Chikmagalur -More than a hill station -Hoyasala Dynasty Temples

We are so used to travelling when ever we get time however due to office work, we had long gap this time. Our feet were itching for a long drive and vacation due to extended weekend of good Friday.

We decided to make Chikmagalur our next travel destination. This destination was ideal in all sense as we want to relax and enjoy quality time with family and kids.

Chickmagalur, the name literally means ‘Younger Daughter’s Town’. It is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna.

Chikmagalur is a calm, serene town full of scenic surprises, hills, valleys, streams and snow-white coffee blossoms. Situated 270 kms from Bangalore, Chikmagalur is a trekker’s delight, with its rugged mountain trails. We did not choose to trek as small kids accompanied us.

We all were ready to enjoy the long drive but thought of hiring Temp traveler so that all 4 families can stay together and have more fun.

Day 1, 10.04.09, we started our journey on Friday in Tempo Traveller at 7.30 AM from my home at Kundalahalli, Bangalore.

We planned to start early to avoid traffic on NH4 and have to pick 3 more families on the way. The route was NH4, Bangalore-Pune highway and at Nelmangala junction take left and go on Bangalore-Mangalore state highway.

Anyway, on the way we picked Sandip, Dinesh and Bharani and around 8:30 AM, we stopped for breakfast at Adigas Banargatta.

After breakfast we actually started our journey. We had decided to see places like Hemavathi dam, Belur and Halivedu temple which are on the way.

We played movie CARS in the vehicle DVD player so that kids can enjoy and have fun.

After Channarayapatna, we stopped at Café Coffe day for a break and had coffee there.

After 15 20 minutes we resumed our journey and approached Hassan. We took a left turn from highway and were heading to see Hemavathi dam but few guys felt that better to go directly to Belur temple as it is too hot outside.

So we decided to go direct to Belur Temple as kids were hugry too byt his time.

We came back to Mangalore highway and passed Hassan. Few kms after Hassan, we took a right turn to join Chikmagalur highway. The drive was excellent but the weather was hot and it was bit humid.

We could see lots of farms where mangoes are grown and the potatoes were in their full bloom.

Soon we approached Belur which is enroute to Chikmagalur.
belur Temple
Belur in Hassan district (222 kms from Bangalore and 38 kms from Hassan) is famous for its magnificent Hoysala Temple Complex. The Chennakeshava temple here was completed in 1116 by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana to commemorate his victory over the Chola. It took 103 years to complete. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes-with no portion left blank. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers nothing was left uncarved.

For more details you can visit following site When we reached Belur it was almost 3PM but the temple was still open. However we all were hungry so we decided to have lunch first and later to go to temple. It is really hard to get any good restaurant in Belur however we find one average restaurant who was ready to serve ala-cart menu at that time as well.

It took long to finish our lunch and now kids were energetic and enthusiastic for more drive and fun.

Once we entered the temple we were wonder struck at the beauty we saw.

The carvings so perfect.

perfect carving - u can feel it

perfect carving - u can feel it

Such intricat e carvings are so rare to see especially those of shila balikas.

Darpana Sundari in the picture below Guide there explained that carving of one shila balike would have taken years together as even a minutest detail was to be expressed well in the carvings. They would never compromise on perfection.

Darpana Sundari

Darpana Sundari

Stone Pillar leaning on one side

Stone Pillar leaning on one side

Above is the stone pillar which is standing without any support. It is leaning on one side and it’s possible to insert a sheet of paper at the base to prove it. Some more photos of Belur temple below After having seen such an magnificent temple so rich in its carvings we headed to Chikmagalur and from there to our resort around 10-15 kms away.

Kids resting in belur temple

Kids resting in belur temple

However we reached to our resort at 5:30 pm and had a little fight as resort people have given our cottages to some one else. Anyway, we checked in and stretched our legs after a long journey. Most of us had a bath and met again for tea near about 7:00 PM.

