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A Complete Guide To Treks And Waterfalls In Chikmagalur
By Soumya Pawaskar
18 Jan, 2024
When you think of Chikmagalur, the first thing that comes to your mind is coffee, rightfully earning the title of the “Coffee Land” of Karnataka. But this offbeat destination in the southern part of India extends far beyond its coffee plantations. With its breathtaking waterfalls and variety of treks ranging from easy to moderate, Chikmagalur emerges as an ideal destination for adventure travel.
Tea Estates of Chikmagalur
While this place gracefully dons its beauty throughout the year, the allure peaks during the monsoon season, making Chikmagalur truly majestic. We have curated a list of must-do treks and waterfalls in Chikmagalur that will totally leave you awestruck by the beauty this city beholds.
Scenic hillsides of the route to Baba Budangiri in Chikmagalur
First, let’s explore the waterfalls in Chikmagalur, based on their drive time from The Hosteller, Chikmagalur . As the monsoon season begins here in June and lasts until September, an array of waterfalls come to life, making the monsoon season undoubtedly the best time to visit this hill station in Karnataka. However, gems like Kodambi Falls and Manikyadhara Falls retain their breathtaking beauty even beyond the monsoon season, extending their presence until early summer.
Pro tip: Due to the prevalence of leeches in this area, it is advisable to wear suitable attire as a precautionary measure to protect yourself from any harm. Carry an extra pair of clothes in case you want to take a dip in the waterfall.
Scenic view of Chikmagalur mountains covered in clouds
Jhari Falls, 30 mins
A scenic view of the Jhari Falls surrounded by lush greenery
Jhari Waterfalls in Chikmagalur, also known as Buttermilk Falls, is a 328-ft high waterfall, which makes you travel inside a private coffee estate to witness this beauty. Hiking through the forest is the best way to reach its base. Alternatively, there are private jeeps to take you here.
A closeup shot of the Jhari Falls
To witness the enchanting Jhari Waterfalls in Chikmagalur, consider arriving early in the morning. The glistening rainbow hues on the water droplets, illuminated by the direct rays of the sun, promise a magical experience for travellers. You can take a dip in this large natural water body, embracing the tranquillity it offers.
Shankar Falls, 55 mins
Beautiful Shankar Falls gracefully descending from the cliff
Situated in the southwest direction, Shankar Falls is approximately 37 kilometres away from The Hosteller Chikmagalur. You will find this beautiful waterfall on your way to Sringeri from Chikmagalur. You can always choose to extend your day trip by also visiting Sringeri, a beautiful hill town known as the land of temples.
The gushing waters of the enchanting Shankar Falls cascade down gracefully
A serene place for nature enthusiasts, Shankar Falls is a hidden treasure in the dense forest of the Chikmagalur district. Located deep inside the jungles, you need to trek for about 0.8 Kilometers to reach this majestic waterfall. Needless to say, all you can hear are birds chirping and the sound of water streaming from the hills on your way to this waterfall. Get the chill pill vibe when the freshwater touches your feet!
Manikyadhara Falls, 57 mins
Serene landscape of Manikyadhara Falls (Source - Gudlu Resorts)
Manikyadhara Falls is a stunning waterfall located in the Baba Budan Giri hills of Chikmagalur. As you explore this waterfall, trek enthusiasts can also embark on the Baba Budan trek, a highlight we've detailed in our subsequent list of the finest treks in Chikmagalur. The waterfall is about 30 meters high and is formed by the River Nethravathi.
Lush greenery surrounds Manikyadhara Falls (Source - Trawell.in)
One of the unique features of Manikyadhara Falls is its religious significance. This waterfall in Chikmagalur is believed to be sacred and is visited by many devotees who come to take a dip in its holy waters. The waterfall is also a popular spot for trekking and hiking, with many trails leading to its base.
Kallathigiri Falls/ Kalhatti Falls, 1 hour
Crystalline waters of Kallathigiri waterfall gracefully cascades down the rocks
Kallathigiri or Kalhatti waterfall in Chikmagalur, originates and gushes down from Chandra Drona Hills, at a height of about 400 feet, the place offers an excellent view of the surrounding valleys. Located to the north of 'The Hosteller Chikmagalur,' this majestic waterfall is easily accessible by renting a bike. For an enhanced experience, it is recommended to visit Kallathigiri Falls early in the morning.
Famous Veerabhadreshwara Temple at the Kallathigiri waterfall
This waterfall is quite famous amongst the religious people and locals because of the Veerabhadreshwara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple hosts an annual fair for three days around March-April, a tribute to Lord Veerabhadra, attracting devotees from across the country.
Hebbe Falls, 1 hr 24 min
View of enchanting Hebbe Waterfall
Hebbe Falls is a stunning waterfall in Chikmagalur situated amidst dense forest and coffee plantations in Chikmagalur. It cascades down from a height of 550 feet in two stages to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls).
View of Hebbe Waterfall gracefully cascading
A small pool formed by the falls at its base is ideal for a dip and short swim. It is believed that the waters of these falls are infused with herbs and can cure skin diseases, thus attracting a large number of tourists.
Kadambi & Elaneeru Falls, 3 hours
View of beautiful Kadambi waterfall (Source - Trawell.in)
Nestled within the lush surroundings of Kudremukh National Park, Kadambi and Elaneeru Falls offer a splendid escape into nature's embrace. Kadambi Waterfall, situated approximately 13 kilometres to the west of Kudremukh, stands at a height of 30 feet, surrounded by flourishing greenery. A delightful trek leads you to the beauty of Kadambi Waterfall, where you can rejuvenate your senses by taking a dip or shower under its chilling water.
