Monsoon Road Trip to Surla Falls, Goa – A Day Trip from Panaji

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Surla Falls is on the edge of the western ghats bordering Goa and Karnataka state. Surla Waterfalls is also known as Sural Waterfalls and by its Konkani (local language) name Ladkyacho Vozar, meaning Falls of the Beloved. Officially it falls in the Surla village of Goa state. Strangely Surla village is atop the Western Ghats while otherwise most the state is at the foot of the ghats or Sea level. Just curious to know what was the basis for such a decision to include Surla village in Goa state made decades ago, while Goa was dependant on Belgaum and Dharwad in Karnataka for most of the necessities. So be it, let’s drive to this Monsoon Beauty of Western Ghats.

Surla Falls, Goa - off the Western Ghats
The Surla Falls, Goa – off the Western Ghats

Surla Falls Monsoon Day Trip from Panaji or Belgaum

Surla Falls with dissipating clouds
Surla Falls with dissipating clouds

A seasonal waterfall fed by the monsoon in the upper reaches of western ghats in Belgaum, Surla Falls is a must visit for nature lovers. During the monsoon, while the waterfall is in its full glory, one can view the waterfall from a distance at Surla village. It is a comfortable drive up to the viewpoint. Except the unpredictable frequent showers lashing the hilltop panoramic viewpoint, it is safe, no need to trek, no risk associated with monsoons. At worst one may get drenched in seconds. Carry a raincoat or jacket to protect yourself and electronic gadgets from rainwater.

Surla Waterfalls as clouds start enveloping
Surla Waterfalls as clouds start enveloping

Kalsa river later known as Mahadayi river which ends up as Mandovi river in the Arabian seas at Panaji, Goa is the source of this waterfall. It is a small river, monsoon fed, that takes a deep plunge of about 300 feet or so from the western ghats, enriching, mesmerizing every visitor. The waterfalls height or depth is our visual estimate.

Surla Falls panoramic view
Surla Falls panoramic view

Post monsoon one can trek to the top and to the bottom of Surla Falls.

Surla Falls close-up
Surla Falls close-up

Dudhsagar is the best waterfalls in Goa. Read & watch a video in my post on Dudhsagar Falls – Trip to the most beautiful waterfall of India. I have also visited the Arvalem Falls read & watch a video here A Walk of Discovery at Arvalem, North Goa, and the Kuskem Waterfalls read more here Kuskem Waterfalls – Secret Monsoon wonders of Goa.

Surla Falls in the Western Ghats at Goa
Surla Falls in the Western Ghats at Goa

Video of Surla Waterfalls

Watch this video of the Majestic Surla Falls we managed to capture in HD mode.

Exotic Wild Flowers

Impatiens Balsamina flowers at Surla viewpoint
Impatiens Balsamina flowers at Surla viewpoint

During monsoons, you will find a lot of wildflowers on the laterite mountains of the western ghats.

Impatiens Balsamina flowers
Impatiens Balsamina flowers

One of best places to explore monsoon season blooming wildflowers in the western ghats, I have visited is Kaas Plateau – A valley of Flowers in Satara, Biodiversity Hotspot. At Kaas Plateau, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site since 2012, you will find a sea of seasonal color-coordinated wildflowers.

Utricularia Purpurascens flowers at Surla
Utricularia Purpurascens flowers at Surla

Here too, you can find quite a few varieties of wildflowers if you pay some attention to them. Maybe one can do some research on them.

Utricularia Purpurascens flower
Utricularia Purpurascens flower

Exotic Butterflies

Papilio polymnestor, the blue Mormon a large swallowtail butterfly
Papilio polymnestor, the blue Mormon a large swallowtail butterfly

If there are flowers blooming, there have to be Butterflies, like this one, a large size, maybe about 5-6 inches wingspan butterfly hopping on the flower beds of Surla’s laterite mountains. They can also be spotted liberally as we first spotted the same one on our trip to the Amboli Ghat – Kingdom of Waterfalls in the Western Ghats, in Maharashtra and during our visit to the Marleshwar Shiva Temple and Waterfalls. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this butterfly, Papilio polymnestor, the blue Mormon, a large swallowtail butterfly is the ‘state butterfly’ of Maharashtra state. Mostly seen on western ghats and south India. This butterfly is common in heavy rainfall areas, such as evergreen forests of western ghats. It has rapid unidirectional flight, frequently changes course, hopping up and down, not easy to get a macro photograph. Basking in the sun.

Chorla Ghat

Chorla Ghat road bend during monsoons
Chorla Ghat road bend during monsoons

I have already written a post on Chorla Ghat – Drive through Goa Hinterlands you may read that one too. You will find several small seasonal waterfalls en route the Chorla Ghat section during the monsoons. Be responsible while driving/stopping and parking on the ghat section if you wish to stop by and spare some time exploring/relishing these natural beauties.

Seasonal waterfalls off the Chorla Ghats
Seasonal waterfalls off the Chorla Ghats

Misty Highs of Chorla Ghat

Misty road atop the Chorla Ghat
Misty road atop the Chorla Ghat

Atop the Chorla Ghat during the monsoons, you will find cloudy, misty weather. It is indeed a very pleasant experience if you happen to be visiting.

