At 1,017 feet (310 meters), Dudhsagar Falls is among the tallest waterfalls in India. At the base of the four-tiered falls is a huge swimming area—that’s as as far as most travelers go. A railway bridge crosses right under the falls, and if you happen to visit when a train is passing by you're sure to get some great photos.
Dudhsagar means “sea of milk,” and although legend has it that the falls were formed when a bathing princess poured a jug of milk out, it's more likely that the falls got their name from the white color that forms as they plume down to the ground. Hiking up to the falls is popular but dangerous, so if you’re planning to go beyond the swimming area at the base, you’re better off embarking on that adventure with a guide.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you plan to hike up to the top of the falls, be sure to wear solid footwear—the trail can be slippery.
- The falls gets a lot of domestic visitors, and women should consider wearing covering their swimsuits out of respect for local modesty customs.
- The falls isn’t suitable for people for wheelchairs or others with limited mobility.
How to Get There
Dudhsagar Falls sit on the border of Goa and Karnataka, about a two-hour drive inland from Panaji, to the northwest of the falls, and Palolem, to the southwest. Although the roads are accessible by motorbike, travelers may find it easier to visit by taxi or as part of an organized tour. Sonalium Railway Station is a short jaunt from the falls, but trains aren’t allowed to stop there due to a lack of facilities (or even a platform).
When to Get There
The monsoon season in Goa, which can start as early as June and go through September, fills the falls with water and has the potential to washing out the roads and paths leading up to them. Therefore, the best time to visit is in October or November, right after the monsoon season but when water levels are still high.
Hiking in Goa
Hiking—called trekking in India, even if it's just a short jaunt—is a popular activity among domestic and international visitors alike. Most head up to the northern regions and the Himalayan foothills, but Goa and South India offer a fair few long-distance hikes of their own. The Dudhsagar trek, for instance, involves a mix of gravel roads and railway tracks. Other popular trekking areas include the surrounding Mollem National Park and the Krishnapur Canyon near the border with Maharashtra.