Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Trek to Dudhsagar: Not a Trek But a Beautiful Long Walk

Ever since I have watched the Chennai Express movie, I wanted to visit Dudhsagar waterfalls. And I am sure this would be in the list of every traveler. With my newly added hobby of trekking, trek to Dudhsagar was what I was looking for from past couple of months. And finally I was at Dudhsagar waterfalls. Thanks to the wonderful organizing by the Bangalore AdventuRers with whom I choose to trek to Dudhsagar after an amazing experience in the night trek to Skandagiri

Bangalore to Londa:

With lot of excitement to trek to Dudhsagar and to enjoy the sea of milk, we boarded the Rani Chennama train to Londa Junction from Bangalore. The train scheduled to reach Londa junction around 7 AM in the morning and the last thing we wanted was a delay in the train. Luckily, the train arrived Londa junction on time which provided us the ample of time to finish our breakfast.

Picture of Train arriving at Londa junction
Picture of Train arriving at Londa junction
Londa To Kulem

We then traveled from Londa junction to Kulem station in Chennai Vasaco Da gama express in general compartment. As the train entered in to the thick forest making its way through the tunnels, we kept mesmerizing the beauty struggling to find a word to explain the beautiful nature. Travelling through the tunnels was quite a refreshing experience for me after nearly 6 years.

Train journey from Kulem to Dudhsagar
Train journey from Kulem to Dudhsagar

There were total of 16 tunnels and after every tunnel, our eyes busied themselves in the search of the Dudhsagar falls. And when we crossed the 11th tunnel, the mighty waterfalls was to our left. Every passenger in the train moved to their eyes to the left. The train slowed down allowing us to get a glimpse of the the Dudhsagar waterfalls but I was highly disappointed looking at the water level. It was the September 3rd week ; monsoon was not over yet but the falls had reduced to a great level. Anyways, within 10 minutes, we reached our destination Kulem station, where our guide awaited us for the trek to begin.

Kulem Railway station: Starting point of Dudhsagar trek
Kulem Railway station: Starting point of Dudhsagar trek
The Trek to Dudhsagar Begins:

After a bit of warm up and some stretches to our rusted body parts, we entered the jungle with a bit of ascend.

We crossed the railway track and entered the jungle again and in another 5 minutes we were on a broad mud road: the road that was meant for the Jeep safari. And From that point till the waterfalls it was just a long walk with no ascend or descend which is why I decided to call it as not a trek but a long walk. The walk in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary was surely exciting where we witnessed different types of flowers, we crossed multiple streams of water and also saw a snake.

Trek to Dudhsagar: Walking in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
Trek to Dudhsagar: Walking in Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary
Flower
Flower
Crossing a stream of water while trekking to Dudhsagar
Crossing a stream of water while trekking to Dudhsagar

After walking nearly 8 KMS, we reached a home stay where we had our delicious lunch and a small break of 15 minutes.

We continued our walk after a small break to reach the bottom of the Dudhsagar waterfalls .

Dudhsagar waterfalls Entrance
Dudhsagar waterfalls Entrance

We spent some time there: few of them taking pictures with the mighty Dudhsagar waterfalls in the background, few of them enjoyed in the water and I kept gazing at the Dudhsagar waterfalls. Here was I, completing one of the most wanted trek. I wish I had arrived a month before to witness the falls flowing to its glory.

Night Stay At Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary:

We came back to the home stay where we had our lunch which was our abode for the night. The experience of staying in small house amidst the thick forest was surely an adventure. The dinner was as delicious as lunch and we slept with a full stomach.

home stay-during-Dudhsagar-trek
home stay-during-Dudhsagar-trek

Next day we took an early to Londa and from Londa to Bangalore with loads of memories.

