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Old 1st March 2017, 20:25   #1
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Default Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

It all started with a sudden urge to go to Ooty in February. The Ooty thought was triggered by one of the threads here. Why February? I feel February is a good time for a trip. The whole Christmas-New Year-Sankranti-Republic Day holiday trips are done and dusted. Most college school tours are also finished. So it is kind of a lull before the next wave starts in April. In additional, summer has not set in, so the climate is pretty ok-Especially in the hilly areas.

The Ooty idea soon got expanded to all the usual suspects within 5-6 hours from Bangalore. Ooty/Coonoor/Mysore/Coorg/Wayanad/Chikmagalur/Sakleshpur. The only intention was to get away and relax for a couple of days. No real plans of site seeing or anything of that sort. So instead of picking a place and then finding a place to stay, we went the other way round. First identify a nice place to stay and relax from any one of the places above which was within our budget.

It was Bhpian mpksuhas who suggested Thippanahalli Homestay near Chikmagalur. He had good reviews of the place and the web reviews and other parameters seemed to indicate that it was a lovely place. After a couple of email exchanges/calls with them- we blocked 2 rooms for the last weekend of February. It was kind of a long weekend as Friday-24th Feb was Shivarathri and it was a holiday for some schools. But since most offices were working, did not expect it to be a typical crowded weekend. We were mostly right on that.

Initial plan was to just go directly there, relax at the homestay, maybe visit one place and come back. Things expanded again. Belur was on the way, and we had not been there. So a quick stop at Belur was added. We visited Belur, really liked it and then decided that we had to visit Halebidu also. So that was added on the return leg.

So that was finalized and our final route looked like this.

Route Link:

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-route.jpg

Route was straightforward: Bangalore-CR Patna-Hassan-Belur-Chikmagalur. From Chikmagalur to Halebidu, there were multiple options:
  • Deviate from halfway to Belur via Kalaspura-Belavadi and join NH73 and on to Halebidu.
  • Go to Belur and then take the NH73 to Halebidu.
  • Come further past Belur and deviate from Hagare.

I took the first route and the roads were excellent and devoid of traffic. From Halebidu, took the direct route to Hassan and this was also very good.
Overall, nothing much else to say about the route and road conditions. Pretty much excellent through out. From the info from experts in the relevant threads, had noted down Swathi and Mayura as potential break points. On the to journey, stopped at Mayura and on the return at Swathi. Both places were impressive. Also noticed a food court which had Upsouth (a little after Mayura towards Hassan) and an A2B between CR Patna and Hassan.


Thippanahalli Homestay: Now a days, the lines between a Hotel, Resort and Homestay are all very blurred. Many a time, one tries to impersonate the other and it all gets very confusing. In my view, when I think homestay, it should be a places that deeply imbibes the culture of the place- with respect to location, food and most importantly-History and Culture.

From that perspective, Thippanahalli Homestay was the perfect place. Run by a family whose history with Coffee and Chikmagalur goes back to the 1800's. The current generation(Nithin and Arpitha who run the homestay) continue that tradition. Will let the pictures do the talking.



The homestay is located at the base of the Mullyangiri Peak which is Karnataka's tallest peak. The picture below shows the main bungalow where the hosts stay. There is one room in the main house that is let out. Apart from these there are 2 rooms in front built along the same lines as the main house and 4-5 cottages behind the main house. This house-Called the Thippanahalli Bungalow, was built in the year 1934 by the hosts great grandfather and has been maintained as is. Unlike the typical large houses in the region, this follows a more English Architecture as opposed to a traditional Malnad architecture. Found this interesting since unlike typical estate bungalows which were built by the British, this one was built after pulling down the existing house in the estate. The view of the house from the extensive well maintained lawns against the Mullyangiri Peak was a wonderful sight.

