The other coffee county (the original being Coorg), is quite the upcoming destination, thanks mostly to the brilliant roads, gorgeous homestays and short distance from Bangalore. Besides, it’s very tough to say no to lush green coffee estates, waterfalls dotting the landscape, and the highest mountain peak between the Nilgiris and The Himalayas! As usual, we’ve done all the hard work, so all you need to do is pack you bags, and go! But, since times are so different from earlier, please ensure you check if places are safe, and open for visiting before you go.
Cave Exploring To A Coffee Museum: Don't Miss These Five Things When In Chikmagalur
Gape At The Hebbe Falls
If you want adventure, then you’ve got to sign up for a trip to the Hebbe Falls. Hidden on a coffee plantation in near Kemmangundi, the Forest Department charges INR 400 per person for the journey in and out in a keep. And the ride itself is where the drama begins, as it’s a total off-roading experience. You’ll bounce over massive rocks, river beds, forests and suddenly in the clearing is a majestic waterfall. The falls are at a height of over 500 feet, but what adds to the beauty is that it splits into two — Dodda Hebbe and Chikka Hebbe. You can even trek up to the falls if you’re daring enough. But leeches will be aplenty, more so in the monsoon.
Trek Up To Z Point
This you must not miss if you are willing and able! About an hour out of Chikmagalur town, the Z Point is at the top of the Kemmandundi range which includes Shanti Hill. It’s a short but narrow and slightly steep trek from the bottom and in total it’s approximately 5km, so you may need some amount of stamina. Once you huff and puff to the top for the sunrise or sunset if you’re not a morning person, you’ll thank me. The trek itself is gorgeous, as it meanders through meadows, has views of the surrounding mountains, weaves in and out of gorges (don’t forget to shout in each one to see which ones echoes!) and at the top, it’s a Lion King moment. It’s just hues of green as far as the eye can see, with yellow from the morning sun and a golden orange from the setting one.
Caving At Baba Budangiri
Like Batman says, “To the Bat cave.” Except that there’s no hi-tech hidden lab there. This one borders on religious as it is said that Baba Budan lived in this cave. In the Mullayanagiri range, there are three caves where religious oracles are said to be buried, so if you’re religiously inclined, do visit. If not, explore the few other rock caves in the area too. The scenery is pretty, so take a picnic basket and just wander until you’re hungry. Then relax for a while and continue, I say! Because there is a beautiful waterfall called Manikya Dhara just 4 kms from Baba Budangiri. Also, this is the first place in the region which grew coffee!
Coffee Yatra Museum
When in Coffee County (sorry, Coorg!), then you’ve got to learn about the coffee. Chances are you’re living at a homestay in the middle of a plantation, so make sure to go on a trail there. But don’t miss the more in-depth history of coffee at the cool Coffee Yatra Museum. Set up by the Coffee Board Of India, it takes you through the history of the bean, the different kinds of coffee, the origin and evolution of coffee, and even how it is processed. Plus, some sampling too!
Water Sports At Bhadra River
Ideal for the adventure seeker, about half an hour from Chikmagalur town, lies a portion of the Bhadra River, which is perfect for water sports. It’s not the wildest part of the river, so you can happily raft down it for at least 8km if not more. Daredevils can pick a kayak and ride the rapids solo. It’s safe enough, but it gives you that thrill. The river passes through thick jungles, little hamlets and rolling hills, so best buy a waterproof camera, as you’ll get some amazing shots.