Chikmagalur (Chikka-magaluru) gets its name from "Younger" (meaning Chikka) "Daughter" (Magalu) "City" (Ooru). It is said to have been given as a dowry to the younger daughter of Rukmangada, the legendary chief of Sakrepatna. The district consists of both flat lowlands and mountain regions divided into seven taluks. Chikmagalur city is at the foot of highest mountain range in Karnataka.
The area contains the Baba Budan Hills (Chandra Drona Parvatha). The life-supporting rivers of Karnataka and other states - Tunga, Bhadra, Hemavati, Vedavati, Yagachi originate in the Western Ghat hills of the district. 'Gangamoola' - the source of rivers Tunga and Bhadra - is located near Kudremukh.
The district is a great attraction to all kinds of people - trekkers, pilgrims, travellers, tourists, research enthusiasts, naxalites and has experienced inter-communal conflicts. The beautiful waterfalls of Kalhatagiri, Hebbe, Shanti, Manikyadhara, Sirimane and many more seasonal waterfalls have won the hearts of travellers. The Muthodi and Bhadra forests provide habitat to various species of birds and animals and attract tourists. Sringeri, Horanadu, Kalasa, Balehonnur are the famous holy places.
The Lakkavalli dam on the river Bhadra and Yagachi dam near Belur not only meets all the requirements of the people of the district but also supports the local ecosystem. Coffee, tea, paddy, arecanuts and spices are the major agricultural products. The headquarters of the famous Coffee Day is located in Chikmagalur. The region is also known as Coffee Land since coffee in India was initially grown here and is the site of a Coffee Research Station, the first in Asia.
Temples of Hoysala art are found at Amrutapura and Belavadi. The district of Chikmagalur has given birth to famous freedom strugglers, poets, intellectuals and politicians. The former Prime Minister of India, the late Indira Gandhi once represented the constituency of Chikmagalur in the Indian Parliament.
Kannada is the predominant language although locals understand Hindi and English to some extent.