Malnad Diaries:

500 kms family road trip exploring the vivid green collection of the Western Ghats.

As usual it was that time of the year where my ship joining was confirmed and was left with only few holidays, so decided to make the best use of it.Monsoon was at its peak and was creating havoc everywhere, we decided to explore the western ghats region, especially the Malnad region.

Experiencing western ghats in monsoon has its own charm.All the water falls enroute pouring at their best and lush mist filled forest and grasslands added to the excitement.So charted a road trip from Mangalore to Chikmagalur via Kudremukh and return via Charmadi ghats. Enroute we had planned to visit one of my aunt at Kalmane coffee estate and spend the night, but they were not available and so we changed our plans.We decided to drive via Kudremukh exploring nearby peaks and finally reaching Chikmagalur and staying in a hotel there and next day to explore all the Chikmagalur peaks  and crash for the day at the Trivik hotel and resorts.Initially it was just me ,wife and kids..later included my dad and mom too as its been ages we went on a holiday together.

So July 30th, we decided to leave Mangalore at around 7 am. As usual kids tantrums and preparing them for the trip was hectic. Finally managed to leave at 9:30am. Driving via Karkala, came across Bolas cashew factory and its outlet in the front…wife decided to shop dry fruits.Wife works for same Bolas software company in Mangalore.Luckily found her boss at  the factory and he offered to have a guided plant tour. We took the offer and explored every corner of the factory..its the Asias 2nd largest and Indias largest factory where they process all kinds of dry fruits and coffee and export it. Well,It was good start for the road trip..when such little surprises comes our way.We left the factory and drove towards Karkala, had to visit wife’s friends house to pick up an item and later we continued our journey towards Kudremukh.

Bolas Cashew Factory Tour

By the time we reached Kudremukh, it was noon time, we took a  diversion to explore the shut down Kudremukh township which is in  dilapidated condition, it was goosebump moments..not a single soul could be seen and felt haunted.No wonder they call it ghost town of Kudremukh. Roads inside the town-ship were confusing…though we followed maps, some internal roads were blocked purposely or blocked because of fallen trees…so google maps went nuts.After many trials, we came out of the maze and drove towards Samse, as wife wanted to click pics at the Samse tea estate which got one small beautiful Ganesha Temple middle of the estate.

Samse Tea Estate

While continuing driving, we found one hanging bridge just after Kudremukh and was pleasantly beautiful.There was one small coffee shop next to it, lady there prepared one of the best filter coffee and masala tea..met two bikers from Bangalore, came to know one of the bikers grandmom stays right next to our apartment in Mangalore.The views from the bridge were enchanting.

Well it was past noon, we had not taken lunch…plan was to reach Kottigehara/Mudigere by noon.Since we left Mangalore late, all timings had gone for toss.Nearing Kalasa, I wanted to explore Kanive/Maidadi view points.Since we were running late, thought will give these viewpoints a miss. Was thinking whether to risk this route with family as the place is secluded.After taking some calculated risk, decided we do this viewpoints.Its an offroad trail leading to amazing view point on the peak.

Ate packed buns,junks which we had carried along and we left for those view points.Its around 20 kms interior route off the main highway after Kalasa.We were very hungry and kids were getting restless.There were no decent hotels around and thought will give a lunch a skip.Luckily we found one small hotel/homestay between Kalasa and Maidadi, run by a family. Aunt there said only chapati,sandwich and omelettes were available. We ordered whatever available there and hogged.Food was fresh,simple and excellent..surprised us.

Kanive/Madadi viewpoints were beautiful and breath taking… small slushy offroad trail posed no threat to endeavour. The view from there was something special, though covered completely with mist, waited for few mins for the mist to clear.Once cleared, the valley view of the western ghats were mesmerising…one can witness Rani Jhari water falls too from this point…through out it was drizzling.


Kanive Offroad
Offroad trail

It was almost late afternoon, we decided to drive non stop to Chikmagalur via Kottigehara. Reached Chikmagalur at 2000 hrs and we checked-in to hotel Blue Pearl.It was a comfortable stay, but restaurant was useless. We decided to go to famous Maharaja restaurant nearby and had our dinner there.Early morning we checked out from hotel at 0800hrs and headed to the famous Town Canteen hotel for some amazing butter masala dosa and gulab jamoon. After having breakfast,we left for Bababudangiri peaks, Dattatreya Peetha…a bit communal sensitive area.Speciality is that,the place is worshipped both by Hindus and Muslims. Further up, we also explored Galikere, Manikyadhaara, Chandradrona peak/lake. You require 4×4 car here as the roads are in bad shape with huge ruts or one can hire jeep.Dry season one can do in cars without 4×4 to some extent.

After exploring all the peaks/falls around Bababudangiri and Manikyadhara ,we left for our final destination Trivik hotels and resorts.This resort was very close to Mullyanagiri peak.Roads leading to resort is very narrow, almost 10 kms and in bad shape.

Trivik Entrance-Heavens Gate

After check-in and having lunch, we went out for coffee trail walk and to explore the property.Its one hell of a luxury property.We had booked family suites, rooms were inter connected and massive.Two families could stay aaram se…specilaity was the jacuzzi overlooking the valleys.

The landscapings were mindblowing. The whole suites (43 nos) are constructed on a slope and its steep. Senior citizens will have hard time walking around the property.They have buggies (Bolero Neo)roaming everywhere inside the property and one can use their services,the hotel staff and their service is top notch.

The infinity pool had majestic views of the valley.We could not use the pool as it was cold.Down below they got a coffee point from where one can witness Mullayanagiri and Bababudangiri peaks.After exploring the property we crashed into our luxury rooms to spend the night.Evenings and early mornings are very cold and those fog covered valleys during monsoon looked amazing and breathtaking.Fog covered silver oak trees gave a magical touch to the valley.

Next day after having breakfast from their complementary exhaustive buffet breakfast spread and spending some more time in the property , we checked out around 12pm and headed towards Chikmagalur town to get our regular coffee powders(Soundarya,Jayanthi and Pandurangas are quite famous coffee powders-Our regular is Soundarya coffee).We planned to visit 1300 years old Kodandarama shree temple.A unique temple where the pooja is performed in Kannada and got some wise life based writings on the walls..pretty interesting temple…temple was under renovation.

Once done with temple and the blessings, we left for Mangalore.On the way,we had decent lunch at one Ibbani cafe after Mudigere, they serve local akki rotti, lemon rice, chapati and neer dosas.After having lunch,we left non stop to Mangalore via Charmadi ghats and reached home at 2000 hrs…concluding our almost 500kms family round trip around Malnad..


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