I came across a piece of information about a trek happening in Agumbe, while surfing the internet. I immediately signed up for it, along with three of my friends. The trek was organized by World trekking club (WTC), a trekking club in Bangalore. We were a group of 16 people, a good mix of amateurs and experienced trekkers. We started from Bangalore on Friday, at 8.30 pm. When we started, I had no idea that Agumbe was going to greatly exceed my expectations.
We had breakfast on the way, at Malandur. We reached our local guide, Mr. Thimappa's beautiful old fashioned house situated amidst lush green fields. We freshened up and headed out on the trek, after applying home-made leech repellent on our legs. The weather was lovely, but we had our raincoats handy.
Agumbe is a small, clean and green village situated in the district of Shimoga, Karnataka. It is also called the Cherapunji of the South, and is one of the wettest places in India. It is bordered by dense rainforests and tall hills. It houses the only permanent rainforest research station, in the country.
We began our 16 km trek from the base, to the famous Barkana waterfall. It is one of the highest waterfalls in the country. We had to walk through thick forests, infested with leeches. The path was steep and the trail was a little tricky at places, but the view of the valley from the waterfall was completely worth it. The jungle houses a wide variety of flora and fauna. While returning, we spotted a yellow viper. Not just the view point, the path itself was stunning.
The rains had caused a big tree to fall, and hence we had to walk 6 kilometres to reach our van, because the road was blocked. The rains had stopped by then. The weather was forgiving and the path was beautiful. The roads were bordered by forests. We reached our van and then headed to Agumbe Rainforest Resarch Station (ARRS).
It is a research organization founded in 2005. It conducts and facilitates a variety of research projects. It also holds the pride of conducting the world's first radio-telemetry study on king cobras. We were addressed by the director of the place who showed us around and gave us an insight about the research station.
Our next stop was Kundadri, a scenic hill. There is a jain temple on top of the hill dedicated to Thirthankara, and there are a couple of hilltop ponds near the temple. A proper road leads to the temple, though there are trekking trails too. We parked the van about a kilometre away and walked to the temple. The place was misty and it felt like walking into a dream. It looked surreal. The view from the top was breathtakingly beautiful.
Shringeri is a famous temple town located in Chikmagalur district. We stopped there for lunch, and spent a couple of hours trying to decipher the carvings on the temple walls, buying condiments and ofcourse, making phone calls. Oh yeah! Our phones started working after 30 hours.
We returned back tired but happy.