Cloudy Ghats road of Chorla Ghat
Cloudy Ghats road of Chorla Ghat

Western Ghat Panoramic Landscape View

Panoramic view of western ghats from Chorla Ghat
Panoramic view of western ghats from Chorla Ghat

There are a couple viewpoints on Chorla Ghat road to get a panoramic view of the western ghats and its several peaks. Lush green mountains here should soothe one’s mind. You will also get a view of the waters of the Anjunem Dam of Goa.

Anjunem Dam waters panoramic view from Chorla Ghat
Anjunem Dam waters panoramic view from Chorla Ghat

Monsoon Clouds, Showers, and Sunshine

Unknown seasonal waterfalls view from Chorla Ghat, Goa
Unknown seasonal waterfalls view from Chorla Ghat, Goa

One of the memorable observations we had was a wave of clouds, showers, and sunshine repeating themselves. Clouds completely/partially block the view of waterfalls, the showers force you to look for shelter to protect to gadgets at least and then sunshine brings clear view of the waterfalls and the panorama of the lush green western ghats. It is mesmerizing, to say the least.

Driving directions from Panaji to Surla Falls

Majestic Surla Falls, Goa
Majestic Surla Falls, Goa

Surla Waterfalls is about 70 KMs from Panaji, about 90 minutes drive. Take the Panaji Belgaum highway which passes through the Chorla Ghat section. After you have ascended the Chorla Ghat section, the boundary of Karnataka state begins. You are already atop the western ghats. About 5 KMs further 2-3 Dhaba’s can be seen on this flat stretch of road passing through the green forest area. Just before 5 KMs to the nearest town Kankumbi, there is a Surla turn signboard in stone and an Excise dept toll gate.

Surla village

Surla village temple
Surla village temple

Right there take a right turn and drive a further couple of KMs to reach Surla village temple. Take a left turn at the temple, soon you will find a forest dept check post. Drive further ahead 200 meters or so, you are at the vantage viewpoint of Surla Falls. The Surla village is at about 800-900 meters elevation to sea level. Recommend you buy from the local Dhaba’s and try sweet dishes like the Belgaum Kunda, Gokak Karadant and Dharwad Pedha that are famous must try desserts from the Belgaum-Dharwad region of Karnataka.

Rivulet at Surla village
Rivulet at Surla village

Belgaum to Surla

If you are visiting from the waterfalls from Belgaum city, it is about 50 KMs away on the Goa highway. 5 KMs after Kankumbi you have to take a left turn at the Excise toll gate.

Trek to Surla Waterfalls

Misty view of Surla Waterfalls
Misty view of Surla Waterfalls

We learned that the Delta Ecohuts resort located on the state highway where you take a diversion to the Surla village conducts treks to the top and bottom of this beautiful waterfalls post the monsoon season. There are also several organized treks conducted from Goa. Nevertheless take only well planned/organized treks. Remember it is Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary forest area and leeches to monkeys to wild animals may be encountered on the way. The rocky area may be slippery and a fall on the rocks can break your bones.

Read about more wildlife sanctuary’s of Goa: Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa – A Walker’s Paradise.

Rock Banana

Rock Banana plant flowering on the Chorla Ghat, Goa
Rock Banana plant flowering on the Chorla Ghat, Goa

You can find a wild variety of Banana plants called Rock Banana flowering during this time. Since they grow on rock-like laterite hills they are called so. For visitors from other regions, these plants are primarily found in the western ghat region.

Monkeys

We encountered a pack of wild monkeys, about 50 odd or so at the vantage viewpoint of the falls, though they calmly walked away in their own direction. Better do not carry food items and be cautious, after all, it is the conserved forest area and their domain.

Birding

If you have time and patience, this region must offer a lot of birding opportunities, particularly if are visiting post-monsoons for trekking. Otherwise, you may read & try my post on 15 Best Places for Birding in Goa – You must explore. Since our trip was during monsoons and being a day trip could not spare time for birding and also had to take care of our camera’s from the rains.

Best Time to Visit Surla Falls

Mini seasonal waterfalls view from Surla vantage viewpoint
Mini seasonal waterfalls view from Surla vantage viewpoint

There are two best times to visit the Surla Waterfalls. Both these offer are very different kind of excitement/experience to explore the beauty.

  1. During the August-September months when the rains take a short break and intermittent sunshine is there. You can watch the best of waterfalls from the vantage viewpoint only. The best thing about this season is that the clouds play hide and seek over the lush green western ghats. There is plenty of water in the river and the waterfalls.
  2. Post monsoons during the months of October to January you can visit the waterfalls. At this time the water level in the falls would be receding. But you can trek to the base or to the top edge of the waterfalls. You can also explore flora, fauna, the butterflies and do some birding.

Travel Tips for Surla Waterfalls

More seasonal waterfalls off-western ghats view from Surla
More seasonal waterfalls off-western ghats view from Surla
  • If you are visiting during the monsoon season expect heavy showers. The clouds will also block the view of waterfalls from the vantage point.
  • Carry a jacket instead of an umbrella. The winds can blow away open umbrella atop the ghats.
  • No refreshments are available at the vantage viewpoint. However 2-3 KMs on the way back there are many Dhaba’s.
  • Protect your electronic gadgets from rain.
  • Take care not to venture alone. The mobile signals are poor.
  • If you plan to trek to the top or base of waterfalls, visit only after the monsoon season is over.

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