The spectacular beauty of the Western Ghats is not limited to mountains and rivers. It is also known for its unique biodiversity, thick foliage, and quaint settlements.
Agumbe, a small village in the Shimoga district of Karnataka, is situated in this naturally bestowed region of Western Ghats. The unique and abundant natural beauty of this place has made it a perfect place for nature lovers and even adventure seekers. Travellers just love to get lost in the scenic paradise of Agumbe: Cherrapunji of South India. This hill station boasts of thick tropical Agumbe rainforest, magnificent mountain ranges, several waterfalls, charming rivers, and weather that is pleasant throughout the year.
Agumbe receives more than 7,000 mm of rainfall throughout the year, and this is the reason that this place has gotten the tag of being the Cherrapunji of South India. The place holds a permanent place in every Karnataka itinerary .worth its salt. In fact, there is so much to see and experience here that it is difficult to pick a spot to start with.
Any discussion about Agumbe should start and end with its rainforests since there is so much of it here. Government efforts at conserving Agumbe rainforest have helped to sustain them in their near-pristine beauty. Whether you are trekking or just travelling, you would obviously be travelling through the enchanting rainforests of Agumbe. It is owing to these rainforests that this place is known as Hasiru Honnu by the locals, which means green gold. As they are home to a variety of very rare medicinal plants such as Myristica, Ficus, Diospyros, Listsaea, and Garcinia that can be found in this village.
Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
The only permanent Rainforest Research Station of India is situated in Agumbe: Cherrapunji of South India. Being located inside the Agumbe Reserve Forest area at a distance of about 2 kilometres from Agumbe, the research station itself is a charming place to visit. This station is aimed at conserving the rainforest and the species within. The oldest weather station of India can also be found here that especially monitors any changes in the weather conditions of the rainforest.
King Cobra Capital
Agumbe is popularly referred to as King Cobra capital because of the high density of king cobras that can be found in the region. It is important to note that although there are a large number of snakes that can be found in this region however very few cases of human-snake conflict. The world’s first radio-telemetry project for King Cobra was undertaken in the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station.
Trekking and Hiking
Travelling to and through Agumbe is a pleasant experience, but don’t expect to drive everywhere. The roads are not there in most places. Moreover, you can really enjoy the beauty of this place if you set out for trekking
through the hills. Since the village is situated in lowland area you can find ample lowland rainforest here. The sight of distant mountains and alluring waterfalls flowing through the thick foliage is an astounding combination to behold and experience.
Agumbe Sunset View Point
The enchanting Agumbe sunset view point, is a ten-minute walk from the village and is situated on the Udupi-Agumbe Road. This viewpoint is found on one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. From here you will be able to capture the mesmerizing ensemble of Western Ghats Mountains, waterfalls, and the thick foliage and soothe your nerves. Enjoy local snacks being sold by the roadside vendors while enjoying the view of the setting
Jogi Gundi Falls
This is a charming waterfall about 800 metres deep is situated at a distance of about 4 kilometres from Agumbe: Cherapunji of South India. The first few kilometres can be covered by a vehicle but the last one kilometre can be only be covered via trekking through a narrow path. However, trekking through the forest to go near the waterfall is itself a lovely experience, which can be done while catching up on some birding. One can also take a swim in the swimming pool in front of the waterfall but be warned that the water is deep and the edges are rocky and sharp.
Onake Abbi Falls
This fall is situated at a distance of about 4 kilometres from Agumbe, and you need to trek for about 3 kilometres on unpaved roads to reach here. The water cascades down to about 500-feet from above, and you can get a breathtaking view of the waterfall from the summit.
This is one of the highest waterfalls in India and is an integral part of any good Karnataka itinerary. The name Barkana is derived from ‘Barka’, which means ‘Mouse Deer’ that are found in this region and ‘Kana’, which means ‘Home’. To reach this waterfall, you need to trek for about 5 kilometres. The waterfall derives its water from the Seetha River and falls from a lofty height of about 850-feet. Looking at the misty waterfall is a charming experience for any nature lover. This fall is also an important source of hydroelectricity in Karnataka.
Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary
The government has endeavoured to protect the fauna and flora of the region through the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary. Named after the presiding deity Lord Someshwara, it is located approximately 20 kilometres from Agumbe and falls in both Shimoga and Udupi districts. Your Karnataka itinerary must include this sanctuary since it showcases the biodiversity of the Western Ghat Mountains. Some notable fauna that can be spotted in this sanctuary are tiger, leopard, jackal, wild boar, sambar, barking deer, spotted deer, king cobra, and giant flying squirrel.
The Kundadri Hill is located in the Shimoga District and is at a distance of about 19 kilometres from Agumbe. This hill has got one of the most famous temple in karnataka for having a 17th-century temple dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras. Apart from the religious significance of the hill, it is a paradise for nature lovers. Situated at a height of 3200-feet above sea level provides excellent views of the backwaters of the Varahi Dam, Western Ghats, and also includes two natural pools formed with rocks that are filled by the Tunga River.
Koodlu Teertha Falls
At a distance of about 26 kilometres from Agumbe: Cherrapunji of South India lies an isolated waterfall in Nadpalu, Karnataka. To reach this spot you need to trek for about 4 kilometres. However, the sweat and ardour of trekking will soon be a thing of the past once you experience the beauty of this waterfall. Here the water falls from a height of around 150-feet and has created a shallow pool where one can relax, take pictures or enjoy a good swim.
The months of January and February are considered the best months to visit this natural wonderland. To reach Agumbe you can either fly to Mangalore or take a train to Udupi from where you can take a taxi or bus to reach the destination. The misty waterfalls, the lush green mountains, the abyss of the valleys, the thick foliage, the abundant wilderness, the charming rivers, and the mellow weather all beckon travellers to this pristine beauty in the Western Ghats. Make sure to add Agumbe to your Karnataka itinerary to experience one of the most refreshing hill stations and trekking in Karnataka.