Agumbe - The Cherrapunji Of The South:- Located in Shimoga district, Agumbe is a small village in Thirthahalli taluk in the Malnad region of Karnataka, India. It is sometimes called “The Cherrapunji of the South” after Cherrapunji, in Northeast India. Agumbe is one of the most popular treks in South India especially in August. The mountains and valleys are filled with numerous waterfalls which are a prime attraction; there are also ruins of temples dating back to the Hoysala Empire which is worth a visit. To view the sunset, there is a gallery erected on a high point of the hills and you can see as far as the Arabian Sea. A nice trek could be followed by some hot tea only here you get a Vanilla flavored tea which is just so much better. The scenes in Agumbe may seem much too familiar to you; it is because it served as a setting to the famous TV adaption of the book Malgudi Days.
The Sita Nadi river rafting is an unparalleled experience. The rafting experience on the wild Sita River gives you a thrill that you will not forget for a lifetime. Considered to be one of the must-do activities if in Karnataka the river rafting activity at the Sita River has become quite an adventure for many. Sita Nadi is a river with a wild fury and dancing waters which makes it perfect for some high-intensity river rafting. The river rafting starts at Agumbe and carries on along the 70 km stretch of the mighty river. There are many adventure travel companies which provide exclusive packages for rafting sometimes coupled with trekking to nearby hills. The rafting lengths range from 16-18 km to 22-28 km covering mild and strong rapids, the organizers take care of all safety needs ensuring access to all age groups.
As for Agumbe, the place is heaven on earth with lush green tropical rainforest coupled with the second wettest climate in India that provides beautiful views of the Western Ghats.
Best Time To Visit Agumbe
Monsoon is the best period, i.e. June to October, to visit Agumbe for river rafting as the Sita Nadi swells up and the rapids become challenging. The beauty of the village gets enhanced even more during the wet period allowing you to enjoy some breathtaking views of the Western Ghats at Agumbe. Do not forget to carry adequate rain protection gear.
How To Reach Agumbe
- Air: Mangalore is the nearest Air head at 106 km while Bangalore is 378 km from Agumbe.
- Rail: The nearest rail head is at Udupi which is 54 km from Agumbe, one can easily get public transport or hail a cab from Agumbe.
- Road: KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore, Mangalore, Shimoga and Udupi till Agumbe. There are many private bus services available from the aforementioned places. A road journey from Bangalore by a cab will take you some eight hours to reach.
Where to Stay
Agumbe is a small village hence there aren't many places for accommodation. One can stay at Sita Nadi Nisargadhama (River Camp) which is 17 km away from the village center. One can also stay at Shimoga which is a bigger tourist center with accommodation option for all budget sizes.
Activities In Agumbe
Other than river rafting, Agumbe is also a favorite for trekking and photography.
The Agumbe Experience
Sunset point at Agumbe is special to the village as there are not many places from where the setting sun on the Ghats look as beautiful as it looks here.
Agumbe is the second wettest place in India and therefore carry adequate raincoats, umbrellas etc. Do not wear cotton while rafting, wear synthetic or polyester fiber clothes. Women should avoid wearing sarees.
Top 10 Places To Visit In Shimoga
1) Jog Falls
One of the most sought after attraction and natural wonder in the region, Jog Falls is located nearly 100 km from Shimoga town. Lying in Sagara, it is the 11th highest waterfall in India created by Sharavathi River. The fall plunges from an elevation of 253 m. A 30 minutes walk will take you at the bottom of the fall and at Watkin’s platform, you can admire the spell binding views of the surroundings.
The ideal time to explore the place is either during or after the monsoon and the place can be reached by a car or a bus from Shimoga. A Laser Light Show and Musical Karanji show is also held at the falls, everyday between 7:00PM and 9:00PM.
Situated about 115 km away from Shimoga town, Kodachadri is a peak in Western Ghats packed full of flora and fauna.
Kollur, lying at the base of the Kodachadri about 20 kms away was one the home to Adi Mookambika, devoted to Mother Goddess who ended the life of demon Mookasura. Other major attractions lying in the vicinity are Agastya Teertha Waterfalls, and Arisinagudi Waterfalls.
Things to see at Kodachari Peak:
1) Sarvajna Peetha - A small temple like structure where Adi Shankara is said to have meditated
2) Moolasthana- Is a temple located near PWD Guest house. It is believed to be the origin place of Sri Mookambika Devi.
3) Chitramoola- A small cave just before the peak
About Kodachadri Hills
- Approx trek time : 4-5 hours
- Availability of night trek : Not available
- Base Camp : Nagodi Village or Nittur
- Days required for the trek : 1 day
- Difficulty level : Moderate
- Height above sea level : 4406 feet
- Nearest Airport : Mangalore
- Nearest Railhead : Shimoga
- Region : Western Ghats
- Starting point of trek : Nagodi Village or Nittur
- Type : Mountain Forest Trail
How to Reach Kodachadri Hills
Rail: There are no direct trains to Kodachari. The nereast railhead is located at Shimoga which is approximately 111 kms away.
Road: There are no direct buses to Nagodi village, therefore you have to a take bus from Bangalore to either Shimoga (310 kms) or Udupi (400) from where Nagodi is accessible via jeep or taxi.
3) Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary
A small picturesque island is the Mandagadde Bird Sanctuary. It is located in the River Tunga nearly 32 km from Shimoga town on the way to Thirthahalli.
The perfect time to explore the island, which is a part of Shettihalli Wildlife Sanctuary, is from July to October during which the island is visited by plethora of migratory birds such as darter, egret, snake-bird, cormorant etc.
A popular picnic spot rich in fauna, Tyavarekoppa is located about 10 km from Shimoga town. Covering a huge area of 200 hectares, the place is renowned for its Lion and Tiger Safari which commenced in the year 1998.
Apart from safari, the place also inhabits animal like leopard, deer, sloth beer etc. A zoo and a children’s park can also be enjoyed at Tyavarekoppa.
5) Gajanur Dam
Located 12 km from Shimoga en-route Thirthahalli, one can witness a perfect picnic spot in a way of Tunga Dam built over River Tunga. An Elephant Camp where elephants are trained can also be enjoyed there by visitors.
6) Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
A paradise for bird watchers, Gudavi Bird Sanctuary is spread across an area of nearly 0.75 sq km. Located in the town of Sorab in the proximity of Shimoga on the banks of Gudvi Lake.
It serves as a popular destination in the region and inhabits various species of migratory birds like white ibis, little cormorant, Indian shag, pariah kite, little grebe, jungle fowl etc. The best time to visit the sanctuary is from July to October.
7) Sakrebayalu Elephant Camp
Sakrebailu Elephant Camp is a place where one can see herds of Elephants being trained. Situated at a distance of nearly 14 km from the town of Shimoga, it is a quite popular spot among tourists.
Open Time: before 9:00 a.m.
The Varanasi of South, Koodli, is amongst the holiest places of Southern India and the site of confluence of two holy rivers Tunga and Bhadra. A place endowed with a lot of history and religious importance, Koodli has been an important place of worship, meditation and peace from ancient times. It is located at a distance of mere 16 km from the city of Shimoga in Shimoga district.
The place is known as the Varanasi of South, due to the presence of temples like Rameshvara, Narsimha, Brahmeshvara, and Rushyashrama. It is also home two great philosophical schools of Hindu philosophy in the form of Shankaracharya Mutt and Koodli Arya Akshobhya Teertha Mutt.
Best time to visit Koodli
The best time to visit the village of Koodli is from October till May as the temperatures during the period are hovering around the pleasant range of 20 to 30 degree Celsius.
How to Reach Koodli
Air: Nearest Airports are at Bangalore and Mysore one take a cab or catch public buses which will take around seven-eight hours to reach Koodli.
Rail: Shimoga city has its own rail head which is connected to major rail heads in Karnataka. You can take public transportation or auto rickshaw till Koodli.
Road: Mini bus services are available from 6am till 8pm from Shimoga to Koodli. You can also hail a cab or take an auto rickshaw.
Take a day trip to Koodli from Shimoga. Start your day early with the Nandi Temple (site of confluence) and Rameshvara Temple. Towards an early afternoon, visit the Shankaracharya Mutt and Narsimha Temple, following these with lunch. Keep the Koodli Mutt-Brahmeshvara Temple, Rushyashrama Temple for the evening and as per the time if you have left on you.
Avoid the poojaries at the confluence point if you do not want to burn a hole in your pocket doing various poojas.
Open Time: 7:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
9) Shivappa Nayaka Palace Museum
Lying on the banks of River Tunga, the Shivappanaika Palace is a popular attraction located within the Shimoga town. A very much sought after destination among tourists, the palace was established by Shivappa Naik of Keladi during 16th century and was crafted brilliantly out of rosewood.
One can witness the relic of bygone era in a museum that resides inside the palace, showcasing beautiful stone carving and other belongings of the period.
Open Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
10) Matur - Hosahalli
An offbeat destination unlike any other, the twin villages of Mattur-Hosahalli are known across the world as the only place where the ancient Sanskrit language is still spoken on a day-to-day basis. The two villages are also full of great temples which depict the architectural treasure of the region. Situated on the banks of the Tunga River just 4 km away from the city of Shimoga, the twin villages of Mattur-Hosahalli are unique in every way you look at them.
Best time to visit Mattur-Hosahalli
The best time to visit the twin villages is from October to May as the temperatures in the region are kind during this time of the year, hovering around 25 to 30 degree celsius with evenings, slightly cooler. The monsoon period also a good time to visit the villages.
How to Reach Mattur-Hosahalli
Air: The nearest airport is in Bangalore. Shimoga to Bangalore is an eight hour journey by road or rail.
Rail: Nearest Rail head is at Shimoga from where one can take an auto rickshaw or a public transport to the twin villages.
Road: One can reach the twin villages through road from the district headquarters of Shimoga. Public buses ply often to the villages from 6am till 8pm.
Sightseeing in Mattur-Hosahalli
While in Hosahalli, visit the Varsiddi Vinayak Temple, Matangamm ayane mariyamma Temple, Lord Shiva, Lord Rama, and Goddess Durga temples. In Mattur you can visit the Rama Mandir, Shivalaya, Someshwara Temple and Lakshmikeshava Temple.
Open Time: Day time