Chikmagalur (Chikka-magaluru) gets its name from "Younger" (meaning Chikka) "Daughter" (Magalu) "City" (Ooru). It is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna. The district consists of both flat lowlands and mountain regions divided into seven taluks. Chikmagalur city is at the foot of highest mountain range in Karnataka.
The area contains the Baba Budan Hills (Chandra Drona Parvatha). The life-supporting rivers of Karnataka and other states - Tunga, Bhadra, Hemavati, Vedavati, Yagachi originate in the Western Ghat hills of the district. 'Gangamoola' - the source of rivers Tunga and Bhadra - is located near Kudremukh.
The district is a great attraction to all kinds of people - trekkers, pilgrims, travellers, tourists, research enthusiasts, naxalites and has experienced inter-communal conflicts. The beautiful waterfalls of Kalhatagiri, Hebbe, Shanti, Manikyadhara, Sirimane and many more seasonal waterfalls have won the hearts of travellers. The Muthodi and Bhadra forests provide habitat to various species of birds and animals and attract tourists. Sringeri, Horanadu, Kalasa, Balehonnur are the famous holy places.
The Lakkavalli dam on the river Bhadra and Yagachi dam near Belur not only meets all the requirements of the people of the district but also supports the local ecosystem. Coffee, tea, paddy, arecanuts and spices are the major agricultural products. The region is also known as Coffee Land since coffee in India was initially grown here and is the site of a Coffee Research Station, the first in Asia.
Temples of Hoysala art are found at Amrutapura and Belavadi. The district of Chikmagalur has given birth to famous freedom strugglers, poets, intellectuals and politicians. The former Prime Minister of India, the late Indira Gandhi once represented the constituency of Chikmagalur in the Indian Parliament.
Chikmagalur Railway has got a new railway line opened on November 19th 2013. There is a daily passenger train service from Shimoga via Kadur. For train timings and on-line reservations (within India) visit the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation's website.
There are buses running from Bangalore every 30-60 minutes. During the weekends these buses are often full and getting a ticket can be a bit of a hassle unless booked in advance. KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) buses are comfortable, especially the Airavata Volvo buses.
You can reach Chikmagalur by road from Bangalore. The fastest route is via Hassan which is on NH 48. The road from Hassan to Chickmagalur is fairly good now albeit parts of it are under construction. The road progressively gets better, especially after Bellur Cross.
The alternate route is to reach via Tumkur and Arsikere/Kadur. This route is very well laid until Arsikere and gets potholed after, mostly till Chikmagalur.
By taxi/car rental
You can hire a taxi or rent a car from Bangalore to visit Chikmagalur. Out station car rental companies charge for a minimum of 250 km/day @ a fare/km rate + driver charges (BA/TA: Boarding Allowance Travel Allowance). The fares depend upon the type of car you are looking for. It is advisable to rent cars from reliable and established car rental operators.
Drivers don't go by meters. They fix a charge for the place you want to go; bargaining is upto you. The more your attire and luggage announce that you are a tourist the greater the chance of drivers ripping you off.
Tourist Cabs are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Kemmannagundi. Costs are about Rs 10 per kilometer
Chikmagalur is surrounded by Scenic places. Don't miss Giridarshini a small hill station just 6km from the city on the Mangalore road. The view of the city can be obtained from the top of Mahatma Gandhi Park (also called Rathnagiri hill).
The way from Kaimara to Kemmannagundi is heavenly. If you can somehow manage to travel on the top of a vehicle, then it will be an unforgettable event in your life. The beautiful locations in this area include Mullayyanagiri, the highest point in South Karnataka, Bababudangiri, Kemmannagundi, Devirammanabetta, and Manikyadhaara. In order to see Hebbe falls, you have to take a deviation near Kaimara.
The distance from Chikmaglur to Kemmanagundi is only 57 km away but the road is pretty bad so it takes about 2.5-3 hours to reach there. To visit Hebbe falls from there you have to take a local jeep as the road is much worse from Kemmanagundi to Hebbe falls and it takes whole of 3hr to complete a return trip. A good plan is required if you are trying to cover Mullayyanagiri, Kemmanagundi and Hebbe falls within the same day.
In Kemmanagundi the Karnataka government Department of Horticulture has established a rose garden which is open to the public.
If you are adventurous you can climb the mountains or camp on one of the peaks. There are no shops or hotels once you cross Kaimara. Visitors should be prepared and bring your own food and water supplies. You can find hotels only in Kemmannugundi. Packed meal is one of the best options on this trek.
Towards Balehonnur and Sringeri, the coffee plantations open up to greet you. The curves on the roads give you some special experience. Kudremukh is also a hillstation nearby. Agumbe is a 3 hour drive from Chikmagalur.
Another popular nearby destinations is Malayamarutha, 50 km from Chikmagalur. Hirekolale pond is also a place for day outing. If you like water, then you should visit Rameshwaram which is a big pond 6 km away from the city.
Chikmagalur has many hill stations, waterfalls, temple towns and wildlife.
Local activities include:
Various Banks like State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Axis Bank provide ATMs in the city.
Do it before you arrive at Chikmagalur.
Drinks are available here
Post offices are available in Basavanahalli, Vijayapura, MG Rd and the General Post Office (GPO), at the end of MG Rd.