Dudhsagar: Tunnels, Falls and a Goods Train Hitchhike

Thursday, June 19, 2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Deepika introducing SRK to her appa in "Chennai Express". Do you recall it? 

Scenes from Chennai Express

Unlike what you might have assumed, the scene featuring the falls at the periyathalai’s village wasn't taken near Chennai or anywhere in Tamil Nadu for that matter. It was shot at one of Goa’s lesser known places, the Dudhsagar Falls. Inspired by the movie, 3 of my friends (Arnav, Nirlendu and Prashanth) and I set out to visit this waterfall last September. Here’s sharing the experience with you. 

About the falls:

At 310 m, India's 6th highest waterfall, Dudhsagar (sea of milk), is 4 tiered and near the Goa – Karnataka border.

Legend has it that a princess who habitually visited a lake here happened to see a prince watching her bathe in it one day. Embarrassed, she got hold of her golden jug and poured in front of her the sugared milk (dudh) that it contained to hide her body. The milk gushed down the hills in torrents as a tribute to the everlasting virtue and modesty of the chaste maiden.

And thus the Dudhsagar falls were formed.

Dudhsagar falls, as seen from the Kulem route

Getting there:

Since the Konkan railway line lies next to these falls, the best way to get to it would be to trek along the tracks from either Castle Rock (Karnataka) or Kulem (Goa). While the more popular Castle Rock route lets you cross the border between the states, the famous view of trains passing on the bridge next to the falls can be seen from the Kulem route, which was what we decided to take.

Although barely any train has an official stop at the Dudhsagar station, most trains plying towards Kulem tend to halt here for a minute’s brake test - something we learnt only when we visited the place, which we used to our advantage.

Our itinerary:

The 4 of us traveled on a Friday night, visited the falls the next morning on Saturday and returned that night.

0015: Train from Surathkal to Madgaon (It departed from Mangalore some time earlier at 2330)

0500: Arrival at Madgaon; Rested; Freshened up; Breakfast at the station

0815: Train from Madgaon to Kulem

0915: Arrival at Kulem; Start of trek
A simple but scenic 3 hour trek along the railway tracks (The stones along the tracks may probably damage your shoes). The slight rain we experienced made the day cooler (and the trek more difficult!). You pass by small streams and a lake and keep seeing the postcard - perfect view of the falls. Walking through the series of tunnels makes the trek even more memorable.

1230: Arrival at the Dudhsagar falls

A beautiful sight. A lively place. A lot of people pitch their tents here. 

After spending some time here, we walked to the station and inquired about the timings of the trains. The station master haughtily informed us that a train was to stop for a minute at around 1330 but we were in no mood to leave so early. With no clue on how we were supposed to return, we decided to get back to the falls anyway.

Since swimming near the treacherous falls wasn't an option, we walked a bit further and happened to discover a small isolated waterfall. Entered the water here and had a great time all to ourselves. Left for the station once again after we were done swimming. It was then that we learnt about trains stopping here for a minute for their brake tests. After a short wait, we saw a goods train in the distance, estimated where its rear would be and ran to position ourselves so as to be as near to it as possible.

Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar Railway Station
Our "private" waterfall
The goods train hitchhike

1600: Goods train to Kulem
The smooth talk with the guard worked. Goods train hitchhike – Another one down on the bucket list!

After reaching Kulem at 1700, we realized that we barely had a few minutes to get onto the day’s last train to Madgaon. Bought tickets, rushed to the train and made it just in time.

1815: Arrival at Madgaon
We had 5 hours to spend before boarding the train back: Dinner and desserts followed by enjoying ourselves exploring the town.

2330: Madgaon – Surathkal train; Arrived at 0500

Expenses incurred:

Around Rs 800

Unlike our exhilarating Kumara Parvatha adventure, the scenic Dudhsagar trek is easy and less demanding. Doing it during the monsoon months would be a good idea since that’s when the falls are at their majestic best. I’d love to see more people setting out to visit this waterfall. After all, Tito's Lane isn't Goa's only attraction! SoSpeakUpNow! and let more people know that!