Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In the Midst of Agumbe Forest (Agumbeya Kaadinalli)


Agumbe is situated at a distance of about 380 Kms from Bangalore and 100 Kms from Mangalore.This hill station is also popularly referred as the Cherrapunji of the south for it recieves a high rainfall in the south and also the second highest in India.Agumbe with its magnificent sunsets,radiant sheen and sparkling luster of water streams and uncorrupted picturesqueness is an ideal hill station location for holidays.It was Agumbe which gave life for the film Malgudi Days,based on RK Narayan's novel for it was entirely shooted here.Agumbe and its surroundings are filled with thrilling and adventurous trekking routes.It is also referred by the people as trekker's paradise.Agumbe houses the Rainforest Research Station which is the only permanent rainforest research station in India.Now Augumbe is also equipped with India’s first automatic weather station exclusively to monitor changes in rain forests and the person behind this herpetologist and Whitley gold awardee Dr Romulus Whitaker.

Sita Nadi, located near Agumbe in the Shimoga district of Karnataka is must-visit for adventure seekers. Sita Nadi i.e. Sita River flows for approximately 60kms before meeting the Arabian Sea towards the west.This has made the region rich in natural beauty and one can expect to find beautiful, verdant forests and spectacular waterfalls here in the right season. The river is at its best during the monsoons, swelling to its fullest and visitors can enjoy tempestuous rapids. The rafters can chose between different rapids on Sita Nadi. One can opt for a stretch of 16 to 18 kms rapids or 22 to 28 kms rapids as well as for mild rapids or for a wild roller-coaster experience. Rafting on Sita Nadi takes between 6 to 8 hours depending upon the stretch of the chosen water course. Several experienced & certified organizers are available to impart instructions on rafting and they also provide the participants with safety and other equipment (such as life jackets and helmets) along with a guide on each rafting boat. Adequate precautions are taken to ensure the participants safety. Accommodation is available at local resorts and visitors must plan their trip early as this region is extremely popular and thus, sees a lot of tourist traffic almost through the year

Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary:
Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary has been named after Lord Someshwara, the presiding deity of the famous Someshwara temple located within the limits of the sanctuary.
Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Western Ghats in Udupi district. About 40 km from Udupi. It contains rare species of animals, birds and medicinal plants. Someshwara was declared a wildlife sanctuary on 5th June 1974. The area of Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is about 88.4 sq. km. The sanctuary is constituted by eight reserved forests, 

Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary has semi-evergreen and evergreen forests. The sanctuary includes of two unconnected parts, the smaller part being situated to the Southwest of the major part. The Kudremukh National Park lies to the Southeast of this sanctuary.

Machilus Macrantha, Lophopetalum wightanium and Artocarpus hirsuta are some of the species of flora found in this sanctuary.

Mammals in the Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary include Tiger, Leopard, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Wild Dog, Jackal, Gaur, Lion Tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Sambar deer, Spotted deer, Barking deer and Common Langur.

Birds like Ceylon frogmouth, Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush and Malabar pied hornbill.

Reptiles like python, king cobra and monitor lizard.
Entry to Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is open to visitors between 06:00 and 18:00 hrs.
The best time to visit this sanctuary is between October and April.




Sitanadi Nature camp is a part of the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary along the banks of Seethanadi river and the place is just awe-inspiring. The nature camp is located on the banks of river Sita overlooking the Somewhwara Wildlife Sanctuary. Sita river flows through some of the densest evergreen forest in the Western Ghats with good rafting stretches and offers scope for rafting during monsoon season, especially from June to October. Accommodation facility is available at the nature camp in the form of farmhouse, home stay or heritage stay at reasonable rates and one can easily spend 3 to 4 days at the nature camp as base camp and enjoy nature’s resplendent splendor and richness and submerge in the cathartic benefits it offers. Trekking activity is available to nearby waterfalls like Kudlu Tirtha, Jogigundi, and Onke Abbi Falls, which are situated inside the forest.






Kudlū Theerthā Falls: About 42 km from Udupi. A waterfall located deep in the jungles of Western Ghats, close to Hebri town. This is a beautiful water fall in any standards, and may become very weak during Feb-May. With a height of about 300 feet, it falls directly into a pond which is considered holy by local people, because, sages meditated here thousands of years ago. There is one more water fall above Kudlu theertha, called Manga theertha (monkey theertha) named so because, only monkey can reach it as the path is very steep inside the forest

How to go - 20 kms from Agumbe, take a left detour before 6 kms to Hebri, another left after another 3-4 kms. The road will end at the banks of river Sita. There is a Burma bridge on the right side to cross the river (dont try to swim across). After that one has to walk for 4 kms inside the jungle. There will be a small stream which has to be crossed to reach the foothills. Trek 3-4 kms and you will reach the most beautiful falls in the entire state.

You can even request your driver to drive you across the river, this way you save 3 kms of trek. I did the same.
Remember, always go to your left along the water and if takes more than a hour, you probably came the wrong way

Mode of transport – If one wants to go there by public transport, then he can either go to Shimoga and catch a mini bus(which piles at frequent intervals to Hebri) and get down at the Koodlu gate. From there catch another minibus which will go upto a place called Dargas. Dargas is around 6 kms from the banks of river Sita. So one need to walk that extra 6 kms also. The other option is to go to Hebri(the bus will go via Dharmastala, Karkala,etc) and there you can catch the mini-bus to Nellikatte and get down at Dargas.

