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Tourist Places To Visit In Chikmagalur
Everything about Chikmagalur is just picturesquely perfect. Be it the seasons, the rolling hills and the plains below, thickly layered with coffee plantations and meandering lakes and streams, the temples and the waterfalls... the town has everything that you’d love to experience. Chikmagalur is just about - 'nature that is at its best!'
Chikmagalur gets its name from ‘Chikka magaluru’ or the ‘younger daughter’s town.’ According to legends, Rukmangada, the chieftain of Sakrepatna, gifted Chikmagalur town to his younger daughter on her wedding day. So you see, Chikmagalur is not only nature, it is history too, as a visit to its temples will reveal. Here’s a list of places you can visit while you’re in Chikmagalur.
Ballalarayana Durga Fort
The ruins of the Ballalarayana Durga Fort are located at the Bettabalige hill that’s about 1509 m above mean sea level. You can trek up the hill to visit the ruins of the Fort that must have looked most imposing in the bygone era. The stronghold that was built in the Hoysala architectural style of Karnata Dravida, by the Queen of King Veera Ballala 1, who ruled the region around the 12th century, is yet another example of the Hoysalas’ passion for building temples and forts.
Wonder at the dilapidated ruins of yore as you enjoy the captivating beauty of the region, especially the setting sun, and the plains under your feet. Check out the Kalabyraveshwara temple just below the Fort, which King Veera Ballala 1 and his queen were often said to visit. The Bettabalige hill is close to the town of Sunkasale. You can drive up to the foothills and walk 3-4 km up the hill to the fort.
Carry water bottles and bites along. Bettabalige hills are about 70 km from Chikmagalur.
Kudremukh National Park
Kudremukh National Park, so called because of the hill that is shaped like the mukha (head) of a kudre (horse), has an ever so glorious climate all through the year with lush environs, a wet evergreen forest with a variety of flora and fauna and the rivers Tunga and Badra meandering through the region. Pilgrims visit the cave temple of Bagawathi, the statue of Varaha, which is right inside the Park and the Kadambi waterfalls. Luxuriant coffee plantations border the Park on the northern and eastern sides. The Park is home to tigers, leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears and about 195 variety of birds.
While Mullayangiri is Karnataka’s first highest peak, the Kudremukh Hill is the second highest peak. Kudremukh National Park is about 107 km from Chikmagalur.
The Veeranarayana temple at Belavadi is one of the finest examples of ancient Hoysala architecture, built in the classical Hoysala style with soapstone. There are a number of temples here, the most prominent being the Veeranarayana temple, with its singular rock cut pillars and shrines for Veeranarayana, Venugopala and Yoganarasimha. The 13th century temple was built by the Hoysala King Veera Ballala 11. During the times of the Mahabharatha, Belavadi was called Ekachakranagara and according to legends it was here that the Pandava prince Bhima killed the asura Bakasura who had been terrorising the locals by demanding a cartload of food from them. The villagers celebrate Bandi Bana festival in praise of Bhima by drawing a cart loaded with food to the outskirts of the village and everybody has a share of the food.
You could also visit the Udhbhava Ganapathi temple, which is under the patronage of the Sringeri Mutt. Belavadi is not as tourist familiar as Halebidu and Belur, but is a must see on your visit to Chikmagalur. There are KSRTC buses to Belavadi, that is about 29 km away from Chikmagalur on the Chikmagalur-Javagal highway.
Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple
The ancient Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple has enchanting idols of Rama, his consort Sita to his right and his brother Lakshmana on his left. It was at this place that Sage Parashurama felt blessed when Rama, Sita and Lakshmana appeared before him like they did in Rama’s wedding ceremony to Sita.The temple was built during the reign of the Hoysalas, with later additions by the Vijayanagara. Thus you have the Navagrahas built in the 14th century AD, the Mukha mandapa in the 16th and the entrance in the 17th century.
This seems to be the only temple where Rama appears with Sita to his right and Hanuman who is usually found bowing to the God is absent, most likely since the temple is about the life of Rama before his exile to the forest.
The temple is open on all days from 6.00am-11.30am and from 4.30pm-8.30pm. The Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple at Hiremagalur is about 5 km from Chikmagalur.
Adhishakthyathmaka Annapurneshwari Temple
The Horanadu Annapurneshwari or SriKshetra Horanadu temple is situated on the banks of the Badra river. The river seems to add more charm to the temple of the God of Food, who is already nestled among the valleys and hills of the lush Western Ghats. According to the temple’s history, Sage Agasthya installed the statue of the Goddess around the 8th century. Unlike the traditional posture of a seated idol, the Annapurneshwari of Horanadu is in a standing stance, with a Sankh, Chakra, Sri Chakra and Devi Gayathri in her four hands. Apart from the shrine to the Goddess Annapurani, there are also shrines to Hanuman, Ganapathi and the Navagrahas. You’ll have to climb a series of steps to reach the main temple, which might be a little crowded during festivals like Maha Rathotsava, Navratri and Akshaya Tritiya.
