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It’s a wide world – 2 : Kemmangundi

| Photo Essays | September 27, 2012

December is the time when people in the IT industry embark upon their great migration across the country motivated partly by the need to use up their quota of paid-vacation.

I too had a 2 week vacation time pending, so I took it! Dec 19 to 21 was the time slot when I could manage to drag a few friends into my plan. After a bit of search, we zeroed in on Kemmangundi. And for good reason – the weather at that time of the year is sublime!

Perfect postcard landscapes, blue skies dotted with fluffy little white clouds – ah, just divine!

Also, Kemmangundi is filled with lush vegetation, little water streams in the hills, ornamental gardens and several valley views.

Route from Bangalore:

There are 2 routes one can take:

Bangalore – Tumkur – Birur – Lingadahalli – Kemmangundi (250 kms)
Bangalore – Hassan – Belur – Chikamagalur – Kemmangundi (290 kms)

Although the second route is longer, it is very scenic, especially the Chikamagalur – Kemmangundi stretch. One can take one of the routes on the onward journey and return via the other route. This gives a good opportunity to explore along both routes, if one is an avid traveller.

Outlook traveller’s magazine describes the Chikmagalur – Kemmangundi drive in an interesting sentence – “The exotic and scenic drive from Chikmagalur to Kemmangundi is like viewing beautiful panaromas on a violent shaky television” – that sums it up. Bad bad roads!

Even though the drive is rocky, every now and then, one will see something that makes one stop, get down, stare in awe and click away! So, do take time along this stretch – be prepared for bad roads, but the nature lover in you will not be disappointed one bit.

Accommodation:

There are several hotels/resorts that dot the route to Kemmangundi. But in Kemmangundi itself, the only accommodation available is hosted by the government horticulture department. They have a couple of guest houses. In summer, it would be advisable to call ahead and reserve, but one should not have much problem in monsoon/winter (off season – although, be prepared for harsh weather during these seasons). They have a canteen for food, but otherwise very little choice for food/shelter.

Places to visit nearby:

1. Z-Point

Situated at a distance of ~2.5kms from the guest house, it can be reached by a small hike/trek. This hike takes one through lush vegetation and some rugged terrain.

It is highly recommended to visit Z-point during early morning/late evening. The magical light during these times coupled with 360 deg view of the pristine surroundings and strong gushing winds will surely take your breath away. Be sure to carry strong flashlight(s) since it will be pitch dark before sunrise and after sunset. Any avid nature lover worth his/her salt would enjoy the exhilirating experience of hiking/trekking this path under millions of stars!

2. Hebbe falls

Situated at a distance of ~8kms from the guest house, it is reachable only by a Jeep (rough rough terrain!) and a small hike through dense vegetation. Once you get there, you witness water cascading down from a height of ~240ft. It is insanely soothing to sit on a damp boulder with the sound of the lashing water in your ears. Give it a try, you will see what I am trying to say here :).

3. Baba budangiri/Mullyanagiri

The famous two peaks in Karanataka are within driving distance from Kemmangundi. We could not visit these due to time constraints.

There are lot of places worth visiting around the Kemmangundi area. It needs at least 3 days to explore this place at leisure. I prefer to visit this place during off-season because there’ll be less amount of crowd, easily available accommodation and one gets to see nature in its full glory!

Visit once and I guarantee you will want to go back again and again!

About the author:

Srinivasa S is an avid photographer who loves to travel when he is not busy slogging with his computer at his day job in an IT company. He loves nature and its abundant landscapes and needs no reason to travel. Give him a couple of days off and you will find him getting busy with his DSLR, lenses and backpack. He also writes at www.photomithra.in.

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