I had gone to spend a week at a friend’s father’s coffee estate and I was spending most of the time indulging in farm-fresh food and coffee and touring the plantation. Then I met this couple who were also staying at the estate and they told me about their plans for exploring the waterfalls of Chikmagalur. As strange as it may sound, one could actually spend days just visiting the gorgeous waterfalls of this district. And since I was mostly lazing around the estate, I saw this as an opportunity to have some adventure.
Chikmagalur’s hilly surroundings make way for prominent cascades, especially during and after the monsoon. The rain-fed streams and rivers flow down the rocky terrain and render a beautiful sight. And most of these waterfalls are tucked inside dense forests and thick plantations, thus creating interesting hiking opportunities.
Over the next few days of my vacation in Chikmagalur, I visited some of the most panoramic waterfalls. These are some of the most memorable ones, which I would want to visit all over again.
Hanuman Gundi Falls
At about a two-hour drive from Chikmagalur town, lied this picturesque waterfall of Hanuman Gundi. It was inside the Kemmangundi National Park near the town of Kalasa. So the main fall sat inside thick forests of deciduous trees. It seemed like a popular hiking zone with nature trails and rocky terrain. From the main road, we had to climb about 400 meters uphill to reach the catchment.
The Hebbe Falls were actually two waterfalls sitting on the hilly areas of Kemmannagundi. The smaller cascade ChikkaHebbe was separated midway from the bigger one, DoddaHebbe by a rocky landing. The road that led to the waterfalls was one of the most challenging trails in the region. We had to walk for 13 KM through the forest and took us half the day. But it was definitely a scenic trail through the woods and sighting of spotted deer. The spring water of the Hebbe Falls is believed to have curative properties. The frothy water was tempting enough to take a dip and we had to tiptoe over the steep rocks.
Another 10 KM from Kemmanagundi, lied the Kalhatti Falls, also called the Kallathigiri Falls. The highlight of this waterfall was that, apart from being a scenic nature locale, it was also a religious site. An old temple sat right in the middle of the cascades tucked among the rocks. It was dedicated to god Veerabhadra and appeared to be a sacred site for local pilgrims. One had to cross the water on foot to reach the temple. It was overall a splendid sight to watch the streams dropping from a height of 122 meters on either side of the temple and the entire place seemed to be floating on water.
This was quite a bit of a drive from Chikmagalur and took us three hours to reach. Due to the distances, its always better to book a reliable and dependable Bangalore to Chikmagalur cab. The waterfall was nested inside the Kudremukh National Park, surrounded by hilly bluffs and coffee plantations. Being a national park, there were options for jungle camping and safari. The pond at the bottom of the falls was also a regular watering hole for the animals.
Located at about 25 KM from Chikmagalur, this waterfall sat amidst the famous Bababudangiri Hills. Its name could be translated as ‘string of pearls’, and indeed the frothy, misty torrents looked like a free flowing stream of pearls, rolling down the green foliage of coffee plantations and shola trees.
At an hour’s drive from the town, en route to Z point, was this beautiful set of waterfalls. They were more like narrow streams of water clustered together against thick forests. The day we went to see this falls, it had rained in the morning, and the waterfall area was misty and green, with a fresh, rain-washed look. It was more like a perfect picnic spot than an adventure zone.
Each of these waterfalls had their own story of the origin or a mythological anecdote associated with them, making our experience all the more intriguing!…
Chikmagalur might be known for its rich coffee plantations, but there’s a lot more to the natural landscape of this beautiful hill town of Karnataka. Hidden underneath the heady aromas of coffee and spices, I discovered the other wonders of Chikmagalur, which made me see the ‘Coffee Land of Karnataka’ in a refreshingly new way.
- If you want to experience the ultimate beauty of Chikmagalur’s waterfalls, visit during or right after the monsoon, when the streams and rivers overflow, making the cascades more prominent.
- If you are traveling in a large group, you can easily get a comfortable tempo traveler for rent in Bangalore.
Always take precaution when hiking or bathing near steep slopes of waterfalls, especially during the rains.