5th - 7th October 2011
Amboli is a hill station in Sawanthawadi district of Maharashtra. Being close to Belagavi (70km) it attracts lot of tourists from North Karnataka region. Amboli is famous for its waterfalls and viewpoints. While monsoon is the best time to visit when waterfalls are in full, the post monsoon season provides some nice views.
A plan was hatched to visit Amboli and nearby areas during Navarathri. Hotel booking were made in advance to avoid last minute tensions. The drive from Bengaluru to Belagavi was uneventful. It took me 6 hours to cover the distance of 500km. That includes a break of one hour for breakfast at Chitradurga and refueling at Ranebennur. Not a bad timing for Indian roads. Thanks to Golden Quadrilateral. After having an early lunch in Belagavi we headed towards Amboli. Very soon we entered into Maharashtra. The difference is easily noticeable!! No more English boards. Even the numbers are written in Marathi. But road quality was same as in Karnataka.
The distance from Belagavi to Amboli is about 70 km which took us 2 hours to cover. Being at the beginning of the Western Ghats, Amboli resembles more like Agumbe in many aspects. The highway and few building on either side of it make this place. The silence is shattered by occasional sound of vehicles passing on the highway. I had made a prior booking in MTDC hotel. It turned out to be a good choice. It is a simple resort with nice rooms and gardens.
The long journey of 580 km had made us tired and we took some much needed rest. In the evening we visited Mahadevgad view point. It is about 3 km from the main road though dense forests. The place was completely empty. Steps are constructed to the edge of the cliff. It provides a nice view of the plains below and the forests of Western Ghats. It formed a perfect evening to spend. With no soul around the place was for us. We liked that isolation!! My daughter started running all around making us run behind her. But when I took to the edge of the cliff she was scared!!
As we departed back, the entire area was covered by mist. It remained so for the remaining of the night. Being Navarathi time, Dandiya was played in a nearby Temple. We spent some time watching it.
On the next day we visited Kavlesad view point. The road from the main road passes though area filled with flowers. In spite of long weekend, there were no visitors. This view point turned to be much more beautiful than I had imagined. It provides a complete view of the valley. Several waterfalls can be seen on both sides of the valley. This must be am amazing place during monsoon. Even during the month of October I could spot eight waterfalls!! This was something that I had not seen elsewhere. My daughter decides to spend a long time playing in a nearby stream.
We then came back to the main road and proceeded further towards Nangartas waterfalls. It is just situated next the main road and beside a temple. Here water flows into a deep hole. This is a waterfall different from others.
We then went to Hiranyakeshi Temple. It is situated in amidst forest with peaceful surroundings. Hiranyakeshi River originates from this place.
It was then time to visit Amboli waterfalls. It is just next to the main road. This was the only place in Amboli where we found people and there were lot of them. I have not seen any photograph that has only this falls. It is always filled with people. Steps are constructed to the falls. People take bath and spend a long time under water.
Evening was spent at sunset point. There were few other places like Parikshit point which needs some amount of trek. I did not visit as I had promised my family not to go for these solo treks.
There are several buses to Amboli from Belagavi. The options to stay are few but are decent and economical. As mentioned before, we stayed at MTDC resort which can be booked online on their website. Food is not a problem. It needs one day to cover all the places in Amboli.