Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dudhsagar Waterfalls - A long wish fulfilled.....

When one hears about GOA, the only thing that comes to mind are the beautiful long stretch of beaches, shacks, parties and more parties... ;) Well most of the people going to Goa might just be soaking up in the winter sun, bathing in the warm sea waters, cooling themselves with chilled beers and partying up till late nights.  Most of the people visit Goa from October to March when its most happening.  

On my first trip to Goa some 10 years back, while talking to one local guy in the bus I came to know that Goa is at its scenic best in monsoon.  This year it just happened that I got the chance to visit Goa in the peak of the rainy season.  I think I should thank Madeleine for this.... ;)  So after 2 days of couchsurfing in Mumbai and visiting Gateway of India, Marine drive, Haji Ali, Colaba and the Borivali National Park we were in Colva, Goa on the 21st morning.  

Colva has been the place for me each time I've visited Goa, but every time its been in winter.  This time I was shocked to see it empty.  No beach shacks and almost no tourists, apart from some locals or people from nearby places who came there for the weekend.  So next day we decided to head to Palolem beach in South Goa.  The most important thing that I wanted to do on this trip to Goa was to go to Dudhsagar Waterfalls.  The reviews on trip advisor and other forums helped me to figure out how to go for it.  While going to Palolem in a taxi, I even asked the driver if the falls were open in monsoon and to my great joy he confirmed it.  Only thing the jeep's are closed and one has to go there either walking or on bike taxi's.  

Finally on the morning of 25th July, @ around 8:00 hrs after having a nice breakfast, we hired a bike and set off to Kulem. Kulem is one of the major railway station of South Goa.  The bike owner explained me the route but some how I didn't get it at all.  So I decided to use google maps on my Blackberry. Palolem to Kulem.  

So our route was fixed.  We drove from Palolem on N.H. # 17 to Cuncolim. Right turn from Cuncolim cross roads and then a left from a ' T ' towards Quepem. At Quepem took a right to cross the main circle and then left and again right to cross a bridge over the railway track and head towards Sanvordem via Tilamola.  The roads are very good except for some places where they are little bit broken.  

Once you cross Quepem, you will come across lots of trucks carrying iron ore from the nearby quarries.  Don't forget to wear a helmet with a front glass or a helmet and glasses to cover your eyes.  In monsoon the work at this quarries is not that much, so you find just few trucks on the roads, but in winter or summer I'm sure you shall come across a lot of them and an occasional traffic jam too.  

After crossing Sanvordem, keep an eye on the google map as at many junctions there are no signboards showing the way towards Kulem.  And if they are, their location is such that you might just skip them.  Twice I took the wrong way and then Madeleine would shout from behind, stop stop there is something wrong.  And so luckily we got back on our right way.  The entire road has paddy fields along both sides.  One can feel the fresh air while driving.  Finally after a drive of about 70 - 80 min. driving at an average speed of about 60 kmph, we reached Kulem.

Soon the guy from the bike taxi association approached us and offered for the drive to Dudhsagar falls.  In monsoon only the bikes are operative.  I tried to negotiate and ask the way towards the falls, but the guy told us that the way is through the forest and you might get lost.  Since we were there for the first time we had no option but to accept his offer.  The whole track was of 14 kms. We had a quick chai and 2 bikes were ready to take us to the foot of the falls. Luckily till now the rains had stayed away.  The bike riders keep spare rain jackets for the pillion rider.  They charge Rs. 500/- for the ride and Rs. 65/- as the entry fee that one has to pay as you enter the forest route. 

To our surprise or rather shock in few min. we were driving just next to the railway track on a 6" to 12" way made by the association of this bike taxi drivers.  Its a pretty dangerous track where at times if the bike slips you just go down and might injure yourself.  At times one has to go even on the gravels lined next to the track as there is no way to drive.  And this guys drive at the speed of 20 - 30 kmph. which sometimes can make you feel scared.  After driving for about  3 - 4 kms next to the track, they dropped us to cross the track and reach the forest entry point.  They drove the bike through a river passing from below the railway track and reached the entry point.  Again our drive started, but this time it was on an extremely bumpy way through the dense forest.  This way is laid with stones and red soil.  Its actually even worst than a dirt track.  Those with a weak back or with a heavy body should surely not try this track.  Its around 10 kms long and one has to cross some 5 small streams and 2 rivers.  