Enjoying morning freshness at resort

Enjoying morning freshness at resort

Day 2, 11.04.09

Today we wanted to visit Kalhathgiri falls, Kemmanagundi hill and Hebbe falls station and some other locations near by (resort gusy gave us the map). We started in morning after breakfast however on the way to kemmanagundi hill we found that we all are exhausted and it is not easy to got to Hebbe falls with kids. However, we had to drop plans of going to Hebbe falls as it needs trekking for 2 Kms with kids it would be very difficult.

on the way to kemnagundi

on the way to kemmanagundi

view on the way to kemnagundi

view on the way to kemmanagundi

Now, our next stop is Kemmanagundi. 260 Kms from Bangalore is Kemmanagundi, a scenic hill station on the Baba Budan range of hills. Kemmanagundi is also known as K.R. Hills after Wodeyar King, Krishnaraja Wodeyar who had made it his favourite summer camp. Kemmanagundi, at a height of 1,434 meters, is surrounded by thick forests and a salubrious climate the year. It has beautifully laid hills and well maintained ornamental gardens and panoramic view of the mountains.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the drive to Kemmanagundi as the view below with greater height. We could see the very little mist covering the mountains gradually. We reached Kemmanagundi and saw there were so many people and hardly any place to find peace.

We had lunch at Kemmanagundi and Its better to carry food as there are very few options there. There is a guest house maintained by Horticulture department, other than that there are no shops/restaurants on the hill (this is the drawback of having tourist place in Karnataka. You will never get proper food and water)

Anyway, after having lunch what ever was available we started towards one small garden for kids but it was very hot so decided to move directly towards Z point and very small water fall on the way.

walking towards Z point

walking towards Z point

Kids, ladies and we all were very tired after a 3-4 KM walk under such a hot Sun that unable to walk. After walking for few more meters we found one Tata Sumo parked there and driver was sleeping inside. We negotiated with that guy (he came with family who gone for trekking further up) to drop us till our vehicle is parked and he obliged us at a very nominal price.

We started back towards our resort at 2:30 PM. Kemmanagundi is 10 Kms from Kalhatti falls. The route we took was different by which we went up in morning.

It was not that bad and we took left from the main road to reach Kalhathgiri falls also called Kalhatti falls. The drive to this place was very scenic and we enjoyed the greenery around. We also saw a colorful village fair (some pooja) on the way.

Located 10 kms before Kemmanagundi, at Kalhatti Falls, also known as Kalahasti falls, the water cascades down from a height of 122 metres. All around are fascinating scenic delights.

kalihatti falls

kalihatti falls

An bird’s eye view of this beautiful place. Notice the falls at the top. There is also a local temple here constructed in a gap between rocks. You will have to wade through the waters from the falls over the rock which looks like an elephant to reach the temple as you can see below.Kids wanted to play in the stream above as we waited here for some time so that kids have a nice time in water without getting wet.

Vehicle stops due to broken belt

Vehicle stops due to broken belt

The weather was bit cloudy but humid. We started towards our resort at 3:30 in afternoon from falls and around 4:00 PM driver of tempo traveler have stopped the vehicle at a isolated patch because of belt got broken.

doing kar seva and getting fresh water

doing kar seva and getting fresh water

We tried our best along with driver to resolve the problem but unable to do so. Anyway we decided to stop some vehicle to drop ladies and kids to resort as all of water and snacks is also over by this time.

Luckily one taxi stopped and dropped all the ladies, kids and myself to resort (Dinesh, Sandip, Bharani stayed back with driver).

Anyhow driver did something and brought the vehicle to Chikmagalur and guys found some workshop/mechanic and get the belt right in place.

God was on our side and we took a right decision and get taxi at the right time before pressing the panic button.

Anyway, we reached resort at 8:30 in night and after taking bath we asked all the kids to finish food. Other 3 guys reached resort at 10:00 PM.

Day 3, 12.04.09

Today our plans was to start back for Bangalore as we wanted to visit Helibedu temple and Shravanabealagole
on the way but bad dreams of last evening is still following us and driver gave us the bad news that vehicle is still not perfect so I asked him to go to chikmagalur and make it ready and come back by 10:30. He came back at 11:00 AM.

