Thursday, 19 September 2013

Tea Connoisseur in the LAND OF COFFEE!



Towards the end of the plains near Belur, the landscape hints at something different. By the time you meet the board "Welcome to Chikmagalur, the Land of Coffee", the sight is anything but plain land. Far away, the hills beckon. And in monsoons, this ChandradroNa hill range present a wonderland with the best in nature, be it the lush greenery, the numerous streams gushing through the foliage, the rare pretty flowers by the roads, exotic fauna or the best of all, the serene smooth green hills covered in clouds and mist. When its Chikmagalur, there is an additional visual extravaganza of thick plantations of coffee and creepy peppers in all directions.


Having got married into a family from Chikmagalur, I have come to terms with some of the facts such as:

- Looking at the clock means its been an hour since one had coffee. And thats looooong time.
- Visitors come home only so we can have coffee. So, saying "coffee kodla?" is an offence...you just have to manufacture it in the first 300 seconds!
- People who go to Coffee Day for coffee are actually mad. 
- Instant coffee is a scam.
- If you dont know how much chicory your coffee has, then you better not have it.
- Tea?? What is tea? But, that is what I have to tackle everyday, since I specialise in this department.
- Any town or village in Chikmagalur Dist. is native place and we definitely have a couple of homes to visit.
- You dont know what is good kannada if you have not spoken with somebody from CKM.
- Bad roads have nothing to do with the stinking riches in the town.
- Any movie song you watch on TV, you should know which locale in CKM it was shot


So, here we are....a Bangalore bahu visiting her CKM sasuraal for an auspicious occasion...a fabulous time in a gorgeous place....thanks to all the Nitturs!


With the little time we could gather to head out of town, I have tried to document some of the greatest sights from the trip....


Town from a distance:

God's Spotlight

Thurchigudda and the town beyond

The hop-me gate  - for every kid

HirekoLale lake adjacent to the CKM town




On the hills:

View of Ghaatikallu as you drive towards Kavikalgandi

The ridge between Mullaiyangiri and Baba budangiri ranges

What does it feel like to live there on top of the ridge overseeing two huge valleys 

Moss on gyan :-)

misty road to the top

Shades of green - this is my top favourite

Simple house surrounded by luxuries of nature




This and that:


Vivekananda view spot at Kavikalgandi

Anjaneya lucky to have a house here

Just the right thing to enjoy the waterfall - hot tea

Honnammana Halla

Mossy bridge

The textures and colours

Honnammana Halla view when your feet is in freezing water

Hot tea to enjoy the chilling falls



Effortless sightings on the way:


Fauna

Flora






So, if this is just one shade, I beam with the thought of possibilities from remaining 362 days!!

Valley of flowers!! right here in CKM


Photo Gear: Nikon D7000 camera, Nikkor 18-105mm VR lens. All shots hand held.


Travel route by road: Bangalore -> Kunigal -> Bellur Cross -> Hirisave -> Channarayapatna -> Shantigrama -> Hassan -> Belur -> CKM totalling to 280 kms. Tip: Always avoid the yeshwantpur and peenya junctions, very dense traffic...Try Nice road if you are from way south and join close to Nelamangala. Keep change for toll booths: approx Rs. 250 one way if you take nice road.

Food: There are several good restaurants all along the way. But the best bet is to make it to CKM in one go. It just takes 3 and 1/2 hours. Unbelievable but true because most of the towns on the way have bypass roads and the route is a 2-lane well-laid highway till Shantigrama (the work is on in the remaining stretch but the road is tolerable).

Stay: CKM has some old time hotels like "Planters Court" and relatively new ones like "S K Regency" all in basic budget ranges and facilities. The Gateway Hotel always has a good offer for any season. The Serai of course spoils you for that price. You could definitely explore the homestays existent in every nook and corner of that region. 


Town Specialities: Visit Town Canteen for their oily dosas and Jamuns, Hanumanthappa circle for Churmuri, Hiremagalur temple and have a chit-chat with Sri. Hiremagaluru Kannan (the temple priest who recites kannada shlokas in the temple), Krishna temple in Basavanahalli maintained by the Muzrai Dept.(saturday evenings are special here since the whole traditional part of town congregates here for Bhajane, which has transcended into family tradition for households from CKM now living elsewhere including mine), Golf Club and Rathnagiri Bore for a toy train ride. 

Around Chikmagalur: Even a month's stay in the region is insufficient to explore all the tourist attractions available here, and there are options catering to varied interests be it wild life, birding, nature, landscapes, history, party and entertainment, coffee experience, adventure, luxury, pampering, culture and heritage, spirituality and religion, any and all of these.

So, you have a good trip soon, and ask me if you need help.


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