Located at an elevation of 2725 feet in the Malnad region of Shimoga district in Karnataka, is the tiny unspoiled hamlet of Agumbe. Called Hasiru Honnu meaning green gold, the village receives around 8000 mm of rainfall and hence is known as the Cherrapunji of the South. Surrounded by rich biodiversity, the place is known for its scenic beauty.
This tiny hamlet is an ideal place for nature lovers, solitude seekers and wildlife enthusiasts. It is home to famous king cobra which is found here in abundance. If you’re a 90s kid and had access to Doordarshan, Agumbe is the place where Malgudi days was shot. It is sure to take you back to your childhood memories of Swami and his friends.
Agumbe is accessible through road and around 60 kms from the nearest railway station of Udupi. The Malgudi house is located right at the start of Agumbe. This house is the same place where R.K Narayan’s Malgudi Days was shot. The house is more than 100 years old and yet so well maintained. It is managed by Kasturi Akka who is an excellent host. One can stay at Malgudi House and all meals are provided. Smoking and drinking is not allowed and the meals are vegetarian. It is a homestay where Kasturi Akka feeds you like her own children forcing more delicious home-cooked food down your plate. Even after being 100 years, this place has electricity and the rooms give a rustic feel.
The location has a sunset point located on a hair curve pin or ghat. This is one of the famous sunset points and gives you a panoramic view of the forest of Agumbe. The weather is usually hazy and cloudy, so on a lucky day, the sunset looks glorious.
The quality of the air is the freshest and filled with a whiff of the forest aroma. The sunrise point Kundadri is 14 kms from Agumbe towards Shimoga. The last stretch runs through a forest and one needs to be careful while riding or driving as you are prone to wildlife encounters. The roads leading to the sunrise point are steep and sharp. There is a temple atop and a small water body filled with frogs of all sizes and colours.
The sunrise is lovely as the sun rays cut through the mist-filled valley and providing an enchanted view. The Agumbe Rainforest Research Center (ARRS) started by Romulus Whitaker in 2005 has been essential with biological research related to the biodiversity of snakes especially the king cobra and protecting the ecosystem. They have a dormitory surrounded by forest. It is a great place for researchers and scientist working on diverse projects related to insects, snakes, etc.
ARRS is tucked in a quiet place. One can visit ARRS and get educated about snakes and spot a few here. However, they do not keep any snakes or king cobras in captivity. They also have nature treks and a wildlife enthusiast can contact them for an internship.
Agumbe is a place where there isn’t much to do and that’s the beauty of it. To lose oneself in its golden-green nature, to appreciate the small things in life and breathe some fresh air. It is a great place to unwind and two days are more than enough to travel and explore this rainforest.
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