Dudh Sagar Waterfall
Dudh Sagar Waterfall is one of the highest water falls in India, and among the hundred highest waterfalls in the world. It lies in the southern part of Goa at Mollem, towards the border with Karnataka state. Dudh Sagar, literally means a Sea of Milk in the local Konkanni language, and gets its name as it appears like an overflowing sea of milk. It has a total height of 306 meters and a width of 30 meters.
The water fall is at its peak flow during the monsoon months from June to September and wanes out towards the summers from March to june.
Legend has it that a beautiful princess lived in the forest on the edge of the King's palace grounds. She enjoyed bathing in a lake nearby and ritually drank sweetened milk from a Golden Jug upon finishing with her bath. One day while enjoying her jug of milk she found herself being watched by a handsome prince standing amongst the trees. Red with embarrassment at her inadequate bathing attire, the Princess poured the jug of milk in front of her to form an improvised curtain to hide her body, while one of the maids rushed to cover her with a dress.
The sweetened milk cascades down the mountain slope to this day as tribute to the virtue and modesty of the Princess.
The Waterfall is located in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wild Life Sanctuary at Collem in South Goa along the western Ghats, bordering the neighbouring State of Karnataka.
Flora and fauna
The area is a wild and scenic deciduous forest and an ardent Bird watchers paradise. Many species of birds, insects, plants and animal abound here.
The fauna found in the sanctuary is as follows: Gaur, Panther, Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Wild Dog, Leopard Cat, Sambar, Bonnet Macaque, Common Langur, Jungle Cat, Civet, Flying Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Pangolin, Slender Loris, etc. Occasionally, Tigers have also been seen, but the area is famous for King cobras though other snakes found are Python, Krait, Viper etc. as well as non-poisonous snakes. About 200 species of birds are found in the sanctuary of which the better known ones are Indian Black Woodpecker, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Paradise Fly Catcher, Fairy Blue Bird, Drongo, Wag tails, Barbets, Great Indian Horn Bill, Kingfishers, Shrikes, Emerald Dove, Grey Jungle Fowl etc.
By and large sightings of wild animals on the trails leading to the Waterfalls are poor due to human activity, however what you will see plenty of are monkeys of various types, who scamper down the steep slopes to greet visitors. Feeding of monkeys is prohibited and will incur a fine if found guilty.
The most pleasant weather is to be exerienced between November and February. March to May can be warm and uncomfortably humid. The Monsoon months of June to September, are the most scenic when the entire area is lush and green, however during these months the access to the waterfalls could be cut off due to flooded rivers and huge quantities of water cascading down the falls.
By Road: The Water Fall can be reached by road , from Collem which is off National Highway (NH-4A). All Interstate Busses halt at Mollem where the Park office is located. You can take a local bus to Collem from the highway or from Ponda, which is the nearest city. Route: Panaji-Old Goa-Ponda-Tiska-Mollem. (57 kms) Margao-Ponda-Tiska-Mollem (42 kms)
By Rail: Nearest Station: Collem (South Central Railway); Route: Collem-Mollem - 6 km
Carambolim (Karmali Railway Station - Konkan Railways), Route: Carambolim-Old Goa-Ponda-Tiska-Mollem-50 km, by Road.
Take the turn off at Collem near the Hindustan Petroleum Petrol pump. Drive 9 kms down the road. Entering the park is not advisable in a normal car, and may only be accessible to SUV's and 4WD jeeps, as the road comprises of a boulder strewn jungle track that has rivers criss crossing it at several points.
The trip to the falls is well organized by the local Taxi Union. Jeeps which are allowed to carry only 6 passengers cost Rs 2100/-. The driver will drop you off near the falls and wait for one and a half hour before taking you back to Collem. You can economise by forming a group of 6 and pay Rs: 350 each. However the union does not help you form the group. Life jackets which can be hired for Rs: 30 per person are made compulsury by the DM before taking the Jeep to the falls
The Forest Department charges an entrance fee of Rs 20/- per person. A Still camera permit costs Rs 300/-, and a professional camera could cost Rs 5000/-
Take a dip in the refreshing cool, sweet waters at the Water Fall. However diving is forbidden, as the bottom could be rocky with unpredictable depths. A sign board acts as a grim reminder of people that have lost their lives swimming or diving at the falls. As always, dont venture into the water if you cant swim. Bring a pair of Binoculars and watch an array of Birds, insects and animals. Or just watch the hordes of Monkeys perform their antics. Trekking through the forest trails is an interesting activity for the avid trekker. Adventurous rock climbers could attempt climbing the steep Rocks up to the source of the falls. Take an Elephant ride through the forest, at the forest eco camp.
Visit Devil’s Canyon: This is known as “Devcharacho kond” which literally when translated from Konkani means ‘Devil’s Canyon’ and is a splendid piece of geological rock formation, wherein the river Khandepar passes through the sanctuary and has cut across the basalt rock formation thus earning its dubious name. The depth of the water here is supposed to be fathomless and is highly dangerous for swimming.
Karibu Restaurant is the closest place for food and drink, to the waterfall. Located on the way to Collem from NH-4A. They serve a wide variety of snacks, Goan and Chinese meals and have a bar attached.
Dudh Sagar Eco and Wild life Resort ( Azuska Retreat), is the nearest and best accomodation available close to Dudh Sagar falls. The resort is situated in the forest just off NH-4A, near the Forest Department Check post at Mollem. It has Air-conditioned Deluxe rooms with Balconies. Rates Rs. 2750/- for the Deluxe Rooom during the March to October months, and Rs. 3750/- from November to February. All room rates include breakfast. The resort has recently put up Luxury Air-conditioned tents, equipped with Living cum bed room, and Wash Rooms, with running Hot water, Referigerator, Cable television(One would prefer the jungle sounds), Mini Bar(chargeable), Safes and Telephones available in all tents. Tea and Coffee makers are available with daily replenishments. Rates for Bed & Breakfast are Rs 6000/- per night from March to October and Rs. 7500/- from November to Feb. Call +91 832 2612319 to make advance bookings and for possible offers. The resort has a small Swimming pool, steam and Sauna and a well equipped Gymnasium, entrance free to all guests. A well appointed health Club offers a variety of Swedish and Ayurvedic massages. Also available is a 4 days massage course for couples, to rejuvenate and train them in scientifically massaging one another. Other facilities include a Conference Hall to accomodate 40-50 persons. www.dudhsagarresortgoa.in
Another option that is easily reached from Dudh Sagar Waterfalls are the cozy cottages on the Malkarnekar Family's organic plantation. It's located about 10 km or a fifteen-minute drive from Kollem (towards Sanvordem). Besides a relaxing stay in a family run environment, the place provides an opportunity to see a wide variety of local spices being grown on a traditional farm, a biogas plant and a feni distillery during the cashew season. The goan-style guesthouses are situated in a coconut grove, in the midst of exotic plants. It is advisable to call before visiting (+91976 536 4456 or +919420766782). Information on accommodation and tariffs can be found under www.dudhsagarplantation.com
Use of an insect repellant is recommended during the monsoon months. Beware of wild snakes when exploring the nearby jungles. Do not dive into the Waterfalls, as the bottom is strewn with huge boulders and has widely varying depths. Do not venture to swim in the Devils Canyon. The canyon is like a bottomless pit with strong underground currents likely to suck you into the rocks.