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Old 19th October 2015, 15:49   #1
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Default Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

Chikmagalur isn’t that far from where I live, being 250 km from my home in Rajajinagar, Bengaluru. Yet, this was my first trip to the place- having been to most places all over TN and Kerala in the past. With ample inputs coming from office colleagues, Google and of course Team- BHP forums, I was all geared up last week to head for the place. For accommodation, I settled onto CoffeeBean, a home stay 10 km before Muthodi range of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. As you guessed, I am a wildlife and nature lover while it is temples and religious places for my wife and just gadgets for my kid!
My plan was to check out by 0645 hrs on Sun, 11th Oct 2015, but we were actually out only by 0745 hrs, thanks to countless last min checks and arrangements at home. I had tanked up and checked all tyre pressures the previous evening and done a full shampoo wash and vacuum cleaning of my faithful i10.

My route was Bengaluru- Nelamangala Cross- Hassan- Belur- Chikmagalur- Mallandur, the last point being 2 km from CoffeeBean home stay. CoffeeBean was a great place as the pics here will show, but somewhat pricey in my opinion.

The Navayuga expressway was fast to Nelamangala Cross and then onwards it was a 120 km breeze to Hassan, easily allowing 100+ on most of the stretch. Hassan- Belur was a single lane road without divider, but I could do 70+ on an average on this fairly smooth road. Belur town was somewhat poor and my Garmin made it worse by leading me away from the correct road to a wrong one, broken as well! Did some 4 km on this broken road before my suspicions led me to check with a couple of locals and get on to the right road. Such errors seem to happen more often in towns and cities where signboards are not put up sensibly early enough on roads leading into the town/ city and/ or could be altogether missed, thanks to some bus or truck hiding it from your view!

Once I got to Chikmagalur, I tanked up at Sudarshan Bharat Petroleum bunk at one end of IG Road, one of the two main roads of the town. The tyre pressures- they looked okay- no checks and risks with uncalibrated gauges. Bought a few Bisleri bottles from a bakery on IG Road as I was not sure of the water I would get to drink at CoffeeBean, notwithstanding their high rates.

The drive to Mallandur from Chikmagalur, a distance of 20 km, was just out of this world. Lovely, winding smooth ghat roads and in pouring rain! Misty hills all around made me forget the heat and dust of the towns I had left behind. Once I reached Mallandur, I had to get onto a mud road for 2 km to reach CoffeeBean. This mud road was another great drive thru dense coffee plantations and mist. The manager, Mr. Mahesh, was waiting at the reception with umbrellas for us and we were soon settled in ‘Rocks’, a cottage I certify fully qualifies for honeymooners! See the pics.

Views from 'Rocks' Cottage
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-11oct2.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-11oct3.jpg
That evening we planned to go to see a place called ’Sunset Point’, some 5 km away, but rain washed out the idea. Nothing to feel bad about it- rain is enjoyable in Malnad! A bonfire at 1900 hrs with fresh hot Breadfruit Bajjis amidst the pitter- patter of water drops, peacock calls- what more could you ask for? The Breadfruit they use grows around the reception and is plucked regularly for their kitchen.

Breadfruit
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct1.jpg
Dinner was another great treat with steaming hot rice, rock solid curds from their own dairy, Dhal, Chapattis, exotic salads all topped up with Anjeer (Figs) Halwa in a buffet! On all occasions, their coffee, of course from their own estate, was just amazing in flavour and taste. So much for how we city folks suffer in Bengaluru.

Later that night, my wife decided we were going to Sringeri and Horanadu (Annapoorneshwari) by a local cab, as I might lose time and get onto bad roads with my GPS. Poof!- there went my plan for a long trek! So, next morning we were up early for another lovely buffet of fresh Thatte Idlis with Pudina Chutney, fruit ice- cream dessert and their lovely coffee, apart from the usual city stuff- Bread/ Butter/ Jam. How sinful to be pulled away from this!

The manager had got packed a giant size lunch carrier for us, with ample Puliyogare (Tamarind rice), curds rice, pickles and plantains for our afternoon lunch, something we made good use of only by 1430 hrs that evening, after Darshan of Devi Annapoorneshwari.

