Exploring another dimension of Goa through its greenery! Join me in a photo travelogue exploring the beauty that the element of water can add to a holiday. Water in the form of a waterfall and rain on the greenery around, as you enter Goa through its eastern border with Karnataka. If you liked it, do share the love socially! Photos shot on my Nokia Lumia 1520 Phone and Nikon D7100 camera.
- That trip where you can't get lost! Why you may ask? I advise you to read on!
- The journey starts from Castlerock, a sleepy town that lies on the edge of Karnataka, adjoining Goa. You would reach here from Belgaum or Londa to start your rail trek across the mountains and the waterfall.
- You walk along the expanse of the rail tracks, where your trek begins. You come across empty wagons that add contrast in red to the greens.
- The railway station's outer ramparts are basically a fort that's abandoned. It makes for great scenery in the monsoons with all the moss and grass over it.
- The railway track trek is in a way easy that you wont get lost. All one has to do is to follow the track, and take the past most taken. If you wish to explore Castlerock's vibes, you go on the path that the 2 gentlemen have chosen to trod on.
- The rail track curves and the mist adds to the suspense of what is on the other end.
- Every time a train choos through the valley, people who are walking, choose to run and catch the train to the nearest call of civilisation (which would be Kulem)
- You would have crossed Goa, when you see this rail bridge. This is Caranzol. The transition from Karnataka to Goa has been done. Now just soak it in!
- You can always stop by for the view of some beautiful waterfalls if you manage to get off the main trekking route and listen to the gushing flow of water. It helps if you have a crazy gang that wants to experiment
- And once you find paradise, you wont feel like leaving it! Bathing under a waterfall can be refreshing.
- God gets most of his virtual mentions from those who discover this waterfall!
- The valley opens out once you cross the waterfall. The clouds add character to the valley
- If you are too tired, you can always hitch a ride on a goods train
- And enjoy the best views of the valley!
- If not a goods train, you will need to get on the unreserved compartments of the trains plying on this route. You cannot board the train, unless the train has stopped (which it does not do unless at Dudhsagar). If you do board the train at Castlerock or in between, this is the best seat in the house, right on the luggage rack. You can keep your shoes on the fans if you are short on space.
Life on the top. Interested?
- But if you choose to walk, you can spot small falls like these and stare at them.
- Or spot falls coming through abandoned buildings.
- Dudhsagar is the next stop after Caranzol.
- Once you arrive you just have enough time to camp. The only infrastructure to camp is a dilapidated watch house, under which you could camp.
- If you come on a weekend, you have the same crowd as the number of people in your colony. So plan camping wisely on a Sunday evening!
- One of the advantages of camping at the falls is the view you have of the valley early in the morning.
- You won't sweat. If you ever do, there will be a train whizzing past every now and then. Trust that to send some air your side
- Or some water your side. The waterfall is gushing in torrents on the other side of the railway track.
- And it feels like a surreal movie, if you stare at it early in the morning!
- There are smaller pools nearby in which you can take a dunk. Totally safe.
- As the day progresses, the waterfalls make more noise and more noise attracts people
- The day tourists have come!
- More tourists have come. With the chaos, some people choose the privacy of crevices below the bridge.
While not completely safe, people still chose to perch themselves at dangerous positions. One flow of the water towards their side will have them fall right below and be swept away.
The view of the bridge from the base of the falls.
- While some choose to walk over to the other side of the mountain called the Viewing Point
- The walk through the tunnels is beautiful with a sudden decrease in temperatures as you walk through the long tunnels. It starts to get into a loop with respect of the tunnels.
- The tunnels show you the way through the valley.
Post the viewing point, you can find a way down to the base of the waterfalls, if you don't mind a bit of sliding down the mud and a bit of bravado in the rains.
The monsoon is severe in Goa, and you need really good shoes to cross these currents.
If you can't cross the currents, the best way to spend your time, is by staring at nature!
If you managed to cross the current, a new world opens out to you. It's pure bliss to be bathing in the rains and at the base of the waterfall.
- Once you are done, you start to find the path back to the railway track
And discover literature that rhymes 'the woods are lovely, dark and deep, and I have miles to go before I sleep'
The tourists however, find a way through the bike taxi service to be transported to civilization quicker
These roads give way to an open valley, from where you need to climb towards the direction of the Sonalium Railway station.
- Once this landmark is found, its prudent to sit and enjoy the vistas and go clean your legs and wash off the leeches. Sonalium's railway office, has a water pump, and is a good place to clean yourself.
- If you are tired, do request the station master to stop one of the Goods trains to hop in.
- If you fancy walking, just keep walking amidst vistas like these. Sonalium's has this beautiful view of the valley that is Dudhsagar's cliffs, and clouds wafting around!
- Suddenly, the Sun wants to take a peep amidst the rainy weather.
- The Goa Tourism bikes bike along that minimal piece of land ferrying passengers. The rates are 700 per person in the monsoon, as opposed to around 450 during the season. Theelty actually drive on the gravel that lies between the rail track and the grass. In the monsoon the gravel and the pools of water make it quite a risky ride, but fun one though. I have never been in one, but felt it was risky seeing it from a distance.
- Road rash really!
- The evening sun is still chasing you
- The greens now have welcomed you to let you know that another paradise is ahead. Relax and Soak this moment! Goa in the monsoons lets you have moments like these! I felt like recommending Asian Paints, a new shade called 'Goa Wala Monsoon Green'
- If you follow the gushing of water amidst the greens, you would find a path going down below the bridge. Cross the little drain and be careful not to get pulled in by the current. Seems innocuous, but it is not.
- The place was so beautiful that it was worth putting a tent again and spend the night with nature. Can you spot a goods train rushing past us? This place was technically underground :-)
- The best thing is to sleep the night and feel how silence sounds like. The waterfall near the camp would be like a 'Musical Raaga' that would constantly keep chanting. All you need to do is to wake up in the morning and have a fresh dunk in the pool.
- Or play hide and seek with friends in the vegetation. I guess no one had ever been here to stay over. Felt like an explorer
- Meanwhile a few leeches had camped in our boots. Had to spend a morning trying to tell them that life's better in the pool than in my friend's smelly shoes. The 3 of us only camped, as the rest backed out, as they felt it was too spooky and walked back to find a room in Kulem. We decided to camp and trust nature and were amply rewarded with a beautiful night of conversations by the waterfall. Initially the fear of being in a forest started once it became dark, but as the night went by, we listened to music and calmed our nerves and once we were talking travel stories, we felt very comfortable.
- In the midst of nature, like the leaf the mind also blooms as it discovers tranquility and peace!
- Some never got enough of the mini waterfall in our midst. Our friends came back in the morning looking for us, and were enjoying to the hilt by bathing in the waterfall. I must tell you, that it feels like a mint massage in the waterfall, when you let the water hit your back!
- One final early morning shot before, we get on the rail trek, or maybe catch a goods train back to Kulem.
We ended up boarding the last coach of a goods train back to Kulem to end our trek. This is the best seat in the house! I wanted to be a station master or an engine driver in my childhood, because I could travel all over. Part of my dream fulfilled. The best things in life never cost money! Its all about the mind being free
- Kulem's Railway shed. This is where we are supposed to get off – civilization is near.
- We walked across to the platform to get to the town
- The platform is wet and slippery. We need to cross over to the Collem Village.
And while we get driven to civilization, we just reflect on how wonderful spending two days on a rail road trek at the height of the Goan monsoon was!