Kemmanagundi- The Ooty of Karnataka

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Kemmanagundi is a beautiful hill station in Karnataka. Also referred to as the Ooty of Karnataka, it is enveloped by lush green vegetation, beautiful dreams, gorgeous gardens and green crests and troughs of valleys and mountains. It lies on the fringes of the Baba Budan Giri Range.

To be exact, it is situated in the lap of the Tarikere district of Chikmagalur, Karnataka. The range is at an elevation of 1,434 meters above sea level offering serene pastures and beautiful green avenues. Breathtaking views, picturesque landscapes, and panoramic luster radiates the beauty of the sap green stretch.

Kemmangundi Landscape. Image courtesy Srinivasa83

Name and origin of Kemmanagundi

The word literally means red soil pit if the words kempu, mannu and gundi are split. It is called so because of the red soil bed that is brilliant for growing certain crops, coffee plants and more. It used to serve as the summer resort of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV earlier, who later on donated the gorgeous property to the Karnataka Government. Thanks to that, it is now both maintained and run by the Horticultural Department of Karnataka. Yes, it is also popularly called the Sri Krishnarajendra Hill Station.

About the hills

It is also called the Queen of Hills owing to its serene atmosphere and tranquil vibe. The weather out here is relatively cool and rather pleasant all year round. Owing to its location, the maximum temperature during the so-called hotter summer months goes up to 28 degrees Celsius. Way back, the hill was believed to produce medicinal plants and was called Chandra Drona Parvatha.

It was then called the Ooty of Karnataka, owing to the similarities between the terrain, the dense vegetation and soothing hill-station vibe with similar weather conditions. The area has a number of homestays and resorts and these accommodations can easily be booked in advance.

Kemmanagundi Hill Station.Image courtesy Likhith N.P

About the Kemmanagundi Trekk

The beauty of the trek lies in the scenic views it offers. The best part is that the trek can be accessed at different points. Waterfalls, dams and lovely flora adorn the entire stretch of the trek. It could be started at different points; however, one of the best ways of treading the route would be to start from proper Kemmanagundi itself.

Depending on the time in hand and size of the group, you could detour to various waterfalls or simply go uphill to watch the sunrise or sunset from a vantage point.  Z Point is the most famous spot there, as is the entry through Mullyanagiri range. Jeep trips, safari tours, walking trips and waterfall picnics are some of the key highlights of spending a few days in and around the range.

Kemmanagundi View. Image courtesy Arunkm44

Attractions in Kemmanagundi

Z Point

The Z Point is one of the main trekking spots around the Trekk. It offers the perfect vantage point to trekkers for imbibing the best views of the region. The trek is on a steep hill and takes about 45 minutes. Stories of a lot of snakes being present are spread far and wide. The trails are slippery and must be trekked with care. On reaching this point, one can visit the Shanti Falls as well.

Rose Garden

This is a bed of full-bloomed roses that are cultivated as well as maintained by the Horticulture Department of Karnataka. Different varieties of roses can be spotted by nature lovers here.

Raj Bhavan

Raj Bhavan happens to be a popular guesthouse here. It hosts a number of families and trekkers every year and is increasingly popular amongst tourists too.

Tiger Reserve

Indian Tiger at Bhadra wildlife sanctuary by Dineshkannambadi

Ready for a tiger safari? Well, hop right in and drive to the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. This natural reserve is surrounded by thick coffee plantations and tall bamboo trees. You can take jeep tours to go and watch tigers, elephants, panthers, deer, jungle cats as well as a variety of birds.


Not just one, but you get to witness two of the most famous waterfalls of the region, namely Honnamma Falls and Kallathi Falls. The former is 24 kilometers away while the latter lies just within 10 kilometres. Kallathi Falls are also referred to as Kalahasti Falls.

Mountain Range

Enjoy the expanse of the lush green mountain range of Baba Budangiri. Do trek to Mullayanagiri from here too, since they are a part of the same mountainous range. While the former lies at an elevation of 1,895 meters, the latter is at 1,930 meters.


Sunset at Kemmanagundi Hill Station.Image courtesy RakeshRaju M

Needless to say, the sunsets at this hill station are bound to be epic. Watching the dramatic sky change colors against gorgeous hilly backdrops makes for a note-worthy sunset. This Instagrammable activity ranks high on the list of travelers and trekkers alike.

Natural heritage

An area just around the range is that of a conserved natural heritage. It is called Amruthapura and houses the famous Amruteswhara Temple, which lies around the Bhadra Reservoir surrounded by dense palm plantations. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is built of soft claystone.


The combined view of both the Sri Sharadamba Temple (on the right) and the Sri Vidyashankara Temple inside the Sringeri Sharada Peeta complex. Image Courtesy: Ashok666

This beautiful region lies by the banks of Tunga River and is surrounded by the Western Ghats. It exudes natural beauty at its best and is home to a number of restored temples and a number of pristine waterfalls. This is definitely a must-do while in Kemmanagundi.

Jaggara Valley

A nature lover’s paradise, this beautiful valley has the popular Jaggara Pass that serves as a great spot for trekking as well as wildlife gazing. Another area that lies very close by is that of Shankar Sholapradesha, which is barely 5 kilometers from the place.

Kemmanagundi .Image courtesy Yathin S Krishnappa

How to reach Kemmanagundi

By Air

The nearest airport is Mangalore Airport at about 219 kilometers. The second closest one at Bangalore is Kempegowda International Airport at 277 kilometers approximately.

By Rail

If you plan to board the train, you could head either to Birur Junction at 32 kilometres and Shimoga Town Railway Station at 68 kilometres.

By Road

Various buses ply directly to Kemmanagundi from different parts of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Hop onto one and check the landmarks before boarding one.

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Nearby Sightseeing and Activities

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