The water level is not very high in the rivers but the flow is quiet strong.  In one of the stream our bike went like half into the water. I said to myself thank god I decided not to wear my shoes. Whole day with wet shoes ? No way.... ;) Finally after a 45 min. drive we reached the last river to be crossed.  The water level was quiet high for the bikes to go through it. So we kept the bikes over there and crossed the river on foot and had to walk another like 20 min. to reach the foot of the falls.

On our way while walking we came across a baby snake jumping here and there.  I showed it to Madeleine and she was like, why did you showed it to me.  Now all the way I'll have to keep a watch as to not stamp over another snake... ;)  I just had got the weak link to scare her... ;)  All the way one could hear the sounds of birds chirping, frogs croaking and some strange sounds of insects.  Finally we were there.

Now here there is a small trap.  If you want to go right up to the waterfalls where the railway track is, one has to trek another 15 - 20 min. uphill to reach there right through the forest and for this the guide will charge you another Rs. 300/-.  While talking to one of the bike riders, he told us that out of the 500 bucks they charge, they have to give some to the railways, some to the forest officers and the rest goes to their own association which will finally divide it equally among all the members.  This 300 bucks that they charge to take you up to the falls goes directly to them.

In between the 2 Portuguese built tunnels.
The falls looked great from down below and so we decided to go right up there.  After climbing through the forest for some 15 min. and passing through the two Portuguese tunnels through which the railway track passes, we reached right up to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.  It was an aww moment.... :) The falls were mesmerizing.  310 mts. in height, the railway track is built right in the middle of the falls.  i.e. after 150 mts. and the rest falls and flows below the railway track.  And we also got company from some monkeys... ;)



One sight on the opposite side of the falls, and you can see clouds covering the green mountains of the western ghats. It was just beautiful. Soon heavy rains lashed the region and fog was everywhere around us.  There is a small shop and a platform built there which normally remains closed during monsoon except on weekends. It serves chai during weekends, winter and in summer months.  The rains were pretty heavy.  But still managed to click some pictures.  Soon we heard the sound of a train coming.

A Karnataka bound passenger train with 2 engines was coming our way.  This was the moment that I was waiting for.  A train passing as if almost through the waterfall and water running down behind.  I was fortunate enough to click that picture which I had seen in some reviews.  Loved it.


After talking with our guides for some time and understanding the geography of the region some what, I would want to visit this place once again.  This time I want to walk all along the railway track from Kulem station, covering a distance of 14 kms and back.  They said it takes around 3 - 4 hours to walk all along the railway line.  But they also mentioned that many times people reach here walking as the curiosity to reach here is immense but while going back they are mentally so drained that they ask this guides to take them back.  But I don't care I want to do it.  So I guess another monsoon trip to Goa has to be done... ;)

The entire trip that we took cost us around Rs. 1250/- per person on twin sharing.  This includes Rs. 350/- for bike hire, Rs. 200/- for fuel, Rs. 1000/- for 2 bike taxi's, Rs. 600/- for reaching the waterfalls with the guides for 2 people, Rs. 130/- entry fee for 2 persons and Rs. 220/- for food, water and chai.  I thought its certainly a good deal for first time.  If one treks all along the railway line, one can easily save Rs. 800/- per person.

Finally at around 15:00 hrs. we decided to return back.  The rains came heavily again and we had to take shelter at a bus stop for like 30 min.  But before that we got totally wet and the cold wind made me shiver a bit.  I looked to see if I could get some chai, but till Quepem I didn't come across any chai stalls. Finally at Quepem, we found a restaurant and a hot cup of chai brought the much needed warmth.  While coming back instead of going to Cuncolim, the road from Quepem straight goes to Baali cross roads which is much closer to Palolem and saves atleast 15 - 20 min.  By 19:00 hrs. we were back in Palolem. 


I would surely recommend this day trip to all those going to Goa.  Its worth visiting especially during monsoons.




20 comments:

  1. Wow, it seems an exciting place and specially to reach there is one of the most dreamed thing to do for any person...
    Very well described and informative.
    Enjoyed reading it. Wish could visit this place sometime...
    Regards,
    Abhishek.

