Konkan is a complete package for a traveler in search of new avenues to explore.
There are beaches for the sun-hungry, temples for the devout, tongue tantalizers for the foodie, archaeological marvels, and folklore for history aficionados. If you are a nature lover, no doubt you would even want to settle in Konkan after visiting Dudhsagar falls once.
When our college announced a short break after our semester, we four – me, Sudha, Isabel, and Reenu decided to explore the Dudhsagar falls.
This was not the first trip we took together. However, our earlier sojourns were urban. Now we consciously decided to explore nature and its alluring settings.
During the first urban trips, we were awestruck by man’s creations. However, after viewing the beauty of Dudhsagar, we felt Man could never match the creativity of God, ever.
The trip to Dudhsagar was mind-blowing, to say the least. The true meaning of the word “out of the world” became apparent for us seeing Dudhsagar falls.
The idea to travel here developed in our minds after watching the Bollywood film Chennai Express, featuring our favorite movie stars Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. What we saw of the waterfall was true to the romantic notions we had in mind after seeing the movie.
Dudhsagar is a four-step waterfall located in Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Sanguem Taluka, Goa. It is a part of the river Mandovi, the main river in Goa, flowing from the Western Ghats and plummeting downwards from Goa to Karnataka. You can view three streams past four tiers spraying milky foam across a vast expanse. The cascades with immense deciduous greenery around it will astound you!
The cliff from where it drops is near vertical, so the waterfall looks as imposing as other big waterfalls in the country. The boisterous gushing sound is proof enough of its grandeur.
Trekking is the best way to admire its beauty in totality. Locals call it by the name Tambdi Surla. It gets this name due to the ancient Shiva temple nearby. The place seems as if it is a hidden paradise. Left alone until recently, hordes of tourists now come here attracted by the paeans of these waterfalls written on blogs and tourist websites.
The hotels and resorts have not caught up with the tourist crowd and hence there is more greenery here than concrete buildings. Hence, food is a problem inside the forest. If you are interested to see the fall, carry your own food.
We took ours and enjoyed it in a scenic location. At the end of the waterfall, there is a green pool. The foam of water below borders a picnic spot.
The Story of Dudhsagar Falls
Let me first tell you how this waterfall came to be according to locals…
Dudhgsagar Falls gets its name from intriguing folklore. The story goes that a princess and her friends took their bath daily in a lake near this place. After their daily bath, they would drink sweetened milk from a golden jug.
One day just as the princess entered the lake for a bath, a prince came riding there. To bar the prince from viewing the bathing princess, her friends poured the jug of milk over her. This cascading milk is said to be still flowing in these parts as a waterfall called DudhSagar (translated as a sea of milk).
When and How to Go
October to June is the best time to visit this nature’s marvel. It is not advisable to go to this place in the rainy season between July to September as it is very dangerous. Some people however prefer the rainy season to view the might and turbulence of this thunderous waterfall. Around this time, only trekking is possible. Jeep travel is next to impossible because of the treacherous waterlogged terrain.
To reach here we took a train to Londa Junction. This station is well connected to Goa, a major state in Konkan.
From there you can take local trains to Kulem. Kulem is the starting point of a 12 km trek to the mighty waterfalls.
The Trek starts from Kulem railway station passing through eye-pleasing valleys, dark tunnels, railway tracks, waterfalls, and Ghats. The waterfall is visible only when you are 1 km away from it. Another trek of 14 km begins from Castle Rock station in the state of Karnataka.
You can travel in your personal vehicle until Kulem. However, from there you have to either take a jeep or go trekking into the sanctuary.
Adventurous Jeep Ride
While trekking is popular with the youth and the adventurous, most tourists prefer to go there by a jeep service provided by the Government. Personal vehicles have to park at Kulem, the entrance for Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. This place is very near the Kulem railway station, just five minutes away.
Our girl gang preferred the jeep journey. This option was as venturesome as going on a trek. Some costs that we incurred during the trip are mentioned below
- Bumpy track jeep cost Rs.2800 for seven members. Three more additional members joined our group.
