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Dudhsagar Falls

Dudhsagar Falls in Braganza Ghat section of SWR

My idyllic Goa itinerary was as usual placid. The memory of the rolling green hills with sun kissed shores and the perfectly preserved Portugese history enchant me till present day. It was a trip with a few close friends to celebrate our friendship in the month of August. Our return was through the Braganza Ghat section, to soak in the mist of Dudh Sagar. Dudh Sagar, literally meaning a Sea of Milk. We boarded the Amravati Express from Vasco (VSG). Even though, our coach was partially filled, I examined the doorway at frequent intervals to check if anyone was occupying the doorway. I wanted to preserve that place for myself to hone my photography lenses. The Ghat section also known as Braganza Ghat is from Kulem (QLM) in the state of Goa to Castle Rock (CLR) in Karnataka a distance of 26 Km. The steepest gradient is found in this section of Indian Railways. This comes under Hubbali (previously Hubli) Division of South Western Railway. If I am honest, I was rather anxious that any intruder might occupy my king’s position holding the handle bar in one hand and camera in the other. So, as the train passed Sanverdam Church home signal reluctantly, I steadfastly secured my king’s position. Dudhsagar is one of the natural marvels of our homeland. Its majestic glory exemplified in the monsoon months. The waterfall is on a ridge where the Mandovi River falls into a narrow gorge. Its four tier cascade falls from a mighty height of 1017 feet. Nested in the canopy of dense Western Ghat’s tropical forest its virile structure with muscular sinews is overshadowed by the milky gust of water. The advance paraphernalia of occupying the doorway is the short window which one gets to view the falls. Falls are romantic, best enjoyed on a lazy bench. But Dudh Sagar is different; the stately view lasts only for a minute or so. By the time the train reached Kulem few started thronging in. The train started and slowly ascended through the thick jungle. I realized that I was getting quite a following. And slowly it became more of a thing. Young and the old thronged. The paucity of space did negate a few onlookers. They had to pacify themselves at the window seats which rather made me pleasantly happy. Trains in this section follow a strict speed restriction. Our train was pulled by one Diesel engine from the front and pushed by two at the rear known as Bankers. It winds and negotiates its way through the steep curve and numerous tunnels as the lush greenery hugs the mountains. As the train further ascended, the sound of the waterfall could be heard as a faint rumble over the slow moving train. The air filled with earthly fragrance was moist and cooler. The incessant stream of mist sometimes overshadowed the jungle. Gradually, the chugging of the train dissipated and a rumbling coarse sound enshrouded the ambience. And then IT appeared. It was hard to grasp its voluminous size, white and foggy as if the Gods were pouring milk from heaven. Devouring the epic power of nature with its cascade is an absolute joy to the eyes. Time passed in a flash. There was almost a palatable cheer in the faces of all the onlookers in the compartment. The old said wow, the young cheered. And I was ecstatic, slowly unwinding my senses from the creator’s magnum opus. The smell of cascade lingered in the air for some time. The shrill whistle roused me as the train approached Castle Rock. The wanderlust in me remained unsatisfied with an urge to go again and enjoy it to the fullest. I deboarded, got myself a cup of hot tea. As the train started moving, my senses regained lucidity. I don’t know for how long I could tame the devil in me. But next time it would be a trek and overnight camp with a flask of hot tea. Are you coming?