Chikkamagalur – The town that was given away to the younger daughter as a part of dowry is blessed in every way possible. To start with, the district of Chikmagalur is huge. There are over 20 KNOWN and FAMOUS destinations(I can only imagine how many are unexplored). You will either be amidst dense forests or Coffee Estates. You get great Malnad Food wherever you go. People are friendly and sweet. 80% of the road to Chikmagalur from Bangalore are in perfect condition and for the other 20%, work is on!!
Ford Figo has been my goodluck charm. In the last 6 months, Figo has done 6 long drives(More than 300kms one way drives) – Kakkabe in Coorg – 32kms of no road trail, 2 trips to Mangalore, 1 to Kukke Subramanya, 1 to Kudremukh, and this one to Chikmagalur. Figo has so far made long drives an absolute pleasure.
We headed out to Guddadamane in Guddadur, close to Aldur on Saturday morning at 6:45 AM. With a half hour breakfast break and a 2 hour stop at Belur, we reached Guddadamane Homestay at 1:30 PM.
Belur and Halebid never seem to bore me. This must be my third or fourth visit and I still listen to the stories narrated by the guides some of which are brand new. It’s amazing how efficient people in the olden days were when they constructed these temples. Anyone who goes to Belur and Halebid will first know about the stone used to carve those intricate sculptures.
Guddadamane is a beautiful 150 year old bungalow converted into a homestay. The rooms provided to us were cozy and quiet! Sarasa, the help there was super thrilled to meet someone who could speak Tulu. The other rooms were occupied by Bengalis and she was having a tough time communicating!
We almost set out to explore the mountain with gum boots et al but used rain as a reaason to just chill out at this beautiful homestay with hot Chikmagalur Coffee. After an hour or so, we headed out to the College Ground spot where a few movies are shot. You know, while driving, you see some spots and you wish to stop the car and be there? That happened to us when we were driving to Guddadamane. So, when we took the same route to go to College Ground Point, we made sure we got off at this point, spent some time and clicked some pictures.
College ground point is beautiful with not at soul nearby. I have always yearned to do some workout in the mountains but have been conscious because of the crowd. So, here we were, just us and not a soul to care and I gave my body the treat it deserved. Some of my favorite yogasans. Figo felt great too to be on the cliff 🙂 🙂
Sun decided to go down, forcing us to get back to Guddadamane where another round of hot coffee was waiting for us. After a sumptous round of Malnad dinner, we called it a day as we had to start Sunday Morning super early to explore the highest peak of Karnataka. Also, next day was Ayudha Pooja. We asked Sarala to help us with some flowers and some Pooja material as this was the first Ayudha Pooja for Figo. When we woke up the next day, they had decorated the car wiith flowers, kumkum and turmeric, had placed the lemons under the tyres. All we had to do was pray and start drive. This gesture made us so so happy!!!
Being a frequent trekker, it hurt my ego to drive up a mountain and not hike it. But, this was a leisure trip and i swallowed my shame and convinced myself that it was OK. Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka is absolutely beautiful. You can drive almost till the peak but ideally, you should stop at the first pitstop and walk up. This is because the road gets narrow and it would get difficult if there is another car coming in the oppisite direction and secondly you may not get the best view from the peak but the path leading to the peak will leave you mesmerized.
We spent a lot of time walking on these roads, clicking pictures, staring at nature and chit chatting. There is a small temple at the peak which when we went was filled with noisy tourists shouting on top of their voices. So, without spending much time there, we started our walk back.
Our drive down was beautiful too and we tried to go slow to soak in more of Chikmagalur. On reaching the town, we referred to trip Advisor for a good restaurant and went to “Eats of Arab” for some delicious Biriyani and Kebabs.
Around 3:30, we headed towards Halebidu. The guide here was not very impressive as she was in a hurry to finish really quick.So, after she was done, we went around the temple one more time admiring the beauty of Hoysala Dynasty.
It was getting dark and we set out on a less than 4 hour drive to Bangalore. It feels great when you can overtake almost all hatchbacks and a few sedans. We absolutely enjoyed the power Figo gave to us and reached Bangalore much before the estimated time of our Map My India Navigator. We always race with the GPS. We try to beat whatever she says. But, she corrects herself, as we drive and we, we just act lame :pGuddadamane Homestay: Sarasa – 9986209682 Date: Oct 11,12-2013 Place: Chikmagalur, Aldur, Mullayanagiri, Belur, Halebidu Camera Used: Canon Powershot SX230HS