Suggestions to Trek To Dudhsagar:
  • Trek to Dudhsagar is allowed only through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. The trek route of walking on the railway through the tunnels from the Castle Rock station is officially banned. There are enough policemen making sure you cannot escape.
  • I would suggest trek to Dudhsagar through some trekking clubs. The facilities in the location are not very great and you need to dig deep to reach there. Here is an article explaining everything about Dudhsagar that I could gather. Even if you try to explore on your own to save some penny, the chances you might not is more
  • Trekking shoes are optional. Your normal sports shoes suffice the need as the path is mostly a walk. I had trouble walking through the trekking shoes.
  • Plan your trek in July or August when the waterfalls is flowing to its maximum capacity.
Other details

Total trek distance : 12kms one way

Nearest railway station : Kulem

Forest charges : Applicable. Local guide will take care . You night have to pay extra for camera

Trek on Railway Track allowed ?: No

Best time to visit : During monsoon. A pure monsoon trek to enjoy the full view of Dudhsagar

Total time : 4 to 5 hours

 

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Dudhsagar Waterfalls

Dudhsagar Waterfalls: Here’s everything about Dudhsagar

Dudhsagar literally translates to ‘Sea of Milk’ . Once you visit the Dudhsagar waterfalls and look at the mesmerizing beauty of the falls, you would agree that Dudhsagar is an apt word and there cannot be a better word to describe the waterfalls.

Story Behind The Name Dudhsagar:

There was a beautiful princess. She lived in the palace which was bordering the forest. Daily, she used to take bath in a lake which was near to the castle and after finishing the bath, she used to drink the sweetened milk in a golden jug. One day, when she was bathing, she saw a prince watching her taking bath standing. She felt embarrassed and in order to hide herself from him, she started pouring the jug of milk in front of her so that it can form a curtain. It is said that till date the sweetened milk cascades down the mountain slope and flows in the waterfalls as a tribute towards the modesty of the princess.

Where is Dudhsagar Waterfalls Located?

Dudhsagar waterfalls is located in the state of Goa bordering Karnataka. While the top of the falls in the region of Karnataka, the bottom where the water falls lies in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary which is part of Goa. Located on the Mandovi river, Dudhsagar waterfalls is the highest waterfalls in the South India and third highest in India. Falling from a height of 310m (1017 feet) into 4 layered falls, Dudhsagar waterfalls is one of the top destinations.

How to Reach Dudhsagar Waterfalls?

There are 4 options to reach Dudhsagar.

Option 1: Trek From Castle Rock :

The nearest railway station for the Dudhsagar waterfalls is Dudhsagar railway station. However, many trains do not have an official stop here. Hence, you need to get down at the Castel rock and walk on the railway track to reach the Dudhsagar waterfalls. The total trek distance is around 12 to 14 Kms and one has to pass through 11 tunnels which is a different kind of experience. Unfortunately, the sad news is that, the Karnataka government has banned this option. Hence this is no more an option.

Option 2: Train Travel :

All the trains travelling from Londa Junction to Kulem Station go via Dudhsagar falls. The trains slow down here allowing the passengers to get a picturesque view of the waterfalls. However, the very drawback of this option is you will get few seconds to enjoy the beauty. The luxury of spending ample amount of time gazing at the beautiful falls isn’t available. This option also gives you the expeirence of travelling through the tunnel. There are total of 16 tunnels. Dudhsagar falls is between the tunnel 11 and 12. So, make sure you are glued your eyes to the left side of the train (if you are travelling from Londa to Kulem).

Option 3: Trek From Kulem:

The most popular way to reach the Dudhsagar waterfalls is to trek from Kulem. The trek trail starts within few meters outside the Kulem station. The trail takes you through the dense forest before you reach the falls. The total distance is around 12 KMS and it would take around 4 to 5 hours to reach. The difficulty level is easy as there is not much to ascend or descend. All you need to do is travel on the wide mud road to reach the place. However, you cannot explore on your own and need to hire a local guide. The charges are Rs 2000 for a minimum of 4 people and then changes based on the number of people. They take care of the forest permission, life jacket as well.

Option 4: Jeep Safari from Kulem:

If you are not fit enough to travel 12 KMS one way, you can as well opt for jeep safari. The safari charges are approximately 500 Rs per person. Before you are excited too much, this option is allowed only from October during the waterfalls is not even to half of the fullest. Earlier, own vehicles were allowed but now this is been stopped and you are forced to choose the jeep safari.

