Chikmagalur: Soaking up the Sahyadris
By Ramya Sriram
Karnataka boasts of some of the most beautiful ranges of the Western Ghats one can ever hope to visit. It shelters so many must-visit places that it is hard to cover all of them in one go. Inspired solely by a book I'd read about the Sahyadris, I set off on a three-day trip with my family to explore these hills.
Baba Budangiri Chikmagalur
We chose to stay in Chikmagalur at the highly recommended Thippanahalli Homestay, a heritage mansion straight out of a picture book. The mansion sits in the middle of an enormous coffee estate and belongs to one of the oldest coffee-growing families in the area. We were received warmly and simply into the rather overwhelming bungalow. Our room overlooked the dense plantation, into which we wandered off early the next morning. Trekking routes wind through the estate and are fringed by unusual flowers and gurgling waterfalls. The homestay surely lived up to its rave reviews!
The route to Mullayangiri peak
After a lovely breakfast in the company of a giant lizard peacefully sunbathing on the window sill, we drove to Mullayanagiri, the highest peak of the Western Ghats of Karnataka. The 200 steps are not as daunting as they look — the cows have already got there and pleasantly make way for climbers. The peak offers a gorgeous view of the Baba Budangiri Hills. A Shiva temple is built atop the mountain and a Nandi sits beside it prettily in an open hut.
River inside Kudremukh National Park
We had planned to go to Kemmangundi the next day. However, upon my mention of Kudremukh, our driver jumped with enthusiasm. And so, with a couple of calls to the Forest Officer for permission, we visited this gorgeous National Park the following morning. A guide escorted us inside the park, which even offers a few basic huts for those who want to stay overnight.