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 littered 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! 🙂