Friday, May 17, 2013

Amboli Ghat, Biodiversity Hotspot (26th Jul - 28th Jul'2013)

Announcing season 6 for Nature India!! As usual, we are starting with Amboli Ghat, soaking in rains that rejuvenates the forests and announces a season of plenty and hope.

Bookings for Amboli Ghat trip from 26th July to 28th July 2013 are open (travel days excluded)...for details see at the end..... Hurry up and register fast as this trip is eagerly awaited by many...

Please read any one of these trip reports to experience what happens in such a trip.


AMBOLI GHAT - A Herpetofauna Paradise

Ever heard of " Maharashtra's Cheerapunji”...the wettest place in our state? The hottest biodiversity region in Maharashtra? The cleanest and the greeniest hill station near us?..... Come with Nature India & explore this amazing place called Amboli Ghat…… the dream destination of all the naturalists and which is at its Best in Monsoon.....Great walks, beautiful scenery, loads of biodiversity to look for, waterfalls, balmy climate and local delectable Konkani food…perfect menu set for a short holiday. (some images in this blog are contributed by participants)

Amboli Ghat......Nestled comfortably in the midst of luxuriant foliage on the Sahyadri Mountains in southern tip of Maharashtra and perched at a height of 710m above sea level it  is relatively tranquil and uncluttered by commercialization and unfolds a charisma that appeals to the heart and the soul. This hill station in Sindhudurg district is said to be the wettest in Maharashtra, receiving the highest rainfall (approx.7446 mm) during the rainy season.

Colonel Westrop, who was a British political agent, developed Amboli as a hill station after the opening of the Ghat Road from the coastal town of Vengurla, now in southern Maharashtra, to Belgaum. Amboli is situated on Vengurla-Belgum state highway no 112 in Sindhudurg district. The population is @ 3000. The main road is lined with shops    and small restaurants of all shapes and sizes that form the main bazaar.
Home to innumerable species of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and medicinal plants, it has contributed generously to our country’s bio-diversity. The valley, hemmed in at all sides, looks protected, sheltered, unexplored, and holding in its secrets. Dense brown green foliage, roots above and below, intertwined branches, creepers, and moss hanging like an afro-braid from branch after branch. Layers of fog surround us, weaving a shroud of mystery as to what lay ahead. At times the strong winds clear the path before us, unfolding a   panoramic view of the scenic valley. The walks to Mahadevgarh, Shirgaonkar & Parikshit Points offer fantastic opportunities to explore these rich forests and also offer spectacular views of valleys below and the Konkan area.

Though Amboli is emerging and is famous as a hill station, not many know that this place is extremely rich in Herpetofauna, wildflowers and birds. Home to myriad species of Amphibians, Amboli is a must visit place in monsoon for all the nature enthusiasts.The star attraction here are the wonderful array of reptiles that includes Malabar Pit ViperGreen Keel Back, Travancore Wolf SnakeBeddome's Cat SnakeBeddome's Keelback SnakeGreen vine SnakesShield tail snakesDeccan-banded Gecko etc. While in   Ambhibians, the Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus), Amboli tree frog (Philautus amboli), Wrinkled frog
 (Nyctibatrachus humayuni)Koyna Toad (Bufo koynayensis), Beddome's burrowing frogCriket frogFungoid frog and the Caecilians will take your breath away.

Amboli is also a hot spot for the variety of wildflowers that bloom in monsoon on sadas (the local name for lateritic plateau). It is also a heaven for wildflower enthusiasts with some rare plants recorded here. You may find many ephimeral flowers like Ground orchids, the Rare Ceropegia's, Impatiens and even the Bio-luminescent Fungi.....

The Birds, though difficult to see in monsoon is well represented with Scarlet MinivetsPuff-throated BabblersBrown-cheeked Fulvettas, Emerald Dove, Red-whiskered & Yellow-browed BulbulsCrimson & Crimson-backed Sunbirds, Leafbirds and many of the Western Ghat   endemics.

Beautiful insect life dominate the surroundings with all sorts of bettles, bugs, lantern flies, butterflies, moths, spiders and what not. Surely, this is one place which you wont like to miss.

Four kilometers away, the river Hiranyakeshi originates from a cave adjacent to a temple of Goddess Parvati at the foot of a mountain. Water rushes out with tremendous force to fall into a squarish tank or ‘Kund’, from where it flows out. Opposite, an old tree offers ample space around its roots to urge devotees to meditate without disturbance

Here are some photo stories of Nature India participants ..... 
There are several trails and points to be explored in Amboli for a general tourist, but would be exploring some of them like Mahadevgad point, Shirgaonkar point and Parikshit point. The "Leeches" too are in plenty, but with leech guards and the enthusiastic spirit of the participants, coupled with the great sightings, you would not be bothering much about them :-)


Nature India tours has meticulously organized a Herpetofauna trip to this bio-diversity hotspot from 26th Jul to 28th Jul'13 (travel days excluded) with eminent experts in the field.

