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Kemmanagundi Travel Guide

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Situated at an altitude of 1434 meters above the sea level in the Chikmagalur district of western Karanataka, Kemmanagundi is famous for its undulating hills, vivacious valleys, enchanting waterfalls, tranquil lakes and diversified flora & fauna. The origin point of the Tunga and Bhadra rivers, Kemmanagundi is blessed with a number of waterfalls and streams to enhance its appeal among tourists.

    Considered as a trekker's paradise, Kemmanagundi is surrounded by the lush green Kuduremukh and Baba Budangiri Mountain Ranges. It attracts adventure-loving hikers in huge numbers for exploring its unchartered territory. Kemmanagundi is the gateway to the famous Mullayanagiri trek, which is the highest peak in Karnataka with an altitude of 6330 feet above the sea level.

    Moreover, Kemmanagundi attracts wildlife enthusiasts in large numbers. Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Kudremukh National Park offer you the opportunity to capture wild animals and birds in their natural habitat. Unbounded natural splendour and wholesome climate throughout the year have made the hill station a favourite with the nature-loving travellers of Southern India.

    Did You Know?

    Kemmanagundi's Baba Budangiri Hills is the place where coffee was first cultivated in India in the year 1670.

    Getting There

    By Air:

    Nearest airport is around 200 KM away at Mangalore. Mangalore is well connected by air service to rest of the country. It is also an international airport that has connectivity with the gulf countries. Bangalore International Airport (280 KM) can also be a viable alternative for travelling to Kemmanagundi. From Mangalore/Bangalore, you can avail either train or bus service to reach Kemmanagundi.

    By Train:

    Kemmanagundi doesn't have a railway station, but you can get down at Tarikere and catch a bus or taxi for the 30 KM journey to Kemmanagundi. Tarikere is connected to both Bangalore and Mangalore by railway network. Alternatively, you can also travel to Birur by train and subsequently hire a taxi to Kemmanagundi. The distance between Birur to Kemmanagundi is around 35 KM.

    By Bus:

    Both private and KSRTC buses ply between Kemmanagundi and the nearby places like Chikmagalur, Tarikere and Birur. Chikmagalur is a major town in Karnataka and the Government-operated KSRTC buses are available from all major parts of the state. KSRTC also operates long distance semi deluxe and luxury buses from Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore. Besides, there are a few private bus operators as well.

    By Taxi:

    Tourist taxi/cab is also an option. A non-AC 4 seater cab from Bangalore and Mangalore will cost you around INR 4500 and INR 3000 respectively. AC cabs will charge you an additional surcharge of 10-15%.

    By Private Vehicle:

    If you own a car, then the best option is to drive down to Kemmanagundi. There are three different routes from Bangalore. The first one is NH48 through Kunigal, Channarayapattna and Arsikere. NH206 through Tumkur, Gubbi, Tiptur and Arsikere is the other popular route. Finally, another alternative can be a combination of NH4 and SH24 via Tumkur, Sira, Hiriyur, Hosadurga and Tarikere.

    NH206 is the shortest route among the three, but if you take the road condition in to consideration, then NH48 is your best bet. The 280 KM journey from Bangalore can be completed in flat 6 hours.

    Route-1 (273 KM): Bangalore - Kunigal - Channarayapattna - Arsikere - Chikmagalur - Kemmanagundi.

    Route-2 (250 KM): Bangalore - Tumkur - Gubbi - Tiptur - Arsikere - Chikmagalur - Kemmanagundi.

    Route-3 (300 KM): Bangalore - Tumkur - Sira - Hiriyur - Hosadurga - Tarikere - Kemmanagundi.

    If you are coming from the Mangalore side, then you can take NH234 via Bantwal, Belthangady and Chikmagalur through the scenic Charmadi Ghats Road. The distance is around 200 KM - which can be covered in 6 hours. The roads is usually in good condition and involve driving through the scenic Charmadi Ghats section.

    Route (198 KM): Mangalore - Bantwal - Belthangady - Charmadi Ghats - Chikmagalur - Kemmanagundi.

    Kemmanagundi Quick Facts:

    Destination Type - Hill Station
    State - Karnataka
    District - Chikmagalur
    Local Language - Kannada
    Altitude - 1434 m
    Attractions - Hills, Valleys, Waterfalls, Trekking

    Best Time To Visit Kemmanagundi:

    October to January is the peak tourist season in Kemmanagundi, while February to April is considered as mid-season. May-June is usually a little hot and during July-September, the hill station receives heavy rainfall. If you are interested in trekking, then you should try to avoid the monsoon time.

