Dudhsagar Falls – the moment you hear these words, the visuals of trains passing through the falls come to your mind. Thanks to Bollywood. This tall, tiered, and perennial waterfall is a must-see destination in Goa. Bollywood films like the Chennai Express have shared their spectacular visuals in front of millions even if the coordinates of the waterfalls were misplaced.
I first saw these wonderful waterfalls when I was on the Deccan Odyssey trip. It was fun to watch the waterfall from the luxury of my personal cabin. Minutes later we were all discussing the view. Since the time we moved to Goa, I have seen them many times on different trains that I have taken. However, it is now that we got an opportunity to visit the waterfalls to admire them in full glory.
A story of Dudhsagar Waterfalls
Dudhsagar literally means the ocean of milk. Here is the story that tells us how it got the name.
The legend is that there was a lake in the western ghats. This is where a princess used to come for bathing every day with her friends. After the bath, they used to drink milk – as much as a jug of milk. One fine day as they were playing in the lake a young man passed by. He stopped to look at the maidens in the water. The maidens to save their dignity poured the milk in a way that created a curtain of milk.
It is believed that since then the waterfall is flowing creating a curtain of milk.
I am not sure about the story, but I can tell you that once you have heard the story the waterfall does look a wee bit milkier in appearance.
What is Dudhsagar Falls?
Dudhsagar Falls is actually a punctuation mark in the journey of the Mandovi River from the Western Ghats to Panjim where it meets the Arabian sea. This waterfall is in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park region, Sanguem Taluka in Goa, a protected area.
From top to bottom Dudhsagar waterfall is more than 300 meters or 1000 ft in height.
Mandovi falls from the height, into a deep green pool before it moves on its westward journey to the Arabian Sea.
Video of Trip to Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
Watch the video of our trip to the best waterfalls of Goa in HD mode. Indian Railways trains passing by the waterfalls are a sight you should not miss.
On the Jeep ride from the forest gate to Dudhsagar, you would find some houses – which means some people live inside. We even saw a sugarcane field and we were told the workers in this field come in the morning and leave by the evening.
There are two temples that we saw – one belongs to Dudhsagar Baba. Now I am not sure who he really is but the temple looks fairly new. As we are not allowed to get off the jeep, we could not visit the temple.
The second temple belongs to Satteri – the goddess that can be seen all over Goa. Between Satteri and Shantadurga it would be difficult to choose who would be the presiding deity of Goa. And as some would say, both of them are different versions of the same divine feminine.
Video of Dudhsagar Waterfalls
Fabulous landscape scene of a Train passing by Dudhsagar Waterfalls Goa – Best of Indian Railways.
Visiting Dudhsagar Falls
We reached Mollem around 9 AM & joined the long queue to get the Jeep ticket. It was an exceptionally crowded day and it took us nearly 2 hours to get the ticket. Once in Jeep, we had to wait for almost an hour outside the forest gate. We were told that they are trying to limit the overall number of Jeeps inside the park.
Read more: Places to visit in Panjim – The Heart of Goa
We admired the quiet and absolutely clean Mandovi flowing next to our waiting queue. I was hoping to see some animals or birds but then with so many jeeps and humans around it was asking for too much.
After crossing the forest gate we started driving through the thick jungle. In places, we passed through the canopy of trees, and at other places, we could see some habitation. We crossed two small streams and many other smaller streams smiled at us through the drive. The road was muddy and slushy, as the monsoons have still not completely gone.
At the Jeep Parking place which was obviously full of Jeeps and tourists they brought in, there is Watchtower. If you do not want to trek for 1 km from here, this is your best bet to admire the fall. The view of the falls is nice. Monkeys of the wildlife sanctuary, however, think that the Watchtower is their place so you would need to deal with them.
Read more: Best Places to visit in South Goa
Walk to the wonderful waterfalls
From the Jeep stand, we started walking towards the fall – all full of excitement to finally see the falls up, close, and personal. We had to go up and down some steps that must have been built as proper staircases in some era. Then we had to cross a narrow stream where the water was gushing through large rocks on our right to become a fiery stream on our left. The branch of a tree was bending on the stream as if trying to protect it or maybe trying to kiss it.
It was a lovely scene to witness. I loved the sound of water as it made its way through the rocks and finally claimed a space for itself as a stream. After admiring it for a while, I moved ahead. A little ahead another stream awaited us. I was charmed once again.
Anyway, my curiosity about meeting the waterfalls made my steps move ahead. It was a rocky and slippery path. I saw many before me struggle and some even slip. That made me extra conscious of the rough terrain ahead. Suddenly the waterfalls made an appearance in full glory. I could see it from top to bottom in a single frame – just like the most famous images of its show. The railway bridge cuts through the middle of Dudhsagar falls.
It was a sight to behold.
