Chikmagalur

Chikkamagaluru is a district in the state of Karnataka. Coffee was first cultivated in India in Chikkamagalur. The mountains in Chikkamagaluru which are a part of the Western Ghats are the source of rivers like Tunga and Bhadra. Mullayanagiri, which is the highest peak in Karnataka is located in the district. It is also a tourist’s paradise containing hill stations like Kemmanagundi and Kudremukh and waterfalls like Manikyadhara, Hebbe, Kallathigiri. Chikkamagaluru district has a rich history as is seen in the Hoysala temple at Amrithapura. Wildlife enthusiasts would be interested in the Kudremukh National Park and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary present in this district.

Chikkamagalur district gets its name from its headquarters of Chikkamagaluru town. It is alternatively spelt as Chickmagalur or Chikmagalur. Chikkamagaluru literally means “The town of the younger daughter” in the native Kannada language. The town is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna and hence the name.As one can guess, there is indeed a town called Hiremagaluru which means “The town of the elder daughter” which is about 5 km from Chikkamagaluru town.

Chikkamagaluru is the region where the Hoysala rulers started and spent the early days of their dynasty. According to a legend, it was at Sosevur, now identified with Angadi in Mudigere Taluk that Sala, the founder of the Hoysala dynasty, killed the legendary tiger, immortalised in the Hoysala crest.It is known that Veera Ballala II (1173 – 1220 CE), the great king of Hoysala empire, has built the Amriteshwara temple at Amrithapura in Tarikere Taluk.

Coffee was introduced into India through the Chikkamagaluru district when the first coffee crop was grown in the Baba Budan Giri Hills during 1670 AD.According to the article Origins of Coffee, the saint Baba Budan on his pilgrimage to Mecca travelled through the seaport of Mocha, Yemen where he discovered coffee. To introduce its taste to India, he wrapped seven coffee beans around his belly and got them out of Arabia. On his return home, he planted the beans in the hills of Chikkamagaluru.

According to the 2011 census Chikkamagaluru district has a population of 1,137,753, roughly equal to the nation of Cyprus or the US state of Rhode Island.This gives it a ranking of 408th in India (out of a total of 640).The district has a population density of 158 inhabitants per square kilometre (410/sq mi).Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was −0.28%.Chikmagalur has a sex ratio of 1005 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 79.24%.81% of the population resides in rural area with the remaining 19% being the urban population. Among Taluks, Sringeri taluk has the least population whereas Chikkamagaluru Taluk has the highest population.Kannada is the Dominant language spoken in this district.

Agriculture is the economical back bone of the Chikkamagaluru district with coffee cultivation forming the major part of it. Agricultural production in the district is spread over three seasons — namely Kharif, Rabi and Summer. Important crops grown are cereals, i.e. rice, ragi, jowar, maize and minor millets, pulses like red gram, horse gram, green gram, avrekai (Hyacinth Beans), black gram and Bengal gram. Oil seeds like groundnut, sesamum, sunflower, castor and commercial crops like sugarcane, cotton, and tobacco are also grown here.

The Coffee Board located in Chikkamagaluru town is the government authority that oversees the production and marketing of coffee cultivated in the district. Coffee is cultivated in Chikkamagaluru district in an area of around 85,465 hectares with Arabica being the dominant variety grown in upper hills and Robusta being the major variety in the low level hills. There are around 15000 coffee growers in this district with 96% of them being small growers with holdings of less than or equal to 4 hectares. The average production is 55,000 MT: 35,000 MT of Arabica and 20,000 MT of Robusta. The average productivity per hectare is 810 kg for Arabica and 1110 kg of Robusta, which are higher than the national average.