Pitter patter rain – now and then, snatching a moment from moving the clouds – sun gleaming between the tall areca nut plantations, on those washed and kept clean winding roads, we went on a drive to this tiny green hidden gem of a place called ‘Agumbe’.
Hasiru Honnu, such an apt way to describe Agumbe! It means Green Gold, in Kannada. Gurgling streams with crystal clear water, green canopy of tall trees, abode to abundant rare medicinal plants and rich bio-diversity, verdant mountains and wildlife sanctuary and umpteen choices for trekkers to embark on adventurous treks and nature trails, many a beautiful waterfalls and the landscape that offers picturesque visuals wherever one gazes, such is this Malnad beauty! Not even a one-horse-town this, Cherapunji of the south is a moniker that we have been familiar since ages whenever Agumbe was mentioned. It receives the second highest rainfall in India.
Located around 95 Kms from coastal district Udupi, Karnataka, Agumbe is a beautiful but small hill station to visit and explore. It is situated in Shimoga district and is a place well known for the scenic beauty. We drive through the lush green vegetation, closer to the Seetha river, a few kilometres inside the mystic mountain terrain and climb the scenic hairpin bends of the ghats. Stop by at the most visited place around Agumbe, the sunset point. On a clear day, the sunset is most attractive from this part of the region, I am told.
A dream to live and walk the road of Malgudi turned into reality when we, a bunch of friends, drove up to this quiet and a peaceful village. Yes, this is the same place where the characters of famous writer R. K Narayan, was infused with life by director/actor Shankar Nag ably supported by R. K. Laxman, acclaimed cartoonist (he was the sketch artist for this TV series) and popular actors of the like of Anant Nag, Girish Karnad and the then child artiste Manjunath along with other extremely talented actors. One main road, One dodda mane (Big house), a village circle and a government school and a bus stand – this was the setup when the Classic TV serial ‘Malgudi days‘ was first aired on Doordarshan way back in 1987. Well, nothing much has changed almost 35 years since then, in September 2018.
Visiting Doddamane (the place where the shooting of Malgudi Days was shot) and walking along the corridors of this 134-year-old structure felt like living the days of the yore. The tall and sturdy wooden pillars in perfect conditions even today are the proof of opulent past. The owner & the matriarch of the house, Kasturi Akka mostly rests on the bed these days but talks very affectionately with the visitors. Her daughter now takes care of the house. Even today, it is this house that happens to be the best choice for a stay in Agumbe.
Cruise on the mute road and visit Shri Venugopala Swamy Temple. Built in the typical Malnad thatched roof style construction, this small temple is known to be a Hoysala temple. Not much of any carvings to be seen inside here, the temple is spacious.
If driving up the hill and enjoying the vistas is a pleasant way to spend time, trekking up the Kundadri hill is yet another attraction. Alluring views of the villages and valley below could be considered as rewards for climbing up a few steps up the hill and wandering off towards the viewpoint.
Incessant rains, pristine green forests, meandering through the silent roads of the village and spending time with yourself, walking into an areca nut plantation here and there, revel in the peace and serenity of nature, – just a few things which characterizes Agumbe. Home to a plethora of flora and fauna, Agumbe is a place which a soul in love with nature, would wish to visit again and again.