Nestled in the womb of the green and luscious Western Ghats is a small hill station known as ‘Amboli’. It is not just any hill station. For someone who admires the place so much, I’d say it is a heaven, a heaven in the Ghats. A heaven not only for us but for magnificent creatures, creatures you won’t find anywhere else!
The fog and rain of Amboli hide it from the hustle and bustle of the common folk. It lies close to the town of Sawantwadi in the Sindhudrug district. Amboli serves as a haven for many endemic species and also other endangered species of flora and fauna.
Amboli is a small village with the locals being very friendly to the tourists. I have been visiting this place since 2012 and never felt like an outsider. Amboli is a biodiversity hotspot in itself. The locals here are aware of the wildlife in their backyard and are now taking up efforts for conservation. Amazing Amboli is an organisation that is now working towards spreading more awareness about Amboli and its wildlife by conducting nature camps. People from all over Maharashtra take part in these camps. Amazing Amboli involves locals and gives them an opportunity to interact with the city folks and make them aware about their assets.
At night, the Amboli forest comes to life with the calls of frogs, mammals and nocturnal birds. I’m sure this nightlife is a better experience than any city night life. The Malabar-gliding Frog Rhacophorus malabaricus an endemic species of frog found in the forest of Amboli. This frog can be seen during the monsoon though its hibernation is still a mystery. Only two species of Toads are found here namely the Common Indian Toad and Amboli Toad, which is again endemic to this place. The Amboli Toad is endangered as it is facing rapid habitat loss. Many species have been discovered in this area and there are still many unknown to us.
The never-ending rains, the omnipresent fog, the dampness in everything around you is a feature one soon starts to get used to in Amboli. It is not really a tourists dream but a traveller and trekker’s paradise. Its beauty as many will concur, lies in the rough terrain and extreme climate Amboli has to offer, not to forget the splendid views Kavlesad point shows of the entire Amboli Ghat. A visit and a night trail in Amboli are experiences one won’t ever forget in their lifetime.
Standing in the middle of the road, the rain beating down your poncho, a ray of light from your torch illuminating the path ahead, and hitting a thick veil of fog, the sounds of the jungle and excitement to start your journey only a few words come close to describing Amboli, the one that I choose at all times is ‘Amazing’…. Amazing Amboli.
– Gargi VR
NOTE: All pictures are copyright of Mr. Nirman Chowdhury.