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A Walk to Remember : Dudhsagar Falls

I have tried to plan Dudhsagar several times but couldn’t due to absence of long weekend and other daily issues.  This time I planned keeping in mind the long weekend for Ganpati festival in Maharashtra. I have read a number of blogs to plan my trip to this incredible waterfall. Finally I customised my trip.

For the uninitiated, Dudhsagar is a tiered waterfall located on the Goa and Karnataka border.

One can reach Dudhsagar either from Castle Rock station (14km from Dudhsagar towards Belgaum, Karnataka) or can start from Kulem station (11 km from Dudhsagar towards Goa). With a time crunch, we decided to trek one side only (Dudhsagar to Kulem).

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Surrounding Map of Dudhsagar

I had booked tickets to Madgao from Pune junction. Goa express (originate from Delhi) departed Pune at 4:45 PM. Scheduled time of Arrival at Dudhsagar was at early morning 3:50 AM and halt for 1 minute. I was sceptical about the fact that trains actually halt at Dudhsagar station.  Dudhsagar is closed to public transits. Much later, after boarding the train, I came to know that there is a rule in Indian Railways that any train have to stop on every station in Ghat (hills) areas (that’s Halt and Proceed rule).

When the train reached Dudhsagar it was pitch dark and raining heavily.  I was worried and decided not to get down as no one was there and thinking if the area would be safe as I was accompanied with my wife. Suddenly I saw torch lights flashing and two people walking with their backpacks. They looked like trekkers.  We jumped out of train (no platform at all, one have to step on the lines directly) with the thought that we were not alone.  And we were absolutely correct.  After the train left, we saw at-least 30-40 people with torches walking towards the station masters cabin (a single room cabin).  About 100 meters from this cabin, we were able to locate an asbestos shade with two burning candles in front of Mother Mary. This was our shelter for next two hours until dawn.

The Asbestos Shade. Locals call it Church

The Asbestos Shade. Locals call it Church

Experiment with Slow Shutter Speed

Experiment with Slow Shutter Speed

We started walking towards the falls at around 5:45 AM. Half a kilometer of walk took us in front of the gigantic and mesmerizing Dudhsagar.  It was roaring and was at its fullest. Dudhsagar was in mood for a spectacular show. We spent couple of hours near the falls. I managed few shots although it was almost impossible to take out the DSLR due to the water mists that engulfed the whole area.  There is a concreted place on the other side of the bridge where one can put up tents and camp for the night.

And we started walking

And we started walking

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Inside the Tunnel

First view of the Falls

First view of the Falls

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To prove that She was really there 🙂

Almost Reached

Almost Reached

Reached

Reached

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And… That’s the T-Rex

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Only the Half

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The Camp Site

A km walk towards Kulem from Dudhsagar opened another view point of the falls. This time it’s the entire falls from top to bottom.

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The other angle after a km of walk

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Its not stolen from “Lord of the Ring”

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Remember ?? Chennai Express ??

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To prove, I was also there  🙂

A walk to Kulem normally takes about 4 to 5 hours. It’s an easy trail over the railway track. There’s a halt station Sonalium in between Kulem and Dudhsagar. If you are too tired, this could be a place to take some rest and catch the next train towards Goa / Belgaum. Trains are rare and few in between. So it will be advisable to check for train schedules and plan the trek.

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A break after 4 km of Walk

We have started walking from Dudhsagar at around 8 am and reached Kulem at 12 noon. This walk from Dudhsagar to Kulem is admist greenry during the monsoons. It passes through numerous tunnels and is definitely an experience that a nature lover would love. It is filled with waterfalls is one which can be remembered and cherished for a long time to come. For those who have some time, you can take a day’s halt at the Dudhsagar Spa Resort at Molem (6 kms from Kulem by road).

