Kemmanagundi translates to “pit of clay” in Kannada. Far from being a pit, it could be, most easily, the best-kept secret in Karnataka, about 293 km from Bangalore. Due to lack of adequate accommodation facilities, it is less touristy than the popular weekend jaunts in Karnataka. While hordes of tourists opt for the Mysore-Coorg circuit for a holiday, a few visit this charming hill station. Once the summer retreat of Krishna Raja Wodeyar, it is now the hotspot for the adventurous budget traveller. Also known as K.R. Hills, it boasts of magnificent waterfalls and scenic trekking routes amidst lush coffee plantations.
Accommodation: Unfortunately, the Horticulture Department Guest House seems to be the only staying option in Kemmanagundi. Ideally, one must book in advance for this reason. Among all the cottages in the Department campus, the Raj Bhavan is the most luxurious. The rest of the cottages have basic facilities. These are for the true-blue budget travellers. One can also stay in dormitory-type cottages. Camping out: If you have camping gear, you can even camp out in the wilderness with the help of a guide. Ask at the Horticulture Department Guest House. Not recommended during the monsoon season. Alternatively, one can stay in Chikmagalur and go to Kemmanagundi for a day trip.
Taj Garden Retreat and Planters Court are the popular hotels here. Nature Nirvana Homestay is another option. Important things to carry: Sunscreen, hat, mosquito repellent, Dettol, batteries. Trekking is ideal. Trekking: Many of the trekking routes can be quite slippery and wet. It is advisable to wear sturdy trekking shoes. Avoid slippers. Ask at the Guest House for a guide who can show you the way.