Amboli Ghat by Smita Chatterjee
Amboli Ghat in Maharashtra is one of the best places to see the snakes.
Where Is Amboli Ghat?
Amboli ghat is located in Karnataka about 42 km from Belgaon and 106 km from Panjim.
If you are coming by train, you can get down at Sawantwadi and then take a bus to Amboli just 40 kms away.
We go to Amboli during the monsoon as that's the right time to see the snakes. It rains like cats and dogs during that time. The temperature is about 25 degrees celsius, very comfortable.
Amboli Visiting Places
There are some places to visit in Amboli like the Amboli waterfall, Shirgaokar Point, Madhavgarh fort, Sunset Point. But our interest lies mainly in the snakes and other reptiles.
I took an evening bus at around 7 pm from Hyderabad to Belgaum, which reached Belgaum at around 5 am.
As soon as I got down, I could feel that pleasant weather. It had rained some time back. The red sand was wet and there were few small water pools around. I did not have to wait much for the bus from Belgaum to Amboli. This local bus runs on every half an hour. I took a nice seat and this was a very beautiful journey to Amboli.
The weather was awesome. It was cold. The bus stopped in between for a tea and breakfast break. I had a hot cup of tea sitting on a small shaky wooden bench outside the tea stall. I preferred to sit outside so that I can enjoy the cool breeze and view with every sip of my tea.
The bus reached Amboli at around 8-9 am. It was foggy, cloudy, and chill. This place is cozy and quiet. I settled down in my hotel room which is just half a kilometer away from the center and exactly opposite to Amboli Bus station.
As soon as I was entering my room, I saw Eel fish crossing. I was so excited to see it as I had never seen it before.
I had breakfast, took a nice hot water bath, and tried searching for some insects outside my hotel room. I found a snail, some tiny bug, and nothing much.
The Nature Walk
Then, I went for a small stroll in the forest. And, I saw a few other guys taking picture of something. It was a green Pit Viper snake. This was the first time in my life, I was about to shoot a snake with a macro lens. I was so thrilled about it. In excitement, I took a lot of pics with wrong angles as there was no space for me to fit in the group of guys and I thought the snake will run away.
But it waited there for a long time. It's actually not very difficult to take pics of snakes because they hardly move. But beware - if they move, they strike in a fraction of a second so be careful. It will be good if you wear hand gloves. And, try to restrict your movements. All snakes pics are taken at a distance of one to two feet away.
I took a few pics and roamed around in search of some other insects.
The Evening Walk
In the evening, my forest walk started with the help of a local guide. He was a young guy but experienced and his spotting capability was too good. The walk was for 2 to 3 hours. Again the next day morning and evening with the same guide.
We saw Oriental Garden Lizard male with breeding plumage, Caterpillar, Prashad's Geko, Eel, Cicada. We were walking and the guide's eyes were on the trees for the snakes.
I was really so surprised to see that there are so many snakes in the forest. You have to keep a watch. We got to see Green Pit Vipers, Brown Pit Viper.
I was enjoying the walk and the hunt, as the weather was very good. Suddenly there was fog all around and it was drizzling in between. We also got to see Amboli Leaping Frog, Amboli Toad, Narrow Mouthed Frog, Wrinkled Frog. Then, we spent a lot of time observing and clicking Malabar Gliding Frog female laying eggs.
This was the first time, I was seeing something so different and interesting. They lay eggs on some branches of trees which are just above some water body so that when tadpoles can fall directly in the water.
The other interesting thing I saw was Bush frog's eggs. I loved capturing them.
It started pouring while on the evening walk. It was difficult to shoot so I kept my camera inside the bag. But, I was still enjoying seeing the snakes around.
Our guide took me beside a small stream where glowing Algae was there. It can be seen only when it is too dark. I was amazed to see this beautiful thing.
The equipment I used to shoot is Nikon D7100, Tamron 90mm Lens macro lens, and an external flash,
The next day, on Sunday, I took an evening bus from Amboli to Belgaum. And, then night bus from Belgaum to Hyderabad.
Here are some pictures, hope you like them -
Do Watch this Video, you will get a good understanding of the place
Tips for photographers
- Waterproof /rain cover for yourself and your camera, umbrella and a torch (head-torch is better) is a must.
- External flash (and diffuser) and macro lens is required to get great shots.
- Wear proper shoes, it rains and is very slippery.
- Be careful and watchful, there are snakes everywhere.
ThanksgivingThanks to All who join us for this tour.
All rights reserved. No copying without permission of the author Saurabh Chatterjee