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Old 8th April 2010, 16:13   #1
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Default A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT

It was quite some time we were not out on a long trip. Mercury was soaring high in Bangalore and my MAN was desperate to kiss the highway beauty. Chikmagalur was in my mind for almost 2 years, however, as they say prbably i was not destined to visit this spellbinding coffee land in the Malnad untill last week. We were 3 families including one fellow BHPian family and we planned to make it happen, almost a month back, for the long weekend of 2nd April.

Lot of research was done in the T-BHP forum, over the net and through known contacts who had already visited the place to get information on The Stay, activities across 3 days, places to visit and Do's and Dont's. Finally we zeroed-in on The Woodway Homestay, after considering Taj Gateway, Thippanahalli Homestay, Naturecraft Homestay and few others. We had categorically decided to stay in a homestay, however, Taj was considered from location convenience persepctive. Bookings were done well in advance considering the fact that this was a 3-day long weekend and Chikmagalur would invariably be crowded during this time - at least the good places. As the D-day was approaching we all were excited. We 3 friends had met 2 days before to plan on the logistics and other stuffs so that we have a smooth journey. We decided that we would take NH 206 via Tumkur while going to Chikmagalur and NH 48 via Hassan while returning. Planned to start by 7:00 am, though we were advised to start at 5:00 am by the Homestay Owner to avoid Nelamangala traffic. With family and kids it was quite difficult to start by 5:00 am.

Preparation went well with Cameras charged, cars were checked, nick-nacks for the trip were arranged. Finally it was 2nd April and we were out on a long cherished trip to the land of the younger daughter (Chikmagalur as translated).

Day - 1:

As usual, the clock showed it was half past 7:00 and we were still getting ready. One of my friends, Sandy, was supposed to park the car at my place to join us in my SX4 and he was still on the way. Anyways, with all set we started at around 8:15 from our place in Banaswadi. GG (my BHPian friend) joined us on the way near the BEL Circle. In about half an hour we were on Tumkur road. Needless to mention, the traffic was at its peak and it took almost an hour to reach the Nelamangala toll gate, for a roughly 16 km stretch. Paid the toll for one way (IIRC it was 24 Rs.) as we planned to come back by NH 48 (Mangalore-Hassan-Bangalore). NH 48 connects the Tumkur Road before the toll gate (while going towards tumkur) near the over bridge. One should be careful to watch out this junction (in case the intended route is Bangalore-Hassan), else he will end up reaching the toll gate continuing towards Tumkur.

By this time we were feeling hungry and the next stop was Kamath Upachar nearly 12 kms beyond the toll gate. We reached Kamath Upachar at around 10:10 am and we ordered for some idlies and dosas. To our dismay the service was very poor and we had to wait almost an hour to get the idlies and rava dosas with repeated interventions. There are 2 Kamaths at this place, one is on the left and another on the right side of the road. With my experience in both, I suggest to consider the right side one for food quality, service and cleanliness. However, Coffee Day Lovers have it on the left side of the road (near Kamath Upachar).

OK..so after the pet-puja we continued our jouney from Kamath Upachar at around 11:10 and we still had to drive around 240 km to reach the homestay which could easily take no less than 4 hours - quite optimistic...huh? Till tumkur it was the 4 lane express way of NH4 and we were trying to make up for the delay by revving our beasts beyond 110kmph. Well..road was inviting too. We had a plan to cover Halebidu on the way (planned route was Bangalore-Nelamangala-Tumkur-Arsikere-Banavara-Halebidu-Belur-Chikmagalaur), but looking at the time we thought of heading straight to the homestay. Reached Tumkur in a short while and took left deviation to continue on NH 206. NH 206 road condition is very good compared to some of the worn out national highways. Though not a 4-lane, but wide enough to hold 4 big vehicles side by side.

Throughout the stretch there were greeneries and traffic was very less - which was the best part of our journey on this route. We were easliy doing 100/110, though SX4 was tempting enough to cross this border line. Sun God was highly charged and there was no sign of any mercy. Temp gauge showed 36 deg outside. Kids were becoming impatient and it was time for a halt. We stopped somewhere in between Tiptur and Arsikere near a road-side mango orchard. For information let me jot down the distance chart here (on NH 206):

Bangalore-Nelamangala: 31 Km
Nelamangala-Tumkur: 42 Km
Tumkur-Gubbi: 19 Km
Gubbi-Tiptur: 54 Km
Tiptur-Arsikere: 25 Km
Arsikere-Banavara: 17 Km

