The literal meaning of Chikmagalur is ‘Land of the younger (Chikka) daughter (Magalu)’. It is one of the most popular haunts for people in Bangalore looking for a refreshing weekend getaway, full of scenic hills, coffee estates, and waterfalls. The climate here is pleasant throughout the year. However, I would recommend you to visit this place right after Monsoon in September and October, when the hills are lush green and the waterfalls are still strong. If you come here during winter or later, most of the hills may look barren and earthy in colour.
Chikmagalur – Round 1
The first time I went to Chikmagalur, it was for an impromptu pre-wedding shoot for one of my favourite juniors from school days in October 2016. We took a KSRTC state bus in the night to reach Chikamagalur very early morning, only to find no hotels to stay. Luckily we found at least one where we could dump our stuff and change for the shoot.
The journey began with an auto-rickshaw wala who agreed to take us to the scenic locations and patiently wait for us, while we shoot. The rest of the journey was nothing but a shoot, without time to soak in the beauty of this picturesque location.
Photography: I used Canon 5D Mark III with 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens to capture the wide-angle shots.
Chikmagalur – Round 2
The second time I was here in February 2017, it was with my parents, only to relive the pristine beauty I had missed out the first time, due to shoot.
Day 1: As we planned to spend the whole day on the wheels, we chose a very modest hotel to stay. The journey began with the same auto-rickshaw wala taking us to the previous shoot locations, however, this time without an obligation to shoot. Needless to say, I avoided taking a lot of pictures and prioritized on spending quality time with my parents.
Key Stopovers: Hirekolale lake, Baba Budangiri, Z point, and other viewpoints on the way, Manikyadhara Falls and Jhari (or Dabdabe) Falls.
Day 2: The next day, we started way too early in the morning to avoid touristy crowd to reach Mullayanagiri which is the highest peak (6317 ft.) in Karnataka. We could watch the moon setting and sun rising both from the top of this peak. This was probably the best gift I ever gave to my mother on her birthday.
Later on the second day, we also made a quick trip to Belavadi to visit Sri Veeranarayana Temple, a classic example of the Hoysala style of architecture. The temple also has its reference in Mahabharata as the place where Bheema killed Bakasura and protected the villagers. This Thrikutachala (three shrined) temple is one of the largest temples built by the Hoysala kings.
Photography: I relied on my entry-level DSLR camera, Sony Alpha 58 with 18-55 mm kit lens for the photographs.
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