Sunday, June 19, 2011

(2nd Batch) Amboli Ghat, Biodiversity Hotspot (04th August - 06th August'2011)

Bookings for Amboli Ghat trip from 04th August to 06th August 2011 are open (travel days excluded)...for details see at the end..... Hurry up and register fast as this trip is eagerly awaited by many...

AMBOLI GHAT - A Herpetofauna Paradise

Ever heard of " Maharashtra's Cheerapunji”...the wettest place in our state? The hottest biodiversity region in Maharashtra? The cleanest and the greeniest hill station near us?..... Come with Nature India & explore this amazing place called Amboli Ghat…… the dream destination of all the naturalists and which is at its Best in Monsoon.....Great walks, beautiful scenery, loads of biodiversity to look for, waterfalls, balmy climate and local delectable Konkani food…perfect menu set for a short holiday. (some images in this blog are contributed by participants)

Amboli Ghat......Nestled comfortably in the midst of luxuriant foliage on the Sahyadri Mountains in southern tip of Maharashtra and perched at a height of 710m above sea level it is relatively tranquil and uncluttered by commercialization and unfolds a charisma that appeals to the heart and the soul. This hill station in Sindhudurg district is said to be the wettest in Maharashtra, receiving the highest rainfall (approx.7446 mm) during the rainy season.

Colonel Westrop, who was a British political agent, developed Amboli as a hill station after the opening of the Ghat Road from the coastal town of Vengurla, now in southern Maharashtra, to Belgaum. Amboli is situated on Vengurla-Belgum state highway no 112 in Sindhudurg district. The population is @ 3000. The main road is lined with shops and small restaurants of all shapes and sizes that form the main bazaar.

Home to innumerable species of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and medicinal plants, it has contributed generously to our country’s bio-diversity. The valley, hemmed in at all sides, looks protected, sheltered, unexplored, and holding in its secrets. Dense brown green foliage, roots above and below, intertwined branches, creepers, and moss hanging like an afro-braid from branch after branch. Layers of fog surround us, weaving a shroud of mystery as to what lay ahead. At times the strong winds clear the path before us, unfolding a panoramic view of the scenic valley. The walks to Mahadevgarh, Shirgaonkar & Parikshit Points offer fantastic opportunities to explore these rich forests and also offer spectacular views of valleys below and the Konkan area.

Though Amboli is emerging and is famous as a hill station, not many know that this place is extremely rich in Herpetofauna, wildflowers and birds. Home to myriad species of Amphibians, Amboli is a must visit place in monsoon for all the nature enthusiasts.The star attraction here are the wonderful array of reptiles that includes Malabar Pit Viper, Green Keel Back, Banded Racer, Olive Forest Snake, Beddome's Keelback Snake, Green vine Snakes, Shield tail snakes, Deccan-banded Gecko etc. While in Ambhibians, the Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus), Amboli tree frog (Philautus amboli), Wrinkled frog
(Nyctibatrachus humayuni), Koyna Toad (Bufo koynayensis), Beddome's burrowing frog, Criket frog, Fungoid frog and the Caecilians will take your breath away.

Amboli is also a hot spot for the variety of wildflowers that bloom in monsoon on sadas (the local name for lateritic plateau). It is also a heaven for wildflower enthusiasts with some rare plants recorded here.

The Birds, though difficult to see in monsoon is well represented with Scarlet Minivets, Puff-throated Babblers, Brown-cheeked Fulvettas, Emerald Dove, Red-whiskered & Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Crimson & Crimson-backed Sunbirds, Leafbirds and many of the Western Ghat endemics.

Beautiful insect life dominate the surroundings with all sorts of bettles, bugs, lantern flies, butterflies, moths, spiders and what not. Surely, this is one place which you wont like to miss.

Four kilometers away, the river Hiranyakeshi originates from a cave adjacent to a temple of Goddess Parvati at the foot of a mountain. Water rushes out with tremendous force to fall into a squarish tank or ‘Kund’, from where it flows out. Opposite, an old tree offers ample space around its roots to urge devotees to meditate without disturbance

Here are some photo stories of Nature India participants of last year trip.....

Some interesting places around Amboli :

There are several trails and points to be explored in Amboli …some of them are

1) Mahadevgad (3 kms)
2) Manohargad- Manasantoshgad point
3) Shirgaonkar point (5 kms)
4) Kalvesad Point (10 kms)
5) Parikshit Point (3 kms)
6) Hiranyakeshi (4 kms)
7) Nagartas Waterfall
8) Sunset Point (2 kms)


Nature India tours has meticulously organized a Herpetofauna trip to this bio-diversity hotspot from 04th August to 06th August'11 (travel days excluded) with eminent experts in the field.