OT: The garage was an impressive one. Not very clearly visible here, but you can see a BMW 530d on the left, a Pete's tuned Skoda Rapid in the porch and a modified gypsy on the right.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2648.jpg

The driveway. Two of the rooms are at the end of the driveway on the right.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0030.jpg

A view of the lawns. The cactus seen here is more than 50 years old.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2662.jpg

Another couple of views of the lawns with a nice seating area.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2756.jpg

The backside of the main bungalow. The cottages, dining hall can be seen in the pics. Couple of the cottages have a hammock outside and directly look up at the Mulyangiri peak.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_073801.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_073801effects.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_073548.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_073659.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_073812.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-v1.jpeg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0047.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170302wa0004.jpg


Some key points about the Homestay
  • Apart from the natural beauty, the key thing that strikes you is the level of maintenance. Everything is pristinely maintained. The lawns, flower beds, rooms
  • The hosts were very friendly, but at no time too distant or intrusive. Were around when we needed them and provided some key inputs on the site seeing.
  • Few recreation items are available, a TT and Foosball table, badminton racquets. Provision for a bonfire. All well maintained.
  • They provide a coffee plantation walk in the morning with some explanation of how the coffee growing process works. If you have no clue about these things, it is interesting.
  • There are 4 dogs- 2 adult Labradors, a labrador pup and a dachshund pup. The big dogs accompany on the morning walk and one of them is amiable to being petted and cuddled. The Dashund is a frisky one and on the first day scared the hell out of my daughter by jumping on her and licking her ears. By the 2nd day she wanted to play with the pup. Bottomline: If you love dogs, you will really enjoy this part. If you hate dogs, then this can become a trouble. So keep this in mind when planning.
  • The food is a fixed buffet. Pretty good with a couple of local dishes and some standard fare. If you need anything specific you will need to tell in advance. There is no regular service or room service. The place gives an impression of a resort, but keep in mind that it is a homestay, so there are only a couple of people doing the cooking and the service.
  • The climate was a bit hot. Chikmagalur in general is best visited post the monsoon.
  • Rates were 5500 per night for standard room all meals inclusive. Kids between 6-12 charged 1000 per night. A little expensive, but kind of in line with similar properties in the area.

Overall one of the best places I have stayed in. Cannot put a finger on why it felt so great- Could have been the location, the maintenance, the history of the place.

Last edited by Aditya : 27th March 2017 at 07:23. Reason: Typo
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Old 1st March 2017, 20:30   #2
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Belur


Since Chikmagalur was less than 5 hours drive from Bangalore and considering that we are ~5am starters, it meant that we could plan a quick visit to one of the places along the same route. The popular choices were Shravana Belagola, Belur and Halebidu. Decided on Belur as we had been to Shravana Belagola once (although very long time back).

To be honest, I personally am not a ancient history person- hence initially saw the Belur visit as more of a time-pass (the rest of the group was pretty excited about it). But once we were done with the visit to the Chennakesava temple, happy to admit that I couldn't have been more wrong. Definitely a wonderful place to visit and the architecture and carvings were absolutely brilliant. When we reached, a guide approached us, and initially we were skeptical but engaged his services. Once again I had to change my biased preconceived notions. A guide is absolutely essential if one wants to understand the history of the place. Otherwise it remains a set of beautiful statues. The guide was a passionate guy and brought out the history of each part of the temple and its carvings in great detail. The charge of Rs 300 was totally worth.

Since Belur is very famous and is a common destination from Bangalore, expected it to be very crowded. Maybe because it was a Friday and also because it was Sivaratri, the place was very peaceful. Even got parking right in front.

Since there is plenty of info about the temple, not attempting to put in my half baked knowledge of the place here. Some pictures that I took.


Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0036.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_111804.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_105751.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_104822.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_104816.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_104602.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_104545.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170224_105843.jpg

Just a few sample images of statues and carvings. The attention to detail is truly mind boggling.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 24th March 2017 at 22:32.
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Old 1st March 2017, 20:35   #3
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

After spending a couple of hours in Belur, we headed on to the Home Stay and checked in by 1.30PM. The hosts suggested to visit Mulyangiri peak to see the sunset the same evening instead of the next day morning as we had initially planned. This turned out to be a good decision. Once again it was not too crowded and we were able to drive right up to the top and then climb the final 400 odd steps. The last stretch of road(2km) is very narrow and in poor condition with repair work happening in some stretches. Apparently during weekends, they stop vehicles before this stretch and folks have to walk a longer distance.