Accommodation:

There is no accommodation near Dudhsagar falls. The nearest accommodation options are available in Kulem. The options aren’t plenty. After a lot of research, I have found couple of options

  1. Dudhsagar Spa Resort :
  2. Jungle Book

If you are planning to trek on yourself, you can choose the above accommodation options. However, there is a forest department required and the permission is provided only with a local guide. The resorts can arrange the guide upon request and the charges are 2000 Rs for 4 people.

Best Option to Trek Dudhsagar?

I have explored many options to trek to Dudhsagar waterfalls. Since the option through Castel Rock is banned now, the best option is to travel through trekking clubs. Few trek clubs provide a stay in the jungle which is an amazing experience.

Best time to Visit?

Undoubtedly, best time to visit the falls is in the monsoon, when the rain is at its peak. The picture in this article is taken in the 3rd week of September. Hence any visit after monsoon is likely to disappoint you.

Other details

Total trek distance : 12kms one way

Nearest railway station : Kulem

Forest charges : Applicable. Local guide will take care . You might have to pay extra for camera

Trek on Railway Track allowed ?: No

Skandagiri hill

Night Trek to Skandagiri

It was nearly 2 months I had done my last trekking Pangarchulla and the urge to go back and climb the mountain was increasing in me. The feeling in accomplishing the trek is totally different and I am sure every trekker can relate to it. On a fine day, I came across a post by Bangalore Adventures about the Night trek to Skandagiri.

Having heard from few of my friends that night trek is banned in Skandagiri, I looked at the post with suspicion. On the other side, the trekker in me was elated to experience as the dream of night trek to Skandagiri to witness the sunrise was possible now. After reading the complete post by the organizers, I was assured that the night trek(I would be more right if I call it as early morning trek) is legal with forest permission. Since it involved the forest permission and also in the night, I decided myself not to miss the opportunity.

On a Saturday night 11 PM, we arrived near the Majestic(Kempegowda bus stand) where the mini buses were ready for us to take the base camp of Skandagiri – Kalavara Durga. There were 2 groups named as Group 7 and Group 8 – 20 in each of them. We left Bangalore around midnight and reached Kalavara durga which is where our base camp was there.

Skandagiri which is located at around 70 KMS from Bangalore requires approximately 1 and half an hour to reach the base camp Kalavara Durga. As forest department allows us to start the trek only after 4 AM, we were forced to kill the time. Organizers conducted some team activity which helped to pass the next 2 and half hours.

As the clock was about to tick 4 AM, we started the trek. Within a few meters, we were at the forest check post. After quickly undergoing the check, the trek to Skandagiri started. Within a couple of minutes, the trail got steeper. The moonlight due to just completed full-moon day helped us to enjoy the trek without our torch. After nearly half an hour of trek, we were getting into the thick forest. The moon was helpless so were we. Few switched on the torch and others walked in the same path.

Entering into the thick forest of Skandagiri
Entering into the thick forest of Skandagiri

After the forest adventure, we then had to climb the mighty rocks.

Steps while trekking Skandagiri
Steps while trekking Skandagiri
Thick rocks during the Skandagiri trek
Thick rocks during the Skandagiri trek

Trekking through all the tough terrain in the dark was a new experience and fun. We took around 2 hours 15 mins to reach the top. The trek took a little longer as there were 40 of us and it was ensured that no one is left far behind. We reached the top around 6.15 and we were happy to make it before sunrise. However, the happiness was ephemeral as we realized the clouds forming and sun happily hiding behind them

Glipmse of Sun from Skandagiric
Glipmse of Sun from Skandagiri
View of cloud movement from Skandagiri
View of cloud movement from Skandagiri

Although disappointed for not getting sunrise view, the fact of trekking in the dark for the first time was something soothing.