Travel Essentials :
Note: This is from my personal experience
Loads and Loads of Water, atleast 3 litres per head
Wear Shoes and loose pants, preferably a lower.
Take a cap, comes very handy against the sun
Camera and some yummy food
Some band aids, would come in handy for bruises
Salt, if and only if its raining

Brown Fish Owl

The Brown Fish Owl (Bubo zeylonensis or Ketupa zeylonensis) is an owl. This species is a part of the family known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most living owls. It inhabits the warm subtropical and humid tropical parts of continental Asia and some offshore islands.

The four fish owls were previously generally separated in the genus Ketupa. mt DNA cytochrome b sequence data is equivocal on which genus name is applied for them, and today they are commonly lumped with the horned and eagle-owls (Bubo) – which they also resemble osteologically very much – for sake of convenience. Depending on whether some little-studied tropical eagle-owls are closer to the fish-owls than to the typical eagle-owls, Ketupa might be a valid genus if these as well as the fishing owls (formerly Scotopelia) are included in it.

It is a large owl with prominent "ear" tufts, typically around 55 centimetres (22 in) in length and weighing 2–2.5 kilograms (4.4–5.5 lb) when fully grown. Subspecies differ in size and males are smaller than females, with the smallest birds not quite 50 cm (20 in) long and weighing as little as 1,100 grams (39 oz).

The upperparts are reddish brown and heavily streaked with black or dark brown. The underparts are buff to whitish, with dark streaks and finer brown barring. The throat is white and can be conspicuously puffed, while the facial disk is indistinct. The irides are yellow, the feet a duller yellow, and the bill is dark. Sexes do not differ in appearance except for size.

Its calls are described as a deep tu-hoo-hoo or a soft huphuphuphuphuphup or a loud huhuhuhuhuhuhu.[source : wikipedia]

Lion-tailed macaque

Conservation status:  Endangered 
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Cercopithecidae
Genus: Macaca
Species: M. silenus
Binomial name
Macaca silenus

The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), or the wanderoo, is an Old World monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.

The hair of the lion-tailed macaque is black. Its outstanding characteristic is the silver-white mane which surrounds the head from the cheeks down to its chin, which gives this monkey its German name Bartaffe - "beard ape". The hairless face is black in colour. With a head-body length of 42 to 61 cm and a weight of 2 to 10 kg, it ranks among the smaller macaques. The tail is medium in length, about 25 cm, and has a black tuft at the end, similar to a lion's tail. The male's tail-tuft is more developed than that of the female.

Gestation is approximately six months. The young are nursed for one year. Sexual maturity is reached at four years for females, and six years for males. The life expectancy in the wild is approximately 20 years, while in captivity is up to 30 years.



Jogigundi Falls like most of the falls in and around Agumbe is situated amidst the dense forests of the Western Ghats of Karnataka. But, this is your slightly different waterfall. Unlike your traditional waterfall that falls from a height or in multiple tiers, this one flows out of a cave that runs through the hill. 

Jogigundi Falls is situated about four kilometres from Agumbe. About 3 out of these 4 kilometres can be covered by vehicles and the last one kilometre needs to be trekked via a narrow and steep trail. 

A very pleasing and natural swimming pool greets you at the end of this trek. If you look to your left, you will find the Jogigundi Falls. One can bathe here, but please do avoid soaps or any chemical reagents as they can cause damage to the environment.

Kundadri [Kannada: ಕುಂದಾದ್ರಿ ] is a mountain peak with dense forests in the Western Ghats in South India (Karnataka State). This well-preserved land of Karnataka is home to 17th century Jain temple that is not much given to architecture. Two small silent ponds formed by the rock on one side of this temple leave you wondering at its presence on this height. Throughout the year you can find lotus flowers in the pool which is also a breeding ground for some fishes- both large and small


Kundadri is at a distance of about 80 km. from the district headquarters, Shimoga and about 20 km from Thirthahalli town. From Shimoga, one has to take the National Highway NH-13 (Thirthahalli road) to reach Thirthahalli. Then take State Highway SH-1 (Agumbe Road) up to Guddekeri and then take left deviation. From Bangalore, one has to take the National Highway NH-206 to reach Shimoga and then take the above mentioned route. The total distance from Bangalore to Thirthahalli is 332 km. From Mangalore, one can take NH-13 to reach Thirthahalli. The distance from Mangalore to Thirthahalli is around 146 km. There are numerous mini-buses from Udupi to Thirthahalli. From Udupi Railway Station 86 km to Thirthahalli.



This is a beautiful place which you a 7 kilometers drive from Agumbe.It got its name from "Barka", the mouse deer and "kana", meaning home.Barkana has a spectacular waterfall which falls from a height of 850 feet. A V-shaped valley is visible from the viewing platform nearly 2000 ft high above sea level with river Sita at the center.

Kunchikal Falls

Kunchikal Falls is supposed to be the second highest in India formed by Varahi River and it falls from a height of 1493 Feet.


This is more than a century old place in Augumbe and is the famous eat out here. The person in charge and who runs this eat out is "Kasturiakka" who is the most popular person in and around Agumbe.Along with food Doddamane also helps the tourists by providing home stays. Though the place doesn’t have any menu card it guarantees you a very healthy food.

Nishani Gudda

This is nothing but a bare mountain which is quite interesting for trekkers where the trekking trail run amidst dense forest. The trek is about 3.5 kilometers from Agumbe. There is also a 2 kilometer long trail from Jogi Gundi to Nishani Gudda.

Onke Abbi falls

Onake Abbi water fall comes from a height of about 500 feet and it takes a trekk of about 4 kms from Agumbe. You will have to trek through the Medicinal Plants Conservation Area and if lucky you get the sight of splendid rainbows. The hike of this fall is again filled with leeches.