Mandovi's very own 'ocean of milk'


Breathtaking  The railway tunnel near Dudh Sagar. (Right) The Dudh Sagar Falls. Photos by the author

This awesome falls, called Dudh Sagar, is situated on the border of Karnataka and Goa. Listed among the tallest falls of India, Dudh Sagar drops from a height of 310 metres taking the form of a white Ganga flowing from the skies.

Tributary of Mandovi
Khandepar, also known as Dudh Sagar, is a tributary of the Mandovi river. It splits into three streams as it flows from over a patch of green-covered rocks forming a pond at the bottom. Tiny bubbles of air cover the whole pond resembling an ocean of milk. It is this sight that gives the waterfalls its name, Dudh Sagar, meaning the ‘ocean of milk’ in Konkani.

An integral part of the Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary in the Western Ghats, the flora and fauna surrounding Dudh Sagar is breathtaking. Situated between Castle Rock and Kulem, the only mode of transport to reach this spectacle is the train.
Castle Rock, a town on the border of Karnataka, is surrounded by Western Ghats and occupies a strategic position.

At one point, it was this town that divided India and the erstwhile Portuguese occupied Goa.  This was the only train passage that connected Goa to the other parts of India before the laying of Konkan rail route.

Monsoon magic  
The monsoon season between July and September, is the ideal time of the year to enjoy the journey by train and witness the falls at its full glory. 

Tiny springs and waterfalls dot the sides of the mountain as the train passes through the clouds that engulf you, transporting you to another world as you witness the captivating scenes from the green-clad mountains.

Unlike normal train journeys, the train journey here is a constant sliding down the curves of mountains. Beginning from Castle Rock, situated at the height of 610 m (2040 feet) to Kulem, the train descends approximately 600 metres. Measures are in place to make this train journey pleasurable. Additional engines are attached to the main train as a precautionary measure at Castle Rock.

Besides, speed breakers, also called emergency brakes, are installed in the engines programmed to apply brakes if the train exceeds the fixed speed limit.

To reach the water falls, one needs to alight at the Dudh Sagar station and trek a kilometre down the tracks through a tunnel 204.22 metres long that can be spotted right from the station. However, one must take the precaution of checking if any train is passing since the space in the tunnel is  narrow, dark and dangerous. A torch sure comes in handy. At the end of the tunnel, a splendid view of the majestic Dudh Sagar welcomes you. This place is also ideal for trekking. A distance of 12 km from Castle rock or 10 km from Kulem can become an experience by itself. However, one needs to watch out while crossing the tunnels.

How to reach?
Those travelling from Karnataka may board the Goa train at Londa in Belgaum district. The train from Londa via Castle Rock stops at Dudh Sagar railway station for a few minutes.

Because no ticket issuing facility is available at the station while on the return journey, request for the same can be made for an onboard ticket.

Besides, with proper permissions from the railway authorities, one can also travel by goods trains between Castle Rock and Kulem. Those travelling from Goa may board the train at Kulem and those who want to travel from Karnataka can board the train at Dharwad. Proper research of the train timings is advised, or else one may have to spend the night in the forests at Dudh Sagar!

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