Residents at Hulikal in the Shimoga district, who had been basking in the fame of their village replacing its neighbour in Shimoga district, Agumbe, as the Cherrapunji of South India, have some disheartening news. Amagaon, a remote village in North Karnataka, now wears that crown.
The tiny Amagaon, which nestles in the dense forests of the Western Ghats in the Khanapur taluk of Belgaum district, has reached the magical figure of 10,000 mm annual rainfall twice in the last six years. The surroundings of the village located in the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary have been declared a protected area for medicinal plants.
Thrice in the last six year, Amagaon received more rain than Agumbe and Hulikal. In the last two years (2010 and 2011), it received more rain than its peers in in the heart of Malnad, the region in central-west Karnataka which literally means region of rain.
Of course, Cherrapunji in Meghalaya, the byword for rain for over a century, has been overtaken by Mawsynram, its neighbour. The average rainfall in both places is in 11,800 mm rain each year, with Mawynram just a nose ahead. The world record, held by Cherrapunji, is a monstrous 26,461 mm recorded between August 1, 1860, and July 31, 1861. Mawsynram almost snatched that record with 26,000 mm in 1985.
Amagaon is not in the same league, but recording 10,000 mm is not to be scoffed at. At least, outside the two rain record holders in Meghalaya.
The tiny village is a paradise for nature lovers and trekkers. In monsoon, the Bail Nala, a tributary of the Malaprabha river, blocks the bumpy road to Amagaon, making a two-km walk mandatory.
Part of the Amate Gram Panchayat, this village is at a distance of around 35 km from Khanapur town.
“We have around 70 houses here. The population of about 300 speak Marathi. Paddy is the main crop. We have a lower primary school in our village, and a government doctor visits the place every Tuesday. If we need to go to the town, we have to walk for about seven km in the forest to catch a bus. In summer, MUVs ferry people to and from our village,” says Laxman Sahadev Ghadi, a resident of Amagaon.
Siddappa Y Barki, a forest guard who visits the village almost daily, feels the residents there are very healthy and are accustomed to heavy rainfall.
Though the arrival of monsoon was delayed this time, Amagaon received more than 2,100 mm rainfall by July 24.