South India is blessed with nature throughout the year, but monsoons bring a different flavor and ethereal quality to some places. Although rainy season might not be the best time to travel, there is a certain charm in holidaying during the downpour.
We (I and my flatmates in Bengaluru) were planning a trip to Chikmagalur since the beginning of June. One of my friends knows driving, so we decided to rent a car and drive ourselves to a distance of approximately 250 KMs. We booked the car through Drivezy. They had promised a Mahindra KUV100, but at the last moment, that couldn’t keep their commitment and gave us a Honda Amaze with automatic transmission. My friend who was driving had never driven such a car, so we all got scared of our fate for the next two days, but we decided to go ahead with it, trusting our friend.
I too know driving, but like every other aspect of my life, I never gained enough confidence to go on such a long drive. It was a similar case this time as well.
The way to Chikmagalur from Bengaluru is the well-maintained NH75 (it has a total of four tolls, so maintenance is expected). We started early in the morning of Saturday, 22nd June to avoid Bengaluru’s traffic. Nature was accommodating that day, and the Sun 🌞 stayed hidden behind clouds for most of our journey. That made our 6-hour drive very enjoyable.
We were not in any hurry and wanted to enjoy every moment of our trip to the fullest. With Punjabi beats playing in our car, we stopped at various places on the highway.
Chikmagalur literally means “The town of the younger daughter” in the Kannada. The town is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakkarepatna and hence the name.
We stopped at Adyar Ananda Bhavan 🏨 for breakfast. I have tasted sweets from A2B, and the taste was the best that I could get in South. So I decided to eat Masala Dosai and Idly Sambhar there. The food did not disappoint me at all.
After breakfast, we resumed our journey. The first stop in our trip was the gorgeous Sri Chennakeshava Temple. Chenna means beautiful and Keshava refers to Lord Vishnu. That should give you an idea, the presiding deity of the temple is the Handsome Vishnu.
The whole premises of the temple is filled with sheer poetry on the walls in the form of stone sculptures. I was completely mesmerized by its intricate but aesthetically pleasing carvings.
On the entrance of the temple, a vast golden Gopuram welcomes the devotees. I was amazed by the level of details on the sculptures engraved on the Gopuram. My phone’s camera will not be able to do justice to this intricate artistry.
The one specialty of the main temple is that it does not feature a dome. I have not seen any major Hindu temple without a dome over the idol of the main deity. It seems like an aberration to me, but a welcoming one. A disclaimer, I am not an architecture buff, so I do not know how correct my facts are here.
The inside of the temple is pretty dark. There are several pillars inside the temple. Each of the pillars is decorated with various types of sculptors.
However, the fascinating thing is at the ceiling. The carvings done on the ceiling of the temple is just amazing.
If you zoom in a little bit, you will see a depiction of Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu in the center of the ceiling.
As I mentioned above, I am not an architecture buff, so I would not be able to write a lot about the architecture of the temple. However, enjoy some more photos.
After this temple, we continued our journey to Chikmagalur. We had booked a homestay option. The name of the homestay was Sunshine Palm Retreat if I recall correctly. It was one of best stay, I have experienced on any trip till now. It was not crowded, the staff was co-operative, and the ambiance was excellent.
In the evening of Saturday, we decided to go for our second destination of the day - the so-called shooting point. When we searched on Google maps, we found one location with a similar name. We started driving in that direction. However, it turned out that we were going to the wrong place. We tried asking locals, but language was an issue. Most of the signboards are also in Kannada only. Somehow we ended up getting on the right track and reached the correct location on time. After reaching there, Google Maps shows that place is called Bagmane Sunrise Point. Even this name does not seems to be correct.
As soon we reached there, I realized that all the efforts that we put in reaching there were worthwhile. It was an open ground area on top of a small hill at one end of a small village. I started roaming here and there, enjoying the serenity of nature. I am not a very photogenic person, so I prefer to click pictures of objects and nature more than standing in front of a camera at different angles.
We spent around 1.5 hours there and then came back. India vs. Afghanistan cricket match was live on TV, and we fixed ourselves in front of the TV for the next 4 hours. India somehow won that match. Thank God!
Next day, it was raining from early morning. We did not want to take any risk by driving on the steep and narrow zig-zag roads. So we dropped our plan to go to Butter Milk Waterfalls and instead decided to go to Mullayanagiri peaks as our last destination. We again lost our way, but somehow managed to reach the place.
It was drizzling there. However, we were at such a high altitude that we had to bring our sweaters out. Surprisingly, I found vendors selling Maggi there. I was not expecting the taste to be good, but I was wrong. For that sort of place, the Maggi was delicious.
Despite the weather conditions, we decided to climb to the top of the hill. As we were going up, the weather was turning more and bleaker. Out of five of us, only three managed to reach the top, including me. The view from the top of the hill was just amazing. Wherever I saw, I saw just the mountain mist. My clothes were wet, and my spectacles were completely covered in fog.
I shot a video when we were coming down from the hilltop.
To summarise, the timing of this trip was not appropriate, but I do not regret it. I have gone to other hill stations after the monsoons get over, but it is a different experience altogether to go in a rainy season. Chikmagalur is worth more than one visit. Do try to go at an appropriate time if you want to visit more places.
Thanks for reading. Cheers 😄