Agumbe (ಆಗುಂಬೆ) is a village located in the Shimoga district in the state of Karnataka, India. Lying in the Thirthahalli taluk and the Malnad region, Agumbe is among the places in India that receive very heavy rainfall earning it the sobriquet, "Cherrapunji of the South". It is also the home of the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, the only permanent rainforest research station in India. The renowned herpetologist, Romulus Whitaker called Agumbe the capital of King Cobra. An area near Agumbe has been converted into a protected area for Medicinal Plants to help in their conservation.

Since 2005, Naxalite activity has been observed near Agumbe and hence, a lot of Karnataka State Police personnel have been deployed and checkposts created in all intersections. This however has not hindered visitors from visiting the region to enjoy the natural beauty of Agumbe and it surroundings.


Sunset Point


Kunchikal Falls Kunchikal Falls is the highest waterfall in India and ranks 116th in the list of highest waterfalls in the world. Its total height is 1493 ft/455 mts. It is formed by the Varahi river.Barkana Falls Barkana Falls is the 10th highest waterfall in India with a height of 850 ft/259 mts. It is formed by the Seeta River.Onake Abbi Falls This is another waterfall near Agumbe. In the Kannada language, "Onake" means a pounding stick which is used to pound grains in villages.


Agumbe has a sunset point which receives lot of visitors. On a clear day, one can see the sun setting over the Arabian Sea though the sea is at quite a distance from Agumbe.

Getting there

Agumbe is near the town of Thirthahalli which lies on the National Highway NH-13. From the state capital of Bangalore, Agumbe can be reached by taking NH-4 till Tumkur, then NH-206 till Shimoga and then NH-13 to Thirthahalli (a total distance of about 380 km.). Udupi on Konkan Railway is the nearest railhead. Nearest airport is Mangalore.

It can also be reached from B'lore via Hassan ~ Belur ~ Chikkamagalore ~ Shringeri ~ Agumbe. As of now[12-02-2008] this is the best road to reach there. The road is very good and lot of places like Belur, Chikkamagalore, Shringeri can be seen on the way.


Agumbe receives the second highest annual rainfall in India, next only to Cherrapunji (or the nearby Mawsynram). It receives a mean annual rainfall of 7640 mm. The absolute maximum rainfall recorded in Agumbe in a single month is 4508 mm (in August 1946)..


Being a part of Malnad and Western Ghats, Agumbe and its surroundings are rich in biodiversity. It is adjacent to one of the last surviving lowland rainforests in the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kudremukh National Park. Many new species of flora and fauna are found in this region. Agumbe lends its name to the following species which were discovered here:

Other species discovered around Agumbe include:

  • Caudalejeunea pluriplicata: A liverwort plant.
  • Notothylas dissecta: A plant of type Hornwort earlier found only in Central America, was discovered in Asia for the first time in Agumbe.
  • Cyclotoma alleni:A beetle discovered in Agumbe.

Rainforest Research Station

Agumbe is the location of the only permanent rainforest research station in India which was established by the herpetologist, Romulus Whitaker. Whitaker chose Agumbe as the location for this station since this was the area where he spotted the King Cobra in the early 1970s. Financial help to build this station was provided by Whitaker’s mother, Doris Norden who willed him money that helped him purchase eight acres of land in Agumbe. The main goal of the research station is to study and conserve the rainforests of South India, using King Cobra as the flagship species. One of the main goals of this research is to help the state of Karnataka establish the world’s first King Cobra Sanctuary. Experts from various fields were invited to aid in the research and understanding of the basic biology of the King Cobra which is an endangered species. For his efforts in setting up this station, Whitaker was awarded the United Kingdom's top conservation prize — the Whitley Award in 2005. Whitaker used the £30,000 cash prize that came with the award to set up cottages, buy basic scientific equipment, and a vehicle. The research station is eco-friendly and is not connected to the state's electricity grid and uses solar power and a micro hydel unit. Even the fencing around the station is of smooth wire so that it does not hurt the deer and leopards passing by. The station consists of two cottages for researchers and a refurbished farmhouse that serves as the hub. The station follows three-pronged approach involving research, education and conservation. Regular visits to schools are made and lecture demonstrations on snakes and conservation are given to students.

Medicinal Plants Conservation Area

Established in the year 1999, Agumbe Medicinal Plants Conservation Area (MPCA) is an area created for the conservation of Medicinal Plants. This area is located at an altitude of 600 to 700 mts above Sea level. Some of the species of plants found here are Garcinia, Myristica, Litsaea, Diospyrous, Holigarna, Eugenia and Ficus. An organisation called the Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) conducted a survey in the MPCA and identified 371 plant species of which 182 were medicinal. Some of the species of plants that are found here are RLs (Red-listed and hence endangered):

  • Adenia hondala
  • Celastrus paniculatus
  • Garcinia gummi-gutta
  • Myristica dactyloides
  • Persia macrantha
  • Vateria indica

Salacia oblonga is another medicinal plant endemic to the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka but found only in this MPCA.

Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days is a famous television serial which was directed by Shankar Nag and is based on the novels written by R. K. Narayan. Many episodes of this serial were shot in Agumbe. In 1985, a new set of episodes of Malgudi Days have also been shot at Agumbe under the direction of Kavitha Lankesh.

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