Dudhsagar Water Falls

Disclaimer : This is the non adventurous, touristy way of reaching the falls!

 

When Aamir Khan flew that plane over Pangong Tso in 3 idiots we all loved it, infact I felt finally some Indian films were finally actually exploring India’s most beautiful places. Little did we imagine that the very next year there would be traffic jams on the road to Pangong and there would be packets of Lay’s wafers and Bisleri bottles floating in the waters of Pangong! The curse of Bollywood if you may call it now, not their fault mind you, but our people (tourists) and our govt who fail to see the coming number of people and do not prepare adequately to arrange for the trash that we will bring along.

 

A few years later, a Deepika Shahrukh Khan starrer makes another such wonderful natural location of India famous, Dudhsagar Falls, result : flocks and flocks of Indian tourists arrive on the scene. What was once a place were only a few people went is now flocked with people. The result should be good, more people get to see the beautiful place, the rain forest can be protected from being cut as it now suddenly generates revenue, the locals also suddenly have a source of employment that they had not forseen.

 

I hope in a while from now that will be the case. As of now I must confess though at my surprise the forest is still pristine and clean, no plastic, no bottles, no dirt anywhere, not that we spotted. The crowd is huge, they have now limited the admittance into the park to 225 jeeps, each jeep carries 7 people charging Rs. 400 p/p from Collem plus the driver into the Dudhsagar Falls, they have made life jackets compulsory for all to avoid any mishaps, there were people around the waterfall to ensure no one was at a risk of losing lives, some volunteers were even clearing water bottles from the water on a surf board which were dropped by a few irresponsible tourists.

 

Inside the park its awesome, the jungle is super dense, absolutely like you would imagine a rain forest to be like, the route that the jeeps drive through is adventurous, super bumpy and awe inspiring, the water is clean, albeit a few too many people at the main pond below the falls with everyone wanting to bathe, the dip is every bit worth it as I went in, the scary part for me was my feet didn’t touch the bottom, I can’t swim and the fact that fishes as big as almost 2-3 feet swam about around me, not that they harmed but they kinda scared me, when I look back now I find that super cool and wonderful to be able to swim with fishes! The fishes are all friendly and actually tried to keep away, accidentally sometimes they would brush your leg or stomach and to me it gave chilly creeps. I am a total waste I know, some people tried to catch them but the fish were pretty agile for them! All said and done, with the life jacket you need to take that plunge in that pool! The swim is amazingly soothing!

 

The only two drawbacks I felt were one, the jeeps should be open gypsies not closed jeeps, the viewing could be so much better and second the queue to get in, it is as chaotic as it can get, almost driving some people to wanting to return from there without visiting. My advice, be patient, bear the pain and enter the park, once inside its calm, peaceful, beautiful and fun. Amazingly its not litteredΒ up despite so many people visiting which is a tribute to the people visiting and the local officials.

 

On our way back we also saw some people trekking the route our jeeps plied and I was devastated to learn that you could actually trek and I had opted for the jeep. I am not aware how you get that permission, but do look for it before going for the jeep like an idiot which I apparently was. Walking takes 2.5 hours one way, drive is 45 minutes one way. Walking in a rain forest would certainly be a most wonderful experience.

 

From what I learnt is the trek through the train tracks has been disallowed, although some people still do undertake it, if spotted by railway officials you could be fined. I guess Indian ways would certainly work anyways if you are wanting to go through that way regardless.

 

Here are a few pictures of that place, few coz we were more busy bathing than clicking! πŸ™‚

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whilst the trees and foliage across the road is cut for easy access, the jungle besides is so dense you need to see to believe!

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Thats just one of the 3 water bodies that you cross on the way! πŸ™‚ Fun eh??

 

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Whilst we saw one monitor lizard on the way, the closed jeeps don’t really allow you to look about a lot, what you cannot miss though is this fella! They are in thousands!

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They keep falling throughout the year! Four tiered water fall it is!!!! The sight is to behold and soak, a passing train makes the whole scene kinda unreal!

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I think this is said to be India’s 5th tallest Waterfall!

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Bathing here is one thing you do not want to miss out on! Even if you can’t swim, put on the float jacket and go in the water! Take my word for it!

 

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Now you know why they call it Dudhsagar don’t you?? Totally foamy milky falls!

 

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Thats me splashing happily πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

 

 

Chicken Xacuti!

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Finally, I can claim I have tasted this Goan delicacy and as it is fair to say it lived up to what all it was talked about! We eventually ordered it at the restaurant Mango Grove in CandolimΒ and it lived up to our expectations! We absolutely loved it and scraped the plate so much so as to in the end I dropped all the remaining rice in the Xacuti (pronounced Shakuti) bowl and wiped it clean! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

 

Many a times I feel I may not be able to appreciate coconut milk gravies as much and I was so happy to learn that my pre-conceived notions were totallyΒ wrong and I am hoping to make more journeys in the south Indian food world!! πŸ™‚

 

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We downed this wonderful dish with a Watermelon Cooler (cocktail) which was soΒ wonderfully made that even a non drinker like me enjoyed it and even felt mildly delirious after it. πŸ™‚

 

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Surreal

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The best part about road trips is you get numerous opportunities to stop and click, having taken a liking to photography I see frames all the time, the flip side is I never reach any place on schedule, but then that is the not the idea of a holiday anyways is it?

