Chikmagalur : Mullayanagiri Peak :: Jon Snow : Nothing
Yeah! You heard me right. If you are visiting Chikmagalur just for Mullayanagiri Peak – you know nothing, da!
When after two days of failed exercise of picking a place to visit for an upcoming long weekend, one of my juniors from college suggested that we should head towards Chikmagalur in Karnataka. Never heard of the name, I googled it and saw that search results were only showing Mullayanagiri Peak, the highest peak between Himalayas and The Nilgiris and under the foothills of which the town is located. I thought this is the only thing to see there, only to be wronged later.
Some 250 kms away from Bangalore, we hit the road at around 2 am with the aim of watching the sunrise from the peak (5 guys, Pink Floyd and roadtrip – sunrise, what?). We were soon on NH48, Bangalore-Mangalore Highway.
As obvious, we watched the sunrise on our way only but no experience is a bad experience during a roadtrip – even if its a failed plan!
We reached Chikmagalur at around 7.30 in the morning and directly headed towards popular Mullayanagiri Peak. Around 11 kms of uphill driving and you reach at the base of the peak. The road is narrow but well paved except for last 3 kms where it gets worse. If you are planning to drive a sedan or a hatchback, chuck the idea and opt for an SUV.
Its a 30 mins climb from the base to the peak via a cemented stairway. There’s a temple on the peak and the view from their is absolutely beautiful.
What most of the people do is that they visit the temple and blindly turn around. We started to hike beyond that peak and that’s when we realized there’s much more to Chikmagalur than just this tourist spot. We crossed two hills while hiking, reached a lone peak and soaked in the sunlight there.
Imagine yourself with a book, an iPod playing Eminence Front by The Who in your ears and happy sunlight here. Wouldn’t you want it?
But you must take my word – Mullayanagiri Peak is not everything there. If you have that explorer’s instinct inside you, you must head towards Baba Budangiri Mosque and embark on an off-route hike further from there. Dont care about the direction for beauty is everywhere. I’ll assure you, you won’t regret a thing there.
We had started at 5 in the morning towards Baba Budangiri Mosque. Before sunrise is the best time to reach there and experience the cold morning winds with warm sunlight breaking in the sky. You can see myriad hues of colors and its overwhelming. You can even trek towards Manikyadhara, a waterfall which is on the edge of one of the mountains there.
- You must visit Mullayanagiri Peak or Baba Budangiri Mountain early during the sunrise. There’s no restriction on timings.
- Embark on an off-route trek further away from Baba Budangiri Mosque. Enjoy the beauty mountains has to offer.
- Book your stay well in advance if you are planning to visit Chikmagalur on weekends. Though homestays offer rooms at exotic locations but they are expensive( ~INR 1500 per person per night). You can easily get budgeted accommodations in the city.
- If you are driving, prefer an SUV over a sedan or a hatchback. Basically any high clearance vehicle.
- I have conveniently skipped the fact that Chikmagalur is one of the highest producers of coffee in India. You must check out some of the coffee estates there. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) was started from here.
And in the end, a roadtrip saga cannot end without a click of a road ending into the warm and golden hues of setting sun. A befitting end to a roadtrip.