A trip long time coming – Stay at outskirts of Chikmagalur and a drive to Devi Gudda peak

posted in: JeepAG-Blog | 1

It’s been close to 2 years since we went on a trip to any touristy location. So, when the second wave passed by and the lockdown was relaxed after the covid numbers started going down, we started looking for a window to plan a trip to some place far from the madding crowd. Early July, it was decided that we’d go on a trip to a quiet place with two other families of friends. The hunt for the place and the dates began.

Keeping the current situation in mind, the task was to find a homestay where it will be only us who will be staying and we also decided to avoid any trips to crowded locations during the stay. The whole idea was to disconnect from the civilization while spending time with close friends.

As usual, the search started from team-bhp travelogue section and my friends were collecting information from their known sources as well. Team-bhpian @hemanth.anand suggested that we stay at Bean Aroma Homestay in the outskirts of Chikmagalur. We discussed with the home stay owner and they confirmed that 4 families can stay at their place. They agreed to book the whole place for our group even though we were only 3 families for the stay, which was nice because we had the whole place to ourselves.

 

Day 1:

Plan was to start at 5:00 am in the morning, however there was a slight delay and we started around 5:15am. Considering the pandemic situation, we didn’t want stop anywhere for breakfast. The homestay owner had agreed to prepare breakfast for us to be available whenever we reach. We had taken some snacks to munch on the way in case we got unusually delayed.

There was not much traffic on the road all the way till we reached the Chickmagalur.

We reached A2B by 7:45 am and stopped for a quick restroom break.

It was a 20-minutes stop and we resumed the journey towards Chickmagalur.
Arun Chickmagalur
Our friend’s pooch (Max), enjoying the scenes
After entering the 2-lane Hassan highway, we took random breaks along the way as Max needed breaks. We took the Belur-Gabbalagodu-Malahalli route. I had checked with Parag on the previous day who said that we can take this route, the other option being via Chikmagalur.
Arun Chickmagalur
Scenic 2-lane roads towards Chikmagalur
There was a small stretch of about 3kms which was in a bad shape due to the rains. It was 10:45am by the time we reached Bean Aroma. Piping hot breakfast was waiting for us when we got there.
Arun Chickmagalur
This is the entry to the homestay

Bean Aroma Homestay:

This is in middle of a coffee estate with good open space around the house.

  • Very friendly owners
  • Rooms are big and clean. 3 bedrooms inside the main house and an individual cottage are available.
  • Home-cooked local cuisine for all three meals. Very delicious fare.
  • Lot of open space for the kids to play
  • Shuttle court, open area for free play and lot of indoor games(chess, darts, bow and arrow)

It rained incessantly with few moments of sunshine and the weather was perfect to stay warm indoors with silly games of dumb charades and cards. The owner took us for a walk around his estate and shared lot of information about the spices available there. He is a nature enthusiast and he had lots to tell us about the terrain, the flora and fauna there.

Arun Chickmagalur
The rides, resting after the drive.
Arun Chickmagalur
Incessant rains all through the day
Arun Chickmagalur
And some sunshine to cheer us up
Arun Chickmagalur
Walk through the plantation
The highlight of the stay was the in-house coffee blend they served us on demand. They have their own coffee blend and it makes one of the best filter coffees we’ve ever had. We loved it so much that each of us got our own stash to take back to Bangalore.
Day 2

Apart from the walk around the plantation, there were no plans for the morning hours. So, I took Scarlett out for a quick drive around the town. The roads were deserted and the routes scenic. Felt like a drive through a dense jungle.
Drive to Devi Gudda peak:

This was the most fun part of this trip for me. The owner informed us that only a 4×4 vehicle can venture to this place because this terrain is rough with lot of gravel and very slippery due to the rains and slush. The route also had steep climbs and needed a vehicle with good ground clearance.

There were two routes, one was short (around 2Kms) but tougher to handle. The second route was around 5-6 Kms which was comparatively easier. We took the longer route on the way to the peak. Even in this route, the last 2Kms were quite challenging. During the return we took the shorter route. I was on 4WD mode up and down the hill.
Arun Chickmagalur
Driving towards the peak
Arun Chickmagalur
Scarlett among the greenery
During this last 2Kms, I was on the 1st gear almost throughout. At one spot, there was lot of loose gravel and I slowed down a bit and lost the momentum to climb. The engine turned off immediately. Thankfully I was able to get traction and proceed without any hiccups. At times I had to use the clutch to maintain the momentum.

Apart from the challenging drive, the scenery outside was a dense jungle like terrain. Thankfully, we had enough daylight to not make it feel eerie. The view at the top of the peak was breathtaking. The mist was moving and the visibility was oscillating between next-to-nil and bright daylight in a span of minutes. It was very windy and it started drizzling after a while. We decide it was time to head back and have a hot cup of coffee to end the day and start the evening.
Arun Chickmagalur
Looking down from the top

Here is the dashcam video captured while going towards the view point:

Arun Chickmagalur
Here is a pic from the top
Arun Chickmagalur
Max had fun exploring the new terrain
Arun Chickmagalur
During the return, we took the second shorter route back to the homestay. We had to stop in between for a few minutes as the owner of the homestay who was driving the Mahindra Jeep went ahead on a survey to check if Scarlett can make it in that route, especially after the previous night’s rain. We got the green signal and followed the Mahindra Jeep into the new route.This time the challenge was to maneuver the downward slope on a gravelly stretch. This route was very scenic too.

The dense jungle-like vegetation we went through

Arun Chickmagalur
During one more quick stop when the Mahindra Jeep ahead went to survey a small stretch
Arun Chickmagalur
Drive through the plantation continued

Here is the dashcam video captured during the return from the view point:

Day 3: Return to Bangalore:

The plan was to start around 11:00 am and get takeaway food for lunch on the way. The options were A2B, Malnad Cafe(a bit out of the way) and Swathi Delicacy. We checked with the homestay owners if they’d be willing to cook and pack food for us so that we can avoid a pitstop at a crowded restaurant. They happily obliged and the lunch troubles were sorted out. We started around 11:45 am once the lunch was ready and packed.
We stopped at a roadside clearing with lot of trees near Hassan to have the packed lunch. Thanks to the homestay owners, we could completely avoid stepping into crowded restaurants looking for food on both the onward and the return journeys. We reached Bangalore by 5pm. A perfect trip with great memories. This one will be cherished for a long long time.
Arun Chickmagalur
The traffic was heavy starting from Hassan and the hotels on the way were very crowded too
This trip is extra special because of the strange times we are living in. Last year, we couldn’t think of ever going to a trip without stress. But, to be able to make this trip with good friends to a safe location with all necessary precautions in place is a great memory that will stay with us for a long time.

– Arun

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sarojks117
Saroj (@sarojks117)
August 11, 2021 7:13 am

Good one, detailed and informative