Who wants to keep schedules when you are passing such places at sunset time?? Wouldn’t you want to stop here for a minute or two, look around, absorb, get lost in the moment??

Celebrating Diwali Goa style!

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It is usual for me to be at home during Diwali, this year though was different as we ventured out to Goa. Diwali here is slightly muted, perhaps it has a lesser hindu population I guess. However, we saw huge Demon like structures being built everywhere whilst we were trying to find our house that we had booked in Nerul. Upon checking out in the night we came to know that these people actually had built huge Effigies of the Asura named Narakasura who as per the legend dictated to us by one lady at the bakery terrorised, exploited and killed the locals. Eventually Lord Krishna came to the rescue of the people and killed this demon, this day incidentally falls a day before Lakshmi Pooja.

The lady was keen enough to inform us that the statues of Narakasura are made of dry leaves, wood, paper and fire crackers. The made statues are then carried out in a procession whilst they abuse and taunt the demon and burn it post nightfall.

A lot of people, including non Indians found these statues quite interesting and would be seen photographing them or taking selfies with them!

Here are a couple of other such statues that we saw..

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Building sand castles and embracing waves!

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Goa for a long time was very low on my list, I was always more of a guy who opted for Mountains and jungles to the sand and water. Not knowing swimming and being petrified of any water higher than my chest I kind of kept away. Two years back a free trip to Goa during August told me one thing for sure, Goa has a lot more to offer than just beaches and the ocean.

On my last trip since it was Monsoon and the sea was rough we didn’t really take to the beach for a long time, this time though the visit in November meant there was not much rough weather, it was warm during the day and you actually wanted to take a dip in the water. For a change on this trip we spent so much time in the water I don’t think I ever have spent as much time in water in my entire life’s vacations!

I completely now comprehend why kids love playing in the waves so much and why people are crazy about the ocean so much! The clean beaches of Baga, Candolim and Palolem did not give any reason for me to resist them.

Amazingly, inspite of it being Diwali, Goa was surprisingly empty, Monday to Thursday we almost had most restaurants, shacks, beaches to us or shared it with very few people and that was a big plus for sucking me in.

Wave after wave, we soaked up the wonderfully friendly warm water of the Indian Ocean, like small kids jumping, staining the sand, building castles, burying ourselves in the sand! I seriously felt like I had gone back to my kid days almost during this trip. Rediscovering the fun of doing things and absolutely forgetting what it seemed to people who might be looking is one of the most important supplement you get from the Goa air!

I guess it does something to you, you forget about the world, you get lost in your own fun world, you don’t care what it seems like, all you care about is living in that moment, ducking before the arriving wave and then rising with it floating and riding on it, being thrown back, gushing at how wonderful the water felt, how it feels like the ocean is pulling you when the sand retracts with the receding water that was brought in with the wave.

I wouldn’t ever be seen walking about shirt less (read topless) in my house, suddenly though, after the bath in the ocean, I don’t bother wearing a tshirt whilst I am half wet, infact I decided to drive back home all the way without a shirt and for me that was new. Guess its the air in Goa that does some things to you.

From a guy who always almost looked down upon the idea of Goa, which back then meant to mean guys go there for the sea and the daroo, has completely changed, second trip down there, back home since just two days and I already miss being there, I miss the sea, the sand, the lazy air, the million restaurants and most of all I miss being so care free about what anyone thinks about you! Like seriously the place does have a magnet that I can now completely comprehend! πŸ™‚

Cabo de Rama

DSC_5819This was my first visit to the actual tourist capital of India ! It all seems pretty trivial now, all my resistance to go to Goa and my arguments of I don’t drink, I can’t swim and I don’t eat fish so what will I do in Goa. Apparently it seems I have a genetic resistance to doing what is popular with most people, but for once I gave in and ended up with a wonderfully relaxing holiday. I guess it being monsoon Goa was taking a break from the tourist season and with very few people around it felt wonderful to be in the state. Most people insist Goa is green throughout the year and its not just the monsoon that makes it so beautiful. I just loved the bright, vibrant greens I discovered at all the places.

The above picture was taken from Cabo de Rama Fort, said to be the place where Lord Rama took refuge during his exile from Ayodhya !!! See even the God’s knew the place to vacation in India !!!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ This was a wonderful place ! Slightly offbeat, you had to trek a bit to get here but trust me the views are worth every penny err I mean every drop of sweat you spend. (There is no entry fee to see this fort.)