Though the Camp will be focused on Herpetofauna and to learn more about them, we will also try to look for and learn about everything that we come across including Wildflowers, Birds, Mammals ….

Date: 04th August 2011, morning 10.00 am to 06th August 2011 eve 6.00 pm

Resource person:
Mr. Zeeshan Mirza (Herpetofauna Expert)
Mr. Hemant Ogale (The local expert & Founder member of Malabar Conservation Club)
Assistant resource persons: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & Mr. Adesh Shivkar

TRIP ITINERARY (Itinerary is Ex.Swantwadi)

Day 1: Thrusday 04th August, 2011 .

Pick up at Sawantwadi Railway Station/ Bus Stand at 10.00 am .… Drive to Amboli in autos/minibus…. Check-in….. lunch…….Mini nature trail in Amboli Ghat…return to hotel by evening ...slide show/talk on Herpetofauna of Amboli … dinner… night trail to Shirgaonkar point

Day 2: Friday 05th August, 2011

After breakfast, morning visit to Parikshit point…lunch….Talk by Mr.Hemant Ogale on the Conservation activities of Malabar Conservation Club…..late evening trail to Mahadevgad…dinner.... night trail near the campus

Day 3: Saturday, 06th August, 2011

After breakfast, morning visit to Shirgaonkar Point…..proceed to see Hiranyakeshi temple before Lunch…..reach Sawantwadi by 18.00 to catch Konkan Kanya exp. / Bus from Sawantwadi

More details on the Itinerary will be given to those who register.....

Please note: This is primarily a herpetofauna watching trip.

Trip Charges :Rs.6200/- Ex. Sawantwadi (This includes stay in Hotel Whistling Woods/ Green Valley on twin sharing basis, Veg / non-veg food in nearby restaurant, breakfast, tea, local transport by autos/minibus, wherever needed, entry fees, guide charges, Articles on the places to be visited & on board snacks ……)

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai and Back or any charges other than the above.

Travel options to reach Amboli:
Kindly note that there are several travel options available (given below) to reach Sawantwadi, but the best one is
10111 Konkan-Kanya express that leaves Mumbai at 11.05 pm and arrives Sawantwadi at 09.55 am next day.

For return journey also 10112 Kinkan Kanya Express which leaves from Sawantwadi at 18.10 and reaches Mumbai next day at 5.50 is best option.

By Road:

Mumbai (549 km/ 10 hrs), Pune (390 km/ 8 hrs) Kolhapur (110 km/ 3 hrs). and Belgaum (64 km/ 2 hrs)....State Transport buses ply from here
There are also regular AC buses (some Volvos) from Mumbai to Sawantwadi

By Rail:
Sawantwadi at 28 km away is the closest railhead on Konkan Railway.

By Air :
Nearest airport is Belgaum, 64 kms. And Goa at 80 kms.

Stay Arrangement: In Whistling Woods/Green Valley on twin sharing basis.The Hotel campus is wonderful and the rooms are spacious with clean bathrooms.
to see the interiors click

Food : Since meals are not served in the Hotel, we will relish the delicious food (including the famous "Sol Kadi" :-) in a good restaurant just a few meters from our hotel.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to
and by paying a non refundable advance of Rs.3000/-…..

Mode of Payment: You can either...

1) Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please call Mr. Mandar Khadilkar for the A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.3000/- to the following address
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B/702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Chh. Shivaji Cross Road, No.4, Dahisar - East, Mumbai - 400068
Ph.: 9930318665/ 9967518665

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs.3000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) We expect heavy rain throughout, hence will need to brave the rains during the trails.....please bring all the rain wears
4) Hot water facility will be available all day
5) Visit to read Nature India Policies.

For any other queries, please contact:-
Adesh Shivkar – 9869071091 / 9820455713
Mandar Khadilkar - 9930318665 / 9967518665
Or Email:

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip !!

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature

---By Rujuta Phadke (Nature India Participant, Aug'10)

In your pursuit of peace and solitude, perhaps you will come across Amboli, a tranquil hill station on the Western Ghats, surrounded by thick forests and tree canopied hills. On the coastal side, Amboli peers over the tree lined sandy ribbon of the Konkan coast; whereas on the other three sides, by a magnificent panorama of the sweeping valley. Amboli is situated at 710m above sea level, on Vengurla-Belgum state highway no 112 in Sindhudurg district, receiving the highest rainfall (approx.7446 mm) during the rainy season. I wanted to visit this less commercialized hotspot with integral natural beauty and rich flora and fauna since long time so pounced on the opportunity provided by Nature India…..

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Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature