Agumbe – An Enigmatic Exploration
Wonderful waterfalls, pristine rainforests and a fascinating blend of beautiful flora and fauna – well, that’s what Agumbe is in a nutshell. If you have read Malgudi days, a book by R.K Narayan or seen the brilliantly televised version by director Shankar Nag, you will surely associate with Agumbe.
Fondly called the Cherrapunji of the South, this stunning sanctuary of natural wealth is located in the Malnad region of Karnataka. With an inimitable mix of exotic wildlife, a courteous and organic tribal populace that survives on a burgeoning cottage industry that’s based on fresh forest produce and an active forest research centre, Agumbe as a whole teaches us how to live in sync with nature.
The untouched forests, the beautiful and misty hillocks, the simmering surf of the ever-flowing waterfalls and most importantly, the camera friendly wildlife that can put the most professional of models to shame, make a trip to Agumbe a memorable and a mesmerising experience like no other. The fact that this pristine paradise is just a stone’s throw away from Bangalore only makes the deal sweeter.
Image Credit: Gowrishankar, KCRE
The Kalinga Centre For Rainforest Ecology
Founded by Gowri Shankar, who primarily researches about the King Cobra, Kalinga Centre for Rainforest Ecology ( KCRE, for short ) focuses on empowering people with scientific tools of conservation through workshops and camps. Irrespective of your professional or academic background, the centre serves as an entry point for experiencing nature. Located at Guddekere , the five acre field site is at the heart of the rainforests of Agumbe. At KCRE you can read, watch and learn in first person, everything about the amazing animals that have made Agumbe their home. This place has a wealth of knowledge that you can consume, first hand. The aim is to do as much as possible in all ways possible to conserve what we have of these pristine forests of India.
Clicking The King!
There is nothing more regal and may be even romantic than experiencing a King Cobra hiss and pass through, right in front of your eyes. With a good set of lenses, great nature guides who know the art of photography – clicking the King in all his glory, in his most natural habitat isn’t just an unforgettable experience but also the greatest lesson in macro photography that you will ever learn.
And by the way, it isn’t just about the King because he has a flourishing kingdom of his own and then there are his fascinating mix of subjects that vie for the nature’s pie. You could explore and experiment different shots on some other snake species like the Malabar Pit Viper, Hump-nosed Pit Viper, Beddome’s Keelback, Checkered Keelback, Beddome’s Cat snake, among many others.
Or you could just get lucky and spot Dracos, the flying lizard of the south. During a visit, its worth keeping a lookout for the Malabar Grey Hornbill flying in and settling down on one of the areca nut trees. It’s also definitely worth exploring countless number of insects and spider species in their natural habitat- yes, there is a different world out there in the undergrowth. Isn’t it exciting?
If you are planning an adventurous getaway and don’t know where to go? Click here to be a part of an upcoming tour to the majestic Malnad district – http://www.birdwing.in/tour/agumbe-wildlife-photography-tour-april-2016/
For All It’s Worth
Well, so what’s the takeaway you might ask. As the friendly scientists from the region say, the flora and fauna are at a risk. They have an ever growing list of endangered beauties from Agumbe that are steadily and sadly vanishing. Yet, gladly the forest is home to an extraordinary population of medicinal plants, herbs and a mind-blogging bouquet of big trees which when clicked, can magically make every frame a master piece. You could also visit it for the amazing macro photo hacks you can try in real-time, in the wild.
If you want to try your hands at a macro photography workshop before you venture out into the wild? click here and send us an enquiry- http://www.birdwing.in/walks/macro-photo-walk/ Or you could just come to experience and explore the precious little that’s left of paradise down South at Agumbe. The misty mornings, the icy fresh waters, the dreamy dew, the happy howls and the awe inspiring greenery that the King Cobra and many other exotic and endangered animals call home is a experience that’s worth exploring.