Dudhsagar Waterfall Trek - The Beauty Of Goa
If you’ve watched the SRK-Deepika Padukone starter Chennai Express you simply cannot miss the spot where SRK gets down from the train with Deepika, right in front of a majestic waterfall. Ever thought which waterfall is that and where’s it located? Yep, that’s the majestic Dudhsagar Waterfalls and is located right on the Karnataka-Goa border, technically in Goa. Yes! It's in Goa a place we all visit or we wish to visit Goa in our lifetime.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls is located at Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park among the Western Ghats. Dudhsagar falls literally means a Sea of Milk. This gorgeous, mammoth of a waterfall is technically India’s 4th highest waterfall. This majestic beauty can be reached from Kullem (State Goa) railway station through the jungle trek. The falls are at their zenith during the monsoon months of July to September, although they are a popular tourist attraction all year round.
In terms of difficulty, Dudhsagar waterfall trek somewhere between easy to moderate level trek. The total distance between Kulem and Dudhsagar falls is around 12 kms and takes around 3-4 hours to reach the same. The trail is mostly flat with just a few uphill patches.
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How to reach the Dudhsagar Waterfalls?
Because they straddle the two states of Goa and Karnataka and because they are so big (they are among the highest waterfalls in India), there are multiple ways to reach the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
You can take the train to reach the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
You can reach near the Dudhsagar waterfalls by car or bus.
You can also trek to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
How to reach Dudhsagar waterfalls by train?
The railway track put up by the Indian Railways in the Western Ghats is nothing less than a work of engineering marvel. It was a daunting task undertaken by the Railways, and you can’t appreciate enough once you visit this section.
If you are travelling from Mumbai/Pune/Goa, you will have to reach Kulem for trekking as well as taking a jeep safari to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Take Goa Express from Pune to Kulem and Mangaluru Superfast Express from Mumbai.
If you are already in Goa, go to the Madgaon or Vasco railway stations. The Vasco-Kulem Daily Passenger runs every day from Madgaon/ Vasco in Goa to Kulem.
Pro Tip: The station just before Kulem is Kalem. The names look and sound familiar. We have seen travellers mix up Kulem and Kalem. Do not get off the train at Kalem. Kulem is the last station for the passenger train.
How to reach Dudhsagar waterfalls by car?
The Dudhsagar waterfalls are not directly accessible by road. You can drive up to Kulem. From Kulem you can either trek to the Dudhsagar waterfalls or take a jeep safari via the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. The parking lot in Kulem is a 2-minute walk from the Kulem Railway station.
Distance from North Goa (Baga) to Kulem is 80 km.
Distance from Madgaon to Kulem is 45 km.
Bangalore to Kulem is a driving distance of 539 km. Once off the national highway 48, you will drive towards Mollem. The road is carved through the Mollen National Park.
If you are driving down from Pune or Mumbai, you can take the national highway 48 to Belgaum. Then get off the highway and drive towards Mollem via Khanapur.
Trek to Dudhsagar Waterfalls
In Goa, your trek to the Dudhsagar waterfalls will start by climbing up the railway tracks from Kulem It’s fun walking through railway tracks in the middle of the forest through tunnels. But you have to be mindful the whole while to the sound of approaching trains. The distance of Kulem to the Dudhsagar waterfalls is 12 km. It is a slightly uphill walk.
It is a must to hire a guide if you choose to reach Dudhsagar Falls by trekking through the forest. Several local guides are available here who will take you through the forest route. The local guides might charge you upto INR 500 per person and will walk with you throughout the way, will alert you of approaching train, will help you get down the railway track on time and will, of course, guide you through alternate paths in case of rail vigil. You could also negotiate on the rates if you are a big group. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk through the muddy and slushy pathways for 12 kilometres one way.
This route is the most beautiful path that takes you to the base of the waterfall. Walking through a tunnel can be a pulsating but scary one. The tunnels have been carved through big rocks and mountains, without affecting the nearby geology. Talk about some engineering marvel, all respect to Indian Railways. While inside a railway tunnel always ensure to have your torches on, keep an eye on the track, and try to cross it asap. It can be suffocating inside a tunnel due to less air, and a rail passing through can also make it dangerous. But I have to say it's not every day that you get to walk through a tunnel, perched inside a dense ghat section. This is what adventures are made of!
If you start in Karnataka, you will trek over the railway tracks from Castle Rock. The distance from Castle Rock to the Dudhsagar waterfalls is roughly 14 km.
Where can you stay to explore the Dudhsagar Waterfalls?
There are a few eco-resorts between Mollem and Kulem which are a perfect place to stay if you want to take your time exploring the Mollem National Park. Most of these are located midway to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Some options to stay are
Jungle Book: A unique little stay option. Excursions into the National Park are easily possible. These are nearer to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Dudhsagar Spa and Resort: You can while away your time within this property. This resort has cottages and Swiss-type tent set in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem Park.
Listen To Me:
No restaurants or food stalls are present near Dudhsagar Falls. Make sure you carry your own food items. You would get local village food at the only house in Sonaulim.
If you go to the base of the falls, remember to keep any eatables inside your bags the moment you enter Dudhsagar gate. There will be fearless monkeys all around who would snatch any colourful wrapper they see.
If you wish to swim in the Dudhsagar River at the base of the falls, do so only with the life jacket on. It is not advisable to swim in monsoon when the water flows with a lot of force.
There are no cloakrooms/ lockers to keep your luggage near the falls.
To be safe hire a local guide easily available at the base station, but go hard on negotiation. You should not pay more the INR 500 (Indian Rupees Five Hundred).
Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary is a plastic-free zone. Please do not litter the place.
If you do the forest trek, you may come across snakes in certain sections. These are usually small and harmless unless you disturb them. But having a guide helps as they tend to easily spot these and are not afraid of one.
Although a wonder that is worth exploring all year round, the falls reach their zenith during the monsoon season.