While having a pre-trip peruse of my guidebook, I’d taken an interest in Dudhsagar Falls, so when the opportunity to go there on a private trip organised through the local travel company came up, I jumped at the chance. After a couple of hours in the car, we arrived at the village of Colem, where we were harangued into buying some bananas because it turned out there were monkeys to feed – always a nice surprise.
While our driver organised the onward journey for us, we admired some cows. We hadn’t considered that the cows might want to eat the plastic bags of monkey-fruit though, and I was delighted when one chased my dad to try and get the bag out of his pocket. That’s the stuff that holiday memories are made of, right there!
Next followed an extremely bumpy 45-minute jeep ride with a driver and guide, both of whom came from the area and were very happy to chat about the waterfalls and local area as well as life generally. At the car park at the top, Ram, the guide hopped out and took care of our admission to the falls, before escorting us on a 20-minute hike to our destination. The hike was also quite intense, with a lot of clambering over rocks, although Ram was always ready with a helping hand.
As we stepped round a bend and saw the falls for the first time, I knew the trip has been worth it. The name Dudhsagar is Konkani for ‘Sea of Milk’ – we were there at the wrong time of year to see the falls at their mistiest, earning that name, but they were still a sight to behold.
We were then requested to move out of shot on the Tamil movie set which we’d just wandered into.
After having a moan about the fact that we’d paid to be here too, Ram encouraged us onwards, promising an equally good view from further along, and he wasn’t wrong. We spent a happy half hour watching a dance scene being filmed, while taking photos and admiring the view. I don’t know what the movie was, so if anyone has any ideas, I’d love to know.
This wasn’t the only film to use Dudhsagar as a location – it also appeared in Chennai Express, and was nearly used in Skyfall, but they were unable to get the cranes up to the falls. I’ve just watched a trailer for Chennai Express, and it looks bonkers, so I might have to watch that one day.
It is possible to swim at the falls, and they make you rent life jackets, although they don’t make you wear them. Swimming is an incredibly popular option and the pool at the bottom was surrounded when we got there. We hadn’t brought our swimming stuff as we had other plans later in the day and I hadn’t really realised that it was such a major thing, but this would be a very refreshing option after the hike.
On our drive back down, Ram asked us if we wanted to go and see Devil’s Canyon, and since the answer was obviously, ‘Yes, Ram! Show us all the things!’, we headed down there, too. This was much more peaceful than the falls and involved a lot less hiking, and I was glad we made the detour.
Back in Colem, we enjoyed some sugar cane juice from the world pushiest salesman, before heading off to our next stop.
Hiring a taxi for the day is probably the easiest option – we booked through our local travel agent, and unfortunately I don’t remember the price, because we booked a few things at once – but you can also reach the falls by train. I’ve been researching the train for about half an hour, and I still don’t really understand how you do that – Sandeepa and Chetan’s blog has some good pointers though, if you do decide to give it a try.
Bear in mind that if you have mobility issues or serious back problems, then this trip will be very challenging.