Agumbe, Shimoga (Shivamogga) Overview
Agumbe is a small village situated in the Shimoga district of Karnataka. This village is also known as the “Cherrapunji of South India” because it receives the highest rainfall in South India and the second highest in India. Agumbe is a hill station with rich biodiversity, picturesque landscapes, and gushing waterfalls. In addition to a breathtaking view of the sunset over the Arabian Sea, this place also provides you with an opportunity to undertake hiking through exciting trek trails. The village has also served as a setting for the popular fictional town of Malgudi in the television series of Malgudi Days.
The rainforest of Agumbe has several rare and exotic species of medicinal plants such as Listsaea, Diospyros, Myristica, Eugenia, Garcinia, and Ficus. For this reason, it is also known as “Hasiru Honnu” meaning green is gold. The rainforest of Agumbe is one of the last surviving lowland rainforests, therefore, significant efforts and contributions are being made by the Government of India to protect this biodiversity. Agumbe Rainforest Research Station is situated in the rainforest and is India’s oldest weather station. This research station specifically monitors changes in the rainforest with respect to human interventions.
Another interesting fact about Agumbe is that you can spot a lot of cobras in this region, and thus, this village is coined as the ‘Cobra Capital’. The diverse landscape, pleasant weather, and rich biodiversity make Agumbe one of the major tourist destinations in India that provides tranquility and simultaneously a thrilling experience to the travelers.
More on Agumbe
Waterfalls in Agumbe
Agumbe has many waterfalls owing to the fact that the region receives heavy rainfall. The waterfalls are usually located close to one another forming a spectacular sight for the viewer. When in Agumbe, you must visit the following waterfalls:
Kunchikal Falls: This is one of the highest waterfalls in India, falling from a height of 455 meters. The waterfall is formed by the river Varahi and is a perfect sight to enjoy the beauty of nature. The sight of water gushing down along the rocky rubbles is marvelous and impressive. Also, a hydroelectric plant is built under the waterfall which harnesses the high power electricity for the region.
Barkana Falls: This waterfall originates from the river Seeta and is located in Balehali forest. It is the tenth highest waterfall in India falling from the height of about 850 feet. The waterfall is surrounded by dense forest, thereby providing an awesome trekking experience and spectacular sight. The water of this fall is also used to harness hydroelectricity which inturn forms one of the major sources of hydroelectricity in Karnataka.
Onake Abbi Falls: This waterfall is situated inside the rainforest, involving a trekking trail of about 5km. Onake Abbi Falls is smaller as compared to other waterfalls and descends from the height of 400ft. Given its smaller size, you will get a chance to explore the surroundings of the waterfall and once you are on the top, you will get a panoramic view of the greenery around.
Koodlu Theertha Falls: Positioned at 20 km away from the central town of Agumbe, you can travel to this waterfall from the Sunset Point. You need to trek through the dense jungle to reach the Koodlu Theertha Falls.
Jogigundi Falls: This waterfall is filled with water for the most part of the year and is popular for a picturesque trek around its surroundings.
Places to Visit In Agumbe
Following places must be in the travel list when you visit Agumbe:
Gopala Krishna Temple
This temple is one of the most visited places in Agumbe. Built around the 14th century, the temple is constructed as per the traditional Hindu system of architecture, Vaastu Shaastra. It is known for its splendid sculptures and designs. It has 108 stairs connecting the basement to the Garbha Griha and those steps signify 108 names of Lord Krishna.
This place offers you an amazing view of the sunset and the horizon over the Arabian Sea. The Sunset Point is the highest peak in the Western Ghats and it is just a 10-minute walk from the main town of Agumbe. Visit this place to enjoy a wonderful and peaceful time with your loved ones.
River Rafting in Sita Nadi River, Agumbe
One of the coolest and adventurous activities that you should do is the river rafting at Sita Nadi. The swift currents and sharp bends surrounded with lush greenery will pump up the adrenaline level in the body. Sita River gives you a thrill that you will not forget for a lifetime. Later, you can camp and dry yourself around the bonfire.
The river runs a course of more than 70 km before entering the Arabian Sea. The rafting starts at Agumbe and its route’s length ranges from 16-18 km to 22-28 km covering both swift and moderate rapids. The rafting sessions are organized by the travel companies and they might even provide you with a rafting package coupled with trekking to nearby hills. The organizers take care of all safety needs ensuring access to all age groups.
Best Time to Visit Agumbe
The beauty of Agumbe is enhanced during the rainy season. The clean surroundings and cool breeze lets you enjoy the breathtaking views from the hills. Therefore, monsoon season which extends from June to October is the best time to visit Agumbe. The perk of visiting this place during monsoon is that the river Sita swells up and the rafting becomes more challenging and thrilling.
Stay Near Agumbe
Due to its rural setting, Agumbe does not have enough places for accommodation. However, you can either stay at a river camp named Sita Nadi Nisargadhama which is located 17 km away from the Agumbe or at Shimoga. In fact, Shimoga has several affordable places to stay in.
Sample Itinerary for Agumbe
Once you reach Agumbe, head to the Rafting Sita Nadi Base Camp. You can spend most of the day rafting through the Sita River. Towards late afternoon, travel to the Jog Gundi Waterfalls to witness a marvelous work of nature. By evening, trek to Sunset point and grasp a breathtaking view of the sunset over the Arabian Sea.
Tips for Visiting Agumbe
- Carry an adequate amount of rainfall protection gears such as umbrellas, raincoats, boots, etc.
- While rafting, wear synthetic or polyester fiber clothes. Do not wear cotton clothes and women should especially avoid wearing sarees.
- Don’t forget to try the local food and beverages such as vanilla-flavored tea, Kashaya, and crispy Masala Vada (Ambode).
How to Reach Agumbe?
- Air:Mangalore is the nearest Airport situated 106 km away from Agumbe. You can fly to Agumbe from Bangalore too.
- Rail:The nearest railway station is at Udupi which is 54 km from Agumbe. From the railway station, you can easily get public transport or hire a cab for Agumbe.
- Road: State transport buses, KSRTC, are readily available till Agumbe from places such as Udupi, Bangalore, Shimoga, and Mangalore. There are also several private bus services available from the places mentioned above. If you are planning a road trip to Agumbe from Bangalore, it will take some eight hours in total.