In the Mollem national park, covered by rugged mountains is the stunning Dudhsagar falls. This beautiful waterfall drops 320m in total with 5 drops into the River Mandov flowing down the western ghats and has an old train bridge crossing. The surrounding lush green rain forest which make it a really beautiful and unique place to visit.
To read more about my time in India check out my other articles:
Dudhsagar Waterfalls Day Trip
Getting to the waterfalls is not something you can do by picking up a car and then setting off on a trail. It requires a safari jeep to access from a transfer point and this is only permitted by tour operators. We had booked a tour from that picked us up from Patnem and took us to the safari area (following our tour we realised we could have got this a lot cheaper by booking this one online or more in advance. I will pop a link at the end of this section).
Our safari started with a very bumpy and crazy jeep ride through the jungle to an access point where you are then to walk the rest of the distance. It is a gentle walk to the waterfall through more jungle, with lots of monkeys till you reach the beautiful falls. These cheeky monkeys have a fascination with anything hanging, so make sure your bags zipped up, keep an eye on anything that may be easy for them to grab and don't be surprise to find one climbing up to get to you.
You should only feed them if you have bought some banana's or something safe for them from the transfer site (where you meet the jeep if you have been transferred from a taxi or drove here).
Once you reach the River Mandov opening (above) you will see the gorge carved by these waters to the right of the trail. Then just a little further, the stunning back drop of the rugged carved stone and the water rushing down behind the trees; It is here you really see the beauty and sheer size of these falls. Midway there is a train bridge that passes through the falls (see first picture on this article and cover image). Before heading along the trail to see where the waterfalls meet the river and get their name of Dudhsagar from.
Dudhsagar meaning 'sea of milk' from which a story of a princess bathing here maintained her modesty by poring milk (or so the locals say) to conceal herself from a passerby, however this may just be due to the froth from power of the waterfall as it plummets into the river.
This is where your rain forest walk finishes with an opportunity to swim in the waters and up to the falls (as can be seen to the right).
Following this you will need to make your way back to the jeep through the short jungle trail to head back on the bumpy ride out of the park.
Before You Visit Dudhsagar:
Take food and water with you (it will be hot and a long day).
Go to the toilet before hand (limited options there).
Wear your swimwear underneath your clothing (there isn't somewhere to change).
A word of warning it is icy cold, which on a hot day is refreshing but even then it's a bit of a shock to the system.
You will be given life jackets on on your tour to use; make sure you do the swimming hole is very deep.
It is an all day trip that you can book here with get your guide (due to the recent pandemic they also have flexible cancellation policy).
As part of this day trip to the waterfalls, we went to visit a spice plantation. The plantation also had a couple of elephants that lived there which we washed. We also sat on one and rode it. It wasn't far and was a matter of 2-3 minutes down the length of the plantation.
It looked like it was taken care of as did the one other elephant we washed (this was a stark contrast to the elephants I had seen a few years prior in Thailand. Where there were a big group of them that weren't well taken care of). These were rescued and had been cared for following poachers attacks.
The plantation was really interesting, you could take a tour, try some different tea's and learn about the spice production in the area (on the link from get your guide above to the dudhgasar falls they now combine plantations with the waterfall tours, we did ours separately).
I should add even knowing they were rescued I am now hesitant to go to any elephant sanctuary or riding centre as you just don't know which is genuine. Whilst I try not to take things at face value and research places I travel and how I travel, I continue to question my decision to sit on this elephant. Following news over the past 2-3 years, it has been highlighted that many of these Elephants are bred for this or taken for this (rather than being rescued).
I'd rather be honest about my mistakes so others avoid or remember to research as much as possible now the awareness of animal abuse in Asian countries is a lot better.