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Dudhsagar Spa Resort. A nice place to stay for a day

Some Tips to remember:

  1. If you are travelling in monsoon, Rain gears are must. The fun is in getting wet
  2. Torch with battery backup is must carry as there are Tunnels on the way.
  3. Foods and water need to be carried as there are no shops or stalls for food.
  4. Carry a pack of salt as there may be leeches on the way. We did not find any on ourselves. J
  5. Extra plastic bags may be required require to protect your mobiles/tabs/camera etc.
  6. Comfortable and sturdy shoes are needed. Slippers, floaters may be able to carry you through but from what we saw of others wearing them, they are the least comfortable. Extra pair of shoes is mandatory as the first pair invariably get wet.
  7. Carry medicines you may need. The walk is along train tracks and a can of muscle relaxers (Relispray etc) will help in case of a sprain.
  8. If you plan on a single way trek, check for train schedules. You do not want to be stuck in the middle of a track not wanting to walk any further.
  9. Please do not throw plastic bags, chocolate and biscuit wrappers, water bottles or even chewing gum on the way. If you can carry them in your bag to have them, you can carry them back too.

Save our Nature.

If you have to leave something behind, let it be your Breath that is taken away by the beauty of the nature.

A video Link

Some other means to reach Dudhsagar:

  1. Goa Express reach Dudhsagar (from Pune) at morning 3:50 AM and the same train return back (from Madgao) at 4PM in the Afternoon. This train runs every day of week. One can spend whole day in and around Dudhsagar and return back by same train.
  2. One can walk or catch goods train (confirming the time from station master) from Kulem / Castle Rock and catch another Goods train while returning. But be sure about the schedule of these trains. If you don’t get any train you have to walk back 11kms / 14kms as there is no place to stay unless you have your own camping equipment
  3. There are motorcycle deals from Kulem to Dudhsagar. The cost of this package is around 600-800 per person and depends on the negotiating skill. Although these bikers (local people) are quite experienced, I found it bit risky during monsoon. The track is by the side of the rail tracks. It is bound to be bumpy and muddy.
  4. If one is not going during monsoon, the person doesn’t have to worry. There are Jeep (4cross4) services from Kulem to Dudhsagar which cost 1800-2200 per trip, which can be shared amongst the travellers. But I personally suggest visiting Dudhsagar only during the monsoon.

If you have any other query please leave a note on the comment box. I will be happy to reply.

7 Days.. 6 Nights…. 3 Places… Our Trip to Thailand…

A vacation together during December 2012 led us to search for popular destinations in Thailand. What most of the Indian travel sites threw up even before we completed writing the query were Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. While we were not averse to exploring them as well, we were primarily looking for a destination which is not too crowded. We hit on Phi Phi islands.

A connection in Phuket made it easier to draw up an itinerary – Diego from Easy Day Thailand. We had excellent feedback from a couple of our friends who planned their holiday with them.

A customized itinerary and we were on our way…

Day 1: Kolkata – Bangkok – Phuket. Reached Phuket at 10 pm. We pre issued the Visa and did not opt for Visa on Arrival as it could take a little longer in the Airport. We had a pick up arranged from the airport to the hotel – a 12 seater MUV for the 2 of us.

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A quick check–in at The Nap, Patong Beach and we are off to the streets to explore the night life we heard of. Amazingly tasty and cheap street food [200 baht/400 Rs for two including beer] followed by a walk to Bangla Road. There is nothing Bengali/ Bangladeshi on the road. It’s a broad lane filled with Roadside pubs, Night Clubs, Strip Clubs [commonly known as GoGo], Table Top dancers and Girls in little dresses, willing to take them off (for money of course). Close to 2 am at night and the place was alive with music, dance, and smell of beer and smoke. Bangla Road was truly intoxicating.

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Dead tired, we decided to come back the next night with a camera.

Day 2: Day speed boat trip to places around Phuket. James Bond Island, Phang Nga Bay, Koh Panyi [a sea gypsy village built on wooden stilts]. Sea food, Sea shells, Sunglasses, Salt water on our face and endless photographs is what will best scribe this trip. 

Back in Phuket by evening we decided to explore Bangla Road again, and this time with our camera. To our surprise the place was dead. All pubs closed.. no music.. no Singha [most popular beer maker in Thailand].. It was the King’s birthday.

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Day 3: Early morning pick-up and we were on our Jet Cruise to Phi Phi.

Change over to a speed boat which took us the waters near Moskito Island for Snorkeling. Pristine white beaches and azure blue sea of Bamboo Island was paradise. Rows of corals, sea urchins, school of fish and loads of sun bathing followed by sumptuous crabs and BBQ sea food for lunch at  Laem Tong Beach and we were on our way to  Phi Phi.

