Kemmannagundi is actually a single, secluded hill that’s been successfully posing as a hill station ever since Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar IV made it his summer haven in 1932. It’s compact charms – views, waterfalls, gardens, all in a day’s work – make it one of the most fun-filled holiday destinations from Bengaluru. Every Saturday families head for this getaway that still carries the grand title of Krishna Rajendra Hill Station.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

The 61-km ride from Chikmagalur to Kemmannagundi is replete with views of sprawling coffee estates shaded with silver oaks. The Horticulture Department Guest House is thick with flowers and a lawn that invites you to put your feet up and unwind in the garden over a cup of tea.

Still, the 4,705-ft-high Krishna Rajendra Hill manages to provide its visitors almost everything a full-fledged hill station does. There’s the rock garden within the guesthouse premises maintained by the Horticulture Department. The Kallahati Falls (10 km), also known as Kalahasti Falls, descend from a height of 122 m and are quite pretty. It’s a lovely place for a picnic lunch. You could take a short trek to the Hebbe Falls (8 km), but don’t attempt swimming here. And then there’s Z Point, a good place from which to watch sunsets. The place is popular with trekkers.

Satish Kumar
The pretty Hebbe Falls, Chikmagalur
The pretty Hebbe Falls, Chikmagalur

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

In Kemmannagundi proper, the hilltop Horticulture Department Guest House (Tel: 08261-237126; Tariff: 600-1,680) is the only option. Most of the rooms here are ordinary. There is a restaurant as well. But Raj Bhawan (Tel: 237126; Tariff: 1,680), right on top, has fantastic views and adequately furnished large rooms. Located a few kilometres away from the town, Ozone Valley (Cell: 09448971207, 07353706047; Tariff: 1,800 per person) is a beautiful hill resort amidst coffee plantations.

The food served at the Horticulture Department’s Guest House in Kemmannagundi is not all that great. Bring snacks because there are no shops nearby. Try dilpasand from any roadside stall, a heavy bread filled with sweetmeats and coco nut.

When to go Just after the rains, from mid- September to February Location This hill station gazes down on the coffee-covered Malnad slopes Air Nearest airport: Bajpe near Mangalore and Bengaluru Rail Nearest rail: Birur

THE INFORMATION

Tourist Offices

Department of Tourism

Government of Karnataka

No. 49, Second Floor, Khanija Bhavan

Race Course Road, Bengaluru

Tel: 080-22352828

W karnatakatourism.org,

KSTDC

Central Reservation Office

Badami House, NR Square, Bengaluru

Tel: 43344334/ 37

Cell: 08970650070

W karnatakaholidays.net

KSTDC

A One-Stop-Shop

No 8, Papanna Lane

St Mark’s Road

Bengaluru

Tel: 43464351/ 53

Jungle Lodges & Resorts

GF, West Entrance, Khanija Bhavan

Race Course Road

Bengaluru

Tel: 40554055

W junglelodges.com

Tourist Information Counter

Bengaluru International Airport

Devanahalli. Cell: 08970650072

Kempegowda Bus Station

(Majestic) Bengaluru Tel: 22356246

Cell: 08970650075

Department of Tourism

Govt of Karnataka, KSTDC Hotel Complex

Ramdurgi Road, Badami

Tel: 08357-220414