Perfectly situated along the Goa – Maharashtra border and part of Sindhudurg district, AMBOLI is an ideal getaway during monsoons and a perfect picnic spot for a weekend trip, at all seasons. Amboli is cozily located in the southern ranges of the Shayadri hills and is the last mountain terrain before the coastal highlands and flat beaches take over in Goa. Its an ideal monsoon getway from Pune, Mumbai, Belgaum and Nasik.
I remember being at Amboli Ghat some 20 years back when we were on our way to Goa via Kolhapur. It was a sight that refreshed us completely and the short tea break kind of prolonged for a few hours! Oh! I want to return back soon….
Amboli was declared a Hill Station in early 1880’s and at just 690 meters above sea level, Amboli sure is breathlessly beautiful and the journey takes you on an enchanting serene lush green environment.
- Amboli receives the highest rainfall in the western region and is also referred as the Cherrapunji of the West!
- Locals at Sawantwadi had discovered Amboli long before the advent of the British, but due to its inaccessibility could not make it known to the world. Guess that’s why Matheran became the summer retreat. Thankfully Amboli still has a few remote places left to be disclosed.
- The British used the area to supply garrisons to the other parts of the country in the Central and Southern areas.
The Amboli waterfalls are massive in size and are located right on the road. One can even climb up and nearer to the falls as the area has convenient steps leading to the waterfalls (its an easy way up even for kids). Just watch your steps as it can be slippery especially during monsoons, so walk up with caution!
On the way there are plenty of hotspots with water falls so stopover for tea and capture few photographs, take in the views and feel relaxed amidst the thick dense forests. It is a dream destination for all nature lovers who wish to view myriad species of snakes, monitor lizards, variety of frogs and a wide range of medicinal plants.
Amboli is also popularly known as Maharastra’s Cheerapunji, thanks to abundant rainfall! Amboli is also the source where the river Krishna originates and there’s a Shiva temple where you can see its source.
Silent and peaceful Amboli is sure to bring you out of your stress and the place would linger in your thoughts much after your visit!There are plenty of small eateries on the main road, which have a basic lunch of fresh bhakri, amti, mulaor pao bhaji. Malvan cuisine mostly consists of Sol Kadi – a coconut based curry made with ‘kokum’ a spice with cooling properties found in this region. It is a great digestive so perfect after a hearty meal of prawns, pomfret and Chicken Xacuti, another local delicacy.
Decent Eating Places at Sawantwadi: apart from the regular hotels resorts the Hotel Lake View is located right beside the main lake and offers good vegetarian food ranging from 60-120/- for Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine.
Discover different viewpoints while overlooking the Konkan coast and travel around to visit few interesting places like:
Kavlesad Point: is a unique place that has a reverse waterfall (which is actually the cold mists from the falls that get splashed upwards due to the wind forces!) and one needs to see it to believe it. And no visit to Amboli can be completed without getting to Kavlesad Point or Kavala Shet as it is locally known.
The place is also refered as Kawaleshet Valley and here you can hear the echo of your voice crystal clear!
Mahadevgad: is 2.5 kms from Amboli and offers a panoramic views of the valley. From here one can also get a glimpse of the ruins of the twin forts: Manohar Fort and Santosh Gad. The sunset here is a mesmerizing experience.
Don’t miss to view the sunrise here at sunrise point at Mahadevgad.
Shirgaonkar Point: is 2.5 kms away and the winding roads are a delight. Monsoons are fun as the entire valley is lush green with misty clouds and amazing winds…carry a picnic basket and enjoy the sunset.
Hiranyakeshi Temple At Amboli: has an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The place has a serene and peaceful environment and interestingly out of the 7 ponds situated here, only one gets sunlight!
There is cave out of where the River Hiranyakeshi originates but none has yet explored the inside sanctum and it is still a mystery.
Nangartas Falls: are 10 kms away from Amboli and fall on your way as you come from Pune or Mumbai. A quick right turn takes you to a small brigde from where the falls can be viewed. The Nangartas Falls drop into a narrow ravine with a deep and mysterious sound!
