Planning A Hilly Getaway? Here Are Some Offbeat Places To Visit In Chikmagalur In Karnataka

Chikmagalur is a pretty popular summer destination in southern India with many attractions and experiences for travellers. However, if you are looking for some off beat spots, here are some places you can check out
Chikmagalur has a lot of unexplored attractions for visitors to see
Chikmagalur has a lot of unexplored attractions for visitors to seeShutterstock

As a well-loved destination by tourists, Chikmagalur enjoys a loyal crowd throughout the year. However, moving beyond its many famous attractions, such as the Hebbe Falls, Kuremukh National Park and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Chikmagalur has a lot of other underrated experiences to offer. Here is a curated list of offbeat places you can include in your sightseeing list while visiting Chikmagalur. 

Ballalarayana Durga Fort

An underrated spot in the Chikmagalur district, Ballalarayana Durga boasts a history dating back to the 12th century, when a grand fort adorned its hills. Today, remnants of its former glory linger in the form of weathered periphery walls, arches, and overgrown entrances. While its architectural splendour may have faded, the fort compensates generously with its breathtaking vistas. Upon reaching the summit, immerse yourself in the lush greenery blanketing the hilltop, offering a serene retreat. You can also undertake the monsoon favourite Ballalarayana Durga Trek to explore the fort and witness the legendary Rani Jhari cliff, where local folklore recounts the tragic fall of a queen to her demise. This cliff turns into a beautiful sight during the monsoon season. You will also come across a gushing waterfall at the end.

Baba Budangiri

Baba Budangiri is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Chikmagalur
Baba Budangiri is one of the most picturesque places to visit in ChikmagalurShutterstock

Baba Budangiri is a sacred pilgrimage spot in Chikmagalur for both the Hindu and Muslim communities. It is famous for its shrine of Hazrat Dada Hayath Mir Khalander, who was a 17th-century Sufi saint. The place is also notable for the caves, which are believed to be once the residence of Sri Dattatreya Swamy. Baba Budangiri is one of the most picturesque places to visit in Chikmagalur and is also famous among thrill seekers for its trekking and hiking opportunities. Bababudangiri is an amazing trek in the mountains of Chikmagalur, 250 km from Bangalore, making it ideal for a weekend getaway. Starting on the hiking trail from Sarpadhari (alternatively from Attinagundi), you can see the peaks of Budangiri (1895 m) and Mullayanagiri (1930 m) looming at a distance. Together, the two mountains appear like a crescent moon, therefore known as the Chandra Drona Range. 

Jhari Waterfall

Jhari Falls is also known as Buttermilk Falls
Jhari Falls is also known as Buttermilk FallsShutterstock

Jhari waterfall often complements visits to Mullayanagiri and Baba Budan Giri, completing a trifecta of natural wonders. The post-monsoon period, from August to January, offers the optimal time to witness the beauty of Jhari waterfall. Located 12 km from Baba Budangiri, Jhari Falls, also known as Buttermilk Falls, resides amidst lush forests and verdant coffee plantations, presenting a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts. Open from 8 am to 5 pm, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the surroundings and explore the area at their leisure, spending approximately an hour amidst the splendour of Jhari Falls.

Hirekolale Lake

Photography enthusiasts will love to capture sunset scenes reflected on the lake's surface at twilight

Surrounded by the Western Ghats, Hirekolale Lake stands as an enchanting hidden gem in Chikmagalur. The region's favourable climate only enhances the allure of this serene waterbody. This beautiful man-made reservoir is a must-see spot for tourists exploring the area. Initially constructed to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes to Chikmagalur, the lake now serves as a scenic oasis, inviting visitors to unwind amidst its picturesque surroundings. Whether with friends or family, Hirekolale Lake promises a calm escape for all. As dusk descends, the lake transforms, offering breathtaking views that attract scores of travellers. Photography enthusiasts particularly revel in capturing the idyllic sunset scenes reflected on the lake's surface at twilight. Additionally, one can marvel at the majestic Mullayanagiri Hills from the vantage point of Hirekolale Lake. 

Coffee Museum

A visit to Chikmagalur would be incomplete without exploring the Coffee Museum
A visit to Chikmagalur would be incomplete without exploring the Coffee MuseumShutterstock

The Coffee Museum offers a distinctive showcase of coffee enterprises, spanning from bean cultivation to the art of brewing. It was established to chronicle the rich history of coffee, presenting themed exhibitions elucidating the intricate processes involved in bean production, from harvesting to roasting and brewing. A visit to Chikmagalur would be incomplete without exploring the Coffee Museum, where the entire coffee-making journey is meticulously explained. While tourists often prioritise visits to coffee estates, indulging in the museum's insights is highly recommended. Entry is affordable at just INR 20 per person, making it accessible to all. Operating hours are from 10 am to 5:30 pm on weekdays, with the museum being shut on Saturdays and Sundays.

Getting There

Fly directly into Bangalore International Airport, which is 215 km from Chikmagalur. From there you can easily hire a taxi and drive down to the town.

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