Dudhsagar Falls. Waterfall in India, Asia

Dudhsagar Falls

Waterfall in India, Asia

Dudhsagar Falls Photo © Amey Jambhekar

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Dudhsagar Falls

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	Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar Falls. Photo by Sashank Rao
Dudhsagar Falls is located on the Goa-Karnataka border in India. It is a four tiered waterfall on the Mandovi (called Mahdei locally) River in the midst of the deciduous forests of the higher reaches of the Western Ghats in the Sanguem Taluka (Wikipedia Article) of Goa.

Etymology

In Hindi and the local dialect Konkani, Dudhsagar literally means ‘Sea of Milk’. The metaphor is apt for a fall that appears like streams of milk flowing down a mountain side from the top to the bottom, making it one of the most beautiful water falls in India.

Legend

There is a legend behind every phenomenon in India, and so it is with Dudhsagar. The legend of Dudhsagar has it that a powerful King once ruled a kingdom and had his palace in the Western Ghats. The site of Dudhsagar was a part of his palace gardens and hunting grounds that abound in game. The King’s beautiful daughter, the Princess, was fond of bathing in the picturesque lake in the forest on the edge of the King’s palace grounds. She would habitually drink a mug of sugared milk in a jug of gold after her bath. Having had her bath and while drinking the milk from her jug one day, she realized that a handsome Prince was watching her. Embarrassed that she was in her skimpy bathing clothes, the princess poured the remaining milk over herself to make a screen of milk that acted as a curtain while her maids rushed to her aid with an appropriate dress. The legend says that the sugared milk poured by the Princess continues to flow down the mountain in torrents in tribute to the everlasting modesty of the Princess of the Western Ghats.

The Waterfall

The fifth largest waterfall in India at 1,017 feet, the four-tired Dudhsagar Falls is a sight to behold as the water foams from the top to the bottom. In the summer, the falls are not particularly spectacular, but still impressive. But with the advent of the monsoons, the waterfall gets transformed into one of the most delightful sights in the world. On an average of 98 feet wide, the water cascades down in one large torrent which splits into three, and then joins again, to plummet into a pool at the base. From there, the water falls further into a much larger pool.
The large volumes of water that plummets over 2,000 feet, flows down into the Mandovi River past Old Goa and Panjim, the capital city of Goa, into the Arabian Sea, playing an important role in the ecology and economy of Goa. The silt, born down by the waters of the Mandovi, settles down in the paddy fields in the basins during floods, and helps boost the yield of the crop. The river also is a major waterway, and serves in the transportation of ore and other goods, besides ferrying people and serving as a major source of sweet water fish, which is a staple food of the local populace.

How to Get There

The fall can be reached directly by train or by road, which involves a one kilometer hike. Not all the trains on the route halt at Dudhsagar. From Goa, the best way to get there is to board a train, either in Vasco or in Margao (Wikipedia Article), that ‘stops’ at Dudhsagar. Because the routine of the trains keeps changing frequently, it would be pertinent to inquire with the Konkan Railway Corporation or the management of the hotel, about the schedule of the trains to reach the falls, and to come back.
It is important because there is no accommodation there, and spending a night in the Western Ghats is not the best of experience for those who have not camped in the wild before.

When returning to Margao or to Vasco, there is the option of hiking a ride on one of the freight trains with the permission of the conductor. All freight trains coming down the Ghats stop at the Dudhsagar Railway Station, but not those going up the slope. For those who want to reach the falls from Karnataka, there are trains that leave from Londa and Castle Rock.

The alternative is to take an SUV and drive to within a kilometer of the falls. The route is via Mollem and Collem, the latter of which is also a railway station. From Collem, the ride is a bit bumpy and one has to drive across several small streams. The rest of the one kilometer has to be hiked. At the height of the monsoons, the route is not motorable, particularly because of flash floods that may cut one off.
Whichever mode of transport is taken, tourists have to make sure that they are well laden with food and drinking water.

Trekking in the Western Ghats

Western Ghats
Western Ghats
The area is a dream for trekkers. The sheer diversity of the scenic Western Ghats makes the trek worthwhile, and there is the Dudhsagar to top it off with milk. There are two abandoned shelters along the way and by the railroad that afford refuge to trekkers. No medical aid or drinking water is available at Dudhsagar, but the Station Master at the railway station is a great help in case of an emergency. Trekkers can reach Dudhsagar by three routes, of which only two are negotiable in the monsoons.

Passing
	the Dudhsagar
Passing the Dudhsagar.
Photo by Jayasankar Madhavadas

The Castle Rock Route

One of the more popular and scenic routes during the rainy season, it is a 9 miles trek to the falls. The route requires the trekker to go through a number of railway tunnels and one has to be careful of trains when walking along the track.

The Collem Route

This involves disembarking from a train at the Collem station, or reaching the place by road and walking to the falls which are 7 miles away. When on this route, one has to be careful of the trains as they are lugging up and down the slope. Along the route, which is no less scenic, one gets the complete view of the falls from the top to the bottom, and the privilege of watching a train crossing the bridge in front of the falls.

The Kuveshi-Dudsagar Route

Kuveshi is a village that is ten kilometers away from Castle Rock which can be reached by bus. The route is through thick jungle and cannot be negotiated in the monsoons because one has to ford the Mandovi in full flow. Even otherwise this route should only be taken by experienced hikers.

Other Places of Interest

In Goa there is plenty for a sightseer to do. There are innumerable beaches, churches and temples, some of which are more than six centuries old and the culture, which is a mix of Indian with a pronounced Western influence left behind by the Portuguese.

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Author: jackmartis. Last updated: Aug 09, 2014

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