One afternoon through Agumbe

Have you been where time stands still, where river meanders through, where the fog envelopes all of your vicinity, and where a buzz emanates in the deep silence? The Agumbe ghat is one such place; Agumbe is a part of the Western Ghat of India, and is hardly fifty kilometres from my native, Udupi.

This narrative is mostly the photos I took during my travel through the breathtaking Agumbe ghat section enroute to Sringeri Sharada temple. The ghat section unravels slowly at Someshwar, a part of Udupi district. To begin your ascent here, you should travel through the beatiful Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary, primarily known for king cobras, pythons and butterflies. The road seems to cling onto the meandering of Sita river.

Hairpin bends © Kiran Kannar

The foot of the ghat is an almost obscure left turn, but welcomes one to the set of sixteen hairpin bends to come. Unless you fall into a deep sleep, you won’t miss the absence of sound. If you do, the tortuous road should wake you up and compel you to look at the disappearing canopy of trees amidst the rising fog and torrential downpour (especially if you are travelling during the monsoon season). Big vehicles are not allowed since the roads are narrow and the hairpin bends are too acute for the kind to manage.

A separation of a different sort. © Kiran Kannar

As you switch on the lights, and pull on a jacket, the cold blast of wind won’t go unnoticed. An observation that most will miss is that this ghat belongs to two districts. The lower half is maintained by Udupi, while the upper half is by Shimoga district. This may not be apparent, but one can’t miss the delineation — the roads in the upper half is cemented, while the rest is tarred. A few times, you may reverse your vehicle to let incoming vehicle make a turn. The road downhill is more dangerous than during the climb. Forget to break, and you’ll crash into the barrier and stop if you are lucky. If not, the fall is steep.

If you try to catch a wink, the road ahead is only a downfall.
If you try to catch a wink, the road ahead is only a downfall. © Kiran Kannar
© Kiran Kannar

Almost at the top, there is a sunset point where you can click photos of the sun setting far away at the Arabian Sea; that is, if the fog spares you at the height of more than 600 metres from sea level. This point is a favourite of monkeys too — the intelligent ones that demand more instead of eating the food given to them.

Here are a few more pictures of the verdant valley covered in fog:

© Kiran Kannar
© Kiran Kannar

As much as the tortuous road can be breathtaking, it’s also dangerous too. Add heavy downpour to make your matters worse. It is definitely beautiful, not sitting in the driver’s seat. Nonetheless, one must definitely visit the Agumbe, also fondly called the Cherrapunji of Southern India.