On a Coffee Trail to Chikmagalur
It had been a long journey from Pune to Chikmagalur, but one that I had enjoyed completely. Didn’t someone rightly say, It is the journey that matters more than the destination. (Read – Verdant Shimoga and Sringeri) As I entered the town of Chikmagalur a hoarding stating Welcome to the land of Coffee greeted me.
Chikmagalur meaning Younger daughter’s town in Kannada language is famous for its coffee plantations, betel nut trees, paddy fields. It is told that the chieftain gifted this land to his younger daughter hence the name. The drive takes you through curved roads that snake around the hills and every turn brings in a panoramic view with the sun streaming in . Slopes of dark green coffee shrubs cover the hills on either side with the silver oak trees towering as guardians.
As I crossed the town of Chikmagalur and took the Chikmagalur – Mudigere Road I was on the look out for a homestay called the The Hidden Valley. True to its name it was difficult to trace it out but finally after reaching Handi we managed to reach this beautiful place amidst coffee plantations spread across thirty acres. The Hidden Valley is a unit of the Aranha Homes and 20 km from the Chikmagalur – Mudigere Road.
A small pond with ducks paddling, bunnies scampering around, the cock to wake you early before sunrise and the friendly dogs to take you on a coffee trail, this homestay sure does keep you busy. Surrounded by silver oak trees it is a perfect place to rejuvenate and refresh.
There are around six rooms with double bed and bunk beds for the kids. With two cooks one from Bihar and the other a local, a mix of the North and the South India cuisines is served. You have both the vegetarian and the non vegetarian option to satiate your breadbasket.
There was fish fry, chicken curry, sambar, rasam, papads, rotis and stuffed aubergines on day one for lunch. Having had our full after a late lunch I looked outside the open dining area. The scene was inviting and very serene.
Ducks quacked around and a boat bobbed on the calm waters. We walked bare foot to the pond and sat on the grass cross legged. As I saw the ducks paddle the water I wondered if it could be better than this. The sun was about to set and the peaceful and calm surroundings relaxed our aching muscles after a long drive. With a mug of coffee in hand ( freshly brewed from the plantations) we watched the sunset in the background.
The pool was inviting and after what seemed like an eternity we left the waters to the open space for a bonfire.
You can also take a walk around this property and go on a coffee trail. For the next two days The Hidden Valley was our base and we visited Halebeedu, Belur, Sringeri, Mullyanagari and The Kalahatti Falls. More on these destinations to follow. You can indulge in badminton, carrom and other indoor activities in this home stay.
Best time to visit –
Avoid the rains and visit this place between Nov to March
Getting to Chikmagalur –
You can travel by road, rail and air. The nearest railway station is Kadur (60 k.m.) and closest airports are Mysore and Bangalore.
It is good to travel in group for a joyful experience. Visit the local market (shandy) at Handi on Sundays.
Places to visit nearby –
- Kalahatti Falls