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I learnt about this place from the internet whilst searching short small treks that would be suitable for a 8 year old alongside and the history of the place kinda intrigued me. We hired a Activa and left for the fort after a short snooze after lunch around 3 pm. To our utter delight we discovered that Goa has a life, they all enjoy a siesta ! I truly believe people who get to sleep in the noon are actually the ones that have a most fulfilling life πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ :mrgreen: Throughout our journey from Kolva to Cabo De Rama it was difficult to find anyone to actually ask the directions !!! The whole of of South Goa was sleeping, no tea stalls, no stalls, no shops open… Tar roads surrounded by greenery all for just us !!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

It took us around an hour’sDSC_5787 drive with two wrong turns taken one of them led us to another new chapel with a very pretty view of the sea that we discovered trying to find Cabo De Rama. That is the fun of travelling without schedules, packages and exact location knowledge ! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ It was fun all in all and the best thing about driving a two wheeler in Goa was no dust ! no mud storms… there was so much grass everywhere there was no chance for any dust… super fresh air, trees πŸ˜€

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The fort has a very sneaky hidden pass that leads to another peninsula connected to the fort which was a wonderfully secluded place and a brilliant place to sit and ponder in the pleasant evening sea breeze. Watching the sunset from there would have been ideal but we were not carrying any torches and the road was a bit tricky and with junior alongside we decided to watch the sun set from somewhere nearer to our scooter ! πŸ™‚

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Can you see the small trail below that connected the fort to this other peninsular type land. Laden with coconut trees and seriously breezy and actually quite secluded and lonely to actually even be a bit mushy ! SIGH ! πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

Can you see the trail that connects the other hill !!! the crossing was very pleasantly windy :D

Can you see the trail that connects the other hill !!! the crossing was very pleasantly windy πŸ˜€

This was an ideal place to just sit and gaze…. just watching the waves crashing on the rocks the palms swaying in the wind and experiencing the quiet and listening to the sounds of nature was seriously blissful !

And Hobbes I have also visited Goa now have you visited Himachal !? or UttranchalΒ  !!!!! I did that !!!! I couldn’t resist the dig !
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Ramblings

Nothing really worth enough material to post and yet I feel my blog has been neglected way too much and I again need to start the writing habit of mine. Apparently so much action is happening in life that there is barely time to sit back relax and form a post.

 

Either I am working out investment portfolio’s for clients or sorting out badly sold insurance policies to them if that were not enough the renovation/extension work at home takes up hours and worst is it comes up at any time and the plumber/carpenter/mason are even more important and vip people then my clients. They get first preference, also it seems that the work just doesn’t get over either. Even though the major work seems to be done there is no decrease in the hours it takes of mine. Sporadically I do manage to still venture on FB and give my system the much needed virtual injection. πŸ˜› Then there is so much of sporting action happening everywhere, Olympics, India v SL, NZ v WI and Eng v SA. Actually I am complaining of too much on my palate sigh…

 

It was a treat to watch Saina Nehwal play, I must confess I have not watched her earlier but she did play like a champ and I was pretty hopeful she would get a Gold but then not everything we wish for happens. But it was a wonderful feeling watching her play, full of concentration, focus and skill. The shooter’s doubled their medal tally from last year. The hockey team though tried their best I guess the loss in the first two matches in which I thought they fought quite well took its toll and knocked the stuffing out of them. They would probably be feeling very disappointed having lost all 5 matches. But lets not focus on that, lets talk about Mary Kom, honestly I didn’t know much about her before a week. I am kinda amazed at the achievements of the woman a 5 time World Champion, a mother of 5 year old twins and boxing like this !!!!!!!!! Gee… I am gaping and ashamed that I take the elevator to reach a third floor in the building ! :-/

 

In the world of friendly cricket matches, SL managed to almost lose everything but our blokes decided one day to collectively have a brain fail during a batting display in the second ODI giving something to our friendly neighbours.

 

The other highlight of the last week was Kevin Pietersen’s batting against Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Whilst England were pummeled into submission in the first test, in the second in Headingly in a tricky situation KP showed why he is badly necessary for cricket. With all due respect to Sachin, Brian, Ricky this has to be one of the most manly attacks on a bowling line up I have seen recently. No he didn’t score a 60 ball 100 but the manner in which he took on Steyn and Morkel and their short pitched stuff and the thumping he gave was superb. No it was not cover drives, there were hooks with 3 players on the leg side boundary. Don’t be-little him, it was Steyn and Morkel, it was Yorkshire not Chennai and yet I saw Dale Steyn shaking his head at the helplessness he felt in front of KP’s assault. Then as usual, KP’s innings was overshadowed by none other than his own stand-off with the ECB. Pity this man can’t just focus and play Test Cricket.

that is Dale Steyn going over the straight boundary

 

Guess he is a bit like me can’t do one thing at a time, must always focus on multiple things in life ! πŸ˜› Talking of other multiple things clogging my timeline were planning for a Monsoon trip to Goa and well its my first visit to the Travel Capital of India it seems, rarely have I met anyone who has not been to Goa. Fair in another fortnight’s time I will be able to join all those people. Apparently it seems I can’t really take to the beaches or the water sports there but Monsoon promises its own share of beauty. What with Outlook Traveller featuring Goa in the Monsoons and whetting my appetite. My raincoats are ready and I can’t wait to rent an Activa and drive on the tar roads bordered with the fresh green vegetation. :mrgreen:

 

Well, I think I must stop my ramble here and get ready to shop for curtains or else my wife is going to make me sleep in the balcony by the look of things… πŸ˜› But before I shop for the curtains I will leave you with this song that is on my lips at the moment πŸ™‚