Dudhsagar Falls

Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park / Panaji / Molem, Goa, India

About Dudhsagar Falls


Hiking Distance: 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-11-13
Date last visited: 2009-11-13

Waterfall Latitude: 15.31429
Waterfall Longitude: 74.31418

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Dudhsagar Falls (pronounced “dood-SAH-gur”; a sign here also spelled it “Doodh Sagar”) was certainly one of India‘s more popular waterfalls with foreigners.

That’s because it was within a day trip from the charming Portugese-influenced town of Panjim or Panaji in the state of Goa.

Dudhsagar_019_11122009 - The last section of Dudhsagar Falls
The last section of Dudhsagar Falls

Julie and I could corroborate this claim because there were scores of foreign tourists when we visited this place in November 2009.

Anyways, the waterfall came tumbling down a mountainside crossed over by an arched bridge supporting the South Central rail line.

At the waterfall’s base, there was a plunge pool that we noticed was a hit with tourists wanting to swim to cool off from the high heat and humidity of this part of the country.

The name of the falls was said to mean “ocean of milk” due to the white water appearance as the water would make its tumble.

That said, I have to believe that the Hindu influence probably also played a role in the name of the falls considering Hinduism’s reverence for cows.

Goa_006_11122009 - The beaches at Goa were part of the reason why Dudhsagar Falls were so popular
The beaches at Goa were part of the reason why Dudhsagar Falls were so popular

I’ve also seen this waterfall referred to as the “Milky Waterfall” as a result.

As far as experiencing the Dudhsagar Falls, it was possible to experience it in a couple of ways.

Experiencing Dudhsagar Falls The Popular Way

The most popular way of doing it (and the way we did it) was on an organized day excursion.

We first had to head east from Panaji or Old Goa (see directions below) to get to a little village called Molem (I’ve also seen it spelled Collem) where we then switched vehicles.

After doing the switch, we rode a 4wd jeep down a rugged track that included crossings of the Mandovi River to get right to an area that allowed us to access the pool at the base of the Dudhsagar Falls.

Dudhsagar_Falls_007_jx_11122009 - Lots of 4wd jeeps making the drive to the trailhead for Dudhsagar Falls from a local village
Lots of 4wd jeeps making the drive to the trailhead for Dudhsagar Falls from a local village

During our visit, we were joined by heaps of other tourists (mostly European though we were quite surprised at the quantity of Russian tourists).

In addition to people, there were also monkeys (which I believe can be either macaques or rangoons) who seemed to have become dependent on the food fed by the tourists in spite of the signs discouraging this practice.

While we were at the jeep drop off area, there was a basic viewing platform to see the upper two tiers of the Dudhsagar Falls between an opening in the foliage.

However, we then took a short 10- or 15-minute walking path with a bridged river crossing that led us right to the base of the falls.

That was where it was very crowded with tourists clad in bathing attire as well as monkeys, local guides, and a rather ominous sign listing the names of people who had drowned here.

Dudhsagar_009_11122009 - Closeup of one of the monkeys we spotted around Dudhsagar that clearly managed to get fed human food
Closeup of one of the monkeys we spotted around Dudhsagar that clearly managed to get fed human food

Our local guide did show me an interesting little alcove or “cave” not too far to the left side of the Dudhsagar Falls.

This was significant because apparently it was a favoured den of some tigers who take shelter from the rains here during the monsoon.

Of course, that would also be when the falls would be inaccessible to most people given the likelihood of flooding and mud on the 4wd road to get here.

That said, I wondered if he was merely showing this tiger den to me in an attempt for me to give more tip to him (I never asked for it, nor did I ask him to guide me).

As for getting decent views of the Dudhsagar Falls itself, we weren’t able to achieve very satisfying views from the bottom given the sloping nature of the falls.

Dudhsagar_010_11122009 - Looking up at the Dudhsagar Falls from the trail to get to its base, but from here on out, the closer I went, the less I would see of the entire drop of the falls given its sloping nature
Looking up at the Dudhsagar Falls from the trail to get to its base, but from here on out, the closer I went, the less I would see of the entire drop of the falls given its sloping nature

Perhaps the best views from the base were more set back from the plunge pool where the whole context of the falls could be seen.

The closer we got to Dudhsagar Falls, the less of its top we were able to see.

Experiencing Dudhsagar Falls By Rail

It turned out that the best views of Dudhsagar Falls (albeit fleeting, I’d imagine) were from across the forested ravine on the Konkan Railway some 10km from the Kulem Station.

Seeing the falls this way was the second method of experiencing it.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to exercise this option given time constraints.

Dudhsagar_036_11122009 - Looking up from the base of Dudhsagar Falls at the bridge crossing the waterfall's drop, which supported the Konkan Railway
Looking up from the base of Dudhsagar Falls at the bridge crossing the waterfall’s drop, which supported the Konkan Railway

Also, there was apparently a fairly difficult hike up to a similar viewpoint from the official trail of the falls.

However, the local guide I conversed with here said we needed permission in order to do the 1.5-hour each way trek through steep terrain, high humidity, and dense jungle to get there.