    Tourist Attractions at Kemmanagundi

    Raj Bhavan & Rose Garden:
    A guest house surrounded by a well maintained Rose Garden, situated on a hill-top, the Raj Bhavan is a popular tourist attraction at Kemmanagundi. It also doubles up as a viewpoint and the tourists can experience beautiful views of sunrise and sunset from here. Especially, the spectacular sunset view from the Raj Bhavan view point is a photographer's delight. The Rose Garden is a favorite hangout spot for the couples. It also has a solar power plant.

    Z-point & Shanti Falls:
    It requires a 30 minutes treacherous trek from the Rose Garden through a steep terrain to arrive at this magnificent view point, but once you reach there, you would realize that it's worth taking all the troubles in climbing your way up. You will be awestruck by the beauty of this place. With the surface coated in a carpet of lush green grass, on the backdrop of a clear blue sky, Z-point portrays the illusion of a painting landscaped to perfection.

    Z-point is known to offer the most beautiful view of sunrise and sunset. If you are planning for a Kemmanagundi trip, make sure that you are allocating enough time to explore this majestic vantage point. And yeah, do not forget to carry your camera.

    There's a nice little waterfalls, the Shanti Falls, along the trekking route, which can be an excellent spot for photo-shooting.

    Hebbe falls:
    Perhaps the most sought after tourist attraction at Kemmanagundi, there are two options for accessing Hebbe Falls. The first one, which is also the more popular of the two routes, is a rugged road used for Jeep Safari.

    You can book an entire Jeep for your troop from Kemmanagundi or even hop on to a shared Jeep plying on this route. If you own a 4WD SUV, then you can probably travel by your own vehicle. The journey of 13 odd KM is expectedly a bumpy ride. You will need to get down from the vehicle and walk through coffee plantations for 1 KM to reach the bottom of the waterfalls.

    The other option is to go on a off-beat trek through a forest trail that passes through parts of the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. The entire trail of 8 KM is unbelievebly scenic and there is high probability of spotting wildlife en-route. If you are travelling in a group and want to have some adventure, then the second option is apt for you. However, for solo travellers and couples, it is better to avoid this route and take the Jeep Safari instead.

    Hebbe Falls in full flow is a sight to behold. The water gushes down from a height of 168 metres in two stages. If you get a little closer to the falls, then you will get drenched in mist and water spray. The visitors can reach till the second level. A water-pool is formed at the bottom of the second stage where visitors can swim and play in the water.

    Kalhatti falls:
    Also known as Kalahasthi and Kalhattagiri Falls, Kalhatti falls is located at a distance of 9 Kms from Kemmangundi off the Kemmangundi-Tarikere road. It can be reached by hired vehicles from Kemmangundi followed by a short walk of 500 meters.

    The stream of water climbs down from the Chandra Drona Hills (Baba Budangiri Hills) for about 120 meters before dropping off a cliff. From the dropping point, the actual falls is about 20 feet in height.

    Besides the beautiful natural landscapes, it also has religious significance. A temple is built between the rocks in front of the falls which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Veerabhadreshwara Temple attracts lots of pilgrims during the annual festival in the month of February. The falls water is believed to have medicinal properties as well.

    Baba Budangiri & Mullayanagiri Trek:
    Located 24 KM away from Kemmangundi, Baba Budangiri (also known as Dattagiri & Chandra Drona Parvatha) is a popular trekking route. With an altitude of 1864 meters, it is one of the highest mountain peaks in South India. It is named after Baba Budan, who was a 17th century Sufi poet. The place is also important for Hindu community as Dattatreya Peetha. Mullayanagiri Peak which is the highest point in the state of Karnataka standing tall at the height of 1930 metres (6330 feet), is a part of Baba Budangiri Ranges.

    Mullayanagiri peak is a famous trekking trail. It is also well known for the temple perched on the peak. Situated 65 KM away from Kemmanagundi. It's a very scenic drive but a tad dangerous due to the poor roads, or rather the complete lack of it. Broken tarmac, rarrow stretches, rugged terrain and pathholes of different sizes can be annoying at times, but the winding roads with the most amazing views make you forget the pain.

    Once you get down at the base of the hill, the endless climb up begins. It's a test of your physical stamina but the scenery from the hill-top is magnificently rewarding.

