Home to the greatest Kannada poet of the 20th century Kuvempu, myriad endangered species, scenic hikes, waterfalls and rains – Agumbe is a small village in Shimoga district of the western ghats of Karnataka. Nicknamed as the Cherrapunji of the South, Agumbe receives the heaviest rainfall out of all the southern parts of India. As a result, waterfalls, forests, rivers, flora and fauna in this region thrive to the fullest. It justifies the meaning of Agumbe that translates to Green Gold. If a holiday in Karnataka is on your mind, then make sure you add these best places to visit in Agumbe!
How to get to Agumbe
The nearest Airport is Mangalore Airport (100 km away from Agumbe). The nearest railway station is Udupi Railway Station (50 km away from Agumbe). There are also buses available from Bangalore to Agumbe.
Best Time to Visit Agumbe
The best time to typically visit Agumbe is between November and February. Please ensure you do not travel to Agumbe during the monsoon season (June to September) as it rains heavily, making it difficult for you to explore places nearby.
Top 10 places to visit in Agumbe
- Agumbe Sunset Viewpoint
- Malgudi Days’ direction and production in Agumbe
- Onake Abbi Falls
- Jogigundi Falls
- Barkana Falls
- Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
- Kundadri Hills
- Koodlu Theertha Falls
- Kudremukh National Park
- Someshwara wildlife sanctuary
1. Agumbe Sunset Viewpoint
The Agumbe Sunset Viewpoint undoubtedly the biggest tourist attraction in Agumbe. Blessed with the most mesmerizing sunsets in India, this place will surely leave you in awe. Feel like the lord of the world as you stand atop the western ghats and watch the sun dip into the Arabian Sea. Nothing can beat the power of nature to make you forget the hustle and bustle that is our mortal lives.
2. Malgudi Days’ TV series production in Agumbe
Malgudi Days is an old-school novel written by RK Narayan. It was also made into a TV series directed by Shankar Nag in the 1980s. These short stories of the 10-year-old Swami promptly captured the hearts of thousands of readers in India. Although fictional, the tv series naturally gave it a new life that it deserved!
When in Agumbe, ask for directions to Kasturi’s house and the friendly town folks will guide you to the 120-year-old house named Doddamane. This is where Kasturi lives with her mother-in-law. If you are a true fan, behold as nostalgia is bound to take over as you fondly remember this house from prominent parts of the tv show.
If you strike conversations with the local residents of this small town, you will hear a lot of stories about how the production team of Malgudi Days Tv series had transformed the day-to-day happenings of the village and gave Agumbe the reputation and meaning of more than just a nature lover’s den.
3. Onake Abbi Falls
It is one of the most hypnotizing tourist places to visit in Agumbe. Onake refers to a stick for pounding grains. The name refers to the unmistakable resemblance of the water route to a stick. From the Agumbe sunset point, it is a 4km trek through a lush green path to reach this waterfall. At the grassy top, you get a magnificent view of the cascading waterfalls tumbling down a rocky route from a height of 500 ft.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and fully covered clothing to protect yourself from insects and bugs.
4. Jogigundi Falls
Jogigundi waterfalls located in Agumbe’s rainforest with a 1km uphill trek. It is named after a saint who used to meditate here years ago. Unlike the quintessential waterfalls which run from a grand height, this one runs all through the year and emerges from a cave and forms a small pond at the bottom. There are no strong currents and barely any depth in the pond yet watch out for some sharp rocks if you venture too deep! It is truly one of the magical spots to explore in the list of top places to visit in Agumbe.
5. Barkana Falls
Many presume Agumbe has nothing extravagant to explore. We urge you to set foot in this small town and decide for yourself by checking off all the places to visit in Agumbe! The Barkana Waterfalls is formed by the River Seetha and is one of the ten highest waterfalls in India. The water here depends on the rains, so we advise you to check and confirm before you depart, to avoid disappointment.
It is located in the Ballehali forest region, 7km from Agumbe village. What’s fascinating is Barkana Falls is one of the prime sources of hydroelectricity in Karnataka. It gets its name from the Mouse Deer found in the region called “barka.” It is a great picnic spot with a majestic view.
6. Agumbe Rainforest Research Station
One of the most renowned ecological research institutes in India, Agumbe Rainforest Research Station was established to conserve the South Indian rainforests. It is the most sought after pro-environment tourist attraction and one of the most interesting places to visit in Agumbe.
