Read this Dudhsagar Falls travelogue written by Jayanthi Chandrasekaran. She shares her travel experience of exploring this hidden gem of Goa.
My first sighting of the famed Dudhsagar waterfalls was surreal. The scene involved a train passing by with the multitiered falls in the background; water from the upper level flowing down from great heights and the train chugging through leisurely in the middle and white water flowing down from a lower level into the pool below. The power and beauty of the spectacle and the zest of witnessing something magical immediately overwhelmed me, and I had to stop to take deep breaths and pinch myself to believe that this place is real.
Dudhsagar Falls is one of the tallest in India and indescribably picturesque giving goosebumps to the enthralled visitors. This towering natural cascade is multitiered and gushes down the craggy cliffs and bluffs of the western ghats from a height of 310m and about 30m wide. ‘Dudhsagar’ literally translates as Sea of Milk, an apt name describing the gushing white water that creates an illusion of milk flowing through the hill slopes.
The source of Dudhsagar Falls is the Mandovi River or the Mahadayi River, which originates in the Deccan Plateau and passes through the rugged landscape of the Western Ghats. The river plunges down the hills of Mollem district as Dudhsagar Falls, situated inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Later it flows westwards via Panjim before meeting the Arabian Sea. As Wikipedia describes, Dudhsagar Falls is, indeed, the punctuation mark in the Mandovi’s journey!
ALSO READ: THE SACRED ENSEMBLES OF HOYSALAS
Dudhsagar Falls, though perennial, attains its full glory (fiery yet exquisite) during monsoon as the heavy tropical rains in the Western Ghats feed the river. However, the roads leading to the waterfalls into the forest, maintained by the Goa forest department, remain closed during monsoon (July to September) and open only in October every year. The falls cannot be accessed by car or private vehicles. Reaching the falls either by trek or by vehicle is a one-day expedition and well worth the efforts.
The cheapest way to reach the falls is by trekking by the only allowed Collem-Dudhsagar trekking route which is 12 kms one way over train tracks and mud trails. Also, it is compulsory to hire a guide and life jackets for which the charges are around INR 3000 per guide who can take a group of 7-10 people.
We opted for a jeep safari from Collem which is organized by the Goa Forest Department. The jeeps cover a distance of about 10 kms through dense forest and mud tracks. The jeep charges are INR 3500 for a maximum of 7 people per jeep inclusive of life jackets; the entry fee into the forest and camera charges are extra.
The deciduous forest is replete with flora and fauna creating a pocket of rich biodiversity. The jeep track is interrupted with streams of Dudhsagar river and it was thrilling to see the driver deftly navigating through the running waters and getting back to the mud track. After 45 minutes of the ride, the jeep dropped us a few meters before the base of the waterfalls.
Time to wear our life jackets and proceed to get hypnotized by the Sea of milk.
It’s a 20-minute walk (good footwear is a must!) involving climbing a few footsteps, crossing a couple of footbridges, negotiating uneven slippery rocks, and avoiding the monkeys. The adventure heightened when one of us had to wrestle with a monkey to save our banana bag, and the simian won the match. Witnessing the eternal beauty of the falls for the first time is a spiritual experience. The riveting brilliance of Nature’s whisper, the Dudhsagar, surrounded by the greenwoods paints an awesome spectacle and lets you slip into a meditative state.
As I carefully lowered myself into the pool of water negotiating the slippery rocks, a loud cheer rose from the crowd startling me. It took a moment to realize that they were cheering the passenger train passing over the bridge. The cool waters and spray on the face were beyond refreshing and elevated the mind to absolute bliss. Move over beaches and bazaars, this is the place to be in Goa!
Shop Now – 2024 Goa Travel Guide eBook