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We reached Phi Phi by late afternoon and checked into our hotel, Andaman Legacy situated about 10 mins walk from the ferry pier.

Phi Phi Islands is small to be covered on food, packed with endless varieties of sea food, lively nights, beach side restaurants, candle-lit tables and fire shows. In-spite of all these the island had an air of calmness.

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Day 4: An early start for a day’s course in SCUBA with Barracuda Dive Centre [PADI certified]. This was pre booked which made it easier for us to get a morning slot. The 4 /5 hour short session included learning the basics and exploring underwater diving along with an instructor.

Completely alienated from the world above, our underwater expedition opened our eyes to a world where silence is beauty, colours know no bounds, the sun sparkles, bubbles galore and the only prints you leave behind are your own bubbles. The underwater journey was mesmerizing with colorful Corals; millions of Fishes, dangerous sea urchins, Star fish and last but not the least, a Black-tip Shark.

Back by afternoon, we spent our last evening exploring the island.

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Day 5: A ferry ride and an afternoon flight to Phuket and then to Bangkok by evening. With only our backpacks, we decided to take a bus ride to our hotel in Bangkok.

After the endless late nights we spent exploring Phuket and Phi Phi, we were surprised to find that the part of the city we were in quite empty by 10 PM. We checked in at 23rd floor of Prince Palace in a room which had an amazing view of the city with all the Major Pagodas and High Towers. The hotel offers extremely good amenities at economical prices.

Our appetite for street food went for a toss when we realized that shops have closed shutters. Ready made noodles and sausages from a 24 hour convenience store [7 ELEVEN ] were our dinner.

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Day 6: A lazy day, we traveled around Bangkok – Wat Pho, Wat Arun, King’s Palace and finally shopped at MBK one of the biggest and cheapest shopping mall in Bangkok.

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Day 7: Our day of Good Bye to a wonderful trip. The trip was meticulously planned by Diego ensuring comfort at every stage. We couldn’t have asked for a better Honeymoon.

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Butterfly Effect

Ganpati Visarjan

The one of the most photogenic festvals in Mumbai is Ganpati Visarjan. It’s the event full of human elements, emotions and activities. Pictures posted here are captured in Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai. 

Protection or Pollution ?

At 4000m above MSL, the Manali – Leh Highway provides a serene, pristine and spectacular view of the mighty mountain ranges – Himalayas.

As a part of the Border Roads Organization, this passage through the glacial valleys is the artery which  transfers supplies to armies posted in the remotest of locations in India. As some of Indian Army’s heaviest trucks thunder across this terrain, it leaves behind a trail of heat, dust and poisonous exhausts which contribute to the rise in the local as well as global temperatures.

The glaciers surrounding the highway has been retreating over the past few years.

Panning


I was in the Sky Rail of Changi Airport which was transferring me to Terminal 2 from Terminal 3. I started capturing everything through the window and trying to get a glimpse of Singapore [during 2 minutes of Terminal transfer] as I didn’t have the Visa to get into the City. Another SkyRail [heading towards Terminal 1] was moving with the same speed on the parallel track . To capture Panning, someone need lot of practice to get it right. But, I was lucky and without any effort I got this shot.

Tips on how to save for a 10 month holiday

Great ideas… But you know, in country like India you will never get a Job off for 10 months, and You cant leave your Job as you will not get next after you return.

Still, I will follow your ideas for short trips…

Best Rental Car Provider For A Self-Drive Trip

SELF DRIVE TRIPS

Why not give a break to your regular car and hire a rental car for self-drive trip? In fact, it is a cool idea to try drive in a new car. There are many cases where regular cars may not give you luxurious feeling while driving. But, when car rental service is sought, your requirements are considered by the service provider. On the basis of your preferences, the rental car is selected for you. In India, the concept of self-drive trip is getting positive response from travelers. This in turn has led to higher demand of rental cars in India. Here is a rental car service provider of India that can be considered while planning a self-drive trip:Zoom-Car_GregZoom Car Zoom Car provides rental car for self-drive trips for varied duration. To be precise, whether you want a rental car for 2 days, week or a month, this organization plans…

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Ice Age

BARALACH LA — The mountain pass at an altitude of 16500 ft above MSL. The rivers Chandra and Bhaga originates from this glacier. These two river merged near Tandi and renamed as Chenab in J&K.