After a 15 mins break we continued our journey and soon reached Banavara. We had to detour from NH 206 (on the left) to take SH 58 till Belur. Please note that we could have continued on NH 206 till Kadur and then take a left on SH 64 to reach Chikmagalur. However SH 64 is not in a good condition as per recent trip by a fellow BHPian. The state highway 58 is not wide but is in a fair condition and was quite scenic throughout. Almost 22 Km from Banavara, there was a Y crossing and here we missed the track. (IIRC the nearby place was Kottigenahalli). Here, by mistake, instead of continuing on the SH 58 which passes via Halebidu and Belur, we took another state road (non-SH) which directly connected us on the Belur-Chikmagalur Road. The road condition was motorable. This road passes through Belawadi, Kalasapura and Nagarahalli. I dont remember exactly how many Kms we drove on this road. It was already 2:30 pm by the time we reached Kalasapura. Though we did not want to stop, because of the kids we had a small break for tender coconut water. My friend's google map on mobile was not working in this area so we had to ask people for the route. One good thing happened by taking this wrong route was that we came across a very big water body, sort of a lake near Belawadi - which was a scenery by itself. Will post pics later.

Soon we were on the Belur-Chikmagalur road (SH 57) and we were approaching Chikmagalur. Our joy knew no bound. We were welcomed by lush greenery of Chikmagalur. Vegetation both sides of the road added to the freshness of the air. But..remember it was as hot as other parts of Karnataka - 35 Deg. The moment we entered Chikmagalur town, we called our homestay for the route - which was another 13 Kms from the town. Soon we were driving on the Malandur Road. After crossing the check post at Joldal, suddenly we marked the temp had gone down to 28 Deg and we discovered ourselves in the hilly terrain. The road was winding now but was in a very good condition. There were thick covers of silver oak trees both sides of the road. We had to take a right deviation from this road after some time to reach the Homestay.

And Finally - We were in the Woodway at around 3:45 pm. We were amazed at the serenity of the place. The huge green open space had a tantalizing aroma all around. I felt happy about my decision on the stay. Our host welcomed us to the estate homestay and escorted us to our rooms. Food was ready and all were hungry. We freshened up quickly and enjoyed the local cuisine to our hearts content. Next obvious activity was to take some rest and ZZZZZ...One word on my beast - Good Job SX4.

Posting some pics of the homestay. To be continued...
Attached Thumbnails
A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-1.jpg  

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-2.jpg  

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-3.jpg  

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-4.jpg  

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-5.jpg  


Last edited by DigitalDragon : 8th April 2010 at 16:26.
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:34   #2
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Hey Nice and simple travelogue, The homestay looks neat, how was the service, food and how much did you pay for the accomodation ?

Where exactly at Banaswadi ? I'm at Kalyan Nagar 2nd block near telephone exchange.
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Old 8th April 2010, 16:38   #3
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Very nice ! How hot was it in CKM?

Also if you want to go to Tumkur, you can bypass Nelamanga via NH207.
Since you are in Banaswadi, you can take the following route:

Banaswadi - Hebbal - Yelahanka - Dodbellapur - Dobbaspet (on the NH4 after Nelamangala).

See the following link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post1685822
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:55   #4
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Nice start DD. Eagerly waiting for your posts with more pictures and details. Homestay looks inviting especially with kids
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Old 8th April 2010, 17:56   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2500cc View Post
Hey Nice and simple travelogue, The homestay looks neat, how was the service, food and how much did you pay for the accomodation ?

Where exactly at Banaswadi ? I'm at Kalyan Nagar 2nd block near telephone exchange.
Thanks 2500cc. The service was extremely good. The property is on a 60- acre area including the coffee estate. The hosts are very professional and helpful. Food quality was good - typical chikmagalur dishes were prepared. However, taste wise i can't comment which varies to a great extent from person to person. Overally it was good. Both Veg and NV were there. We paid 5000 per night per couple, including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a coffee estate trek. Children above 5 years - half rate.

I stay in Nanjappa Garden, Babusapalya. Slightly OT - we are planning a T-BHP meet this Sunday afternoon in Lumbini Garden. Why dont you join in ? Here is the link - http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/team-b...galore-97.html (Quick Meets at Bangalore).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Very nice ! How hot was it in CKM?

Also if you want to go to Tumkur, you can bypass Nelamanga via NH207.
Since you are in Banaswadi, you can take the following route:

Banaswadi - Hebbal - Yelahanka - Dodbellapur - Dobbaspet (on the NH4 after Nelamangala).

