Amboli is an amazing hill station, located at an altitude of 690m, in southern Maharashtra. Rightly called as the Cherapunji of Maharashtra, it is the wettest region in Maharashtra with an average rainfall of almost 7m per year. It is recognised as one of world’s ‘Eco Hot-Spots’ because of the rich variety of flora and fauna found there.
I went to Amboli for a 3-day macro photography tour with DCP Expeditions. So it was our job to capture the beauty of the place and its rich biodiversity through our lens.
For this trip, I took my Nikon Coolpix B500 with me. It’s not a DSLR with huge prime and macro lenses, but I’m quite happy with it. It gives me good quality images and is great for shooting videos as well.
If you don’t like reading lengthy blogs, you can check out my videos of all the 3 days I spent in Amboli.
HOW TO REACH
Train: We went to Sawantwadi via train in the Konkan Kanya Express. From Sawantwadi, we took a bus all the way to Amboli.
Road: You can also take a bus or drive all the way directly to Amboli.
Air: The nearest airport is Dabolim, Goa, which is around 60 kms away. You can take a taxi or bus from the airport to reach Amboli.
Arrival at Sawantwadi
Day 01 starts with us arriving at Sawantwadi in an almost 11-hour train journey. The train journey was pleasant with greenery all around and I also made new friends along the way. As soon as we reached Sawantwadi, we started photographing the flora and fauna outside the station. I found the Blue Tailed Damselfly and the Oriental Garden Lizard there.
Bus Ride to Amboli
As we were a group of more than 10 people, we’d hired a tempo traveller to take us all the way to Amboli. The ride to Amboli was awesome; it was again full of greenery and fresh air. We reached our hotel by lunchtime. We were staying at Whistling Woods, which is the ideal place to go to if you want to explore the rich biodiversity of Amboli in the best way.
After some rest and a hearty lunch, we set off towards Forest Garden to photograph the flora and fauna in the area. The creatures I met and photographed were the Malabar Gliding Frog, Green Vine Snake, Malabar Pit Viper, Long Horned Beetle, and Bombay Bush Frog.
After this bout of photography, we returned to our hotel in the evening for some tea and snacks. Then we headed for the Forest Garden again to photograph our animal friends in the night. This time I met the Boulenger’s Indian Gecko, Cicada, Huntsman Spider, and Weaver Ant (Queen).
After the night trail, we came to our hotel and were just going to our rooms to rest, when we found an 8-inch long Praying Mantis, right inside our hotel premises. It looks innocent, but it’s not!
Forest Garden Again
Day 02 began with us advancing towards the Forest Garden again after a hot breakfast of tasty poha and upma. At the garden, we said Good Morning to a Scorpion, an Amboli Toad, a Golden Emperor Moth, and many of our animal friends. I also made a few doggy friends there!
Then we went over to Chaukul Point and I got to meet a Catydid, Tortoise Shell Beetle, and finally the Ghatiana Atropurpurea. Recently two new species of crabs were found in Amboli – Ghatiana Atropurpurea and Ghatiana Splendida. We didn’t spot the Ghatiana Splendida.
Throughout our excursions, we were advised to wear high gumboots with leech socks to protect ourselves from leeches and other insects.
After lunch, we went to Amboli Plateau to click pictures of flowers like Ceropegia Jainii, Habenaria Rariflora, and many such rare flowers. The Plateau is beautiful with so many flowers, tiny waterfalls, green shrubs, fresh air, light rain… A group photograph at such a beautiful landscape is a must.
Session on Macro Photography
The evening comprised a session by Hemant Ogale, who is a specialist in butterfly photography. He has been photographing and documenting the flora and fauna in and around Amboli for years. He was very keen to share his knowledge and I loved attending his session.
Day 02’s night trail involved photography of eggs. We found a Night Frog with her eggs, an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, and a Malabar Pit Viper happily posing for us.
Day 03 brought us to photographing flowers like the Ceropegia Fantastica, Commelina, and so on, a little ahead of Amboli Waterfall. It is here that I captured a flying shot of the Tiger Beetle. It is super special as this is the first flying shot of my life!
One Last Time
Before we leave, a last trip to the Forest Garden is a must. The last trip brought me to a lot of new creatures like the caterpillar, Forest Calotes, Bi-Coloured Frog, Froglet, and so on. I will miss the Forest Garden a bit! It kinda became a habit to come to the Garden while we were at Amboli. 🙂
This brings us to the end of our trip. After a delicious home-cooked meal, we bid adieu to Amboli and set off towards Kolhapur. We had to board our train, the Mahalaxmi Express, from Kolhapur all the way back home to Mumbai.
Amboli is a heaven for a person who loves greenery and photography. It is devoid of pollution and is well preserved. I had an amazing time, that I will cherish throughout my life!
The best thing about this trip is that I faced so many of my fears in Amboli. I was damn scared of lizards, spiders, leeches, and most of the animals I met. So when I went in the forest to photograph them, I was super scared to go near them. A big thank you to my mentors, Kane Lew and Yogesh Chavan, from DCP Expeditions, who helped me overcome my fears. I’ve realised that insects are super cute, beautiful, very innocent, friendly, and completely harmless.
A month ago, if there was a lizard in my room, I used to scream and dash out of the room. Now I look at it, say ‘Hi! Lizzie…’ and carry on with my work. That is saying something!
CONNECT WITH ME:
I went for this trip with DCP Expeditions. They organise amazing photo tours all around India and abroad as well.
Thank you 🙂