The Agumbe Ways
A trip to Agumbe is something I planned almost an year ago but dropped since I met with an accident and had to take a bed rest for like, 5 weeks.
Agumbe came into my knowledge with the secondary name of ‘The Cherrapunji of The South’. Also, I came to know that Agumbe holds the record in inhabiting the largest number of King Cobras. So when I basically thought of heading there, I had the notion of going to a hush green land. Though, sighting Cobras was out of my context.
I did a bit of Google-ing to know the place better and also to figure of the easiest modes of transport to get there. Since we couldn’t find any direct trains and buses to Agumbe, we decided to book tickets for Maveli Express that commute between TVC and MAQ on a daily basis.
The Maveli Express.
Though the train ran an hour late at night, we reached Mangalore Central (MAQ) on time. We had breakfast from a restaurant at the station and enquired to a few locales about the best ways to commute to our destination. To our surprise, some of them haven’t even heard of Agumbe! Then we sought for the help of a policeman and he re-directed us to the station’s taxi drivers. After a talk with them, we hired a taxi – an Ambassador, KA-09-B-04 and started at 9:05.
With full of greenery, Mangalore looked no different than Kerala. Also, the surroundings looked to be tidy. Before leaving the town/city premises, we filled our fuel tank.
Upon passing Someshwara Wild Life Sanctuary by 11:00, our ride kind of started showing troubles. We stopped at two places to inspect on the issue, but it went in vain. So the driver requested us to get another taxi from the junction which we passed a few moments ago. So we went back, hired a Maruti Omni (+91 9964506736 – Sudarshan) and continued the journey.
The 125 year old Dodda Mane.
Dodda Mane is a 125 year old Naalukettu, currently owned and managed by Kasturiakka. The place is listed in almost all travel related websites I know of. I don’t think they do any sort of online marketing for this. Yes, hospitality comes first, word of mouth, the second.
We were offered a double room. Additional beds shall be taken if needed.
We freshened up and had lunch. Though words won’t do justice, I don’t want to skip describing how yummy and delicious the whole cuisine was. It was Ugaadi (New Year in Karnataka) and they were very happy to have guests. Various dishes were served in its traditional order. Kasturiakka made it a note to not waste anything. She also taught us the Kannada words for enough (saaku), a little (swalpa), and not needed (beda) to use if needed while the food is being served. Heh. To sum it all, somewhere in between, our eyes brimmed with happy tears.
Since we came to know that Dodda Mane doesn’t charge a specific amount for the hospitality and will be content with what they receive with a happy smile from customers, we were in a dilemma about what to pay. After a discussion, we decided to pay Rs. 1000/- per head.
We took rest until 17:00 and as suggested by Kasturiakka earlier that day during lunch, we headed to the Sunset Point in an auto rickshaw by 17:30.
Since we haven’t had enough money to pay at Dodda Mane the next day, two of us decided to go to the nearest town, which is Hebri, and withdraw whatever is needed to meet our needs. So Archana and Priyanka went to get the money, while myself and Aparna sat at the view point watching a not-so-good-looking sunset and killed time.
We returned by 18:45 and by 19:00, Archana and Priyanka too returned by bus. We had an evening walk around the place and had tea from a shop nearby.
By 20:00, we had our dinner and went to bed hoping to get up by early and head to Kundadri Hills for Sunrise.
The Velvet Cloud’s Paradise.
The alarm woke us by 4:30. After freshening up, we proceeded to Kundadri Hills for the Sunrise. The auto we hired the other day came to pick us. We started by 5:45. The road was covered with haze. It was a bit chilling too. We reached the destination within half an hour. A few steps took us to the top of the hills. People were seen around, getting themselves ready to watch the Sunrise. We also saw some 3 rooms at the place which offered lodging – though they all were just built on a foundation and separated with walls as rooms.
A few steps closer to the edge and what we saw was breath taking – A cloud paradise! A white velvet cloud paradise with a few hills seen far away, to be precise. I stood in awe for a while before pulling out my camera to make use of it. I had to say it again – The view we had was amazing. Or maybe it’s because I’ve seen those Nandi Hills photos with clouds spanning all around but never got a chance to witness it in real life even though I’ve been there a couple of times.
After taking a few photos, we sat there, on the top of rocks and just stared far away admiring what this vast world possesses.
We returned by 7:40. After having breakfast from Dodda Mane, we proceeded to Barkana Falls by 9:50. In between, the road deviated to a road-less place and took us through a forest so as to reach the Falls by 10:15. After spending a few minutes there, we went to Jogi Gundi Waterfalls. Since it was Summer, the place had really less water. Also, no ‘falls’. We spent some 15 – 20 minutes there and got back to Dodda Mane.
The lunch was almost ready by the time we reached. After packing our baggage, we had our lunch and checked out to get a bus heading to Udupi by 13:00. A one and a half hour ride took us to Udupi bus depot from where we took another bus to Mangalore.
We parted at the railway station with a part of us still left behind at Dodda Man. For sure, we’ll go there again just to BE at the place and eat and sleep.
Highlights of our expenditure:
- TVC – MAQ – Rs. 626/-
- MAQ – Agumbe – Rs. 2400/-
- Accommodation at Dodda Mane: Rs. 1000/- per head.
- MAQ – TVC – Rs. 626/-
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