Chikmagalur – The land of delicious coffee and charming hills

It was a long Diwali weekend and our plans to visit Chikmagalur finally materialized. The amount of anticipation and excitement for the trip was sky high. As we all know, corporate life can sometimes be an insufferable companion and hence we were all just waiting to get away from it for a few days and relax at a serene place. And what better place for that than Chikmagalur! 🙂

Chikmagalur is a small town, nestled in the south western part of Karnataka. It is about 5 hrs from Bangalore. Chikmagalur in native Kannada language means “the town of the younger daughter”. The town is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna and hence the name. 

We started off our journey on Friday morning. And after a round of heavy and delicious breakfast, we finally hit the highway. The journey to Chikmagalur was extremely enjoyable with our non-stop singing, dancing and crazy games. We finally reached our destination around 5 PM and checked into a hotel called ‘Planters Court’. After a round of freshening up, we decided to visit a local park (as suggested by the hotel staff). The park was nothing memorable. So, post that we decided to head back to our hotel rooms and call it a night, as we were supposed to head towards our home stay the next morning.

Chikmagalur is full of scenic surprises and has many winding roads up in the mountains that lead to numerous coffee estates. It is surrounded by numerous hills, valleys, waterfalls, coffee plantations, peak points and wild life sanctuaries. Chikmagalur is one of the very first places in India where coffee was cultivated. It is said that a saint by the name Baba Budan lived in the 17th century in what is now Chikmagalur District of Karnataka. He went to Arabia to perform the ‘Hajj’, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his way back, he came via Yemen and there he encountered a strange drink that the Arabs living there made.
They made it by roasting and grinding the beans of a particular plant, and then brewing the powder in water. It was coffee! It was said that it was discovered by a Somali goatherd, who found that his goats became very perky after eating the leaves and berries of a particular plant that grew only in the shade.When he tasted coffee, he was so excited that he wanted to take it back with him to India. But trade in coffee was tightly controlled by the Arabs in those days. They wouldn’t let anyone take seeds out to plant in their own country; they could only take the roasted beans.

Baba Budan managed to get hold of seven beans, which he hid among the folds of his long robes. And as he was a very saintly man, very few people thought of suspecting him. He left Yemen through the port of Mocha (from where the coffee by that name comes) and came back to Chikmagalur. He planted the beans – and voila, they grew! 😀 Amazing isn’t it?

Now, coming back to my story… 😛
We reached the home stay by 11 AM. It was a beautiful place. Imagine having 50 acres of coffee plantations around you with an amazing view of the mountain range surrounding the place. It was awesome! The owners were extremely nice and hospitable too. We felt so much at home in the estate. The room options there were quite interesting. We could choose anything from Bamboo cottages, Tree houses, Rajasthani tents to a normal house with TV viewing facilities. We chose the tree house no doubt! 😀
That’s where we stayed!
The view from our cottage!
The out house and dining area.
The owner’s house.
The difficult climb up to our cottage!
The path next to our cottage that leads to the huge coffee plantation!
We visited a number of places in and around Chikmagalur. Numerous waterfalls, peak points and a religious place as well. But out of all the places we visited, Mullayangiri was probably the best. Mullayangiri is the highest peak in Karnataka. It is at a height of 1930 metres (6330 ft.), which they say is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. They also say that on a clear day, we can even see the Arabian Sea from this peak. But we were not that lucky, nor that energetic to make it to the highest point. Nevertheless, our short trek up the hill was truly worth it and the panoramic view from peak was amazing. Post Mullayangiri, we visited Kemmangundi, Baba Budan Giri and a few other waterfalls too.
View from Mullayangiri.

 After a tiring day, we finally headed back to our beautiful estate. There would always be a slight drizzle in the evening. When it would start drizzling, we would slowly head towards the out house to just sit back and enjoy the view, we would connect our phones to the huge speakers to listen to music while listening to the rain and drink numerous cups of freshly brewed heavenly filter coffee with hot snacks! 😀 Add this with great people as company and it turned into the most perfect holiday! 🙂 We truly forgot all our worries and tensions of life back in Bangalore when we were in that place. 

Well, my long diwali weekend was truly well spent in an awesome place with amazing people. This trip was by far one of the best and the most relaxing holidays I have been on this year. Hope I will have more Travelogue updates to give in 2014 as well.

P.S: This blog post was already posted a month back but got deleted by mistake. Even though I couldn’t rewrite the whole post the same way I had written earlier, I have still tried. 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to come and read my post. Until next time, it’s adios from my side amigos! 🙂

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