We had samosa and also Soan papadi before we started to descend. On the way back we realized how big were the rocks that we actually climbed. It took us around 1 hour 45 mins to descend. After having a heavy breakfast, our target was to reach Bangalore and cover for the sleep of last night. I slept for continuous 8 hours 😀 had dinner and then again slept rejoicing the trek.

Here are few details of Skandagiri Trek

Total distance of the trek: 4 KMS

Total time taken: Approx 2 hours to ascend

Permission required? : Yes, from Forest department of Karnataka

How to take the permission? : Visit MyEcotrip

Fees applicable? : Yes, 250 Rs

Reporting Timings: Trek is allowed only from 4 AM to 9: 30 AM. You are supposed to finish the trek by 17:00

Difficulty level : Easy

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Dosa making at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road

Davanagere Benne Dose : Kanankpura road

After completing a one-day trip to Mekedaatu and Chunchi falls, we were damn hungry. As we had crossed Kanakpura, we struggled to find any hotels which could provide us an evening snack. Having lost of all the hopes and almost decided to fill our tummy in Bangalore, we luckily found the Davanagere Benne Dose on the Kanakpura road.

Located next to Venkatadri Kalyan mantap, we almost missed noticing it as the hotel is covered by the trees on the road. Thanks to my co-passenger who noticed and all were extremely happy to find something to eat.

Davanagere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road
Davanagere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road

We parked our car and headed to the hotel and only to hear Dose are out of stock. Extremely disappointed, we ask for the available options and could get the Bonda. Without much option but to fill our stomach, we took 2 plates of Bonda. We informed the cashier that if at all there is a chance of getting Dose, keep us in priority.

We started eating the Bonda cursing our luck for not getting the Dose but soon the taste of Bonda made us forget that we did miss Dose. Before we finished the Bonda, we heard the Dose Maker screaming ‘5 more Dose possible’. The cashier immediately searched for us and we made no delay in rushing to the cashier and get 5 Davangere Benne Dose.

Dosa making at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road
Dosa making at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road

We felt overwhelmed as we were finally getting what we desired. Within minutes, the freshly prepared Dose was ready on our table. As we took the first bite, our taste buds got activated. The Dose was delicious. The Butter could have been tad higher but the tasty Masala and the Aloo Palya in the Dose made an impact sidelining the negative point of less Butter or Benne. As we savored the taste of Masala Dose, we looked at the writings which did attract us.

Kannada Sayings at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road
Kannada Sayings at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road
Kannada Sayings at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road
Kannada Sayings at Davangere Benne Dose on Kanakpura road

We Enjoyed the Dose along with reading the above sayings. There was one more saying In English but unfortunately we couldn’t capture it. As we filled our tummy, we came back to Bangalore rejoicing the Dose and also the sayings. We have decided to visit the hotel again exclusively for this purpose. We hope to reach there again.

The hotel opens at 7 in the morning. If you are travelling on Kanakapura road, drop a visit here to have your breakfast.

View of Pangarchulla from its base

Pangarchulla Peak Summit (15070 Ft) : My First Himalyan Trek!!

After nearly 3 months, we started (7 of us) our most anticipated adventurous trip from Bangalore to Pangarchulla Peak Summit on April 27th. We took a connecting flight from Bangalore to Dehradun Via Delhi. We stayed at Hotel Queens Pearl Inn in Dehradun. The hotel was good enough for an overnight stay.

Day 0:

Our next day, I call it as Day 0 as this was part of trekking days but we actually travelled in a 4 wheeler. We had a prior booking through Bikat Adventures to reach from Dehradun to Joshimath. Bikat had arranged a vehicle for us which started from Dehradun Bus station for which they charged us around 1200 per head. On the way to Joshimath, we saw DevaPrayag and Rudra Prayag. DevaPrayag is where Bhagirathi meets Alakananda and becomes Ganges. RudraPrayag is where Alakananda meet Mandakini river.

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

DevaPrayag : The confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda

It was 8PM by the time we reached Joshimath. Hotel Snow Crest was booked for us in Joshimath by Bikat. Minutes after we checked in, we met our Trek Leaders Kamal and Lalit who became our friends and Family for the next 4 days.

