Chikmagalur commonly known as Land Of Coffee has altogether a different outlook to it which I was able to experience when I visited the place sometime back. Situated in the backdrop of Mulayanagiri range, the small town offers a soothing retreat amidst the coffee plantations.
It was almost dawn when we reached the bus depot after an adventurous bus ride from Hospet. Living by the travelling style I have, life is never complete without its share of adventures. Having no prior bookings my fears gradually augmented. After little research we comforted ourselves with the thought of camping at a neighboring lake.
Hirekolale Lake is a huge expanse of water located in the depths of dense forests and overlooked by the protective range of Mulayanagiri hills.
When I first lay eyes on the lake, I could feel the adrenaline rushing through me. Being in the middle of nowhere with no souls around somewhat added thrill and craziness to my current state of dementedness. The lake was a beauty in itself, quaint and unperturbed with blanket of mist summoned over it.
We relaxed in our pitched tents after our bodies gave up from the ceaseless travelling from the last couple of days. For rest of day, we planned to hike the Mulayanagiri and Bababududangiri peaks. After a long wait of 3 hours we were informed by some locals that there were no further buses going to the destination. Sharing the auto with a fellow traveler we met at the bus stand, we started off with our journey. We hiked for about 2 hours to reach at the top of the hill overlooking the vast impenetrable wilderness on one side and the urbanization on the other.
On our way back we bid adieu to our new friend and headed back to the lake for camping. It was dark when we arrived at the gates of the lake. Taking out our flashlights we started pitching the tent in the silence of the night with billions of stars accompanying us.
Strolling under the stars, singing Bollywood Songs was surely a Walk to Remember.
The nights being cold, unequipped I laid off to sleep. Morning was pristine with cool breeze kissing my face as I took a stroll on the road built just next to the lake. We had a short conversation with the priest who came to visit the temple at the other end of the lake. As the sun started rising, we started receiving a lot of visitors usually young lads working out.
Fact file – Chickmanglur
– The lake is approximately 12 kms from the main city and would require either an auto or cab to reach there and with use of some good bargaining skills, you would be able to get hold off an auto for 100 bucks only.
– Formed in the heart of the jungle, Hirekolale Lake is not really a place for the weak hearted. It is suggested to take precautions if you are planning to camp there at night or even planning a short visit. As they say, Better Safe than sorry
– If on a budget travel there are local buses available for Mulayanagiri, However strangely noted, these buses will start their journey only if there is a minimum no of passengers. The buses are available after every 2 hours but it is suggested to confirm the timings from the locals.
– Identity proofs will be submitted the check post once you enter the wildlife sanctuary and can be collected on the way back.
– Eateries can be found at the local shops on the foothills of the Mulayanagiri peak in case you want to binge on some food after the hike.
Also read: 3C’s Coffee, Conversations and Chickmanglur for following my further journey into the coffee farms.