Chikmagalur : The Mocha Mountains

If you are a coffee lover, you wouldn't be able to resist visiting this charming little town. Even if coffee is not your weakness, this lush green town should be your next destination.

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Chikmagalur, lying in the windward side of the coffee hills of Malnad, is a landscape designed by rain. Situated on the southern edge of Karnataka's border, it's beauty is an apt. forward to Kerala.

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On this route it's easy to keep the driver caffeinated (which is always a good idea) but not so easy to nicotine him especially if he's brand-particular. But as for Chikmagalur, and the unfriendly petrol pump attendant slips into a First World act. Wiping hands, he will don disposable plastic gloves and proceed to serve excellent machine-brewed stuff in golden-yellow Coffee Cups. The prices makes a statement too. At 5 INR coffee, is cheaper than Tea in Chikmagalur.

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When the coffee industry was thrown to market forces in 1996, farmers here had a tough time of it, but in competing they also found that they grow some of the world's best coffee. So, circling the dusty, ordinary Chikmagalur are hills that bring the most finicky coffee buyers to India every year.

Owners of these coffee plantations keep organising visits , where they will brief you about coffee , it's making process, it's history and Everything else. You will for sure, get to have some hot and freshly brewed Coffee too.

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The roads start climbing as soon as you leave the town and pass many hills shaded with silver oaks that cover the coffee trees underneath. One such road leads to Kemmannagundi, erstwhile summer get-away of King Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar, whose retreat has been expanded into a humble hotel now.

And a different road from Chikmagalur leads to what could be a different country : Kudremukh. The drive to Kudremukh is even lovelier than beaches. The change in landscape is so unexpected. Coffee trees are drenched in white blossoms here.

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Alongside are tea plantations, jackfruit, areca palms, cardamon and mango. There is an ease to life in these parts that is obvious in the freshly painted village houses and clean streets. The 95 kms drive ends in the pretty town of Kudremukh, developed entirely by the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company (KIOCL).

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Most of the places to see in this area have their own dots on the district map which means a lot of driving. One should not miss Nature Craft, which sells clocks, furniture and artefacts fashioned from coffee wood. And the Giant Bamboo that grows over a foot a day is also found here.

Post script : The forests here are very thick and so sightings are not frequent.

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Chikmagalur, is a retreat for everyone. Be it an adventure lover, a religious person or a nature enthusiast. To know more about the highlights of Chikmagalur, check out Chikmagalur Travel Guide.

So, let's meet over a cup coffee at Zostel Chikmagalur, and spend our days in the laps of nature.

To book visit, www.zostel.com

Crafted By, Anushka Arora


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