After soaking in this sight, it was time to brave some more rocky paths where the challenge was not to come in the path of jumping monkeys. There was water, there were rocks piled on each other and there were monkeys jumping everywhere. It was risky, many fell but most of us managed to reach the base of the waterfalls.
Dudhsagar Falls, Goa
At the base of the Dudhsagar falls is a lake in turquoise blue water. Tourists – all of them in red life jackets swam in the lake while the lifeguards leisurely balanced themselves on rocks. I like to hear the sound of falling water, but with so many people around, the human sounds overpowered the sounds of the waterfall. It was still therapeutic to look at the water impatiently falling and flowing away.
A few bright yellow benches held onto the rocks. Some elderly women sat. I also sat for a while but then the rocks tempted me. After spending our designated time, we walked back, with the satisfaction that after living in Goa for good 4 years we have finally seen the mighty and the best waterfalls of the state.
How to Reach Dudhsagar Falls?
Dudhsagar waterfalls are located inside the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary which lies at the border of Goa and Karnataka. You can either reach it by road from a village called Mollem at the edge of the Mollem National Park. By train the closest railway station for Dudhsagar is Kulem.
Where is Dudhsagar Falls?
It is about 70 KM from Panjim, 46 KM from Madgaon, and 80 KM from Belagavi.
A Taxi from Panjim costs anywhere between 3000-4000 Rs.
During the season, Goa Tourism operates a conducted tour of the waterfalls that also covers some other destinations like spice gardens and old Goa. Check the Goa Tourism website for more details.
You can trek to the waterfalls from Kuveshi village (6 KM) or Collem Railway Station (11 KM) or Castle Rock Railway Station (14 KM). However, please go only with organizers who have prior permission from the Forest Department, Goa for such treks. These treks are tough and are not suitable for general visitors.
Dudhsagar Falls Hotels and Restaurants
Dudhsagar Spa Resort – Goa Tourism has a Dudhsagar Resort at Mollem Village, not too far from where you get the Jeeps. They have lovely tented accommodations where you can stay and enjoy the jungle. I stayed there last year during monsoons and really enjoyed the forest all around. For more details – Check out their website.
Jungle Cafe – This is a lovely garden restaurant with pots all over the ceiling. It serves both vegetarian and non-vegetarian buffets. It is an eco-friendly place that is not just surrounded by plants all around but also segregates its waste properly. Food is simple but fulfilling.
There are small eateries around the Jeep Ticket Counters where you get all kinds of food, but fish curry remains the most popular food here.
- Jeep Fees – 2800 per Jeep or Ra 400 per person
- Life Jacket Fee – Rs 30 per person
- Forest Entry Fee – Rs 50 Per person
- Still Camera – Rs 30 per camera
- Video Camera – Needs special permission (someone needs to tell them that all cameras have a video facility)
- Mobile Camera – Free
All figures as of Oct 2017 & are subject to change.
- The waterfalls are open to tourists from mid-October until the end of May. For exact dates, check with Goa Tourism before traveling.
- It is closed during monsoon months. The water levels in the river, as well as falls, are very high. Jeeps do not ply during these months and trekking is not advised unless you are an avid trekker. Do not fall for people who offer to take you by train as there are no trains that will bring you back.
- You need to buy a seat in the Jeep to enter the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary. A Jeep can take up to 7 persons. There are 225 jeeps that are allowed inside the sanctuary every day at the time of writing.
- You can roughly spend 60-90 minutes, after which you must return to your jeep and drive back so that others can come in.
- There is a huge queue to buy the ticket for the jeep. Once you are in the Jeep, you have to queue up at the forest gate and get rid of all the plastic you are carrying with you.
- We strongly suggest not carrying any eatables inside the sanctuary or near the waterfalls as there are lots of monkeys and they are always looking for food.
- The path to the base of the waterfall from the Jeep parking is about a kilometer. It passed through two small streams with fragile bridges on them. The last part is rocky and very risky – be very careful especially if you have children or the elderly with you. I wish Goa Tourism or the Goa forest department make a walking platform to make the place safe for travelers.
- There is no medical aid or food available once you are inside the forest. So plan accordingly.
- There are lifeguards who keep an eye on you at the lake below the waterfall but they would be able to only help you with not drowning in the water.
- Please wear your life jacket if you plan to swim.
Plan for a full day at Dudhsagar if you are going from Panjim or coming from anywhere outside of Goa. If you are staying close to it, then you can do them in half a day.
Online Booking for Dudhsagar Waterfalls Trip
GTDC organizes day trips to the waterfalls and recently online Jeep bookings have been started so that one does not have to wait long hours in the queue for the Forest Department-approved Jeep Safari. Below are the links. Do ask them all the questions you may have if you choose to book online.
GTDC Dudhsagar Waterfalls trip
Trip Raja Dudhsagar Waterfalls Jeep