The serene ambience by the stream, creating its own sweet music as water rushes down the rocks, adds to the peaceful and relaxing experience. It is advisable to plan your visit to this waterfall at sunrise. Starting early in the morning provides ample time to explore Kudremukh National Park as well.
Cascade of the majestic Elaneeru falls descending amidst the lush greenery (Source - Trawell.in)
A short 45-minute journey from Kadambi Falls, in the east direction of Kudremukh, brings you to Elaneeru Falls, also known as Coconut Falls. Standing at a majestic height of 80 feet, this waterfall, formed by the River Elaneeru, is surrounded by dense forests and scenic landscapes, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers.
One of the unique features of Elaneeru Falls is the abundance of coconut trees around the waterfall, which gives it its name. Both Kadambi and Elaneeru Falls present an ideal sanctuary for those in search of tranquillity amidst the natural wonders of Chikmagalur. The added bonus? With proper timing, you can effortlessly explore both waterfalls in a single day.
People trekking through the lush green landscapes of Chikmagalur
Having explored the mesmerizing waterfalls that adorn the landscape of this offbeat destination, now we move to another dimension of adventure travel – trekking. If you want to witness the best views in Chikmagalur, embarking on the trek is the ideal way. So, there are numerous waterfalls in Chikmagalur that are worth exploring. We've narrowed down on 4 best treks in Chikmagalur based on their popularity, accessibility and stunning views that you cannot miss!
Pro tip :
It’s very important you’re stocked with enough water and food during a trek (hydration is key!). Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars and chocolate are all good, quick sources of energy and protein; keep a selection of these healthy snacks in your daypack. While you’re in training mode, try to eat and drink ‘on the go’ as much as you can, so your body can get used to digesting during strenuous exercise.
Mullayanagiri Trek; Grade: Easy
Majestic view of Mullayanagiri range of mountains, the highest peak in Karnataka
Do you know? Even though Mullayanagiri claims the title of the highest peak in Karnataka, standing tall at 1930 meters (6330 feet), the trek is surprisingly accessible. Renowned for its popularity, this trekking destination is favoured for its ease and rewards adventurers with breathtaking scenery along the way. The summit of Mullayanagiri has a small Shiva temple. The name ‘Mullayanagiri’ comes from Saint Mulappa Swamy's tomb at the peak. Legend has it that the saint meditated in the caves around this hill.
Stunning view from the Mullayanagiri Peak
The trek starts from Sarpadhari, which is at a distance of 15 km from Chikmagalur. It has two peak points. The lower peak point is Mullayanagiri, at a distance of 3 km and the higher peak point is Baba Budangiri, at a distance of 10 km. The best time to go for this trek is between September and March. The starting point of this trek is just a 40 mins drive from The Hosteller, Chikmagalur making it the best stay in Chikmagalur.
Baba Budangiri Trek; Grade - Moderate
Breathtaking view at the summit of the Baba Budangiri hills
Baba Budangiri is a famous mountain situated in the Baba Budan Range of the Western Ghats. It is a famous pilgrimage site for both Muslims and Hindus and is known for its shrine dedicated to Hazrat Dada Hayat Khalandar, a 17th century Sufi saint. Legend holds that he introduced the coffee plant to India, carrying seven raw beans from the port of Mocha, Yemen, upon his return from Hajj in 1670. These beans were planted on the slopes of Chandradorna Hills in Chikmagalur, later named Baba Budangiri in his honour, where his tomb stands. The first coffee is believed to have been cultivated around 1670 AD on the Baba Budangiri hill, Chikmagalur.
Spectacular valley view from Baba Budangiri hills
This trek in Chikmagalur starts from Sarpadhari, which offers the enthralling views of both Mullayanagiri Peak at 1930 m and Budangiri Peak at 1895 m, making them appear like a crescent moon, known as the Chandra Drona Range. The best time to visit Baba Budangiri is around March to April since it’s the primary flowering season in these hills. The average minimum temperature around this time is around 24 degrees Celsius. Sporadic showers are also experienced at this time of the year. It's a mere 1-hour drive from the Hosteller, Chikmagalur.
Kemmanagundi Trek; Grade - Easy
Picturesque landscapes adorned with lush greenery at Kemmangundi Hills (Source - Gudlu resort)
Kemmanagundi, popularly known as KR Hills, is among the most beautiful treks in Chikmagalur. It is situated about 52 km away from The Hosteller, Chikmagalur. The peak stands at an elevation of 1434 m above sea level, and offers breathtaking views of the flourishing valleys, gushing waterfalls and streams, and aromatic coffee plantations.
Netravati Peak; Grade - Moderate
Breathtaking allure of lush greenery at Netravati Peak (Source - Wikimedia Commons)
Netravati trek is a stunning trek that falls in the Kudremukh range and is 3 hours away from The Hosteller. Embark on the exhilarating Netravati peak trek as you venture through enchanting forests teeming with gushing streams. Brace yourself for an adrenaline-pumping experience as you navigate slippery rocks and icy waters, making each step a thrilling conquest.
Clouds gracefully casting shadows over the majestic Netravati Peak (Source - Highhawks.in)
The best time to go for the Netravati trek is during the post-monsoon season i.e., from August to October. During this time, the place enjoys a beautiful blend of spring energy and greenery all around. The weather also remains quite favourable for joining on a trek.
Imagine sipping coffee amid lush landscapes, exploring mesmerizing waterfalls, and trekking through the Western Ghats – what more could you ask for? Now, it's time to turn this imagination into reality. Pack your bags and let Chikmagalur unfold its wonders for you.