Situated at an altitude of 1434 meter, Kemmangundi (also known as KR hills) had been a favorite destination of wodeyar dynasty of Karnataka due to its salubrious climate through-out the year. This hill range is also known for its unique beauty in respect of geological and geographical exposures. In recent years, Kemmangundi started luring a large number of trekkers and wild life enthusiasts. Being undocumented and unknown for years, the hidden treasure of Kemmangundi hills are now astounding the explorers. Kemmangundi is also an important reserve of Iron ores in Karnataka.
Lush green landscape near Kemmangundi
Journey in brief
Caught Shimoga express from Bangalore that reached Tarikere early in the morning
Booking in sleeper compartment is easy in this train
Getting a bus from Tarikere is a pain. Not frequent connectivity
By Auto (150Rs)
Trek to Hebbe Falls
Trekking map Chikmagalur
A=Tarikere, B= Kemmangundi, C= Baba Budan Giri, D= Mullayanagiri, E=Chikmagalur
How to reach Kemmangundi:
Captivating Surroundings near kemmanagundi
Bangalore-Birur- Lingadahalli- Kemmangundi
Bangalore-Tarikere- Lingadahalli- Kemmangundi
This one the most convenient and recommended route to Kemmangundi. If you are coming from Bangalore, You can get down at Tarikere or Birur (These both are railway stations and also lie on Bangalore-Shimoga highway). After reaching Tarikere or Birur, You will have to struggle for commutation till Kemmangundi. There are no government busses (KSRTC) on this route. The first private bus starts from Tarikere to Kemmangundi is at around 8:00 AM. This bus goes via Lingadahalli. Private busses are not frequent on this route.
Another alternative is to first get a bus to Lingadahalli from Tarikere or birur. After that Kemmangundi is some 12 km from Lingadahalli, You can either go via private Auto (150Rs) or wait for direct bus to Kemmangundi.
Private bus timings from/to Kemmungundi (These busses are run by a private operator SRMS)
First bus to Kemmungundi from Lingadahalli: 9:00 AM
First bus from Kemmungundi to Lingadahalli : 10:00 AM
Last bus to Kemmungundi from Lingadahalli: 2:30 PM
Last bus from Kemmungundi to Lingadahalli: 4:30 PM
Bus frequency: Once in 2 hours, There are no busses and other connectivity from/to Kemmangundi in the night.
A Misty woodland near kemmanagundi
Bangalore- Chikmagalur –Mullayanagiri - Baba Budan Giri/Attigundi – Kemmangundi
This one is the most scenic drive that one can have amidst Western Ghats. It’s only recommended if you are going by private transport. You can easily reach Chikmagalur from Bangalore (There are many busses). From Chikmagalur, take state highway 57 till Kaimara and then take left towards Mullayanagiri/Baba Budan Giri. There are very less private busses (one in three hours) from Chikmagalur to Baba Budan Giri those go via Mullayanagiri base (Sarpadhari). But after Baba Budan Giri , there is no public transport that goes till Kemmangundi. I enquired with some locals about public transport on that route and they quoted that the road condition is very poor and it lies in Bhadra Tiger reserve so they do not prefer to take that road. This road was used while commuting on horses. However there is also a 1 day trekking route from Baba Budan Giri to Kemmangundi.
First bus from Chikmagalur to Baba Budan Giri: 7:00 AM
Last bus from Baba Budan Giri to Chikmagalur: 5:00 PM
Kemmanagundi from a distance
Another alternative (A hybrid of route first and second)
Bangalore- Chikmagalur- Lingadahalli- Kemmangundi
By Train: Tarikere (35 km) is the nearest rail-head.
Important Distances to know:
Chikmagalur-57km (Via Mullayanagiri)
Dattha peeta (Baba Budan Giri)-31Km
Hebbe Falls-13 km
Kalhati Falls-11 km
Trekking to Hebbe Falls is always on the top of bucket list for most of the tourists traveling to Kemmangundi. There are two routes to reach Hebbe falls from Kemmangundi. The first one and the most popular is a mud road where only 4*4 wheeled drive vehicles (Jeeps) can ply offering you a free bumpy ride. The total distance by this route is some 13 km (1 hour by Jeep) and if you happen to get a shared jeep, it will cost you around 250 Rs. After 7-8 km from Kemmangundi, there is a view point to Hebbe falls. Other than Hebbe falls, the trek in itself is a delightful walk in Monsoon when thick mist encases the entire surroundings leaving you with very short visibility. This misty deciduous forest looks scary in Monsoon and offers a pre historical slice of planet earth. Walking further, you will also see distant lakes and some small villages surrounded by paddy fields.
Thin water streams on the trek
Jeep will drop you 1 km before Hebbe Falls and from there you will have to walk through coffee plantation and cross the same water streams 2-3 times. You need to be cautious with leech attacks while crossing those water streams. And after all this little adventure, you will reach to the bottom of Hebbe Falls. Hebbe Falls is a multi-tiered fall and you won’t get the full length view from the bottom. Mist and water spray will certainly drench you if you will get closer to the falls. Unlike other waterfalls, Hebbe falls is less visited due to it inaccessibility by road that’s why It’s one the pristine waterfalls of Karnataka laying amidst high range of Western Ghats and flowing silently through a dense forest. Trekking to Hebbe falls can be an exhausting or a wounding (it leech attacks) experience but certainly a rapturous one as well.
Hebbe Falls from a distance
Another route to Hebbe falls is a forest trail and not recommended for solo trekkers. This trail passes through thick forest of Bhadra Tiger reserve and total distance by this route is some 8 km. It’s an offbeat trek with a very high chance of sighting wild life.
Kalhatti falls: Kalhatti falls is 10 km from Kemmangundi. It lies on the way to Lingadahalli and in fact it is easily sighted from Lingadahalli town. There is also a temple near waterfalls. One can drive till the bottom of the Kalhatti falls.
Rock Garden: Rock garden is some 1 km far from Horticulture department. There is a road going uphill from the main office and you need to take the narrow pathway going straight from the first hair pin bend. There is sign board indicating direction to Rock garden, Shankara Shola, Shanti Falls, Z-Point. Jeeps can go till Z point on this route.
Shanti Falls: 2 km from Kemmangundi on the way to Z point
Walking through coffee estates
Shankara Shola: Maintained by horticulture department, production of potato seeds, flowers and vegetables.
Z Point: It’s a popular vantage point offering spectacular views of Western Ghats if traveling post monsoon. In monsoon, you won’t be able to see much due to heavy fog. Z-point is also the starting pointing of Kemmangundi - Baba Budan Giri trek.
Raj Bhavan/Dathatri Bhavan: It’s another view point very close to Kemmangundi hill. There is a beautiful park on the hill top which also has a solar power plant. In monsoon, generally clouds enclose the entire hill and diminish the visibility to couple of meters but still it’s a favorite hangout for couples.
Near Raj Bhavan Kemmanagundi
An Amazing view of the hills