Exploring Chikmagalur I

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The essence of my work is to discover and share India’s best kept secrets when it comes to experiential accommodation. I am always on the look out for places that one doesn’t expect can exist in India. The purpose of doing this is to inspire fellow wanderers to explore our beautiful country and go beyond the commercial tourist destinations.

With that purpose in mind, I arrived in Chikmagalur, full of excitement and curiosity to explore India’s sprawling coffee estates. What I didn’t know before coming here was that this was the place where the first coffee beans were sown in India by a sufi priest who came from Yemen more than 400 years ago. Thanks Baba Budan for creating all this beauty, years after you sowed those seeds. 

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GETTING THERE

I arrived at Chikmagalur bus stop after a 4.5 hour, super comfortable bus ride from Bangalore. I was felicitated by a smiling man, Raghu, my driver and guide in Chikmagalur for the next few days. We drove past lush coffee estates, ginger and potato fields and arrived at what I consider one of the most beautiful and luxurious properties I have ever come across during my 3 years of traveling through the country. Welcome to a gorgeous villa retreat in Chikmagalur! An exquisite space designed to meet the needs of the discerning luxury traveller in India. 

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FIRST IMPRESSION

I need someone to pinch me right now! Is this real? Is this really in India! Oh my god…Look at that bathtub!

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THE STAY

The luxury villas, each with a gorgeous glass room, a beautiful bathroom with a bathtub, a sit-out and a warm fireplace, offer stunning views of the western ghats.

Each villa is tastefully decorated with antiques and showpieces collected by the owners over the years. You can tell by looking at the place that is a work of art, driven by passion and love for architecture and interior design, and most of all hospitality. 

All the villas are far from each other, ensuring privacy for travellers. Considering that it’s all glass, its a great idea to have the villas spread out so you can enjoy the lovely bathtub and the stunning views without worrying about your privacy.

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DELICIOUS CUISINE

If you think 5 course meals are elaborate, wait till you get to here. A minimum 7 course, finger licking meal awaits you. I had 4 meals while I was at Primrose and each of them was a delicious experience!

One of the meals was a combination of italian and mexican cuisine, the other was a BBQ arranged at my villa in the sit-out, breakfast was a combination of fresh fruits, eggs and toast and my last meal was a delicious local affair - spinach subji, sprout salad, roast chicken, spicy lamb and a lot more!

The food is served in the bright and beautifully designed dining area offering gorgeous views of the western ghats. The staff is wonderful and ever ready to assist you with whatever you may need. The best part is that they are always smiling, eager to know if there is anything they can do to make your stay pleasant and comfortable.

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THINGS TO EXPLORE

There’s a lot of walking one can do within the estate. You could go on a guided walk through the coffee plantations and learn about the process of growing and processing coffee beans. If you like immersing yourself in local cultures and practices, you could spend a morning working on the estate with the coffee planters. 

Apart from forest trails within the estate, there are a lot of trekking routes that the staff will guide you through. You could hike up the highest peak in Karnataka, Mullahangiri for a breath-taking and refreshing view of the valley below. Visit the cave where Baba Budan lived during his time in India. As mentioned above, he was the man we all have to thank for bringing coffee to India. There is a temple at the top of the peak that you can visit. 

For the slow, leisurely travellers, sit back and relax at the beautiful villas. You could read a book or just hang out at the various sit-outs at the property. I suggest sitting up on the terrace with a warm cup of tea or coffee and enjoying the stunning views it has to offer. 

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Thanks Ravi and Sumi for welcoming me into this gorgeous paradise that you have created in Chikmagalur. Hope I can inspire and send many more wanderers to experience the beauty and bliss that I experienced here! :) 

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Getting there:
The property is located 30 minutes by road from the main town. You can reach Chikmagalur town by bus (Airavat AC volvo) or car from Bangalore in 4.5 hours. The retreat will send an escort to guide you till the property. 

Best time to visit:
Although summer is a popular time to visit the area, I highly recommend coming here from June - September. The rains make everything so vibrant and beautiful! The retreat is well equipped with rain gear including gum boots and high socks of all sizes to keep those leeches away. Walking through the estate in the rain is an amazing experience! 

Best suited for:
The villa retreat is ideal for honeymoon couples or any couples for that matter, looking for luxurious, exotic experiences in India. 
- It is great for a group of couples or friends looking to connect with each other amidst beautiful surroundings.  
- It is also a really nice space for small families looking for off the beaten track luxury experiences. The children can learn a lot about planting and farming practices as well as enjoy hikes in and around the property. 

Price:
Rs. 17,000 without meals and Rs. 21,000 with all meals for 2 adults.
There are special discounts for Wanderbugs :)