Offering the much needed seclusion, nature’s bounty and a peaceful landscape, Chikmagalur becomes a perfect New Year getaway. We bring to you a list of places in and around Chikmagalur which are off the beaten track.
On a temple trail of the Hoysalas
While meditating at the Durga temple in Sosevur village, a young man named Sala and his Guru were attacked by a tiger. ‘Hoy, Sala!’ exclaimed the Guru, literally translating to ‘Strike, Sala!’ and Sala did just that, and brought the big cat down. An instant hero, the young man went on to found one of the most prominent and culturally accomplished kingdoms the southern part of India saw, with Sosevur as its capital upon his Guru’s advice.
About 18 kilometers from Mudigere, this village is known today as Angadi and lies nestled between coffee plantations and open fields of the Western Ghats. The Durga temple still stands, as witness to the legend of the Hoysalas. And of their first capital remain the ruins of three temples, dedicated to Lord Keshava, Lord Veerabhadra and Lord Mallikarjuna respectively.
Also Read: Exploring the temples of Belur and Halebidu
A short distance away from the more famous towns of Belur and Halebidu is Belavadi, with the Veera Narayana temple at the centre. Built in the 12th Century, the temple is considered a marvellous example of Hoysala architecture. In many ways, it is like the temples of Belur and Halebidu, but on a smaller scale. You may find a couple of guards, and perhaps an equal number of visitors. However, a visit here is a rewarding experience.
A date with the big cat, at the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Northwest of Chikmagalur lies the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area and a tiger reserve as part of Project Tiger. It has a wide range of flora and fauna and is popular for day outings. Hebbe Giri is the highest peak in the sanctuary. Mammals, other than Tigers, include elephants, gaur, sloth bear, wild boar, black leopard, jungle cats and sambhar, amongst others.
Located on a hillock on the edge of the Bhadra reservoir, near Lakkavali, is the wonderful River Tern Lodge. Part of the Forest Department’s Jungle Lodges and Resorts, it makes for an excellent base camp for exploring the flora and fauna of the sanctuary. A visit to the Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari and to the Sakrebyle Elephant Camp, are great options from the lodge. It also has facilities for kayaking, water trampoline and boating. A pleasant place to visit throughout the year, June to September finds the sanctuary lush and green while the summer months might be a little warm.
Dreamy landscapes at the Hirekolale Lake
Accessed by a narrow bund, this lake is best visited during sunset when the pink and blue hues of the sky reflect brilliantly on its waters. Located 10km away from Chikmagalur, this man-made lake was built to supply waters to areas in and around Chikmagalur. The Mullayangiri Hills provide a picture-perfect backdrop. The best part about the lake is the peace and serenity as it’s not thronged by tourists in the absence of boating facilities.