Dudhsagar is in a very remote location and not accessible by car or bicycle. I had a number of options to visit the place:
1. Ask my brother to drive me to the falls in his 4x4 SUV (most convenient).
2. Go on one of the tourist vehicles that take people to Kulem by car - and then a bumpy 1 hour ride to the waterfalls in a 4x4.
How about Trekking?
The idea of trekking all the way to the waterfalls came to me when I was chatting with my friend Richard. Richard is a German married to a Goan and now lives in Goa. Richard loves to bike, trek and walk - and he has probably seen more of Goa than 99% of the Goan population. Richard mentioned that he has done the Dudhsagar trek on a number of occasions and even camped overnight at the falls. I was intrigued and felt that if a German can do a trek in Goa, then a fit Goan (that's me) should have no problem doing it too. I asked Richard for more details. Ever the efficient German that he is, his directions were not only precise, they were actually way too precise for me. They went something like this:
1. Get to the Margao train station at 7:50 am. Notice the time. It's not "Quarter to eight" or "Just before Eight". It's 7:50 am. Very precise. Very German.
2. Get a ticket to Kulem on the local train that leaves at 8:10 am from Margao.
3. Once you reach Kulem (which is the last stop for the local train), walk on the railway tracks for 50 minutes.
4. You will see a dirt track near the railway tracks on the left. Exit the railway track and get on the dirt track. Walk for 2 hours and you will reach the falls.
5. The last train leaves Kulem at 5:15 pm so make sure you leave the falls by 2:00 p.m. in order to reach the train station in time.
So essentially, a 6 hour walk (3 hours either way). Well within my physical limits.
As I was staying at my sisters place in Margao, getting to the station at 7:50 a.m. was not a problem. Well, maybe it was 7:55 when I reached. After all, I am a Goan at heart and Susegad is in our genes.
|Margao Railway Station|
A group of guys were passing their time by playing card games waiting for the train to arrive. When I took their picture, they started joking and asking me if their picture will be published in the newspaper and cause a scandal because they were caught playing card games.
|Guys playing card games while waiting for the train to arrive.|
|The Vasco-Kulem local train.|
|View from train on the way to Margao-Kulem.|
|People waiting for the train to pass.|
I started off with my trek. Walking on the railway track is a bit of a problem because of all the gravel.
|Walking on the railway track.|
|Women returning with wood from the forest.|
After about 1 hour (I guess I was not walking at the same pace as Richard or Richard does not waste time taking pictures of people walking by), I finally saw the dirt track that Richard mentioned. This track is used by the 4x4 to transport tourists to Dudhsagar.
|4x4 taking tourists to Dudhsagar.|
Normally, these 4x4 leave a huge plume of red dust as they zip past. This would be a disaster for trekkers as the dust settles on the body, clothes and all the gear. Luckily, it had rained 2 days back, so the trail was still wet. Walking was a pleasure, though my white shoes complained as they started turning red.
I hit my first obstacle after about 30 minutes. It is a small brook that I had to cross by jumping over rocks. The 4x4, on the other hand, just zipped through.
|Small brook on the way to Dudhsagar.|
The brooks provides opportunities for low-shutter speed photography.
|ND (Neutral Density filter) + tripod for low-shutter photography.|
|Entrance to Dudhsagar Waterfalls.|
|Dudhsagar Waterfalls panoramic view.|
|Fast flowing water at the foot of the waterfall.|
|Water flowing off - to eventually become River Mandovi.|
|People enjoying the water (mostly Russians).|
|Kingfisher beer.....on the rocks!!!|
|Monkeys at Dudhsagar falls.|
|Forest getting darker.|
|Train going towards Kulem.|
|Indian Railway worker.|