Kemmenagundi is a scenic hill station situated in the Tarikere taluk of Chikmagalur district of the South Indian state of Karnataka. Kemmenagundi is famous for its pleasant weather, serene ambiance, and beautiful environment. The tourist destination, which lies at a distance of about 252 kilometers from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is a popular weekend getaway destination.
Kemmenagundi is situated about 1434 meters above sea level, tucked amidst the magnificent Baba Budan Giri Range of the Western Ghats. According to the folklore, Kemmenagundi was once known by the name ‘Chandra Drona Parvatha’. It is home to many medicinal plants and herbs.
The streams gushing through the slopes of Kemmenagundi, brushing these medicinal plants are believed to be of great medicinal value and a cure for common cold, skin ailments, and many other diseases.
The ‘Ooty’ of Karnataka
Kemmenagundi is hailed by Kannadigas as the ‘Ooty of Karnataka’. Kuvempu, a famous Kannada poet, described Kemmenagundi hills as the land of everlasting spring season. Kemmenagundi was once the royal summer retreat of the erstwhile Mysore King, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
Attracted by the scenic beauty of Kemmenagundi, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV built a summer palace at this place. He also took great care to bring in the necessary public infrastructure required for a comfortable stay without disturbing the natural beauty of the place. He owned Kemmenagundi hill station for about 10 years.
Later, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV donated Kemmenagundi to the Government of Karnataka. It was thenceforth known as Sri Krishnarajendra Giridhama or KR Hills, in honor of the King. Today, Kemmenagundi is maintained by the Horticulture Department of Karnataka.
Getting to Kemmenagundi
Kemmenagundi, situated towards the center of Karnataka, is bounded by Bhadravathi town in its North and Chikmagalur town in its South. Tourists visiting Kemmenagundi can reach Lingdahalli or Bababudangiri by roads.
Kemmenagundi is situated about 30 km away from Tarikere and 20 km from Lingadahalli. Kemmenagundi is linked with Lingdahalli and Bababudangiri by cabs and jeeps. Birur, situated at a distance of 16 km from Lingdahalli off Tarekere, serves as the base camp for the travelers visiting Kemmenagundi hill station.
The Natural Attractions in Kemmenagundi
Kemmenagundi offers a range of scenic attractions including waterfalls, streams, dense and lush foliage, beautiful gardens, picturesque landscapes and view points of the valleys and mountains of Baba Budan Giri range.
You can find the following attractions at Kemmenagundi: the Kallahatti Falls, Veerabhadreshwara Temple, Hebbe Falls, Shanthi Falls, Horse way, Z-point, Rock Garden, Jagara Pass and Jagara Valley, and Shankar Sholapradesha. It also provides access to nearby destinations such as Mullainagiri, Bababudangiri, Chikmagalur, Bhadra reservoir, and Muthodi game sanctuary to its visitors.
Monsoon season should be avoided for trekking as the terrain will be at its worst and leeches infested.
Trekking at Kemmenagundi
Kemmenagundi is considered among the top most trekking destinations in Karnataka. Hebbe Falls is the main trekking attraction of Kemmenagundi that can only be reached by a steep downward trek of about 10 km. If you a little further you can visit Kalhatti falls.
If you have come directly to Kemmannagundi you can trek to Baba Budan Giri or Mullayyanagiri from here.
Z point is yet another trekking destination, which requires a steep uphill trek of about 45 minutes from Raj Bhavan. Z – point is the most attractive and magnificent viewpoint. It is well worth the effort you take to go there. It takes 30 minutes from the Horticulture Department Guest House to trek up the steep path. The orchid house and the rock garden at Horticulture Department Guest House is a must see. It also offers accommodation and dining facilities.
The greenery all around you gives you a soothing effect to your eyes. There is nothing much to do here except enjoy the nature around you. Shanti Falls is on the way to Z – point don’t miss the stream.
Kemmenagundi offers moderately steep trekking paths to its visitors. As these climbing paths can become slippery during the monsoon months, it is best to visit Kemmenagundi during the time of winter.
The Karnataka Horticulture Department is home to the Rose Garden, Orchid House and several exotic plant species. The garden is beautifully landscaped. You will find many rare species of flowers and and plants.