centre of the Shola Forest and is considered as a holy site by both the Hindus and Muslims.
Manikyadhara literally means a string of pearls and is the ideal site for people who are looking for a peaceful and scenic atmosphere. According to local belief, Saint Hazrat Dada Hayath Mir Khalandar and 4 of his disciples came to this site in order to quench their thirst. After a long wait, their prayers were answered when they received water from Manikyadhara Falls that originated from the mountains.
The water of this falls is regarded as sacred by locals and they say that it has some medicinal properties that can cure skin ailments.
Photo Courtesy: Sampigesrini
The Kodandarama Temple or Kondada Ramaswamy Temple is popular for its annual festival that is organised in the month of February. This heritage monument was completed in three phases.
It represents the Hoysala architectural style, while the Sukanasi and Garbhagriha epitomise the Dravidian artwork. The entrance of the temple was developed in the 17th century while its Mukhamanatapa was built during the 16th century.
Devotees can observe a common Hanuman pedestal in the Garbhagriha that has figures of Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita. An enclosed region of this temple has images of Muddukrishna, Yoganarasimha, Ramanujacharya, Deshika, Sugriva, Vedanta and Madhava. All these figures belong to Chalukya and pre-Hoysala period.
Photo Courtesy: Jeff Peterson
Mullayangiri is the highest peak in Karnataka and lies in the Western Ghats in the Baba Budan Giri. It is situated at an elevation of 1930 mt above sea level and from the Himalayas to the Nilgiris, the Mullayanagiri has been recorded as the highest peak.
In order to reach the top of this peak travellers can commence their trekking from Sarpadaari. Upon reaching the top you can visit a temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Apart from trekking, people can undertake other adventure-based activities like road biking and mountain biking as well.
Photo Courtesy: Riju K
Muthodi Forest Camp
The Muthodi Forest Camp is considered the most popular section of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and is situated at a distance of 32 km from Chikamagalur. Tourists coming here get to view different species of animals, namely tigers, Sambhar, elephants, spotted deers and Gaurs, to mention a few.
A number of bird species can also be spotted here. Tourists can choose to participate in the nature camp that is organised here by the Forest Department. Tents and wooden cottages are available for tourists who wish to stay overnight.
Photo Courtesy: Kunal Mukherjee
How to Reach Chikmagalur
By Air: Mangalore International Airport is the nearest domestic and international airport. Flights connect Mangalore Airport to Middle East countries as well as major cities and towns in India.
By Train: Kadur (40 km) and Hassan (60 km) are the two nearest railway stations to Chikmagalur. It is well-connected with other railheads in Karnataka.
By Road: Chikmagalur is well-connected with major cities, such as Bangalore (245 km), Mangalore (151 km), Hubli (293 km) and Tirupati (493 km), to name a few. Both Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and luxury deluxe buses are available from these places to reach Chikmagalur.
Photo Courtesy: Supriya