By Sachin Murnal
Have you ever walked on clouds or seen millions of stars in the night sky while lying on lush green grass? Have you ever truly been in the lap of nature where you walked on ridges and climbed up peaks? Well, if you have, you already know the tranquility it brings; whereas if you haven’t experienced it, then you must do so because it makes you feel like you’re on top of the world! And one such place where you can get all of it together is Chikmagalur, a hill station in Karnataka which is known as a paradise for trekkers with its luxuriant green forests, clean air and untouched natural beauty.
It is about 240kms or so from Bangalore and the most convenient way to reach here is to avail reliable and affordable Bangalore to Chikmagalur cabs. If you please, you can also choose the option of reaching here from Mangalore as well which is approximately 160kms away. Chikmagalur or Chikkamagaluru is well known as the coffee land of Karnataka as it is here that coffee cultivation began in India.
Western Ghats begin from here and from the surrounding hills, river Yagachi originates. There is a lot to do here including trekking up the Mullayanagiri peaks which are the tallest peaks in Karnataka, visiting the backwaters of Hirekolale lake, enjoying Buttermilk falls, going up Kudremukh peak and more. What would your pick be; a laid back vacation enjoying the serenity of the hill station or taking up a challenge of scaling the hills? Read on to know more about the latter…
Serving as the highest peak between Nilgiris and Himalaya, Mullayanagiri is one of the favorites for trekkers as well as for those who love mountain biking. Explore small caves while viewing glorious Western Ghats or walk up the steep trails from Sarpadhari; whatever you choose, Mullayanagiri will not disappoint. And when you reach the peak, there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Nandi. At the top, you’ll see blue skies and green forest cover while the peaks of the Ghat stand perked in all glory.
Before you head here for trekking ensure that you have needful permissions from Chimagalur forest department. The misty trek over the Mullayanagiri needs a little preparation because the weather can become cooler without warning. Also, while you’re going up the hill, try and see if you can get a glimpse of BabaBudan Giri which is mostly covered by fog but when the sky is clear, the view is simply breath taking.
Kudremukh National Park/ Kurinjal Peak
Hiking in the rainforest-covered slopes that lead to a majestic peak where some of the most exotic views greet you; that’s what Kurinjal Peak is all about. Kudremukh gets its name owing to the unique shape of the peak which resembles the face of a Horse. You would be able to find solace in the quiet of nature that would surround you in these lesser explored trails. Also, be prepared that you might witness gushing streams while you scale this misty mountain. Also, for bird watchers, there are more than 200 species of rare birds that are often found here including Malabar whistling thrush and great pied hornbill etc. but the condition is that you get on the trail early in the morning. You can walk through the national park but you need permissions from the Range office.
Starting from Samse, the trek usually lasts for about 8 hours but at times you might want to spend more time just soaking in the beauty that Karnataka has to offer. Also, while you’re here do visit the Elaneeru waterfalls and Amba Theertha river.
This and Mulliyangiri together are known as Chandra Drona Mountain Range. The name has been derived from the fact that they together form a crescent moon shape. Along with mesmerizing view of the mighty hills, valley and enclosure of nature, you might also be able to spot wildlife when you cross the Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary. You have to cross Mullayanagiri to further reach Baba Budangiri which is a pilgrimage point for both Hindus and Muslims. Legend has it that saint Baba Budan returned from Hajj with cocoa beans which then he planted in the mountainsides. For Hindus, Dattatreya temple here is also considered very important. Once you reach the religious sites, Manikyadhara Falls are also nearby. The grasslands, green forest area and thrilling streams along with a bird’s eye view of the valley; Baba Budangiri is a must for those who love seeing nature in its raw form.
There are multiple ways to reach these trails including bus, taxi or you can also book a direct Bangalore Airport taxi to get here comfortably. It’s often said that in the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in that office or cleaning the house but what you would remember are the moments where you truly felt alive… so climb that mountain and just write your story which lasts you a lifetime.