An insanely popular blog on Dudhsagar Waterfalls trek from Pune | Goa

The plan for trekking to Dudhsagar waterfall during monsoon was a long due.Unfortunately every time ,I found myself with an excuse to postpone . This year monsoon was at its best and I could no more resist the lure to trek to the falls , which lies in the Goa-Karnataka border  in the Sanguem taluka.

My journey started off from the Pune station .  I had made my train reservations till Kulem station and as per the plan I was to start trekking  from the Kulem station  to reach the falls  undertaking a total of 11 kms .The train-Goa Express left Pune station a cool 40 minutes late .

The train was still behind its schedule by 1 hours when it reached the Castlerock station .The next official stop after Castlerock station was the Kulem station, from where I was to start my trek .

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Castlerock station

The Dudhsagar waterfalls is jsut 1 km away from the Dudhsagar station . But Indian railways do not have an official stoppage at Dudhsagar station .So to reach the waterfalls one has to either start trekking from Castlerock station or from its next stoppage i.e Kulem station .I had read it somewhere that usually the Goa bound trains take a few minutes halt at Dudhsagar station to check their brakes before moving on , but that’s all depends on the train driver . And I was very skeptical on the prospect of train halting at Dudhsagar station.I hoped it did.

The train neared the Dudhsagar station and it started to slow down a bit till it was  standstill .I said to myself – Voila !! . I made a foray towards the exit door .Surprised ,I saw some 20-30 people getting down the train .With trekking boots on , they had a heavy rucksack behind them and seemed very much to be a trekker , like me .Delighted !  I have found some more like minded people on route . I decided to have a conversation with their group leader to seek his affirmation so as to tag myself with the group . Rather than going solo  its better to be  in a group  .Their leader agreed to my request . I introduced myself to the group  .Came to know that group was from Mumbai .

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Dudhsagar station

Soon as we started our trek . We would have covered a few meters when from nowhere some 2-3 RPF police (railway protection force) came hurrying towards us and gheraoed us .They inquired us on our motives to alight from the train .And as as we mentioned them our motive – to trek to the Dudhsagar falls ,the RPF guys  started warning us ,by saying that there has been an official ban on trekking to the Dudhsagar waterfalls . They sighted  few death incidents which happened last year. And refused to let us go any further under any circumstances. We were then asked to huddled back to the train again asap.

“Is this the end to my dream of trekking to Dudhsagar falls ?”

Disheartened, we all boarded the train again . Soon ,the train started rolling along its track. It was a grief moment to see the Dudhsagar waterfalls trailing behind  . Sitting on the berth and strategizing our next moves, I had a brief chat with the group members and leader and it was decided that we will all alight at the next station i.e Kulem from where we start the 11km trek,along the train lines to reach the falls.

Our train might have now gone a mere 4-5 km from the Dudhsagar station ,when it took a halt again before a dilapidated building which had Sonaulim station written on it. It was a stroke of luck for us . The idea of saving time and distance struck our minds and without any second thoughts or hesitations we all jumped off from the standstill train . This time we didn’t find any RPF manning the route 🙂 As the train left the station ,all of a sudden we found ourselves in between of no where .The night was still hanging there and so was the sky ,pitch dark .Also noteworthy to mention here ,it was raining .

The Sonaulim station and the Dudhsagar waterfalls comes under Bhagwan Mahaveer sanctuary and Mollem national park . And the national park is the protected area for Indian spotted leopard , black panther and Bengal tiger to name a few .The very thought of stumbling upon any wild animal was near to impossible but still there was a sense of concern in some of us . The rail lines were bounded on both sides by dense forest cover and think foliage .It was half an hour more for the Sunrise .And the only lights around was from our torch light . We started off from the Sonaulim station towards the falls in 2 groups of 20 each .The air was pure but there was a lot of humidity due to the incessant rainfall the whole night .

The only visible track that could be seen in the darkness in the railway track . It was quite a tough task to walk in the dark .But after walking for about half a kilometer, I picked up the correct rhythm and started walking comfortably on the tracks. The major obstacles are the human wastes which made me feel yuck! A major chunk of these faeces were washed away by the rains but unfortunately, some were still present on the tracks. So keeping an eye on the tracks while walking we pressed ahead .

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Walking along the rail lines , amids low visibility and crossing 4 tunnels on route it took some 2 hours to complete our trek-a-walk till the Dudhsagar waterfalls.By the time we reached the falls the Sun was up and the forest has come live with the many sound of bird calls . Some known and some unknown .The fright in us with the thought of stumbling across some wild animals has now faded . And we were awestruck at the first sight of the waterfalls. From a distance we could see the huge, majestic and powerful waterfalls throwing down millions of tons of water volume, was a sight to behold .The roar of the falls can be clearly heard from a distance .And in the relatively quite day,apart from the sound of rain in the rainforest ,it was the only other  prominent sound that echoed .

 

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Yeah hooo……..

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Tunnels on route

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First view of the falls from the Dudhsagar view point .

 

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Tunnel no 2

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Tunnel no 3 – onroute

A loco engine passing through the tunnel.

After the view point ,we crossed another tunnel to finally reach the bridge from where the majestic view of the fall till the top could be seen ,up close.The Dudhsagar waterfalls are created as the head waters of the Mandovi River which branches into three cascades to tumble down a near-vertical cliff. The waterfalls has acquired the nickname “sea of milk” courtesy the clouds of milky foam which rises up at the bottom of the falls. Some credit it’s name to a local legend about a princess who covered her modesty by pouring a stream of milk in front of her.