After a brief introduction, Trek leader Kamal gave us briefing about the entire trekking plan. A surprising thing was Kamal also provided a demo on How to Pack your backpack. It helped many of my friends who had packed their bag just like any other pack. He also gave a demo on how to pick your backpack so that we put less strain on our one part of the body. This was especially helpful for me as I was lifting in a wrong way subjecting myself more probable to the injury. After the briefing we went to our respective rooms and re-arranged our luggage. Hotel provided us some space to keep the extra luggage which was not needed for trekking.

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Climbing the Pangarchulla Peak

5 Mistakes a First Timer Himalyan Trekker does

Trekking in Himalayas was altogether a different experience. While most of the treks we did before this were one day and very few were two days’ trek, trekking in Himalayas was a 4-day trek. As a first timer, we did lot of mistakes which cost us more than we thought. Here are the top 5 mistakes I did and I suggest the reader to take extra care

  • Packing The Bag For the Worst case:

Pangarchulla peak trekking was a 4-day trek. And for this, we took 4 pairs of dresses including inner wears. At the end of the day 4, most of us were in the same attire (yes, including the inner wears) and very few had changed once. We realized that nearly 50% of the luggage we carried were useless to say the least. We repented innumerable times as we had to carry extra load every step. My suggestion is to take one extra pair of dress. This is needed only in case of emergency such as rain. Do not pack your bag for the worst case scenario. Just in the anticipation of the worst case scenario, you would have to carry extra luggage all the way.

  • Carrying DSLR Camera:

In my Pangarchulla trek, one of the biggest mistake I did was carrying the DSLR camera. Adding to it, I carried an extra lens. I was fully enthusiastic to enjoy my first Himalayan trekking and capture every moment. But destiny had different plan altogether. The trekking was so tiresome that reaching the base camp was an achievement. Everything took the last priority including the photography. Camera weight was around one Kg and an additional lens which I took alleviated the problem. My suggestion would be to strictly avoid the DSLR camera unless you aren’t first time trekker. Instead, if you have a phone with good camera quality, you will thank your mobile innumerable number of times. At the end of our trekking, my friends with a good camera phone had more pictures than I had in my DSLR.

  • Less Preparation:

Trekking in Himalayas needs eparation. It is not as easy as a one-day trek you can do near your place. While in any ordinary trek, you don’t carry your luggage, here you will carry at least 6 to 7 Kgs of load. If you commit the mistake I did in the points 1 and 2, be prepared to carry around 10Kgs. Take a 2-day trek, if you have any such places near you. It helps you gain experience carrying your luggage and in turn helps you to reduce your bag pack weight. In case, you do not have the opportunity to trek for a 2-day, make sure you do multiple one-day treks and add some luggage on your shoulder. This might sound stupid but it helps you prepare well. In addition to this, regular exercise in your gym and yoga are must. Only time will tell how much these can help.

  • Forgetting the Sunscreen and Sunglasses:

I had sunscreen cream of SPF 50 in my bag. On the day of peak, our trek leader advised us to apply sunscreen before the sunrise. However, the level of tiredness made us lazy enough to apply the sunscreen. As a result, my entire face was sunburn after my trekking. This happened not just with me but with 8 out of 10 of us. Another common mistake that others did was not getting the sunglasses. On the summit day, the sunlight is sharp and contains high UV rays due to the high altitude. Forgetting the sunscreen or sunglasses or not using them is the last mistake you would want to do on the trek.

  • Not Carrying Warm clothes:

While in my first point I mentioned to carry less clothes, here I might sound contradicting myself. In my first point, I mentioned to carry less regular clothes. This doesn’t mean that you should carry less clothes. Since the temperature in the mountains can vary drastically on both the sides, make sure you have warm clothes. The temperature in the night goes in negative so enough warm clothes is a must for your next day trek. Make sure you carry thermals, jacket, gloves, fleece jacket and Poncho or rain coat. These clothes cover all the climate and make sure you are safe and fit.