- Life jacket rent at Rs.30 and
- entry into the sanctuary Rs.50
- Camera and video attracted additional charges
The jeep service stops at one point. From there, you have to walk a short distance to the falls and return back within one and half-hour.
Some rules are laid for the entire journey that we abide honestly
- A life jacket is mandatory during the trip.
- Full ticket charges are collected for 4 years and above.
- Take note of the vehicle number you come in as you have to return in the same.
- Strictly avoid feeding wild animals.
- Do not carry plastic into the sanctuary.
- Do not litter
- Waterfall closes at 4.30 pm it is advisable to reach the jeep ticket counter by 2 when the last tickets are sold
The route according to the Administrative Office is open only in October after the rainy season. We went to the ticket counter early and were among the first to enter the park.
The trip was bumpy as there was no such thing as a road on the route the jeep was going. As the driver expertly drove his jeep across the river, we had our hearts in our mouth imagining the water levels during the monsoons.
The forest went silent as the sun climbed steadily. We went a distance along the river bank and reached a tribal hamlet at the end of the track. The driver handed over the life jackets and asked us to come back to the same place to drop off within an hour.
Walking through the designated track to the waterfall, we first climbed a watchtower to glimpse the fall in its full from top to bottom
Climbing down a few roughly cut steps for 20 minutes, we came to the base crossing a small bridge where we got the first glimpse of the magnificent Dudhsagar waterfalls.
At the base of the falls, we saw a green pool. This pool was not deep and safe for swimming. Four of us loved splashing water at each other. There were many others doing the same, unwilling to come out of the waters.
We utilized the whole one hour to splash around in the waters and returned to the jeep for our trip back. None of us wanted to return, but time is a great reveler. We had to return to our city as well for our academic sessions.
We returned to our jeep happy with our experience and wanting for more. Those who want to visit this place can use the following tips to make your experience more pleasant…
- Reach the ticket counter early
- The waterfalls close at 4.30 be aware of that
- It is a nice idea to go into groups of Seven else, you have to choose more people to fulfill the count of seven meantime your trip will be delayed.
- Wear comfortable clothes and footwear
- No locker facilities so avoid carrying valuables
There is another way to view the waterfall. Choose the Amravati Express to reach Londa Junction. You can see the full length of Dudhsagar in all its majesty from the window of this train. Here, word of praise has to be given to the engineers and workers who have built the railway bridge in a harsh terrain hard to even walk.
Mollem National Park
There were more places to explore on our trip to Dudhsagar. Our next stop was Mollem National Park. A game sanctuary before, this park was declared a sanctuary in 1969.
We traveled into the forest on a Jungle safari. There are trekking options here too but we had no time hence decided we would opt for it next time.
Inside the park…
Mollem National park is home to numerous snake species such as Hump -nosed pit viper, Malabar Pit viper, King cobra, and Indian Rock Python.
Birds are in plenty – wagtails, three-toed Kingfisher, great Indian hornbill, Fairy bluebird, golden oriole, and the drongo. Few are indigenous to the area.
The Color of the forest multiplies manifold with butterfly species such as crimson rose, Blue Mormon, Tailed Jay, Plain Tiger, Tamil Yoeman, Tree nymph, and Lime butterfly.
Further inside the park, we visited the Tambdi Surla temple, abode to Lord Shiva. This 12-century temple survived countless invasions due to its hidden location deep inside the forest. Local tales of a King cobra resides permanently inside the sanctum sanatorium intrigued us. We however did not check for the authenticity of the tales due to personal misgivings.
Devils’ Canyon is a river gorge that is apt for clicking some selfies. It is a scenic location, completely submerged during the rainy season.
The Tambadi waterfall is near Tambdi Surla Temple. You will cross numerous streams reaching there adding to the adventure quotient.
The nature trail was an amazing journey for us girls. Used to seeing a crowd around at all times, Dudhsagar was a trip in serenity. The sounds of calling birds and tons and tons of milky water thundering down a great height took us to another world we never saw all our lives. We can never forget this trip. We are also planning to make another trip to this place, together or with our families soon.