Its green, blue and brown – Chikmagalur

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.

NH48, Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

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!

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Sunrise in the wilderness

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.

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View from the Mullayanairi Peak, Chikmagalur

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?

 

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That’s how the view was, my bwouy!

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.

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Scotland or Chikmagalur?

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The road less travelled (in Chikmagalur)

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Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings? Its Chikmagalur, da!

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.

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Manikyadhara, Baba Budangiri, Chikmagalur

Conclusion

  • 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.
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Exploring new territories

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.

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NH48

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A Bohemian Zest, Gokarna!

Gokarna

Ear of A Cow. Trippy Land. Hippies’ Paradise.


Gokarna is situated on the western coast of India in the state of Karnataka. Strictly speaking, it’s a religious town with a central Shiva temple but over the course of time and due to its location and relatively cleaner and quieter beaches, it has gained recognition of a backpackers’ sojourn.

Way to Half-moon beach, Gokarna

                                                                                                 Way to Half-moon beach

Main beaches of Gokarna are Kudle beach and Om beach. You can find beach-side shacks here which provide accommodation too. Best and most popular among them is Namaste Cafe. Situated on Om beach and better-than-perfect location, this establishment boasts a spacious, roof-top, Arabian Sea facing restaurant and cottages for stay.

Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

                                                                                                 Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

Rooftop restaurant, Namaste Cafe, Gokarna

                                                                                         Rooftop restaurant, Namaste Cafe

Further south of Om beach lie Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. Both of these beaches are secluded enough and have no shacks at all but much cleaner than Om beach. You can reach Half-moon beach either via a boat or by hiking along the coast-side on the hillock which cuts it off from Om beach.

Way to Half-moon beach, Gokarna

                                                                                             Hike to Half-moon beach

Paradise beach in particular is the quietest and most serene among all. On its way from Half-moon beach, you pass through a sea-facing, stage-like platform which looks exactly like the place where secret rave parties happen. You will spot trippy, colorful designs on tree trunks and platform. You can even do camping there but do carry food items and batteries if you are planning to stay there on a stretch. Palm trees there have perfect distance between them for setting up a hammock.

Paradise beach in Gokarna from the top.

                                                                                    Paradise beach in Gokarna from the top.

Paradise beach, GokarnaParadise beach, GokarnaParadise beach, Gokarna

The other side of Gokarna, the town side is just like any other small town in India but its old. Its around 6 kms away from coastal area. Majority of local people own small shops and sell things like clothes, utensils and household items. A famous Lord Shiva temple in the middle of the town is the center of all religious activities. Most of the houses are ages old and exude retro feel. Not spreaded in a large area, you can roam whole of the town on foot.

Gokarna houses

                                                                                      Interior of one of the houses in Gokarna

Market, Gokarna Market, Gokarna Market, Gokarna

Grandson of the Head Priest of the main Lord Shiva Temple, Gokarna

Grandson of the Head Priest of the main Lord Shiva Temple

Although backpackers keep coming to Gokarna throughout the year but try to avoid visiting during rainy season (July-August). Best time to visit Gokarna is from October to February.

Pack your sunglasses, sun-lotion and that book which you couldn’t finish. Get Tanned and enjoy this serene beauty.

For more pictures of mine, visit Flickr.