Chikmagalur is considered the place of origin of the Hoysala dynasty. The Hoysalas held sway in the south for more than two centuries and had first shifted their capital from Sosevur to Belur and then to Halebidu. It was during the reign of Vijayanagar Empire that Sringeri in this part rose to prominence as a spiritual center. After the fall of Vijayanagar dynasty, this region was ruled by the local chieftains and subsequently was conquered by Haider Ali to become part of the Mysore Kingdom. After the fall of Vijayanagar dynasty, this region was ruled by the local chieftains and subsequently was conquered by Haider Ali to become part of the Mysore kingdom. After the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the entire area was taken over by British. The region then known as Kadur became Chikmagalur region. Chikmagalur in Kannada means the youngest daughter's town - as it was the dowry for the youngest daughter of Rukmangada, the Chief of Sakrepatna. Another part of the town bestowed on the elder daughter was known as Hiremagalur.
With the Western Ghats forming a natural boundary to the west, the town overlooking the Baba Budangiri Range is endowed with dense forests. Of the seven rivers, originating here the Tunga and the Bhadra are the principal rivers.
It is believed that Baba Budan introduced coffee plantation here with seeds he reportedly brought form Yemen in West Asia. Today it is one of India's major coffee growing areas. The district houses the Central Coffee Research Institute, set up in 1925, covering nearly 120 hectares of area. Chkmagalur is also known for its cardamom, iron ore and forest wealth.
The place is a virgin land full of scenic surprises lofty peaks, hill stations, trekking trails, valleys, captivating cascades along with sacred shrines and the beauty of its coffee plantations.
The Kadur Club is worth a visit for a taste of the provincial colonial life. There are some mounted buffalo heads, tiger skins and some old portraits hanging on the walls of its rooms. The Chikmagalur Golf Club designed by Phil Rayan in 2002 provides accommodation with club house facilities, golfing and fishing in the lake, located in its premises Phone: 08262-656500. Initiated by Lakshmi Venkatachalam, the concept of Coffee Yatra illustrates coffee growing regions of Karnataka, tracks the history of Indian coffee, its different varieties, and development. A one-hour presentation outlining the journey of coffee is interesting Phone: 08262-221432; closed on weekends and holidays.
Ishwara Temple is 5km from there centre of the city is Hiremagalur, a unique temple where image of Sita is to the right of Lord Rama. The Ishwar Temple here has a 8-legged 1.2m high figure of Jademuni. Also worth visit is the Prasanna Balleshwar Temple on a nearby Hillock.
Kemmangundi is about 50km from north of Chikmagalur at a height of 1434m, Kemmangundi is an exceptionally beautiful hill station popularly known as K.R.Hills after Krishnaraja Wodiyar. Set amidst lush green forests it is a charming gateway for it offers panoramic views of mountains and lovely sunsets, and scenic waterfalls. K.R. hills offer many spectacular peaks to trek.
About half an hour climb from the Horticulture Department Guest House is z-point, a vantage point providing view of miles of greenery spread around. Enroute is the stream of Shanti Falls. The ornamental gardens and the nursery maintained by the Karnataka Horticulture Department has rare orchids and exotic flowers.
A 10km trek from Kemmangundi along a steep and narrow path leads you to the sprightly Hebbe Falls. Surrounded by dense forests and coffee plantations, the water gushes down from over 165m in two states to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls). A dip in the water of pool formed by these falls is an enjoyable experience.
Kalahatti Falls is 12km from Kemmangundi. Kalahatti Falls cascade down from a height of 122m from the top of Chandradrona Hill to flow before the 16 century Veerabhadreshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pilgrims from all over throng to the temple for the annual yatra of Veerabhadra during March/April.
The Baba Budan Range
Baba Budan Range is about 28km north of Chikmagalur town. Scenically beautiful Baba Budan Range gets its name from a Muslim sage Baba Budan, who is believed to have introduced coffee to India in 1670. Baba Budan Range has Mullaiyanagiri, the loftiest point over 1900m. The caves here supposedly sanctified by sage Dattatreya and Mata Anusuyya who performed penance here. These caves are venues of annual jatras held in their honor. The shrines of Seetalayana Swamy and Mulappa Swamy lend this place an aura of mysticism.
Near to the Baba Budangiri Range are the famous waterfalls Gada Teertha, Kamana Teertha and Nellikayi Teertha. Both Hindus and Muslims venerate the Imam Dettatreya Peetha and the annual Urs is the biggest event here. A 3-km walk away from the dargah is Gaalikere, meaning Windy Lake.
Ayyanakere is about 18km from northeast of Chikmagalur town at Ayyanakere is a large tank situated at the eastern base of the Baba Budan Range. Built by Rukmangadaraya and renovated in 1156 during Hoysala period it is a big source of irrigation.
