It was quite some time since I made a leisurely trip someplace. The Ladakh trip in June was awesome but not too long after that, I wanted to get out of the city again – someplace calm, serene. Chikmagalur was a destination I always had at the back of my mind. Ever since I last made a trip to Kemmangundi, the place has kept beckoning me to come back again.
I had told my wife about the awesome time I had during that trip to Kemmangundi, not just once but many times over and over again. That had got her ever intrigued and she made sure we picked Chikmagalur as the destination this time. So, we were headed out on a fine Thursday morning, only to return back the following Sunday evening. We had 3 full days at our disposal.
An ideal trip, for me, would be made of equal parts of excitement and relaxation. I always am on the look out to visit new places, during the wee hours of a day when there’s not too much crowd thronging all over the place. We had not made any concrete plans as to what places we would visit. But we did book a homestay, a little away from the town’s bustle. On all the 3 days we had, we were out exploring places in one half of the day while we relaxed at the homestay in the other.
On the way to the homestay, we saw a beautiful lake. But being tired of the drive from Bangalore, we let it go thinking we’d come back later in the day during the evening. After resting a while, we got back to the lake by around 5 in the evening. There was an old rusty board by the lake telling us its name – Hirekolale Kere. Accessible by a narrow bund, one can either walk or (the more adventurous can) drive a car over the bund to explore the lake as it presents layers of hills behind it. As the sun started to go down for the day, the play of the angular light and the water was spectacular. At one end of the lake was a garden like boulevard and late in the evening, the still water offered a perfect reflection of the same.
We retired back to the homestay after hanging out at the lake a little after sunset. It was starting to get really chilly. Back at the homestay, a cozy warm fire was lit up by the gardener. We sat by the fire, and were joined by a few other guests too. We listened to the enthusiastic gardener who proudly showed us around , in the dim light, his developed garden around the homestay consisting of trees of a few spices, vegetables.
The next day we started towards Mullayanagiri after breakfast. I was afraid that the roads were going to be bad, but was pleasantly surprised. The roads were good almost all the way. Only the last kilometer or so was bad. The pleasant surprise ended abruptly when we’d almost reached the top. A traffic jam! At the top of the hill. For the next half hour or so, we watched as a few people tried to untangle the mess of cars. Close to 45 minutes later, things started to ease up and we found a (precarious) parking spot. Scores of people had thronged the place all at once! When we saw the number of people trying to climb up to the top, we gave up the idea of joining the mass movement and took an offbeat hiking path. It led us to the other side of the hill, where there was no one but us, giving us a chance to enjoy the surroundings without the mad rush of people screaming and shouting around.
We sat there for a while and then hiked back to where the car was parked. It was past lunch time and we decided to return back to the homestay. Once we reached, we were very tired, so we just had lunch and slept for a while. In the evening, we took a leisurely, long walk in the coffee estate. It was close to a 4km walk spanning a little over an hour, Walking amidst tall trees and chirping birds is not something one should miss! As darkness set in, we again sat down with fellow homestay dwellers around the fire in the backyard. After more stories and laughter, we were served dinner and we retired for the day. I already had a plan for the next day.
Ayyana Kere is a very less known location near Chikmagalur. Situated about 30 kms from Chikmagalur, its 4 kms off Sakrepatna on the Chikmagalur – Kadur highway. We got up early in the morning, and headed out towards Ayyana Kere at 6:00 am. Early morning seemed to amplify the freshness and beauty of the surroundings. The drive on a deserted highway (good roads too!) was scintillating and having reached there by 7:00 am, with not a soul around to stir the tranquil of the huge lake that unfolded in front of us – that was priceless. The lake has a couple of villages on one side and the Bhadra forest area on the other side. The crisp morning air and the gentle sunshine reflecting off the lake surface made us delay heading back more and more.
Finally our empty stomachs forced us to get us moving back towards our homestay. The rest of the day, we just spent relaxing, making a trip to the Chikmagalur town to buy coffee powder, filling up the car’s fuel tank for the journey back the next day, etc. We did manage to get inside a coffee factory where we were shown the preparation process of coffee powder. The next day, we started after an early breakfast at 7:30am and headed back to Bangalore. We made a stop at Halebeedu for a while – I’ll probably write about that separately.
That was about it – a relaxing, rejuvenating trip to the land of hills, lakes and coffee. Hope you enjoyed the post.
This entry has been shortlisted for Holidify’s Travelogue Writing Contest in association with Linger. The content and pictures may not be used without prior permission of the author.
Submitted by: Srinivasa S. (Photomithra)
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