This season, soak in the misty weather and the mystic forests of Amboli, a rare biodiversity hotspot tucked in the southernmost tip of Maharashtra that is home to exotic species of frogs, crabs and other reptiles
What’s awesome about Amboli
>> Located at the height of above 2,000 feet, nestled deep within the dense foliage of the Sahyadris in the Western Ghats, Amboli is a rich bio-diversity hotspot. It forms the southernmost tip of Maharashtra. Away from the hazards of commercialisation and tourism, Amboli remains a rarely-documented spot, mainly because it is remotely located from big cities like Mumbai and Pune, and has lesser connectivity in terms of infrastructure.
The Malabar Gliding Frog a.k.a Malabar Flying Frog is native to Amboli in Maharashtra. Pic courtesy/ Caesar Sengupta
>> British political agent, Colonel Westrop, 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 in Karnataka.
Fungoid frog. PIC Courtesy/Caesar Sengupta
>> It is perhaps the only hill station in Maharashtra that is located on the crest line, but is politically located in a coastal district (Sindhudurg) from the Konkan region.
Burrowing Frog. Pic Courtesy/Kapil Visht
>> The hill station receives an average rainfall of 7,446 mm, the highest in Maharashtra.
>> Since Amboli is located on the crest line, it has taller evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Some attractions in Amboli include the Shirgaonkar Point, Parikshat Point and Mahadevgarh Point.
Amboli Toad is endemic to the hill-station. Pic Courtesy/ Caesar Sengupta
>> Amboli is home to the Malabar Gliding Frog, an arboreal species that is also known as the Malabar Flying Frog. The other endemic species include Amboli Bush Frog and the critically endangered Amboli Toad. Malabar Pit Viper is also native to Amboli.
>> The origin of Hiranyakeshi River is near Amboli.
Eggs of a Night Frog. Pics Courtesy/ Caesar Sengupta
>> Monsoon is the best time to visit Amboli as you can spot caecilians, frogs and forest flowers, as well as cloud shrouded mountains. Whereas, avid bird watchers can plan a trip in summer.
Jumping Spider. Pic courtesy/Mumbai Travellers
>> Some of the cities close to Amboli include Belgaum (known for its dairy products), Kolhapur (famous for its Mahalakshmi Temple and leather chappals), and Panjim.
Land crab. Pic Courtesy/Caesar Sengupta
On a spotting spree
Frogs and toads: Malabar Gliding Frog, Tiger Toad, Amboli Tree Frog (Philatus amboli), Bombay Bush Frog (Raorchestes bombayensis), Indian Rock Frog (Indirana leithii), Night Frog, Beddome’s Burrowing Frog, Wrinkled Frog, Fungoid Frog and
Beddome's Keelback. Pic courtesy/Kapil Visht
Snakes: Malabar Pit Viper, Banded Racer, Green Keelback, Olive Forest snake, Beddome’s Keelback, Shield Tail Snake, Common Vine Snake and Checkered Keelback.
Mushroom. Pic Courtesy/Caesar Sengupta
Mammals: Leopard, tiger, Gaur, Sambar, Barking Deer, Small Indian Civet, Wild Boar, Grey Mongoose, Black-naped Hare and Giant Squirrel in the forests of Amboli.
Amboli landscape. Pic courtesy/ Caesar sengupta
Birds: Malabar Whistling Thrush, White-cheeked Barbet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Crimson Sunbird, Scimitar Babbler, Grey Junglefowl, Brown Hawk-Eagle, Shama and Crested Serpent Eagle. Bird sightings are better during the summer.
Participate in a three-day camp, starting from Sawantwadi. Organised by BNHS, the trip includes a night and a morning forest trail as well as an evening trail to a sacred grove of Amboli Ghat.
From: July 3 to July 5
Cost: Rs 5,900 (for members), Rs 6,500 (for others)
Learn the basics of wildlife photography through this three-day workshop conducted by Amit Rane, an in-house expert with DCP Expeditions. The expedition includes trails to Shirgaonkar Point, Parikshat Point and near Mahadevgarh in Amboli.
From: August 21 to August 23
Cost: Rs 9,000 (excluding Mumbai – Amboli – Mumbai travel)
Explore the forests of Amboli at nightfall with Mumbai Travellers and learn the basics of macro photography through expert-guided tours.
From: August 14 to August 16
Cost: Rs 7,000
From Mumbai 545 km
How to reach
By air: The nearest airport is Dabolim, Goa, approximately 120 km from Amboli.
By Train: Sawantwadi Railway station is about 8 km from the ST Depot. Konkan Kanya Express (10111) reaches Sawantwadi at 8.22 am.
By road: A 10-hour ride via NH 17.
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