Neelakurinji flowers bloom in Western Ghats once in 12 years. We were there to see the spectacle of nature in 2014!
One fine morning in August, we got a call from a friend in Chikmagalur. We were trekking in Ladakh. He was excited.
“Come now” he ordered over the phone!
“Now?? To where?? We are in Ladakh….”
“You have to come immediately. Neelakurinji has flowered”
Now it was our turn to get excited…..
“Neelakurinji has flowered, are you kidding”
“No, i went to Devaramane and it is spectacularly beautiful. Come over as soon as you are back from Ladakh”
That’s exactly what we we did.
As soon as we landed in Bangalore, we planned to see Neelakurinji flowers. The flowers which Bloom once in 12 years. A nice article in Kannada newspaper on Devaramane made our excitement more. We clubbed it along with our trip to Jog falls.
After a nice breakfast in Bananki – the best Malnad breakfast you can ever eat – we started for Devaramane. We seemed to have started where we had left on the previous day when we drove to Jog falls and along the backwaters which is recounted in this post
The drive in Malnad is always a pleasure. Especially in monsoon. The winding road from Bananki took us through the countryside of greenery. Here and there along the road side, small ponds filled with bright lilies and lotuses added to the beauty of the landscape. It was nature at its best. As we drove towards Magundi, we started climbing and the valley view started getting prettier. When we reached Kottigehara, we could not resist driving on the Charmadi ghat. We knew it would be lovely after rains. We decided to take a right turn to drive up the Charmadi ghat. And what a drive it was to be!
Charmadi is charming beyond words when it rains. Leaving behind Kottigehara, we were surprised to see newly laid tarmac. The first stop obviously was at the Malaya Maruta. The valley view from here is astounding. It is a pity that the forest guest house on top of a small hillock is under disuse for a long time now. This could be a great coffee shop with fabulous views of the valley.
From now onwards, we were wowed by the vistas of the mountains. Foggy road, clouds hugging the peaks, myriad cascades by the road side, lush green valley all added to the pleasure of the drive. It reminded us of our drive few years back in the same season when we saw countless waterfalls. ( Check this post Monsoon Drive in Malnad – Countless Waterfalls and Visual Bliss! )
We went up to the highest point on the road and turned back. (Please click on the pictures to see them in original size)
We enter Charmadi….
What a road!!!
——-and the green cover
The view from Malaya Maruta
Captivating valleys as we climbed…..
………Green and fresh after the rains, it is beautiful.
Don’t you love to drive in this road!!
.…..and this one?
A lovely water fall on the highway. It resembled Chinnakanal falls of Munnar. Check out this post on Chinnakanal and see the resemblance http://tinyurl.com/k2a2gmz
First sight of Neelakurinji flowers. These were sporadic here unlike Devaramane.
Cascades all along…….
We were now on the way to Devaramane. To see Neelakurinji flowers!
After a customary halt at “Coffee Corner” for hot cup of coffee – one of the best filter coffee we have had – we deviated at Banakal. The road towards Devaramane did not give us any glimpse of what was in the store. The landscape was flat with coffee plantations and paddy fields. Crossing the village Guthi, we started climbing. It was a sheer climb. The roadside vegetation was not helping us with any views. After ten minutes of driving we stopped. We had to. The visual in front of us stunning. On the one side was a carpet of lavender coloured Neelakurinji flowers and on the other side was the spectacular valley view.
The sight which wowed us and made us stop in our tracks!
A zoomed shot of the lovely valley
Another vista of the valley. Notice the terraced paddy fields.
A Pan shot….
We knew that there was a temple and the place surrounding that is nothing but carpet of flowers having read about it in the Kannada news paper. We were also expecting large crowd being Sunday. The next three kilometres of drive was a a bliss. We drove on a road surrounded by miles of Neelakurinji flowers in bloom on both sides of the road! The weather had held good and there was no rain. Surprisingly, there was no one around except two of us on the mountain.
It is Neelakurinji all the way……..lovely and beautiful!!
Miles and miles of them…..
A close up shot of the flower we see in 2026 again!
The temple was closed. Seeing our car, Ranjit, the caretaker came over to us and offered us to open the temple. A young bloke, we asked him about the history of the temple. He said it as built seven hundred years ago. We are not sure about these legends. But the temple looked pretty old. It is serene with a huge pond in front of it. The interiors of the temple is nothing great from sculptural or architectural perspective. The main priest had gone home and we could not enter the sanctum sanctorum. However we were able to have darshan of the Deity through the grilled gate.
A lovely pond in front of the temple
Kala Bhairaveshwara Temple
Treading the misty roads……
By now, the clouds had descended in full force. The complete area was getting fogged out. Wind was blowing. Fortunately it was not raining as we started driving back to Bangalore. Not before stopping again at few places to savour the serene place.
We will wait till 2026 to see the spectacle again!
Mudigere is the best place from where one can reach Devaramane by hiring a jeep. Mudigere is 260 KMs from Bangalore and well connected by State Transport Services from different parts of Karnataka. The nearest railway station to Mudigere is Chikmagalur.
We saw a government transport bus coming up to Guthi. Not beyond as road is narrow.
For those who are adventurous, it will be a nice walk from Guthi to Devaramane.
Road condition is very good. One can drive right up to the temple. However the last four KMs are narrow and is a steep climb. Not for someone who has not driven in the hills earlier.
There are no stay facilities in Devaramane. The best option to stay will be in Mudigere in many home stays or resorts.
This place is unspoilt and still clean. Let us make sure it remains like that.
Devaramane can be a good place for a day picnic. The surroundings are serene. Don’t spoil it by noise of music players!
Carry lunch/any other eatables. Nothing is available here.
The last few KMs is narrow and is a steep climb. One has to be a good driver to attempt this stretch.
There is also a trekking trail from here to Charmadi. The local guys are willing to help as “guides”.
There are small hillocks near temple which can be climbed easily for a panoramic view of the valley
Postscript – The flowering season is over now. Still, Devaramane is a lovely place to visit and should be part of your itinerary to Chikmagalur.
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