Dudhsagar Falls

Crashing and twisting as it roars down four tiers of rock, the 1,017 ft high Dudhsagar Falls on the Goa-Karnataka border has to be seen to be believed. But sheer power need not be brutal. After plummeting sheer cliffs, the foamy water pours playfully into a deep emerald pool. Hmm, these ferocious falls were just a gentle giant flirting with your imagination.

Hidden behind the curtain of water is a legend about a jungle princess. Turns out, she was bathing in a lake here and noticed a handsome price watching her from a distance. She had just finished bathing and was drinking milk from a jug when she spotted the prince. The embarrassed princess poured the milk in front of her body to hide herself till her ladies-in-waiting brought her some clothes. The stream of milk turned into the Dudhsagar Falls, symbolising virtue and modesty. Hence the name Dudhsagar or Sea of Milk for the frothy clouds of pure white that rise when the falls hit the rock.

There isn’t much to do here except stick around for a while, take a dip in the water and then, after you give thanks for the astonishing sight before your eyes, pick up your jaw and make the trip back.

Getting to the falls is no walk in the park. With the might of the monsoon behind it, the headwaters of the Mandovi River put on a spellbinding show only for those who brave hill and dale, Amazon-like jungle paths, and icy monsoon winds to make it this far. But don’t be discouraged.

Fun-seekers and groups of monsoon revellers usually ‘trek’ to the falls but that’s only one way to do it. There are two ‘treks’ mostly along railway tracks from Collem station in Goa (11 km) and Castle Rock station near Londa in Karnataka (14 km). Much needed-relief during the long trek comes in the form of scenic views to die for along the way. The more sensible or sober make the journey to Collem, where taxis or jeeps drive tourists in groups of six per vehicle. They are government-accredited and perfectly safe. The more adventurous can opt for a rumble in the jungle. A biker – also government-authorised – will take you from Collem, across rivers and streams, through muddy slopes and slushy paths, emerald jungles and rocky terrain, to the Holy Grail of waterfalls. It’s terribly exciting but hang on to your hat!

And surprise, surprise! There is no last-mile connectivity to the waterfall. The taxis and bikers that bring you here halt a kilometer away, for the boulder-strewn terrain that takes you to the base of the falls is non-negotiable except on foot. Several thousand tourists make the trip every year, so don’t worry; it’s easier than it sounds.

Note : You cannot reach the falls in a private vehicle. The route passes through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, and if the forest rangers at the checkpost don’t stop you, the rough terrain definitely will.

But, remember, we said you shouldn’t be discouraged? So, here’s the best way to visit the magnificent Dudhsagar Falls – book with a private tour operator! You can pre-book your tour or, after you check into your hotel in Goa, ask them if they will make a booking for you.

Need To Know

  • Dudhsagar Falls are located on the Goa-Karnataka border. Although Goa is a handkerchief-size state, and almost any place is driving distance, take a train to Collem, especially if you’re staying in North Goa. If you’ve checked in at a hotel in South Goa, find parking in Collem and then take a taxi or jeep to the falls.
  • Pack sandwiches or other snacks, and carry water too. The only place you can snack are the handful of stalls at Dudhsagar Falls but eating here is not recommended.
  • Make sure you carry adequate rainwear and wear comfortable sports shoes. Dudhsagar Falls are India’s fifth-tallest waterfall and standing in front of its awesome might puts it all into perspective. Well worth the journey!