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 this 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 the 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 Monsoon Day Trip from Panaji or Belgaum
A seasonal waterfall fed by the monsoon in the upper reaches of western ghats in Belgaum, the waterfalls 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.
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.
Post monsoon one can trek to the top and to the bottom of the waterfalls.
Dudhsagar is the best waterfalls in Goa. Read & watch a video in my post on Dudhsagar Falls – Trip to the most beautiful waterfall in 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.
Video of Surla Waterfalls
Watch this video of the Majestic Surla Falls we managed to capture in HD mode.
Exotic Wild Flowers
During monsoons, you will find a lot of wildflowers on the laterite mountains of the western ghats.
One of the 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.
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.
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 a rapid unidirectional flight, frequently changes course, hopping up and down, not easy to get a macro photograph. Basking in the sun.
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.
Misty Highs of 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.
Western Ghat Panoramic Landscape View
There are a couple of 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.
Monsoon Clouds, Showers, and Sunshine
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 a 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
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.
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.
Belgaum to Surla
If you are visiting 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
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.
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.
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.
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
There are two best times to visit the waterfalls. Both these offer are very different kind of excitement/experience to explore this natural beauty.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 the 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.