In 1650 a Sufi saint planted the first coffee saplings in the Chikmagalur district and helped create India’s finest coffee estates. These plantations in turn were nurtured and expanded by the British in the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Today Indian planters and corporations own hundreds of acres of Arabica and Robusta plantations that cover the slopes of the hills. Pepper vines entwine over the silver oaks that provide shade to the coffee shrubs.
This is the district where the crescent –shaped Baba Budanagiri Range stretches for 80 km rising majestically to an average height of 1500-1900m and blending with the Western Ghats, designated as one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world.
This is the free range of the endangered tiger, bonnet macaque, gaur, elephant, spotted deer and nilgai.Over 250 bird species over 300 precious medicinal plants and herbs, orchids and flowers and varieties of bamboo and timber trees flourish here. This is also the home of the great Bhadra River that begins as a series of streams on the hills and then tumbles onto the plains.
The Jagra Valley nestles between these hills. Trekking in these hills is sheer joy. In a matter of few hours one experiences a microcosm of different textures and sights like lichens and moss that cling to the rocks to the dry deciduous sholas and grasslands.
The trek starts from Chikmagalur leading to Kemmannagundi where coffee estates dot the landscape. Three km from there at Sarpanadari arch you can take the trail to Mullaiyanagiri peak. You will find laterite caves enroute with colonies of rat. Follow the path as it winds uphill. At 1500 km one reaches the near the peak from where 50 plus stone steps will lead you to Shiva temple. The hill is memorable in the monsoon when winds reaching 60-80 kmph whip across the hill and the rain falls with vigor into the cliff face. From Kemmannagundi the trek goes to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. There are number of trails heading north-west to Z point where one can get a panoramic view of the jungles covering the Western Ghats.You can see Hebbe Waterfalls and Kalhatti Falls located at the distance of 5 km. From the falls the trek leads to the hamlet of Muthodi and the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. There is a camp site at Muthodi where you can rest.
September to May
Chikmagalur District in West Karnataka
How to Reach
For Baba Budangiri trek make Chikmagalur your base. For Chikmangalur the nearest airport is Bangalore. By rail the nearest railhead is Birur and Tarikere.By road take NH4 to Nelamangala,NH 48 to Hassan via Kunigal and Channarayapatna and state road to Chikmagalur and the Baba Budangiri Hills.