Exploring Dudhsagar Falls: A Captivating Adventure in Goa
Welcome fellow travelers and adventure seekers! Traveling isn’t about avoiding life; it’s about embracing it in its entirety. Beyond the mere act of sightseeing, travel becomes a profound transformation and lasting impression on your core beliefs about life itself. Travel isn’t a fleeting escape; it’s an enduring journey that reshapes your perspectives and redefines your existence! That said, this article is about my recent railway line hike to Dudhsagar Waterfall. A journey that truly set my adventure-loving spirit on fire. Traversing the tracks in the middle of the stunning, sole soothing, refreshingly evergreen rain forest, the western ghat. It was truly a very exciting trip. Dudhsagar Waterfall is one of the tallest falls in India. The fall looks more beautiful as it is surrounded by lush green western ghat. So, get ready for an adventure that will test you a bit but reward you with an unforgettable experience.
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Dudhsagar Falls, also known as the ‘Sea of Milk’, is a symbol of nature’s quality of being large and impressive. Amongst India’s tallest waterfalls, Dudhsagar Falls has a height of 310 m (1017 feet) and an average width of 30 meters (100 feet). It is a mesmerizing four-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River in the Indian state of Goa. This waterfall stands as a testament to the awe-inspiring power and beauty of the natural world.
Dudhsagar Falls is 60 km from Panaji by road and is located on the Belgaum–Vasco Da Gama rail route about 46 km east of Madgaon and 80 km south of Belgaum. The falls are located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park among the Western Ghats. The area is surrounded by deciduous forests with rich biodiversity. The falls are not particularly spectacular during the dry season but during the monsoon season, however, the falls are fed by rains and form a huge force of water.
Embarking on a journey to Dudhsagar Falls necessitates a deliberate evaluation of available routes. Two distinct paths lead to this natural marvel: the Indian Railway Track, known as the Railway Line Trek, and the thrilling Jeep Safari.
The Railway Line Trek offers two approaches: the Castle Rock Route and the Kulem Route. The former, spanning 14 kilometers, is ideal for those arriving from Karnataka. Commencing from Castle Rock railway station, accessible by train or alternative means, this route promises a captivating journey. Meanwhile, the Kulem Route, an 11-kilometer hike, caters to travelers from the Goa side, with Kulem Railway Station as the starting point.
Notably favored during monsoon, the Rail Line Trek is a popular choice, presenting a breathtaking experience. Alternatively, the Jeep Safari 4×4 transports you closer to the falls, followed by a manageable 1-kilometer hike to the final destination.
With these options in mind, it’s crucial to pack food and drink for your adventure, particularly if you’re considering the railway line trek. Carrying snacks and, ideally, electrolyte-infused water can ensure you remain energized and hydrated throughout the journey.
Remember, environmental supervision is most important. As you traverse the trail through dense forests, let’s preserve its pristine beauty by carrying any waste back with you for proper disposal. The forest deserves our respect and care, ensuring it remains as untainted as possible.
As you prepare to embark on your chosen path to Dudhsagar Falls, embrace the essence of adventure while upholding a sense of responsibility for both nature and your well-being.
Journey to Dudhsagar:
As I mentioned, there are two ways to get to Dudhsagar Falls. During the rainy season, the Jeep Safari might be closed for safety.
Going to Dudhsagar Falls through the Jeep Safari is a good option. This way, you can see the entire view of the waterfall. If you choose the Indian Railway Track route, you’ll only see half of the waterfall.
Let’s learn more about the Castle Rock Route. As I mentioned before, this hike starts from Castle Rock railway station. It’s a 14 km walk to Dudhsagar Waterfalls, and it usually takes around 5-6 hours for an average person to reach there.
Similarly, the Kulem Route begins from Kulem railway station. It’s an 11 km hike to the falls, and it should take about 4-5 hours to get there.
Note: The authorities sometimes close and open the railway line trek. So, make sure to research and check its status before planning the trek.
My trip to Dudhsagar was through the Kulem Route. Interestingly, it wasn’t our initial plan. We had initially intended to take the Jeep Safari.
Note: The Jeep can hold up to 7 people. The entire jeep booking costs around Rs. 3500/-. The good thing is you can share the cost. To do this, visit the DTOA office in Kulem and book your ticket. If you choose to share, it’s usually around Rs. 500 per person. There are other charges like life jackets and forest entry fees as well.
So, we decided to reach Kulem early in the morning, around 6 AM. However, we found out that the Jeep Safari wasn’t open yet due to heavy rain in the rainforest. Despite our excitement to see Dudhsagar Falls, we were well-prepared. We had enough food and water, and we were dressed appropriately for the hike. We reached Kulem in our car and paid Rs. 100 for parking on private property. Then, we started our unforgettable 11 km hike.
Arrival at Dudhsagar:
We were excited and couldn’t wait to start our hike on the Kulem Route. We brought a lot of food with us. Before long, we took our first break, and we enjoyed some tasty homemade Egg Rolls. We knew the hike to Dudhsagar would take around 4 hours, so we were smart and took short breaks every 30 minutes. During these breaks, we sat down, relaxed, and enjoyed the nature around us. We also took pictures of the cool forests, beautiful butterflies, and interesting train tunnels.
About an hour and a half later, we reached a spot where we could see trains passing by before the waterfall. And as we kept walking towards the falls, we could see the whole stretch of the waterfall.
The hike was a lot of fun, and we made some great memories. The forest was so pretty and untouched. The hike was worth it. And when we finally got to Dudhsagar Falls, the view was just breathtaking. I can’t even find the right words to explain how amazing it was. We were lucky to go down to the railway bridge and put our feet in the water. The view of the forest from under the bridge was cool. We had our lunch under the bridge. We made sure to bring enough food so that monkeys wouldn’t bother us while we ate. But as soon as we finished eating, it was like the monkeys knew, and they came over looking for food. It was quite funny!
Challenges and Rewards
Talking about challenges, there are quite a few of them. First off, hiking on a railway track isn’t easy. Wearing proper trekking shoes can make it more comfortable. Otherwise, walking on the rough railway limestone with regular shoes isn’t much fun.
Secondly, it can be a bit scary at times, especially in certain forest areas that might give you the chills. But don’t let the feeling of being deep in the dense woods overshadow the fun. I remember feeling nervous when I had to cross a dark rail tunnel. I would suggest carrying a flashlight so you can use it not only in tunnels but also in sections of the forest where sunlight doesn’t reach the ground easily.
Third, watch out for insects. The bugs in such dense forests can be quite bothersome and even potentially dangerous. So, be cautious and try to avoid getting bitten by them.
Lastly, there’s the matter of trains. Since you’ll be walking on the railway tracks, and much of it is just a single track, you need to be careful when you’re resting or sitting on the rails. Keep your eyes and ears open and make sure to check if any train is coming before you settle down.
Believe me, overcoming these challenges and finally reaching Dudhsagar is truly worth it. It’s an experience that you won’t want to miss, something you should try at least once. Whenever you plan your trip, if you’re thinking of hiking along the railway line, just make sure it’s open. Otherwise, the Jeep Safari option is usually available when the water flow is below the danger level.
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