There’s a plunge of pool which was huge at the waterfall’s base,that can be seen from the bridge .We walk ahead. Droplets of water from the falls welcomed us and after few steps we were in front of the waterfall. It was truely a WOW feeling. A feeling of ecstasy that removed all fatigues of walking on the uneven bouldered railway track under heavy rainfall. Finally ,we were in front of Dudhsagar Falls which like its name looked indeed like A sea of milk – literally. Cascades of milky white water tumbled down the rocky terrain. Gurgles of fresh rain water falling from 310 metres had filled the valley below. It was sheer joy to enjoy nature’s beauty which the rains had also made to look more glorious .

No more words , now .Just enjoy the pics of the mighty waterfalls which is ranked the fifth highest waterfall in the country .

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View from the bridge

 

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Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Video of the Waterfalls

Dudhsagar Waterfall..  A picture speaks a thousand words. But even a thousand pictures fall short of to explain the beauty of it when you actually experience the amazing adventure trek of this beautiful place on earth.

 

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The Mandovi river flowing down and going down the valley

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Old house , which serves as trekkers hut which can accommodate 10 people .

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We spent some 1-2 hours near the falls clicking some amazing pics .It was the best part of the day and we were in no mood to leave the place,soon .The charming view of the waterfalls was a sight to behold .We would have spent some more hours if the loco engine carriage(pic above) would not have come to a screeching halt near the falls. The loco driver came out and with his helper and was seen busy clicking some pics of the waterfall. The prospect of not trekking the return 11kms on the uneven railways track and travelling on a loco engine  ,lead me to ask the driver for a lift till the Kulem station . Surprisingly the driver agreed in a first go .So we did a hitch ride on top of the train’s engine . Standing on the small platform outside the engine room was an exhilarating experience .We bid an adieu to the majestic falls.

 

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Hitch ride on the loco engine

 

 

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Posing before the engine .

Never had such a joyful ride and it was full of fun travelling on the train’s engine .Travelling on a diesel engine and in the rain was quite an experience. It moved slowly and I saw myriad of small streams and waterfalls on the way. We crossed a tunnel and as soon as we passed it, we are greeted by large cascade of water on us. I look back to see a mini waterfall from the top of the tunnel ,which fell on us! It was totally unexpected and thrilling too !  The loco engine took some 2 hours to reach the Kulem station . We alighted 500m before the Kulem station and did the last leg of our journey by walking besides the lines to reach the Kulem station .

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Kulem station

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Read it as COLLEM  and not Kulem .Indian postal post box, a sight less seen nowadays.

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View of the Kulem station from the overbridge.

The time was around 12pm and my return train to Pune was scheduled to touch Kulem station at around 4.30 pm that day. So we had now quiet a leisure time of 4 hours to spend ,at the station .The station is not a big station and serves mainly as a rest stop for some passing by goods trains .With so much of time at our disposal we decided to explore the local market around the Kulem station .It looked like a typical small Goan town .Lots of coconut and bettlenut trees all around and many colonial era buildings along among the new building structure.We had our lunch at an average hotel which served us idli sambhar ,puri bhaji and typical konkani lunch.

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Rest house for railway employees outside Kulem station

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Power of the nature

 

By the time we returned back to station it was about time for our train to reach Kulem station .The train was on time and bidding a bye to others I headed straight towards my respective train bogey .Remembering the good time spent today amids the nature along with an awesome group was totally an amazing experience .Browsing through the photographs ,I soon found myself dozing off on my reserved SL class seat berth .

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Return Journey

Dudhsagar waterfalls as viewed from the Train’s window .

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Trek Facts


-Difficulty Grade- Easy

-Recommended Gears- primary requirement of 2L of water , Lots of food as per individual requirement and a good thick soled shoes.

-Recommended time of the year – After Monsoons or between September till April.

-ATM available: Only one ATM available near the market area.

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How to Reach:

1) From Goa-The Dudhsagar waterfalls are located in the Sanguem district of Goa near the Goa-Karnataka border. and is at a distance of around 60 kilometers from Madgao station ,Can be reached easily by hiring a taxi or taking a bus from either Madgao or Panaji.

2) From Pune- The Goa express(train no 12780) run daily and leaves Pune station at 4.35pm and to reach Dudhsagar falls one has to alight at either Castlerock station from where the trek distance is 14km or otherwise can take the 11kms trek from the next station i.e Kulem station. Alternatively ,one can also be a bit adventurous by alighting at the Dudhsagar station itself, where trains halt unofficially for few minutes for a brakes checkup before going downhills towards Kulem station . Same day return possible by taking train from Kulem/ Castlerock (train no 12779) which takes 11hours to reach Pune .

3) From Bangalore– Not many option during weekends as the only weekly train MAS VASCO EXP( train no 17311) leaves the Yesvantpur station,Bangalore on friday and reaches Kulem station pretty late in the next day i.e 11am .Recommended to make this a 2 days trip if starting from Bangalore .

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* Word of caution – Mind you trekking to Dudhsagar Waterfalls during monsoon season either from Castlerock station or Kulem station has been now officially declared illegal (after some death incidents of trekkers,last years) by the Karnataka government and Indian railways . And if done, you might run into trouble . As , if  you get caught by the RPF police ,who strictly man both the routes you might have to pay a hefty Rs 1000 fine per person for breaking the law as per the Railway protection act . So it’s advisable to get information before planning for the trek .

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