The drive up to the peak was a good one and the last stretch was a little more challenging than I expected it to be. (Yes. another preconceived notion proved wrong ). The peak was pretty nice, warm and windy. There is a small temple also on the top and this is the highest point in the state of Karnataka at around 6000+ feet. Ideally the monsoon months and winter months would be a better time to visit this place.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2677.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2678.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2719.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2752.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2675.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0025.jpg

Looks a bit like Donald Trump isn't it?

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0031.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170301wa0042.jpg


Coffee Plantation Walk: On the second day morning, the hosts organized a walk through the coffee plantation. Roughly a couple of km with the dogs for company. A nice enjoyable walk with the host explaining the background of the estate and how the whole process works. If you already know all this, can be boring. But the walk was good and if you are a bird watcher, there are plenty of opportunities for some good sightings. Did not get any good pictures.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2768.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2769.jpg



The Private Waterfall : This was a surprise. On the 2nd day we were lazing around the resort till after lunch. The hosts suggested we drive up to Baba Budangiri, which was another peak in the area with a shrine dedicated to Baba Budangiri who is credited with getting coffee to India for the first time in the 16th century. The hosts also mentioned about a private waterfall on the way accessible by going down in jeeps from a specific point. We did not think much of this as we thought even if the waterfall is a good one, considering the dry months, it would not have much water.

As we were driving up- again lovely twisty roads, we reached this place with lot of jeeps parked. The waterfall came to mind and after some debate decided to try it out. Hired a Mahindra Thar for Rs 800+100 'Entry Fee'. Could have negotiated for ~500 but let it go. The path down to the waterfall is a mud track that can only be done by the jeeps- even larger 4X4 vehicles will not be able to make some of the turns.

The waterfall turned out to be a pleasant surprise.Good amount of water, green surroundings and cool water. Spent a good bit of time there and then decided against going up to Baba Budangiri peak.


Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-w1.jpeg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-w2.jpeg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-w3.jpeg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-w4.jpeg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-w5.jpeg

The vehicle that did the duty

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img20170302wa0005.jpg

Narrow dirt track, you cross at the side that is convenient.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170225_163315.jpg


This waterfall is apparently part of a private coffee estate and the owner has set up an agreement with these jeep group. He charges something like Rs50,000 a month. Our driver said that he makes ~10 trips per day on weekends. So 20-30K per weekend and there are around 20 jeeps doing service. So I guess the economics work out.

Last edited by SDP : 26th March 2017 at 05:52. Reason: Centered the images in the last lot
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Old 1st March 2017, 20:38   #4
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Halebidu


Halebidu was not in plan initially. But the visit to Belur meant that we atleast needed to do a quick visit. The pattern of the visit was the same as Belur where we hired a guide. Being a sunday, it was more crowded. Apparently the saying is that you need to spend more time inside in Halebidu and more time outside in Belur (Or maybe it is the other way around). Halebidu has been subject to more attacks and is technically said to be incomplete.

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_132429.jpg

Although the guide vividly explained each area, this particular one stuck in my mind. Ravana carrying the Kailasa mountain with the gods perched on top. If you observe closely, you can see that the Shiva-Parvathy duo are not sitting steady, the pose is that of one shaken due to the mountain being raised. You can also see Lord Shiva stamping down the mountain to test Ravana's strength and Ravana's legs buckle under the pressure. Wonderful attention to detail.
Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_131805.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_130741.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_130539.jpg

Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_130053.jpg

Another example of attention to detail. Lord Krishna raising the Govardhana Mountain with all its beings and creatures. You can see details like a bunch of bananas and a monkey climbing the tree to pluck them.
Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_130045.jpg

The drought that has affected the region over the last few years is visible. The lawns looked very dry.
Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-img_20170226_124650.jpg

Overall a nice trip where a lot of my assumptions were proved wrong. A relaxing couple of days. Definitely planning to hit the place again in July August.


Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in-dsc_2706-1.jpg

Many a time I start of a travelogue and then leave it midway feeling that it is no match to several brilliant reports out there in the forum. I felt the same about this one, but decided to drive this one to its logical conclusion. Thank you for reading.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 25th March 2017 at 10:51.
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Old 25th March 2017, 13:11   #5
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Mod note: Thread moved to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 25th March 2017, 15:23   #6
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Thanks for the travelogue/stayalogue! Enjoyed going through the write up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
First identify a nice place to stay and relax from any one of the places above which was within our budget.
What an idea Sirji!
Quote:
From Chikmagalur to Halebidu, there were multiple options:
Quote:
  • Deviate from halfway to Belur via Kalaspura-Belavadi and join NH73 and on to Halebidu.
  • Go to Belur and then take the NH73 to Halebidu.
  • Come further past Belur and deviate from Hagare.
I took the first route and the roads were excellent and devoid of traffic.
Was skipping the Belavadi temple a conscious decision? You travelled right through the village; would have been an enjoyable experience.
Quote:
Thippanahalli Homestay was the perfect place. Run by a family whose history with Coffee and Chikmagalur goes back to the 1800's. The current generation(Nithin and Arpitha who run the homestay) continue that tradition. Will let the pictures do the talking.
It is one of the better places. Have heard only good words about them from friends and acquaintances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Apparently during weekends, they stop vehicles before this stretch and folks have to walk a longer distance.
The drive up to the peak was a good one and the last stretch was a little more challenging than I expected it to be.
Lucky that you went there on a weekday. The road to Mullayyanagiri transforms into a mobile circus on weekends. Many newbie drivers try driving up this stretch and invariably end up holding a lot of vehicles.

Its better to park at Seethalayyanagiri and walk up to the peak if one is not short of time. A lot of hikers and cyclists can be found on this last section
Quote:
Looks a bit like Donald Trump isn't it?
Wow, that's an interesting observation.
Quote:
As we were driving up- again lovely twisty roads, we reached this place with lot of jeeps parked. The waterfall came to mind and after some debate decided to try it out. Hired a Mahindra Thar for Rs 800+100 'Entry Fee'. Could have negotiated for ~500 but let it go.
Entry fee of ₹100 on the back of ₹800? You have been taken for a good ride (pun very much intended) .

That waterfall is locally referred to as Dub Dub Falls.
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Old 27th March 2017, 10:35   #7
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Quote:
Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post
Thanks for the travelogue/stayalogue! Enjoyed

Was skipping the Belavadi temple a conscious decision? You travelled right through the village; would have been an enjoyable experience.
Thank you dailydriver. Honestly speaking, Belavadi temple was a miss.We left the homestay much later than planned and was in a hurry to get to Halebidu. So only after we got back did I realize that we could have stopped at the Belavadi temple. In any case, that is definitely on the agenda for the next trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post
Entry fee of ₹100 on the back of ₹800? You have been taken for a good ride (pun very much intended) .
Yup, kind of realized that . But anyway we were spending much more for the trip itself, so did not want to negotiate over Rs 2-300. If that helped the driver get something extra for his family, that is good enough for me. In addition, I noticed most of the jeeps were open-topped ones and were taking big groups. This guy had a covered jeep and kept it dedicated to us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dailydriver View Post
That waterfall is locally referred to as Dub Dub Falls.
Thanks for this bit of info. I could find the name after searching a bit.
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Old 27th March 2017, 12:30   #8
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Default re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Beautiful places, lovely writing and fabulous photographs !!! Rated 5 Stars.

Warm regards,

Siddhartha.
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Old 31st March 2017, 11:16   #9
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Default Re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Rajeev: A very well written travelogue with great details. Have been to Chikmagalur plenty of times but couldn't check Belur-Halebid. This is surely on my to do list next time around. Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 2nd April 2017, 11:15   #10
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Default Re: Driven: Bangalore to Chikmagalur, with a little of Belur and Halebidu thrown in

Amazing ! Incredible India !
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