Timing A Visit to Dudhsagar Falls

As for timing a visit to Dudhsagar Falls, the base of the waterfall would be most accessible outside of the monsoon due to the lower likelihood of flood.

Given that the jeeps that we rode on to access the trailhead of Dudhsagar Falls required river crossings, it’s understandable why this was the case.

Nevertheless, the falls would be at its most impressive during the monsoon, but that would also be when the 4wd road would become impassable.

Dudhsagar_054_11122009 - On the rugged jeep as it crossed a river on its way to Dudhsagar Falls
On the rugged jeep as it crossed a river on its way to Dudhsagar Falls

Under those circumstances, viewing the Dudhsagar Falls by train would be the only other option left at this time.

As you can see from our photos on this page, we visited outside the monsoon so clearly the falls had seen better days.

The Height of Dudhsagar Falls

Finally, there was quite a bit of false information regarding the height of Dudhsagar Falls.

I suspect that it was either started or fanned along by the 603m claim given in our 2007 edition of Lonely Planet: India.

However, I wondered if they had a typo and really meant to say it was 306m tall.

Dudhsagar_040_11122009 - Another look up at as much of Dudhsagar Falls as I could see, but it was difficult to get a sense of how tall it was from down here
Another look up at as much of Dudhsagar Falls as I could see, but it was difficult to get a sense of how tall it was from down here

The local signage here said the falls was 300m, and the local guide and others in the literature claim the falls was 310m.

As a result, I think we could put to rest any notion that this was one of the tallest waterfalls in the world (it was clearly not the case).

Then again, I also saw some other claim Dudhsagar Falls was the second tallest waterfall in India, which seemed more plausible.

However, I suspect someone will come up with other waterfalls boasting heights that would probably dispute even this claim.

Authorities

Dudhsagar Falls resides in the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park near Panaji in the South Goa District of Goa State, India. It is administered by the Government of Goa Department of Forest. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can visit their website.

Dudhsagar_Falls_004_jx_11122009 - Riding on the bumpy jeep road towards Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar_Falls_011_jx_11122009 - Jeep crossing a river on its way to Dudhsagar Falls
Dudhsagar_001_11122009 - The jeep to Dudhsagar Falls making another river crossing
Dudhsagar_005_11122009 - Partial view of the upper part of the Dudhsagar Falls from the viewing deck at the end of the jeep road
Dudhsagar_006_11122009 - Hiking towards the Dudhsagar Falls as we crossed a bridge
Dudhsagar_044_11122009 - It was pretty clear that most of the people here ignored the signs (including one prohibiting the feeding of wildlife)
Dudhsagar_012_11122009 - Somewhere along the trail closer to its end, I managed to get this somewhat satisfying view of Dudhsagar Falls with some people below for a sense of scale, but I really wanted to get a more elevated view of it
Dudhsagar_014_11122009 - Right at the base of the Dudhsagar Falls where lots of people were enjoying themselves swimming and cooling off
Dudhsagar_020_11122009 - A local guide led me over to this little natural rock shelter where a couple tigers have been known to take refuge here during the monsoon season
Dudhsagar_023_11122009 - Looking up at the Dudhsagar Falls from the plunge pool at its base
Dudhsagar_041_11122009 - On the way back out of the Dudhsagar Falls area, I got this last look at as much of the falls as I could see. There were also lots of other people around, which attested to this place's popularity
Old_Goa_009_11132009 - The preserved remains of St Francis Xavier in the Se Basilica of Old Goa, where we stopped when we almost made it back to Goa after our visit to the Dudhsagar Falls
Old_Goa_028_11132009 - The Catholic theme of the cathedrals in Old Goa were further evidence of the Portugese influence here

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From Panjim or Panaji (the capital of Goa), we were driven some 60 or 70km east to a village where the 4wd part of the excursion to Dudhsagar Falls began.

It took us about 2 hours on the road to get there.

And during the drive out east, we passed by some churches and cathedrals of Old Goa while contending with lots of lorries hauling iron ore and manganese among other things (suggesting there must be some serious mining going on in this part of the country).

When we switched onto a rugged 4wd jeep which did the final leg to the Dudhsagar Falls at Molem (or Collem), we had to traverse very bumpy roads with a handful of deep river crossings.

I recalled one or two of these river crossings were deep enough to let water inside the jeep!

At the end of the road, we were dropped off at the fairly busy jeep parking area.

All told, the day excursion from Panjim or Panaji was about 6- to 7 hours total.

We flew to Panaji from Mumbai, which took us about an hour to traverse the 579km or so (10 hours drive). Mumbai was a two-hour flight from Delhi.

Brief bottom up sweep of the falls right from the busy plunge pool area

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Tagged with: goa, panaji, panjim, molem, national park, dudhsagar, train, railway, 4wd tour, old goa, india, waterfall, konkan, kulem



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Dudhsagar Falls August 12, 2020 8:08 pm by Digvijay Jagtap - Dudhsagar Falls is located in the Indian state of Goa. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in India with a height of 310 m (1017 feet). Dudhsagar Falls is located on the Madgaon-Belgaum railway line on the Mandovi river near the Goa-Karnataka border. Dudhsagar Falls is located in Mollem National Park and Bhagwan Mahavir… ...Read More

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