It is located in the forest area at an elevation of 560 m above sea level. The station complex covers the Kudremukh National Park, Someshwara, Mookambika and Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. In the last few years, they have saved and relocated over 100 king cobras from the region. Abiding by its eco-friendly policy, it runs and operates on hydro-electric power.
7. Kundadri Hills
The Kundadri Hills is a monolithic rock formation fraught with thick forests and several streams. It is famed for a 17th century Jain Temple with two ponds that get its water from the River Tunga that flows near this site. It attracts tourists for the view of the backwaters of the Varahi Dam and mountains. Kundadri hills make an appearance in many travellers list of places to visit in Agumbe. We hope it makes the cut in your list too!
Tip: If you are experienced, you can also bike up to the Jain Temple through the rugged forest!
8. Koodlu Theertha Falls
Koodlu Theertha Falls is a fascinating waterfall located on Udupi-Agumbe Road in Karnataka. The waterfall is the first fall of the River Sita and is buried deep in the dense forests of the Western Ghats. By virtue of its origin, it is called Sita Falls and is at a height of 300 ft. It is surely one of the more pristine waterfalls in the country and one of the most peaceful places to visit in Agumbe. Looking for a place to get away from the concrete jungle and woes of life? Head out to Koodlu Theertha falls to find peace and serenity!
The trek up to the falls is also an exciting journey. As it is an isolated and lesser known place to visit near Agumbe, the trek route takes you through the forest and brings you to the banks of River Sita. Walk across the bridge over river Sita and a bit farther you will reach a small stream. Right after the stream, you will find yourself at the falls.
9. Kudremukh National Park
The ever-famous Kudremukh National Park is an exciting day trip to take from Agumbe Village if you are done and dusted with all else! This park is a part of Bhadra Tiger Sanctuary and is a classified Tiger Reserve sanctuary. It is nearly a two-hour drive away from Agumbe. The originating point for rivers Tunga, Bhadra and Nethravathi are in this park. You can also spot Malabar trogon, Malabar whistling thrush, great pied hornbill and imperial pigeon.
Kudremukh literally means “horse face” and is named as such because a side of the mountain from the Kudremukh peak resembles the face of a horse. If you remember a bit of Geography and maps from back in school, you would also remember that Kudremukh was primarily established as a mining town rich in iron ore.
The Kudremukh range is fondly called the Himalayas of the South for the impeccable beauty of the western ghats it offers to travellers. Yes, you can also hike up to the peak! But due to conservation efforts and promoting green tourism, there a few rules with regards to this amazing trek. There is an upper limit of 50 trekkers per day to preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do take a look at the online help or call the national park for accurate information before you confirm plans. Kudremukh trek has also been popular among the traveller community and has earned its fame for being one of the best places to visit in Agumbe!
10. Someshwara wildlife sanctuary
The Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Udupi District of Karnataka. However, it falls below the Agumbe Forest range. When you are through visiting all the places listed above and if you have decided to head back home – you could make one last stop at this wildlife Sanctuary (We know you want to!).
If you love the wild and adventure, this is exactly your kind of place to visit in Agumbe! It houses many animals like Barking Deer, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Tiger, Bonnet Macaque, Leopard, Lion Tailed Macaque, Common Langur, Gaur, Jackal, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. To all the bird watchers, there are also a few exotic birds like Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, Ceylon Frogmouth and Malabar Whistling Thrush you might spot in this region.
You can also go trekking, but you need to get the permission of the concerned authorities first because of a few restrictions from the government’s end. Apart from this, there is also camping and river rafting during the monsoon if you like!
Agumbe is a secure haven for photographers, bird-watchers, adventure-lovers, trekkers, eco-friendly and sustainable travellers in active search of the rugged and pristine beauty of divine nature. In this decade, with more and more across the globe valiantly attempting to solve the persistent problems of plastic, climate change, global warming and the like, we are still incredibly lucky to have such green and clean parts of the world still intact. If you happen to make travel plans to Agumbe or any such unblemished part of the world, we urge you to travel sustainably by resorting to minimalism and the presently available eco-friendly products universally. Join hands with the traveller community to do all that we can to reduce our carbon footprints! Go green or go home!