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  2. Wow, it seems an exciting place and specially to reach there is one of the most dreamed thing to do for any person...
    Very well described and informative.
    Enjoyed reading it. Wish could visit this place sometime...
    Regards,
    Abhishek.

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  3. nicely written...i want to ask one thing instead of going on rented bike cud we go to dudhsagar railway station directly by train?? and after that we can rent bikes as well as guides???

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  4. Akshay, the trains going further south pass thru dudhsagar railway station but most of them don't stop. You can take a local train from madgaon or thivim station and go till kulem station. From there you can rent the bikes with guides. They both come together. If you are more adventurous then from Kulem station walk 14 kms on the railway track and u'll be at Dudhsagar waterfalls. Hope this helps.

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  5. Hi how long the bikers wait at dhoodhsagar waterfall.

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  6. NIce trip i am visting dudhsagar in sept 2013 , can you please provide me those bike taxi guys contact numbers?

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  7. Dear All, I am planning for a Dudhsagar trek this November 22nd from Mumbai. We will trek from Kulem on 23rd November. I want a little help from you all to know about any available accomodations in Kulem e.g. Lodges or Guest house. I have already googled the same but I found none :(. Kindly help me this out whether after the trek we can stay at Kulem or we have to move back to Madgaon...

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  8. hi :) nicely written article...my question is whether the falls is worth visiting during the winter months..i mean with da lower volumes of water flowing,will it be as mesmerising as it is during the monsoon months?? thnks in advance..

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  9. Hi Ankit..The falls are the best in monsoon. It's a great treat to see it and also the way to reach there in monsoon is quite adventurous. But if you want to take a dip in the pools that are formed in the lower part of the falls one can't do that in monsoon. It can be done only in winter when they open the entry to the lower part of the falls. But certainly as the volume of water is reduced the beauty of the falls is not as much as it is in monsoon.

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  10. Kanth is one of the biker and his number is 9765854303

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  11. amazingly written. I am planning a trip to these falls With my husband in November end. We plan to go by bike. Are there any other tips that you would like to give us for safety and stuff? thanks in advance :)
    www.docdivatravelller.blogspot.in

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  12. Hi there. The beauty of these falls is not as great as it is in monsoon, but still worth visiting. By november the lower part of the falls will become accessible so you can take a dip in the small jaccuzzi's formed. Even though the main road leading to the falls will be open, try biking thru the forest which is more adventurous. Make sure you have maps on your phone, so as you don't loose time reaching there. Have fun :)

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  13. My visit to Dudhsagar waterfalls – Goa
    http://girishpalkartravel.blogspot.in/2015/02/dudhsagar-waterfalls-goa.html

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Where did you parked your bike that you rented to reach Kulem?

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  16. As of the last 1.5 years, there are no bikes which can take you to the falls from kulem. The railways have banned the bikes from using the road besides the tracks and even the PWD guards will not allow people to go to the falls. The guides who are available near Kulem where the route to Dudhsagar starts take people past the PWD guards. One needs to walk about 11.5 kms to the View point (which is about 750 meters from the falls, and will allow only photos to be taken) or to the Falls itself which is about 14 kms, and it takes about 3.5 hours one way. So make sure you are prepared for a 7 hour walk on jungle ground if you are visiting the Falls.
    Another option is to take the trains at Kulem (the guards are bribed to allow for a 1 min stop at Dudhsagar for people to get off) and the return trains at Dudhsagar may or may not stop there (some drivers/guards cannot be bribed!). Trains are at 8:30 AM on Mondays, Thurs, Fri and Sun only and at 4:30 PM on all days at Kulem towards Dudhsagar. Trains are at 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM at Dudhsagar for return journey.
    Guides will charge 400 Rs (for groups of 6-8) -500 Rs (for only a couple, if no one else is around) for complete walking trek and Rs 650 for train journey.
    Guide Contact - Abdul Shaikh 91585 45977 (Not reachable when he is at the Falls, so keep trying till you get him)

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  17. Fabulous post!! its really an wonderful place to visit. Enjoyed reading this blog. Thanks for sharing this lovely post with beautiful information in this blog. Planning for your trip? then book your bus tickets in Konduskar Travels.

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  18. Excellent write-up and useful info. Nicely described :)

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  19. The regular magnificence and white (drain) waterfall were the best. It was a wonderful ordeal.
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