A visit to Chikmagalur had been in my bucket list for a long time and finally we made a plan to visit it in the month of August. For many, visiting Chikmagalur in the month of August would not be ideal as the South-West monsoon would still be active. Downpours during the monsoon are heavy to very heavy and thus would not be an ideal setting for exploring the place. But for us, visiting the western ghats during monsoon highlights the rich and diverse landscape that this wonderful place has to offer.
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Chikmagalur is a town which is located in the Chikmagaluru district in Karnataka, India. It is located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range and is famous for the favorable climate and coffee estates. It is around 250 Kms from Bangalore and hence is a perfect weekend getaway destination for travel enthusiasts based out of Bangalore and surrounding areas. Our plan was to stay in Chickmagalur for 2 nights / 3 days and explore the places. As we were travelling with out 1 year old kid, we did not have a packed agenda. The places that we were planning to visit were, Mullayanagiri peak, Halebidu and Chennakesava temple in Belur.
We did not have any second thoughts about the route that we were going to take while driving from Bangalore to Chikmagalur. Our plan was to start at around 8:00 AM and reach Chikmagalur at around 1:00 PM – ideal time to check-in in resorts. The route that we chose and would recommend to anyone driving from Bangalore to Chikmagalur:
Bangalore -> Nelamangala -> Channarayapattana -> Hassan -> Belur -> Chikmagalur
Few last minute chores at home (thanks to our little one) meant we could not leave our home at 8:00 AM. We finally managed to leave our home at around 9:30 AM and took the NICE road to reach Tumkur road. NICE road is a boon to people travelling from South Bangalore and one can reach Tumkur road in around 30 minutes. It would easily take more than an hour to reach Tumkur road, if one has to drive through the city.
Tip: Ensure that you leave Bangalore as early as possible to avoid the morning peak hour traffic. If you are planning a trip during a long weekend, you should be hitting the road no later than 6:00 AM, else you would be stuck for almost 30 minutes at the Nelamangala toll.
Since we were travelling on a weekday, the traffic on the highway was relatively thin and we were able to reach the Nelamangala toll within an hour. Since we had started pretty late, I was a bit worried about long queues that one would find at the Nelamangala toll. Thankfully, since we were driving on a Monday morning, there was not much traffic at Nelamangala toll.
The roads from this junction till Hassan are in excellent condition and it is a 4-lane all the way till Hassan ( there is 10 odd kilometer stretch in between where the road becomes a 2 lane). We had taken this highway during our trip to Mangalore couple of years back knew what to expect. We were able to maintain an average speed in the range of 90-100 KM/hr.
En-route to Hassan there are many eating joints that you can find along the highway. The ones that I found family friendly and neat were: Couple of CCD outlets, Upsouth and A2B (In the order that you will find them as you drive from Bangalore to Hassan). We had stopped at the CCD outlet last time around when we were driving to Managalore, but skipped it this time around as the little one was peacefully sleeping in her seat. The A2B joint that we stopped this time around is a realtively new one which we did not find last time around and is right opposite to the Kamat hotel which was one of the landmark eating joints in this route 5 years back.
We had a good lunch at A2B (co-ordinates: 12.9612497,76.3297731) which is around 30 kilometers before Hassan and continued our drive and were able to reach Hassan at around 12:30PM.
There is a stretch before you reach Hassan where the road becomes a two lane highway which is also in pretty good condition. You can easily maintain 80-90 Km/hr on this road, unless you might get stuck behind some slow moving vehicle. Be a bit alert about this transition from 4-lane to a 2 lane highway as I found many driving overtaking me at high speeds on the wrong lane, only to find oncoming traffic in their lane.
Continue on the Hassan by-pass road and keep an eye on the junction where you need to take a right. (co-ordinates 12.9954955,76.0882359). The road would join the old Bangalore – Mangalore highway (after you will cross a railway line) where you would need to take a left. Continue on this road till you reach the signal where you need to take a slight right to reach the Belur road.
Belur road is a state highway and is in pretty good condition – though you will find those occasional pothole or two. Would recommend you not to over-speed on these roads, as the potholes at high speeds can cause serious damages to your vehicle. I was able to maintain a decent speed of around 80Km/hr on these roads. It was a very scenic drive and did not mind the leisurely drive.
Keep driving on the Belur road and you would reach Belur in around 45 minutes. At the Nehru Nagara circle take the second exit to continue your drive to Chikmagalur. The road heading towards right would take you to Halebidu.
Chikmagalur is around 27 kilometers from this junction and you should be able reach during destination in about 30 minutes. The roads are in decent condition with the occasional bad stretch.
Toll road information:
- NICE road toll – Bannerghatta to Tumkur road – Rs 120 – 9:55 AM
- Tumkur road toll – Rs 20 – 10:22 AM
- Nelamangala Toll – Rs 41 – 10:35 AM
- Bellur Cross Toll – Rs 41 – 11:23 AM
- Devihalli Toll – Rs 40 – 11:35 AM
- Hassan Toll – Rs 35 – 12:56 AM (includes around 30 minutes lunch break)
We reached Chikmagalur at around 2:30 PM – a 5 hour drive from Bangalore with an 30 minutes Lunch break at A2B. The drive was very relaxing and the beautiful landscape all around should keep you in high spirits during the journey. Chikmagalur during the month of August has very pleasant weather – it was very windy though during our entire stay.
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