See the following link: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/route-...ml#post1685822
Hi Ampere, thanks for your suggestion. I was checking in google and found that we need to travel approx 20 km extra if we take NH 207 for the same Dobbaspet end-point. Anyway..may try next time.

CKM was definitely hot. It was around 35 deg in the town. However it was around 29 deg in the homestay area.

Last edited by DigitalDragon : 8th April 2010 at 17:58.
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Old 8th April 2010, 19:04   #6
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Nice going DD, waiting for the rest of the log and loads of photos. And please post any website to the homestay where you stayed.
BTW, if you loved Chikmagalur at this time of the year then do go there after the rains. That region is just magical after the rains.
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Old 8th April 2010, 19:57   #7
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Originally Posted by DigitalDragon View Post
Hi Ampere, thanks for your suggestion. I was checking in google and found that we need to travel approx 20 km extra if we take NH 207 for the same Dobbaspet end-point. Anyway..may try next time.

CKM was definitely hot. It was around 35 deg in the town. However it was around 29 deg in the homestay area.
Hey DD
The homestay sure looks very nice. Do you have any link for the homestay? Amount also looks OK! Do post more snaps. Eagerly waiting for the same.

BTW the Dobbaspet road in spite of being 20Km more its much more easier to drive without any traffic whatsoever ! During peak traffic hours in fact you can even gain time !

Last edited by ampere : 8th April 2010 at 19:58.
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Old 8th April 2010, 22:06   #8
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And please post any website to the homestay where you stayed.
Quote:
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Hey DD
The homestay sure looks very nice. Do you have any link for the homestay? Amount also looks OK! Do post more snaps. Eagerly waiting for the same.
Here is the link to the website - Woodway Home Stay - Chikamagalur.

The owners are Sreedev Hulikere and Sushmita Hulikere. However, mostly Sushmita takes care of the homestay part. You could speak to her and refer my name. Contact details are there in the website.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
BTW, if you loved Chikmagalur at this time of the year then do go there after the rains. That region is just magical after the rains.
I think thats a very good suggestion. Will try to make it sometimes post monsoon.

And Yes..Rest of the travelogue and photos are coming up!
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Old 8th April 2010, 22:31   #9
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Hi DD

your homestay looks very good, i am waiting for the next posts from you.
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Old 8th April 2010, 22:42   #10
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Originally Posted by DigitalDragon View Post
Here is the link to the website - Woodway Home Stay - Chikamagalur.

The owners are Sreedev Hulikere and Sushmita Hulikere. However, mostly Sushmita takes care of the homestay part. You could speak to her and refer my name. Contact details are there in the website.

DD, Thanks for the links. The place sure feels good.

Also I have general questions about homestays. Are the rooms independent or are they a part of a big bunglow?
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Old 9th April 2010, 10:13   #11
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Originally Posted by jacs View Post
Nice start DD. Eagerly waiting for your posts with more pictures and details. Homestay looks inviting especially with kids
Quote:
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Hi DD
your homestay looks very good, i am waiting for the next posts from you.
Thanks guys. I will try to post the rest by today. Waiting for some more pics from my friend's camera.

Quote:
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Also I have general questions about homestays. Are the rooms independent or are they a part of a big bunglow?
Well...Woodway is a big house and there are around 6 rooms, each has attached bathroom (I must say they are clean and tastefully decorated - at least in the room where we stayed). There is a lobby and a living room which are common. Dining area is separate, outside the house.

The other one, Thippnahalli Homestay (though we did not stay here I did check the property while coming back from Mulayangiri) is on the way to Mulayangiri. This has also a big 2 storied bungalow, wherein the owners stay on the first floor and 2 guest rooms on the ground. However, there are 2 independent rooms (they call it cottage) - Arabica and Robusta which overlook the Mulayangiri range. There are are 2 more so called cottages which share a partition. In total again 6 rooms. I found Thippanahalli a bit compact whereas Woodway has an open area feeling. You may check thippanahalli here - Thippanahalli Home stay. You could talk to Meera (senior lady) or his son Nitin. They boast of having the biggest cactus plant in India (will post the pic) - but what is the proof ?

