The western ghats are always enticing, especially in Goa, where the forests are well preserved. So on our visit to North Goa, we decided to spend a day at the Dudhsagar Waterfalls, this time to the foot of the waterfall.
Getting to the Dudhsagar Waterfalls
To visit the Dudhsagar waterfalls along this route via the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, we had to get to Kulem. It’s a roughly 2-hr drive of around 80 km from Baga to Kulem.
Once you cross the bridge to Panaji and take the road to Ponda, the winding road starts. It’s a beautiful forested route, through the hilly villages of Goa. This isn’t your typical landscape of Goa of the sand and waves.
We didn’t feel like venturing on such a long undulating route on a bike. And it’s a well-known fact that cabs can be prohibitively expensive in Goa. We felt it made sense to sign up for a tour of jeep safari to Dudhsagar waterfalls.
Map of the route from Baga to Kulem, Goa
The driver called us the previous night to confirm the pickup location and time. Ten minutes prior to our pick up time, we received another call from the driver to ask if we were ready. Promptly at 6 AM, we were picked up from the Baga-Calangute road, 2 minutes away from our Hotel Santiago Resort. We were impressed with this promptness of service, right at the start.
The jeep safari starts at Kulem
Everything about Kulem suggests that it has been woken up from its long hibernation by the sudden fame of the Dudhsagar waterfalls. Otherwise, it’s one of those little villages that minds its own business.
Kulem does have a railway station, though. Because it is at the base of the Braganza ghat, long distance trains have to halt here to attach an additional locomotive to pull them up towards the Dudhsagar waterfalls and further up to Castle Rock in Karnataka.
Meanwhile, our driver had split us in groups of seven. And instructed us, repeatedly, to not disperse. “If the group is not together, there will be grave problems”. We appreciated that he was taking his responsibility to send us to the Dudhsagar waterfalls so seriously. After around 30 minutes, we were finally seated in our jeeps to take us to the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
The jeep safari through Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
The dirt track started right after we left the taxi stand. An arc saying Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary welcomes you in. The jeeps halt here to pay the sanctuary entry fees. This is also where you pay the camera fees.
Interestingly, among the list of attraction listed by the forest department, “Nature all through the route” makes an appearance! The sanctuary is a plastic free zone. Our jeep driver asked us if we had any plastic bottles with us. You have to report the count here and on the way back they ensure you’re carrying them all out.
This route opens only in October, way after the monsoon ends. The river was swollen enough to give us goosebumps even as the water levels had started receding. We shuddered to think what it would look like in the monsoon!
A few locals take tourists on bike rides through the sanctuary in the monsoon. The forest department doesn’t officially approve of this. And after seeing the might of the river in late November, we do not recommend venturing out in the rains to the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary.
The dirt track continued with the Dudhsagar river now flowing to our left. We were driving through the stillness of the forest now. It was late morning, around 10 AM. The birds had retreated. The mild breeze rustled some leaves.
It takes around 45 minutes to reach the end of the motorable track. We saw a temple towards the end and a tribal settlement of a handful of huts. We were surprised that someone actually lived here inside the forest.
The walk through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary
A few steps took us to the floor of the forest and we began our 15-20 minute walk. It’s a rocky uneven patch. The rocks can be slippery, so appropriate footwear is recommended. It’s an easy walk and anyone with moderate fitness can easily reach the Dudhsagar waterfalls. However, it is not suitable for those needing wheelchair assistance.
We crossed a small wooden flatbridge and got the view of the Dudhsagar waterfalls cascading down. The railway bridge is clearly visible.
The pool of the Dudhsagar waterfalls
We made our way through the rocks, found a safe (and dry) place to keep our shoes, tucked our camera bag under a bigger rock and stepped into the water. The freshness of the cold water at the base of this Dudhsagar waterfall hit us like a bolt.
From within the pool, only the bottommost tier of the Dudhsagar waterfalls is seen. This itself can qualify as a nice big waterfall to chill under. The pool is safe to swim and you can reasonably easily reach under the waterfall. Even with the sun above our heads, the water however is pretty cold! The water is also clear enough to see several mid sized fish swimming in.
The driver smiled as he saw us run. He probably was used to his passengers losing track of time. He knew the time wasn’t enough. But he had to stick to the schedule to enable smooth functioning of the Dudhsagar jeep safari tours. We took the same route out, through the dirt track and the Dudhsagar river.
Lunch at a spice plantation and strolling through old Goa
We reached our hotel in North Goa just in time to enjoy an orange streaked sunset at the Baga beach.
Tips for going on a jeep safari to the Dudhsagar waterfalls
- You have to reach the ticket counter for the jeep safari in Kulem early in the morning.
- We started from North Goa at 6 AM. By the time we entered the sanctuary, some jeeps were already returning back from the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
- The Dudhsagar waterfalls close at 4.30 PM and tickets are not sold after roughly 2 PM.
- It’s best to have a pre-decided group of 7 before you buy your tickets so you don’t waste time waiting for your jeep to fill in.
- To avoid all this logistical management, we are glad we pre booked our jeep safari tour for the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
- Wear comfortable footwear on this journey as it involves a 15-20 minutes walk through the rocky forest patch.
- Life jackets are compulsory and should be worn before entering the pool at the Dudhsagar waterfalls.
- Women can feel free to wear a swimming costume inside the pool at the Dudhsagar waterfalls. Sketchy changing facilities do exist near the pool.
- Toilets are available inside the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. Their cleanliness is a whole other topic, but the facility exists.
- Locker facilities are not available. If you need to take a camera, it’s security and safety (keeping it dry) is entirely your responsibility.
Other travel stories from Goa
Need help planning your trip to the Dudhsagar waterfalls? Let us know.
This trip was made in collaboration with Tripraja. We were thrilled by the jeep safari experience to the Dudhsagar waterfalls and impressed with the efficiency with which this tour was conducted.
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