Filled with coffee plantations and estates that seem to go on forever, Chikmagalur has gained a reputation for itself as the Coffee Country. It is said that Baba Budan, a 17th century Sufi saint from India, had planted the first seed of coffee after returning from his pilgrimage to Mecca.
He first came across coffee as a dark liquid being served to other guests like him at Mocha, a port city of Yemen that overlooks the Red Sea. He enjoyed the drink and thought of it as quite refreshing. The story goes on to say that Baba Budan strapped seven coffee beans to his chest to avoid having them confiscated on his way back to his homeland.The Arabs were known to be very protective of their coffee industry but Baba had the courage to bring back some coffee seeds with him. In those days, coffee was exported to other parts of the world in roasted or baked form so that no one could grow their own and were forced to buy from the Arabs. He later made his way to the Western Ghats, where he planted the first seed of coffee at Chikmagalur.
Since then, coffee has grown into a multi-million dollar industry in India. In order to thank Baba Budan for his efforts, the kind people of Chikmagalur named an entire mountain range in his honour. Baba Budangiri is 25 km north of Chikmagalur town and over 250 km from Bangalore. It includes the highest peaks of Karnataka. Unique mountain flowers called Kurinji blooms in these hill ranges once every 12 years. The last time this spectacle happened was in 2006.