Bhadra Wild Life Sanctuary
Bhadra Wild Life Sanctuary is about 30km northwest of Chikmagalur is the tiger reserve of Bhadra. The 'Nature Trail' at Muthodi, a walk through a patch of captivating moist deciduous forest with an exciting and diverse range of wildlife is special attraction of Bhadra wildlife Sanctuary.
Shivgiri, about 50km from Chickmagalur, located above Yemmedoddi offers spectacular views of the valleys and the forested hills. The upward slant of the terrain reaching the peak of Doddabale Siddaragudda (1700m) is through heavy forest and provides an awesome view of the river Bhadra and Lakkavalli Dam to the south, the small village of Yemmedoddi and Baba Budangiri and Madagadakere Lake the west.
The Yemmedoddi forests were once the favored hunting reserve of the British. Big games like tigers and panthers are still sighted here from time to time. The mammals also include sloth bear, wild bar, mouse deer and barking deer etc. Shivgiri teems with a wide variety of birds, including mynahs, babblers, finches and woodpeckers. The Shiva Temple near to the Guest House is believed to be 400 years old and was a place of worship for the last Maharaja of Mysore while on way to his summer resort at Kemmangundi.
Mundre is about 12km from Shivgiri. Mundre offers an excellent opportunity for rock climbing. You can also see the ruins of a 17 century fort built by Madakarinayaa, a chieftain of Chitradurga.
Birur is a railhed about 17km from Shivigri and approachable on road from Chikmagalur via Kadur and from Hassan via Arsikere on NH 206.
Kudremukh is about 95km southwest of Chikmmagalur town, Kudremukh is a trekker's paradise situated at a height of 1894m with verdant forests, rivers, grassy slopes, waterfalls, rare flora, caves and some ancient ruins. The mountain range here is known by the name Kudremukh, literally meaning horse face, because the main peak resembles the face of a horse. Kudremukh is rich in iron ore deposits. A modern township set up by Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KICOL) buzzes with activity. Located just outside the town is 100m high Lakya Dam, an interesting spot to visit in the Kudremukh range. Nearby are the beautiful Kadambi Falls, where the water gushes down from a high of 30m.
Kudremukh National Park
Kudremukh National Park is about 10km from the town, Kudremukh National Park is flanked by coffee and tea estates harbors exotic wildlife and there a as many as 13 trekking routes within the park.
Gangamoola is about 10km away from Kudremukh, Gangamoola is a scenic place located in the evergreen sola rainforest of Bhagawathi from where the three rivers Tunga, Bhadra and Netravathi originate.
At a distance of 20km southeast of Kudremukh is a small town, Kalasa on the banks of tehr river Bhadra having Panchateertha, the five sacred ponds - Rudra Teertha, Vasishta Teertha, Ambat Teertha, Vardha Teertha and the Naga Teertha. Close to Amba Teertha is a large boulder called Bhemana Kallu having a statue of Madhawa perched on its top. Also known as Madhwacharya Bade after Shri Madhwacharya, founder of the Dvaita school of thought. Also worth a visit are the temples of Kaleseshwara and Veera Narayanaswamy. 32km from Kalasa, a Hanumana Gundli waterfall is a place where the water cascades from a height of 333m, amidst picturesque surroundings.
Horanadu is about 28km from Kudremukh is the holy place of Horanadu. It also has nature in all her resplendent glory. The ancient Annapurneshwari Temple also has a recently installed image of Adi Shakti. The legend has it that a person who seeks the blessings of Annapureneshwari would never be short of food. The deity has a prabhavali(halo) which embodies the form of Adi Shesha (the divine serpent). The outer walls of the temple have carvings of sayings from the ancient puranic texts.
The Girijamba Temple about 5km away on a hillock is the site of a popular annual three-day festival celebrating the marriage of Lord Kaleshwara and Goddess Girijamba after Diwali, called Girija Kalyanotsav in the month of November. a procession carrying the gold idol weighing over two kg during the festival is a big draw.
Jamalabad Fort is about 50km from the town of Kudremukh Jamalabad today is known for the fort built by Tipu Sultan in 1794. Named after his mother, the fort has some cannons near the outer walls and it is a great place for watching the sunrise and sunset.
Sringeri is about 90km west of Chikmagalur and 50km from Kudremukh is Sringeri, a small town on the banks of river Tunga. It is home to the famous Sharda Peetham established by Adi Shankaracharya. Along withtehShardamba temple the Vidyashankar Temple is another center of Pilgrimage at this place.
The Hindu festival of Sankara Jayanti is celebrated at Sringeri with great fanfare.
Agumbe is about 27km from Sringeri is Agumbe, famed for its spellbinding sunset views, winding roads and dense forests. It is said to be the most scenic spot across the Western Ghats in monsoon season. The waterfalls of Barkana and the onake Abbi are just spectacular.