Though the Camp will be focused on Herpetofauna and to learn more about them, we will also try to look for and learn about everything that we come across including Wildflowers, Birds, Mammals ….

Date: 26th Jul 2013, morning 8.00 am to 28th Jul 2012 eve 8.00 pm

Resource person:  Mr.Varad Giri ( A renowed Herpetofauna Expert of India)
Assistant resource persons: Mr.Mandar Khadilkar & Mr. Adesh Shivkar

Mr.Varad Giri, our expert, is a well-known herpetologist from India, who's contribution in this field has earned him world acclamation. A new species of snake which was discovered recently from the forests of Amboli has been named after him..... It is our great privilege and fortune to have Varad on board.

TRIP ITINERARY (Itinerary is Ex.Kolhapur) 

Day 1: Friday 
26th Jul, 2013 .

Pick up at Shahu Maharaj Terminus, Kolhapur Railway Station at 7.30 am .… Drive to Amboli in minibus…. Check-in….. lunch…….Mini nature trail in Amboli Ghat…return to hotel by evening ...slide show/talk on Herpetofauna of Amboli … dinner… night trail to Shirgaonkar point 

Day 2: Saturday 27th Jul, 2013

After breakfast, morning visit to Parikshit point…lunch….Discussion on sightings…..late evening trail to Mahadevgad…dinner.... night trail near the campus

Day 3: Sunday, 28th Jul, 2013
After breakfast, morning visit to Shirgaonkar Point…..proceed towards Mahadev Gad point and return for Lunch…..Proceed to Kolhapur.... Reptile watching along the way...reach Kolhapur by  18.00 Hrs to catch Mahalaxmi Express from Shahu Maharaj Terminus / Bus at 20:30 Hrs to reach Mumbai by 07.20 am on 29th Jul'13

More details on the Itinerary will be given to those who register.....

Please note: This is primarily a herpetofauna watching trip. We do not have any provision for sight-seeing in our trips.

Trip Charges :Rs. /-.Ex. Kolhapur (This includes stay in Hotel Whistling Woods on twin/triple sharing basis, Veg / non-veg food in nearby restaurant, breakfast, tea, local transport by minibus to & from Kolhapur, entry fees, guide charges, Articles on the places to be visited & on board snacks ……)

This does not include travel charges from Mumbai and Back or any charges other than the above.

Travel options to reach Kolhapur:Kindly note that there are several travel options available (given below) to reach Kolhapur, but the best one is Mahalaxmi Express that leaves Mumbai at 20.20 pm and arrives Kolhapur at 07.20 am next day.

By Road:

Mumbai to Kolhapur (400 km/ 8 hrs), Pune to Kolhapur (230 km/ 5 hrs) ....State Transport buses ply from here
There are also regular AC buses (Volvos) from Mumbai to Kolhapur

Stay Arrangement: In Hotel Whistling Woods on twin/triple sharing basis in non AC rooms. The Hotel campus is wonderful and the rooms are spacious with clean bathrooms....but no restaurant here.

Food : We will relish the delicious food (including the famous "Sol Kadi" :-) in a good restaurant just a few meters from our hotel.

Registration: You can register by sending a confirmatory mail to
and by paying a non refundable advance of Rs.5000/- after our registration conformation by email…..the remaining amount will be collected on the day of travel.

Mode of Payment: You can either...

1) Transfer the advance money directly to HDFC A/c : (please call Mr. Mandar Khadilkar for the A/c no.) .... please mention your name, date and other details….

2) Courier a cheque of Rs.5000/- to the following address

Name: Mr. Mandar Khadilkar
Address: Flat No.2, Blossom Apartments, LM Road, Below Shantighan Hospital, Kandarpada, Dahisar - West, Mumbai - 400068
Ph.: 9930318665/ 9967518665

Please Note:
1) Once registered, the advance amount of Rs.5000/- is strictly non-refundable
2) Alcohol & Smoking is strictly prohibited on Nature India Tours
3) We expect heavy rain throughout, hence will need to brave the rains during the trails.....please bring all the rain wears
4) Kindly register on this trip only if you agree with  Nature India's rules and policies 

For any other queries, please contact:-
Adesh Shivkar – 9820455713 /  9869071091
Mandar Khadilkar - 9930318665 / 9967518665
Or Email:

Hope to see you for this wonderful trip !!

Thanks for your patience.

Warm Regards,
Adesh Shivkar & Mandar Khadilkar
Nature India
Appreciate, Respect & Conserve

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Appreciate, Respect & Care for Nature