Our resort was full of Mango, cheeku trees so we all picked some for home by the time vehicle came back.

Luckily vehicle came back on time and we started our backwards journey at 11:00 PM. We reached Helibedu temple near about 1:00 PM and amazed to see such a beautiful temple.

helebidu temple

helebidu temple

Helebidu temple side view

Helebidu temple side view

This temple belongs to the masterpieces of Hoysala architecture. Built in 1121 A.D.Presiding deity lord shiva –Hoysaleswara, though not much damage has been done to the sculptures through ages. Panels of sculptures ,depicting important episodes from great epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha,and images of Hindu gods are carved from the stones which are of surpassing beauty.A visual feast!Observe the ornaments and jewellery,physical features,armoury, beauty of dancing girls etc.

kids having fun and enjoying

kids having fun and enjoying

I would suggest to visit Helebidu in the morning and Belur in the evening because sculptures are on the outerwalls of the temple at Helebidu while at Belur sculptures are inside the temple which are to be seen with the help of focus light. While daylight will help for photography at Helibedu perfect photography is not possible at Belur because of poor indoor light conditions inside the temple.

Big Nandi at Helebidu

Big Nandi at Helebidu

I bought few small metal sculptures of God from this temple and they are very beautiful.

We reached Hassan near about 2:00 and had lunch there and after lunch no one was in a mood to visit Shravanabealagole because it has been told to us that nothing is visible there from ground and you have to climb to see anything.

So we decided better to go back direct to Bangalore and as usual Tumkur road traffic has eaten 2 hours in evening and we reached home by 9:30 in night.

General Information for travellers

1. Accessibility to Chikmagalur
Chikmagalur is 270 kms From Bangalore
From Bangalore by Train
: Bangalore- Tumkur – Arasikere – Kadur.

Kadur is the nearest railway station to Chikmagalur.
By Express Train 3 hours running time to Kadur.
From Kadur 45 minutes journey by bus/taxi to Chikmagalur.

If the train is of non-stop at Kadur, then Birur is the next nearest railway station.
From Birur 50 minutes journey by bus/taxi to Chikmagalur.

From Bangalore by Road (Both Private and KSRTC Buses are available)

Buses are available via Bangalore – Hassan – Belur- Chikmagalur (5 hours 30 minutes/ 5 hours)
Buses are available via Bangalore – Arasikere – Kadur – Chikmagalur (5 hours 30 minutes / 5 hours)

2. Places to see around Chikmagalur
– Mulyanagiri – 12 kms
– The Baba Budan Range – 28 kms
– Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary – 30 kms
– Shivagiri Trails – 50 kms
– Kemmanagundi – 54 kms
– Hebbe Falls – 10 Kms from Kemmanagundi
– Kallathigiri Falls – 10 kms from Kemmanagundi
– Kudremukh (Horse Face) – 95 kms


  • Faye says:

    I like the work you’ve done on your site – are you having fun with it? It’s interesting and well worth the time to visit.

  • Vivek says:

    Well I have concentrated more on these temples in my trvaelogue as you will find so much of information on chikmagalur but very rare to find detail informtion on these beautiful temples which are pride of India.

    • Satish Nair says:

      Ooops i replied to someone else earlier.

      Anyway, Good one Vivek bhai.. we are planning to visit this place soon. BTW, we are working in the same organization :)

  • Justin says:

    Hi I’m Justin I’m new to blogging just like to say I like your site plan to come back.

    • Satish Nair says:

      Good one Vivek bhai.. we are planning to visit this place soon. BTW, we are working in the same organization :)

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Very interesting Vivek. Pictures are beautiful and the gem among the pictures are that of the kids having fun.

  • Technically speaking belur and halebeedu belongs to hassan district. But hoysala temple which is in amruthapura belongs to chikmagalur. I enjoyed your article

  • Divya says:

    Could you please let me know the resort where you stayed? We are planning a trip in March 13 and will be taking our 2 yr old daughter along.

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