    Ayyanakere Lake:
    A 30 KM drive from Kemmanagundi will take you to Ayyanakere Lake. It is an ancient man-made tank believed to have been constructed by Rukmangada Raya, a ruler of Sakarayapatna. Located at the Eastern base of Baba Budangiri Hills, the lake is surrounded by surreal natural splendor. The reflection of the hills on the crystal-esque water portrays a magnificent landscape.

    Manikyadhara / Honnamma Falls:
    Another perennial waterfalls located close to Kemmanagundi is the Manikyadhra Falls. Also known as the Honnamma Falls, it is situated at a wonderful spot offering great views of Baba Budangiri Range of Hills. The water here never dries up - even during the winter days. Visitors can climb down to the foot of the falls and play in the pool of water. From the Dattatreya Peetha, you can take the approach road with well laid steps to reach the bottom of the falls. It is situated at a distance of 25 KM from Kemmanagundi.

    Bhadra Dam:
    Just one and another half hour's drive from Kemmanagundi, Bhadra Dam is a magnificent water body built on the Bhadra River near Lakkavalli village. Besides offering wonderful views of the surrounding hills, the tourists can also enjoy a boat ride in the reservoir. The dam marks the western boarder of Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. The adjacent valley surrounding the dam is rich in wildlife. Also, there are several small islands in the middle of the dam that serve as shelters for migrating birds. Photography enthusiasts can expect to capture some of the beautiful winged visitors on their camera.

    Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary:
    Situated between Bhadra Reservoir and Muthodi village, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary can be reached after around 50 KM drive from Kemmanagundi. Also known as Muthodi Wildlife Sanctuary, it was established in the year 1974.

    The sanctuary is set amidst the picturesque surrounings of Western Ghats. The tributaries of Bhadra River flow through the heart of the core forest areas. The lush tropical forest area of over 490 square kilometers is surrounded by the hill ranges of Baba Budangiri, Hebbegiri, Gangegiri & Kuduremukh mountain ranges.

    With a diverse range of flora & fauna, the wildlife sanctuary is a paradise for animal and bird lovers. The chances of animal sighting is pretty high and the tourists are often greeted by the sights of bison, elephant, tiger, leopard, sambar, spotted deer, sloth bear and a variety of birds.

    If wildlife is your main intention, then November to March is the ideal time to visit this sanctuary. Accommodation in the forest area is available at Jungle Greens Home Stay at Muthodi village & River Tern Jungle Lodge near the Bhadra Dam.

    Hirekolale Lake:
    Located 50 KM away from Kemmangundi, Hirekolale Lake is set on the beautiful backdrop of Baba Budangiri mountain ranges. Besides cherishing the natural beauty, there's nothing much to do there.

    Famous for the ancient Amruteshwara Temple built in the later part of the 11th century, it is an architectural marvel of the bygone era. This star shaped historical temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is made of clay-stone and it bears the trademark of Hoysala architecture. Amruthapura, which is around 40 KM away from Kemmanagundi, can be reached via Tarikere. You can hop on to the buses playing between Tarikere and Amruthapura or hire a taxi to visit the historical place.

    Reliable Accommodation Options

    HotelLocationMinimum TariffContact
    Horticulture Department Guest HouseKemmanagundiINR 350(+91) 8261 237 126
    Nature NirvanaBaba Budanagari HillsINR 750(+91) 8261 230 959
    Kemmanagundi HotelKallathipura, KemmanagundiINR 1500(+91) 8261 258 259
    Eagle Eye ResortNear Bhadra Wildlife ReserveINR 2000(+91) 8262 324 522
    The Last ResortTarikereINR 3000(+91) 8261 258 148
    Must Have Cuisine
    1. Kemmanagundi is famous for ‘Malanadu’ - a traditional, spicy cuisine prepared with coconut milk. It is a must try dish alongside Akki roti and Kaikadbu.

    2. Being the birth-place of coffee in India, no tour to Chikmagalur-Kemmanagundi is complete without a sip of its amazing filter coffee.

    Are you tempted to explore this charming hill station? Bangalore residents can easily cover Kemmanagundi as a weekend getaway. Mountains, valleys, waterfalls, streams, lakes and wildlife - Kemmanagundi has every ingredient to make this a memorable trip for the nature loving tourists.

    If you have been to this place before, then we would love to hear from you. Your valuable experience and suggestions can prove to be helpful to all the future travellers.