Hope this helps.
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Old 9th April 2010, 15:47   #12
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After the heavy lunch and a power nap, we all were recharged for the evening session. We had 2 options with us; 1. Trekking to the nearby Vendagal Hill 2. A Coffee walk in the estate. It was already 5:30 pm and the sky was slightly overcast. So we kept the trekking part for the next day morning and we were all set for a coffee walk. As we walked leisurely into the coffee estate, Santosh, our homestay caretaker, started explaining about coffee plantation, like the types of coffee available in india, how coffee came to india, what are the seasons, what precautions they take to protect the coffee seeds from worms and bla bla. I am not a kind of botany-lover; so i was busy with my photo shooting. Here are few pics along the coffee trail.

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Old 9th April 2010, 16:40   #13
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Pics of the coffee walk:

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur011.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur012.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur015.jpg

Day-2:

I woke up at around 5:30 am with the lou lou of peacock from the coffee jungle just adjascent to the homestay. Kids were sleeping so cutely. What a refreshing feeling...after a peaceful sleep. Came out to the lawn and I was trying to remember when i last breathed fresh & pure oxygen in the morning and went back to nostalgia of my childhood days in the village. Suddenly i came back to reality with my friend patting on my back for the day's plan. Hah..yes..we need to get out and plan for the day..

Yesterday's left out trekking was ruled out because of the kids. Our host said Kemangundi road is not good and it requires a complete day for the trip and we shall get tired with kids and all. Also we had to come back to the homestay for lunch and better option was to go to Mulayangiri which we could complete in half a day and on the way we could cover Sheetala Math, Baba Budangiri etc. So far so good...

Got ready by 10:30 am (had a plan to start by 8:00 - but believe me you will get lazy in this kind of place) and started off for Mulayangiri, the highest peak of Karnataka. Mulayangiri is approximately 22 km from Chikmagalur and 35 km from the homestay. You have to continue on the Tarikere road till Kaimara (approx 7 km from CKM) and take a left to go to Mulayangiri.

Here are some pics on the way till Kaimara. The distance chart is at the Kaimara junction where we had to take a left.

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur037.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur039.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-img_3492.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-img_3493.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-img_3494.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur038.jpg

I would like to update here that they have laid a tar road till Mullayangiri, which was not there earlier, if you see other posts.

Some pics uphill till Sheetala Math:

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur041.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur042.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur048.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur051.jpg

Landscape of Mulayangiri:

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur052.jpg

The road width is OK for 2 cars parallely till Sheetala Math, however, beyond this till the top of the hill the road is very narrow and many a times you have to find a suitable place to halt till the opposite car crosses you. This is one of the scariest stretch I have ever driven so far, with absolutely nothing on one side of the road, except sheer feeling of free fall. One wrong move and you are history. I have only few pics on the way to the top, as everybody was holding his breath.

Few pics on the way to the peak:

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur053.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur054.jpg

A HOT (read Summer) trip to Mesmerizing Chikmagalur in my SX4 VVT-chikmagalur055.jpg

Nevertheless, we reached the top by 12:00. It was damn hot out there, despite being the highest peak. Once you reach the foothill of the peak, you have to park your car there and climb up some steps (dont know how many exactly, but not many and not steep) to reach the peak. With my infant babies I decided to stay back on the foothill and my friends went up. According them, it was worth climbing the steps. Once they were back there was nothing much that we could do there, execpt clicking some snaps. Unfortunately my camera's battery was drained out by that time - bad luck.

It was 1:15 pm and we were feeling hungry. Started our return journey and stopped at Sheetala math on our way down for few minutes. There is a Lord Shiva temple here. Return jouney was uneventful baring the fact that it was more dangerous to drive down compared to the uphill driving. We discounted Baba Budangiri as it was late by that time. While coming back we lost our way near the CKM city entry point. After few qns and answers, we were back on track. Reached the homestay by 2:30 and headed for lunch. It was time for a nap.

To be continued...
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Old 10th April 2010, 23:09   #14
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Nice travelogue, Rajesh. Waiting for more pics. CKM is a very good place to relax, away from hectic schedule.
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Old 10th April 2010, 23:39   #15
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I decided to stay back on the foothill and my friends went up. According them, it was worth climbing the steps. Once they were back there was nothing much that we could do there, execpt clicking some snaps. Unfortunately my camera's battery was drained out by that time - bad luck.
Guess what, this is what exactly happened to me too, I decided to stay down due to the heat and this the only trip where my camera's batteries also run out (So I had no reason to go up as I won't be able to click anyway). I forgot to charge them previous day at Kemmangundi. Nowadays I charge the batts every night while on a trip.
Nice going DD, waiting for the rest, post up soon.
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