There are lodges at the temple where you can stay upon prior booking. Meals or prasada bhojana are served to the pilgrims at the temple from about 12.00pm-3,00pm and from 7.30pm-9.30pm.
The temple timings are from 6.30am-2.00pm and from 7.00pm-9.30pm every day. SriKshetra Horanadu temple is about 90 km from Chikmagalur.
Kemmangundi or Sri Krishna Rajendra Hill Station, so called as it was the King’s Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV’s summer retreat, is a charming hill station in Chikmagalur. The retreat which was called Raj Bhavan, was later donated to the state and at present, the Horticultural Department of Karnataka is maintaining the resort.
The undulating hillscapes of Kemmangundi are just a carpet of green, dotted by lakes, waterfalls and gurgling hidden springs. You can visit the popular Z Point or Horse Path which offers such a breathtaking view of the landscape around, the rock and rose gardens and the umpteen numbers of falls. Do visit the Hebbe Falls, just about 8 km from Kemmangundi. The Chikka Hebbe and Dodda Hebbe, a beautiful cascade of frothy waters are such a lovely sight, especially during monsoon. You can drive up to a point and after, there are jeeps that can be hired to take you to the falls.
Kemmangundi is about 61 km from Chikmagalur.
The Lakkavalli Dam is built over the river Bhadra near the village of Lakkavalli at Tarikere Taluk. At a height of 194 ft, the multipurpose dam should be a must see in your visit to Chikmagalur. The Dam was built by Sir M. Vishveshwaraya, the Chief Engineer of the State of Mysore in the year 1947.
Set amidst a lush and verdant landscape, the Lakkavalli Dam provides suitable backwaters as the Bhadra river flows into the Reserve Forest of the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary quite close by. The Lakkavalli Dam is one of the oldest dams of Karnataka and one of the most picturesque too, as it lies in close proximity to the Western Ghats and is rich in a diversity of flora and fauna, including wild varieties of bamboo. The white of the rain-fed Lakkavalli Dam and the greenery of the ample forests at the back drop is a visual delight during the monsoon.
Lakkavalli Dam is about 82 km from Chikmagalur.
Sringeri Sharada Temple
The ancient temple to Sharada at Sringeri goes back to the 8th century when Adi Shankaracharya founded a sandalwood idol of the goddess over a Sri Chakra carved on a rock. During the reign of the Vijayanagara kings, the sandalwood statue was replaced with a golden one by Sri Vidyaranya.
Sringeri incidentally gets its name from Srunga Giri or the hill top which was the hermitage of Rishyashringa, the son of Vibandaka Maharishi. According to legends, Adi Shankara decided to establish a temple and Peetam here after he spotted a King Cobra on the banks of the Tungabhadra, raising its hood to shelter a pregnant frog from the scorching rays of the sun. Visit the Kappe Shankara on the steps that lead to the river, that mark the very spot where Adi Shankara saw the strange sight of the snake and the frog. Participate in the Chandramoulishwara Puja, to the Chandramoulishwara Linga that was gifted to Adi Shankara by Shiva. Visit the Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham to get the blessings of the Acharya.
- Temple timings are from 6.00am-2.00pm and from 400pm-9.00pm.
- Chandramoulishwara puja- 8.30pm daily.
- Anna dana or free meals are served from 12.15pm-2.30pm and from 7.15pm-8.30pm at the temple’s dining hall. For accommodation, including dormitories and guest houses you can contact the information office at the temple.
- Sringeri is about 88 km from Chikmagalur.
Baba Budhangiri Peak
Baba Budhangiri is a peak in the Baba Budhan hill ranges in Chikmagalur. Standing tall at about 1895 m, the Baba Budhan Giri peak is one of the most noteworthy tourist places in Chikmagalur. The Baba Budhangiri ranges include the Baba Budhangiri or Dattagiri peak and the Mullayanagari peak also. A part of the Chandra Drona Hill Ranges, the peak came to be called Baba Budhangiri after the 17th century Sufi Saint Baba Budhan brought 7 coffee beans with him, on his return from a pilgrimage to Yemen, and sowed them in these ranges.
Considered a pilgrimage centre by Hindus for the Datta Peetham atop the hill and the Muslims alike, the Baba Budhangiri is a lovely place you can visit. Take a trip to the Jhari and Manikyadhara waterfalls near Baba Budhangiri.
Baba Budhangiri is about 33 km from Chikmagalur.