Monday, 13 April 2015

Agumbe – Cherrapunji of the South




It is popularly referred to as the Cherrapunji of the South, as it receives the second highest rainfall in India. It is also home to the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, the only permanent rainforest research station in India. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) was founded in 2005 by Romulus Whitaker, a herpetologist........

You must have heard about Agumbe Ghat from drivers or travelers by road. Agumbe is a small village, about 130 km from Mangalore on the west coast, is perched at a height of 826 meters in Shimoga district, Thirthahalli taluk in Malnad region of Karnataka.  It is about 357 km from Bangalore, the state capital.  And about 24 km from Shringeri and 55 km from the Arabian sea and the west coast of India. Udupi is the nearest railway station. The nearest airport to Agumbe is at Mangalore. Agumbe is associated with rainforest conservation efforts, documentation of medicinal plants, tourism (trekking and photography), power generation through hydro-electric and promotion of cottage industry.


It is popularly referred to as the Cherrapunji of the South, as it receives the second highest rainfall in India. It is also home to the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, the only permanent rainforest research station in India. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) was founded in 2005 by Romulus Whitaker, a herpetologist. He had been familiar with Agumbe since the 1970s when he began studying the King Cobra. The King Cobra, an endangered species is the station’s flagship species. The station occupies an area of 8 acres. Funding for the station came from Whitaker’s mother, Doris Norden and from Whitley Award received by Whitaker in 2005.

One of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats, Agumbe offers view of the beautiful sunset on the Arabian sea from the Sunset Point on the Agumbe–Udupi road. It is ten minutes from Agumbe. Travellers on the highway from Shimoga to Udupi or Mangalore stop here to enjoy the cool climate and breath-taking sight. Under the Koppen system of climate classification, Agumbe is an Am climate that is tropical monsoon climate. A dense fog hangs over the ghat adding to its natural beauty.

The Agumbe Medicinal Plants Conservation Area (MPCA) was established in 1999 to protect the important medicinal plants of the region. The Foundation for Revitalisation of Local health Traditions (FRLHT) recorded 371 plant species in the MPCA at Agumbe, of which 182 were medicinal.

The driest month in Agumbe is February with an average rainfall of 1 mm. The wettest month is July with an average rainfall of 2,647 mm. The mean annual rainfall is 7,620 mm (300 in). The highest recorded rainfall in a single month was 4,508 mm (177.5 in) in August 1946. There are a number of waterfalls in the locality. They are a beautiful sight.

Barkana Falls: It is northeast of Agumbe . It is 850 ft in height. It’s the tenth highest fall in India and falls in to the Seetha river which powers a hydro-electric system. The viewing point is about 4 km from the end of the approach road.

Onake Abbi Falls: at 400 ft is smaller than Barkana Falls. In Kannada, onake means pounding stick, a tool used by villagers to pound grains to flour. Trekking for about 5 km through rainforest leads one to get a open view of the falls.

Jogigundi Falls: is a small waterfall near Agumbe. This is about 800m deep and usually full of water.

Koodlu Theertha waterfall is located about 20 km from Agumbe.

The Mani reservoir lies to the north. Being part of the Western Ghats mountain range, Agumbe lies in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also close to the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kudremukh National Park. As Agumbe is a small hill village the population is roughly around 500 – 800 people. The village covers an area of 3 sq kms. The villagers are mainly farmers cultivating on the land around. The Raksha Kavacha Weavers’ Co-operative Society represents the beginning of cottage industry in the village.


This forest is also a great place to view the longest venomous snake in the world – the King Cobra. It was here RK Narayan’s classic tale of Malgudi Days, a serial shown on television, was entirely shot here. The lush greenery and cool atmosphere is a pleasant change from the sea level hot and humid weather. It is accessible by road on the way to Udupi or Mangalore. The winding ghat road is an experience in itself. During monsoon one can see the nature at its best, but one has to be careful of the wet and slippery roads which are accident prone.










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Picture Post:

Rajwada at Sawantwadi, 
Maharastra, India
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4 comments:

  1. Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing. Historically known as Sohra, Cherrapunjee (Cherrapunji) is considered as the wettest place on Earth. Away from the chaos and flurry of city life, it offers untouched natural beauty and a peaceful retreat. Check out more hotels in Cherrapunjee also.

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  2. I have travelled thru agumbe that during rainy season many times. It is heavenly experience for one who enjoys rains n also nature. I love it.

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    1. The Hindi serial based on RK Narayan's book, Malgudi days was fully shot here some years ago.

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