It was night and I was in the city of Chikmagalur. AAO Hostels had booked the me for a couple of nights at Jhari EcoStay.
I was very curious when I heard about Chikmagalur, the famous coffee city located in the western part of the State of Karnataka.
For me, this was one of the most unexpected surprises I experienced on my trip; I did not know that India was a coffee producer. I never thought that I would run across coffee plantations like those I see so frequently in Costa Rica.
Chikmagalur was green, rainy, and ideal for trekking along trails through foggy landscapes. It was perfect to create stories full of adventure.
Ease of Access
I arrived in Chikmagalur from the city of Belur; I had traveled by car for approximately 25 km with Mr. Patel, his assistant and his driver. I had met Mr. Patel in the city of Halebidu, and from there we had gone together to Belur later to the district of Chikmagalur, known for its predominant coffee aroma.
I do not know what would have happened to me without Mr. Patel's kindness. He offered me a ride since he planned to visit the same places that had been scheduled for me to see by AAO Hostels. In Belur, before saying goodbye to him, I asked him for information about the bus station to Chikmagalur. He told me not to worry and that he was just going there, too.
I was very surprised! Among the many people I met, Mr. Patel was traveling to just the same places as me.
The journey was very pleasant, and although we were all exhausted, at the same time we could not stop talking about art, travel, politics and dreams that still had to be fulfilled. For example, Mr. Patel was scheduled to travel to the United States in the near future. For many years he had wanted to make that trip, and now that he was retired he knew that he would be going to San Francisco, California soon.
We arrived at Chikmagalur at night; it was raining and cold. I was very grateful for the kindness of Mr. Patel, but I did not want to bother him anymore —. he had done too much for me already. But with his great hospitality, he told me that he would wait for the Jhari EcoStay driver of to arrive, so he would be sure that I was with the right people.
When the driver arrived, I felt very nostalgic as I said goodbye to Mr. Patel; he had been my great travel companion and I was nostalgic to think that maybe we would not see each other again. I wanted to give him a hug, but I was afraid that he would see it as a lack of respect, so I smiled at him and thanked him for everything. We exchanged contacts, and I told him that in Costa Rica he would always be welcome.
Ease Access to Jhari EcoStay
The hotel was 18 km from Chikmagalur, so an EcoStay driver picked me up in the city in a 4x4 pickup. I was going to start the adventure!
It was raining, cold, and very dark. As we got farther from the center, the paved road turned into a gravel one. The turns were so tight that the driver had to back up and turn the steering wheel all the way to one side to change direction. The powerful headlights illuminated the cliffs bordering the right side of the narrow road.
It seemed a little dark; it was night, and it was a blind adventure. I could still feel the adrenaline in my system as I entered Jhari EcoStay.
The hotel was at the bottom of a mountain. While I was taking my luggage to the room, I heard a powerful, rushing sound; it was obvious that there was a river nearby. The driver told me that it was not only a river, but that there was also a waterfall.
The rain contributing to its flow made the waterfall more imposing. The voice of nature was strong!
I decided to go to my room first. It was cozy and the paintings, lovely; I wanted to photograph everything. I opened the curtains and a large window was behind the fabric that I opened anxiously. Everything on the other side was black, but I was sure that at sunrise the landscape would be different.
There was electricity, but no internet connection. That made my experience at Chikmagalur different; with no distractions, I focused on myself.
Local Expert Guide
The staff at Jhari EcoStay was really helpful and friendly. I was in the middle of the mountains in their company. The driver, especially, was my guide the whole time.
The dinner was delicious, especially the fish. The dish was soft, clean and tasty; it was evident that it had come from Mother Earth, who had foreseen the production of the food that gave me sustenance.
In the morning breakfast was served to me in my room; I opened the window and was greeted by a green forest full of life dripping from each leaf.
I had breakfast with this splendid landscape before my eyes.
Spotting Chikmagalur’s Life
I was then anxious to walk around Jhari EcoStay and especially wanted to see the roaring waterfall that bellowed with euphoria at every moment.
The road was slippery; the rain had turned it into mud and it was necessary to walk holding the railing.
The waterfall was powerful and the feeling of being face to face with the power of nature was encouraging to me.
Jhari EcoStay was surrounded by coffee plantations. The coffee berries were green; the harvest would be at the end of the year.
The driver then suggested going to the coffee shop. There, they had coffee for sale and a beautiful garden in which there was a beautiful sculpture: a reclined woman in traditional Hindu garb. She seemed to be the representation of Mother Earth.
Jayanthi is the brand of coffee I drank and bought for my family. After a couple of delicious cups, I said goodbye to Chikmagalur.
Photo #4: The coffee in Chikmagalur was still green; it was not harvest time.
Some Useful Information
Let yourself be seduced by the charms of this region’s coffee; it is a delicious drink that you will want to taste frequently. Besides, you will want to take it back home with you. I bought 3 large bags of the Jayanthi type, and my parents loved it!
It is often rainy in Chikmagalur, so do not forget your umbrella, coat and hiking shoes. Chikmagalur is best seen along its trails.
This is an article from the Aao hostel travel fellowship series