Shopping At Amboli
Sawantwadi and Sindhudurh area is famous for its wooden toys and pack of cards known as Ganjifa. Ganjifa was introduced by the Mughals and the pack has 120 cards with each one painted in intricate paintings.
You can also find numerous shops selling a huge variety of the famous Kolhapuri chappal. And don’t forget to purchase some cashews and forest honey!
Excursions from Amboli
With extra days at hand one may also be interested to travel around Amboli and visit the following places:
2. Tarkarli: at 101 km from Amboli, is a place known for its beach, forts and temples. MTDC also have houseboats here that are quite popular among tourists and offer a great place to stay.
From here you can visit and see the Sindhudurg Fort that stands on a rocky island of Kurte, Malvan region. Also see the Devbag sangam and the Karli River backwaters that meet up the Arabian Sea. There are ever boat rides available that are fun.
3. Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary: is just 114 km from Amboli and 282 kms from Pune. It was earlier known as Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary and was the 1st wildlife sanctuary declared in the state of Maharashtra in the year 1958. The sanctuary is popular for the massive population of ‘Bison’. Best Time to Visit: October to March.
Distance Guide for Amboli
- Distance from Sawantwadi (Train Stop): 30 Kms
- Distance from Belgaum (Nearest Airport): 64 kms
- Distance from Goa: 128 Kms
- Distance from Tarkali: 110 Kms
- Distance from Vengurla: 57 Kms
- Distance from Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary: 114 kms
- Distance from Pune: 390 kms
- Distance From Mumbai: 549 kms
Regular bus services are available from Vengurla, Sawantwadi, Ratnagiri and Belgaum.
Silver Spring Resort: Tariff: 1500-1750/- This a comfortable lace to stay with in-house restaurant.
JRD International: Tariff: 995-1400/- Good accommodation at nominal prices.
Amboli MTDC: Govt. runGreen Valley Resorts has decent services. Tariff: 990-1300/-
Konkan Crown: a 3 star Hotel situated in Sawantwadi. Tariff: 1400-4000/-
Mango Hotel: it is just a 7 minutes walk from the bus stand, this hotel is a nice clean hotel offering good facilities. Tariff: 1200-3000/-
Whistling Woods: Situated close to the forest area that offers you solitude, peace and quiet. Tariff: 1600/-
Homestays in Sawantwadi
Nisarg Family Resort: is owned & managed by a Rucha and Deepa, a Konkan couple who are passionate about thier culture and that comes through in the way they take care of their guests.
The place offers 8 deluxe rooms equipped with all modern facilities and a 24 hour room service. Pls connect with them for Tariffs.
Dwarka Homestay: Literally a home away from home, this home-stay offers comfortable living amidst a self-sufficient working farm. Surrounded by orchard full of mangoes, coconut & cashew, the food is homemade and the dairy farm experience is worth a visit in your lifetime.
Maachli: Nestled between beetle nut and coconut trees, Maachli reflects village life with abundant natural beauty all around. It is located just a 12 hours drive from Mumbai and 8 hours from Pune and makes for a perfect getaway over a long weekend!
Amboli Nature Camp: The Amboli nature Camp offers unlimited opportunities to explore this untouched beautiful area and Yuvashakti takes care of safety measures, adventure activities and excellent food.
Fees: Rs. 3,800/- per participant. Click for Local Trek Schedule The above fees include entire transportation from Pune to Pune by special bus, accommodation at rest house / tents, veg. meals, expert charges, and all entry fees etc.
Yoga Republic: the place offers stay and camping option in the middle of the jungle at Amboli. They focus on teaching traditional Satyananda Yoga
Distance from Goa Airport: 120 kms/ 2 hr drive.
Pug Marks Camps: is a premier Adventure and Wildlife Travel Company conducting camping and adventure activities across states in India.
Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham: runs a yoga camp at the Green valley Resort in Amboli.