Hemavati River
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct1.jpg
Sringeri Temple

Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct3.jpg
The drive to Sringeri was great, cutting thru lots of forest. On the way, one crosses the bridge over river Hemavati, seen here. There were a couple of nice waterfalls also, one of which is here.

Falls on way to Sringeri
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct5.jpg
We touched Sringeri in 3 hrs with no major break. The Sringeri temples in the complex are great, with lots of improvements since I had seen it last years back in my school days. We spent some 90 min including Darshan of Goddess Sharadamba and headed next for Horanadu. As we were not that hungry, we decided to finish Darshan of Devi Annapoorneshwari first.

The drive to Horanadu, as seen from the pics next, was also great. Lots of misty mountains around tempted me to stop every now and then for a good pic from the car. Our cab driver was very helpful throughout.

Horanadu Drive
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct8.jpg
We touched Horanadu by 1400 hrs. There was hardly any rush and we could have a fast Darshan. The view of surrounding hills from inside the temple is just spectacular, seen here.

Horanadu Temple Backdrop
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct9.jpg
It was quite late for lunch, but we had no choice and so after some messy acrobatics and spillages of curds and rice nicely centrifuged apart by the drive, we were ready to start back.

We briefly stopped by Kalasa on the way, where Lord Kalasheswara (form of Lord Shiva) is the presiding deity. This is another serene place.

Sunset
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-12oct10.jpg
As we were driving back, we could see lots of police patrolling the roads in jeeps. My driver said they check for Naxalites who are known to live deep in the forests of Sringeri and Horanadu. He said nobody should drive past 1900 hrs on the roads as Naxals could set up blocks and often take away their vehicles. Just imagine!

We reached CoffeeBean by 2230 hrs. Headed straight for the dining and then to our cottage. Next day was mine, starting with a drive and safari at Muthodi WLS.

We were up by 0500 hrs and pulled out of the home stay in 30 min. Too early for any snacks or even coffee, but we knew this anyway. The drive to Muthodi, like all the previous ones, was another great one. As I just neared the sanctuary entrance, a Sambar deer stepped out close by and stared at us for a whole min before disappearing back into the forest. I had done a stupid thing in keeping my camera in the back seat!

I parked my car at the forest office parking lot. There were some 4- 5 others waiting for the 1st safari, that is officially from 0630 hrs onwards. It costs INR 400/- per person. A local lady was selling fresh tea and that was good enough for the moment.

Forest Reception Area
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct1.jpg
The forest drive was just great, with mist all over tree tops. Sighting began with peacocks and deer, then a Gaur female with her calf, a monitor lizard, a family of elephants that strangely seemed too scared of our jeep and were disappearing in a hurry and finally a male Gaur. There were day- old pug marks of a tiger, but in my experience over many safaris all over India, I give tiger sighting a probability of just some 20%. Sorry- photos from this safari may not be too good, as the mist was messing up with the sunlight.

From the Muthodi Safari
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct2.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct3.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct4.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct5.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct7.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct8.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct9.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct12.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct14.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct15.jpg
After getting back, Mahesh suggested we see ‘Buttermilk Falls’ some 60 km away, reached via Chikmagalur town. So, lunch was packed again and we started for the place by noon, armed with a map from Mahesh. The falls is located in forest area, actually within a private estate, but public access is free. After another lovely drive thru estates and lush green hill slopes, we reached the top of the falls area where lots of jeeps were parked. The drive off road to the falls is accessible ONLY by 4WD and mind you, with lots of skill and experience as well. I hired one for INR 500/- after some bargaining. The guy had a tough time descending down and of course a bit more when ascending, but he could manage it as that was his full- time job anyway.

Drive to Buttermilk Falls
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct20.jpg
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct18.jpg
Buttermilk falls is just great and seems true to its name as the pic here shows.

Buttermilk Falls
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct16.jpg
After some 1 hour there, we started back and then a picnic with our packed lunch just off the road.

