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.
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)
TRAVEL & STAY ITINERARY. (Ex.Sawantwadi )
Mr. Parthiv Sanghvi (Herpetofauna Expert)
Mr. Hemant Ogale (The local expert & Founder member of Malabar Conservation Club)
Assistant resource persons: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & Mr. Adesh Shivkar
Day 1: Thrusday 28th July, 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 29th July, 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, 30th July, 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 SawantwadiMore details on the Itinerary will be given to those who register.....
Please note: This is primarily a herpetofauna watching trip.
Travel options to reach Amboli:
Kindly note that there are several travel options available (given below) to reach Sawantwadi, but the best one is Konkan-Kanya express that leaves Mumbai at 11.05 pm and arrives Sawantwadi at 09.55 am next day.
There are also regular AC buses (some Volvos) from Mumbai to Sawantwadi
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.
Mode of Payment: You can either...
Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: B/702, Neha Apartments, Ashish Complex, Chh. Shivaji Cross Road, No.4, Dahisar - East, Mumbai - 400068
Ph.: 9930318665/ 9967518665
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 http://natureindia.ning.com/notes/Nature_India_Policies to read Nature India Policies.
Adesh Shivkar – 9869071091 / 9820455713
Mandar Khadilkar - 9930318665 / 9967518665
Or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
---By Rujuta Phadke (Nature India Participant, Aug'10)