written by - Vipul Vaibhav
My travelogue for the trip to Chikmagalur was long pending. It was one of my first trips after I moved to Bangalore. My colleague was coming with his wife to Bangalore so we decided to take a trip on one of the weekends. There are millions of options to go for 1 day trip near Bangalore. We zeroed in on Chikmagalur as seeing its photo mesmerised us completely. Chikmagalur is a beautiful town nestled in hills and greenery. It's a part of Mullayanagiri range in the western ghats. Best time to visit this town is during the monsoons as the entire hill range drapes the green blanket.
We decided on a weekend to leave for Chikmagalur. I had already booked a homestay after going through a lot of reviews. I asked my friend and his wife to come to my place by 2 AM so that we can leave by early from our place to avoid the traffic on the highway. We finally left at 5 AM. There are two routes from Bangalore. One is via Hassan, and the other is via Arsikere. NH 75 is the highway which one has to take from Bangalore. NH75 continues to Hassan while for Arsikere, you'll have to take a diversion from NH75 towards AH7 at Shettihalli.
The homestay we booked was a little detour from the main road. It was around 2 km inside and the route was through the forests. The ride till homestay was quite thrilling. Its a 150 years old bungalow which has been converted into a homestay. The owners live on the campus and are quite friendly. They served us homemade lunch and dinner which were just amazing. The owners had their own coffee estate within the campus, but we could not go as it was a rainy season and the route was infested with lots of leeches. It was throughout the time we were there so we couldn't go out anywhere and stayed at the homestay only. The view from our cottages was breathtaking. Clouds were wandering just above our heads. If you have time, do not miss Mullyanagiri as it's the highest point in Karnataka and gives a perfect opportunity for watching a spectacular sunset.
We left from Chikmagalur after having breakfast. Google maps took us to really narrow streets as it tries to give the shortest route. Although the road was scary, we found a beautiful lake and spent some time on the banks where local villagers were washing clothes and kids were playing with whatever they had access to. It looked like a scene right out of Malgudi days. We finally took off from here and reached back Bangalore in the night.
It was challenging road trip as I had to be extra cautious on road due to constant rain. The road becomes slippery and it becomes hard to accelerate and brake quickly. Things you need to make sure while driving on a highway and especially during rains are:
1) Make sure the tyres are not over or under-inflated. Use industry standard tyres such as CEAT.
2) Make sure the brakes are working properly.
3) Check the defogger, and headlights are working properly.
4) Maintain controllable speed.
5) If you're feeling sleepy, park the car at a line hotel or somewhere safe and take rest.
We took Hassan route from Chikmagalur which was a single lane bypass. I had to be really cautious of the traffic coming from the other side and manage my speed. I was fortunate that the car was using CEAT Tyres which are made for Indian road and conditions. I'd suggest to stick to Arsikere route and avoid the Hassan bypass route both to and from Bangalore.