Picnic time!
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-13oct19.jpg
The final day got going with a trek thru CoffeeBean estate for some 90 min. There are some 150 species of birds here and it seems great for bird watching. As it was already sunny when I and Mahesh started, most birds had likely left their nests. I spotted one, seen here. I was told it is a Barbet. Our walk also had a bit of adventure when Mahesh spotted a juvenile water snake on our track sunning itself around a lake. It disappeared into a hole in panic before I could click. There were the leeches of course like around all water bodies but surprisingly none got me. Maybe Bengaluru blood is terrible for them!

From the Estate Walk..

Barbet busy on tree
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct3.jpg
Oranges!
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct4.jpg
Silver Oak
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct5.jpg
Trek Path
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct6.jpg
Ripening Arabica
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct7.jpg
Place where the snake was sunning itself
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-14oct8.jpg
Post breakfast, we checked out, took the route to Hassan via Belur (no confusion this time) and hit the NH-75 (earlier NH-48) after Hassan. Stopped at my choice- A2B on the highway for lunch. Touched home by 1830 hrs with lots of laundry and memories of heaven.
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Old 20th October 2015, 15:07   #2
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Default Re: Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

Wonderful landscapes, wonderful wildlife! Thank you very much
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Old 20th October 2015, 15:51   #3
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Default Re: Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

They seem to have laid the road finally inside Muthodi sanctuary as seen from the pics. When we went there I was told there is a possibility to travel all the way to Kemmangundi. Many (5+) years back when the roads were in existent we tried with our swift, I got really tired and returned back to take another route through Bhadra

That lizard spotting is awesome
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Old 20th October 2015, 17:10   #4
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Default Re: Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Wonderful landscapes, wonderful wildlife! Thank you very much
Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
They seem to have laid the road finally inside Muthodi sanctuary as seen from the pics. When we went there I was told there is a possibility to travel all the way to Kemmangundi. Many (5+) years back when the roads were in existent we tried with our swift, I got really tired and returned back to take another route through Bhadra

That lizard spotting is awesome
Thanks, Thad E Ginathom and laluks. Here are some rather short video clips pertaining to the waterfalls and Bhadra morning safari (starting off). Hope you like them.

I recommend 480p for viewing the clips.

Falls on way to Sringeri:


Morning safari start off in Bhadra


Buttermilk falls
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Old 21st October 2015, 15:08   #5
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Default Re: Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

Killer travelogue and some sweet images. I've heard so much about Chikmagalur and the temptation to visit has been on the rise ever since I read nandita_bayan21's travelogue (When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!).

Quote:
Dinner was another great treat with steaming hot rice, rock solid curds from their own dairy, Dhal, Chapattis, exotic salads all topped up with Anjeer (Figs) Halwa in a buffet! On all occasions, their coffee, of course from their own estate, was just amazing in flavour and taste. So much for how we city folks suffer in Bengaluru.
Could feel my polluted city self getting detoxed when I read this paragraph. Simple food with the right setting pretty much guarantees inner peace.

Quote:
As I just neared the sanctuary entrance, a Sambar deer stepped out close by and stared at us for a whole min before disappearing back into the forest. I had done a stupid thing in keeping my camera in the back seat!
I bet you were beating yourself up after that. Came across a similar situation a few years back while riding to the Ashtavinayak temples. Spotted a humongous snake, but couldn't take a picture because even my cellphone was completely wrapped up in a plastic bag since it was raining. Good thing you got some snaps during the safari.
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Old 21st October 2015, 15:47   #6
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Default Re: Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru

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Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Killer travelogue and some sweet images. I've heard so much about Chikmagalur and the temptation to visit has been on the rise ever since I read nandita_bayan21's travelogue (When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!).
Thanks, Tushar. If you are planning to drive to the place, here is some info on all the tolls and where to tank up:

Tolls (Car):
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-wp_20151017_001.jpg

Fuel (just to know the bunk):
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-wp_20151017_002.jpg

Nominal forest entrance fee (car) for Buttermilk falls
Chikmagalur, Muthodi, Sringeri & Hornadu - 3 night getaway from Bengaluru-wp_20151017_003.jpg

Safe driving!
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