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Published: August 11th 2015
Dudhsagar falls is among the tallest waterfalls in India and is said to be a visual treat. Thus, it had been in my travel list from quite some time (from my college days itself where it kept getting postponed). So this time around, when Vivek suggested that we go for it, I jumped at the opportunity to go there (though he had to back out). A few more people from my office joined me. Sulbha who always has issues finding company to travel with, surprisingly convinced her then flatmate Nidhi to accompany her. This was their first trek ever and little did they know that treks were not beds of roses.
We had registered for the trek through Hyderabad Adventure & Trekker's club (HATS) club and we reached the railway station at about 9 pm after having a heavy meal at a Gujarati restaurant (and making a few comments on Nikhil's heritage). We were given tents, instructions on how the trek would be and the dos and don't s. The train arrived a bit late and everyone got onto it eager to reach Castle Rock which is the starting point for the trek. We got to know the rest of
our trekkers including our own group as we were not familiar with everyone in our group. There was Yash2 ( Yash1 is the same old irritating Yash from my blog to Prashar :P ) who was Yuvraj's (colleague) talkative twin and Varun, Nidhi's friend whom I was not acquainted with before. None of us were feeling very sleepy initially, so we played Antakshari and talked about random topics for some time. Then one by one each of us fell asleep.
About 2 hours before we were supposed to reach our stop, Yash1 got up (He is very used to getting up early always or not sleeping at all being the universal DRI ;-) ) and started waking each of us up from our beauty sleep (Now you see why I called him irritating). I was thankfully at the top berth and just turned the other way and slept again. As we were about to reach our station, Nidhi got full excited and started applying her makeup (No comments). We then reached Castle Rock and got out to see that the sky had opened up (So much for the makeup). It was pouring pretty heavily and so quickly ran to
the station and waited for the rain to reduce. Some of Sulbha's friends who had come from Bangalore joined us there. The rain had reduced to a steady drizzle now and with our luggage and pep talk from our organizers in our arsenal, we started our trek. I was made the de facto trek lead for our group mainly to be given a nickname which I shall skip revealing (Perks of being the author).
The trek to Dudhsagar was a train trail trek. One should be sure to have good trekking shoes, else one's mid portion of foot would start hurting after a while because of the nature of the train tracks. Also, the sharp rocks between the rails do play a part in the discomfort. The trek does not have any steep ascents but its no walk in the park. That said it is not very tiring either just plain irritating (Its difficult to run too). Compound that with the rain continuously trying to keep us wet, it was a plain test of our resolve. But the whole path was breathtakingly beautiful with lush green trees and shrubs covering both our flanks. Along our way, we came across
a number of tunnels. On coming out of one of the initial ones we got a great view of the hill through which it passed and were led onto a bridge. With great excitement we took a number of photographs on the bridge. Anuvrat having got his brand new DSLR was automatically assigned the task of taking everyone's photos and made the official trek photographer. The rest of us had decent cameras, I, a Kodak digital cam, Nikhil, a mirrorless cam (it is also equivalent to a DSLR but looks like a digital camera), Sharat, a Lumia (I know its a phone but its camera is pretty awesome) and were more than happy to allow Anuvrat take the exalted position and cater to everyone's (you can guess whom I mean by everyone) whims and fantasies. Further ahead we came across a small stream of water falling with good force and creating a small waterfall. Few people went in to enjoy a dip there while the rest took a snack break. For the rest of the trek, we tried to pace ourselves so that we stayed near the guy carrying food stocks (We were after all typical bhukkads). Throughout the trek,
people kept asking the organizers how much further and the answer generally used to be just a few kms more.
After a number of "few kms more" which was actually about 15 - 17 kms we finally reached our destination by evening. The light had dimmed quite a bit but the water was rushing down in full throttle. The pouring of rain the whole day and previous few days had greatly helped in increasing its volume. The roar of the waterfall was deafening. But because of the low light and us standing on a bridge in front of it, we could not see its enormity clearly. The plan for the night was to setup our sleeping tents at the ends of the bridge where there was supposed to be free space. But there were so many trekkers who had come there that all that space was completely occupied. We found an abandoned house slightly higher up the bride beside the water fall and pitched our tents there. We got the space inside the house fortunately as it kept raining the whole night also and thus, we were better protected with a roof on top (The space crunch at the
bridge proved a blessing in disguise after all). Even with the roof a lot of water kept seeping into the tent at the entrance of the house which was facing the waterfall. We kept most of our luggage there and Nikhil decided to adjust and settle in that tent. All our bags, clothes, food were totally wet (With that amount of rainfall, even waterproof materials proved ineffective).
Throughout the trek we had been scaring Sulbha saying that there would be a lot of leeches but luckily we did not find many though it was the raining continuously and the ground was pretty wet (Perfect breeding spots for leeches). One had caught onto Sharat's foot which he realized only after checking in our tents. All of us frantically did the same and ensured none of us also had been lucky victims. Except for me, Sharat and one or two others, everyone in our group decided to sit in one tent and play games (Cards, word games etc.). For dinner, we had been given chappati rations in the morning and that had become all wet and cold due to the rain. Few people threw it away while few of us somehow
shoved it down our throats to reduce our hunger. Then, I and Sharat decided we needed to rest after the trek and so decided to try and sleep in our tent. It was an enormously difficult task though we were pretty tired as all our clothes were wet, the weather rainy and chilly and the space cramped. Still we somehow managed to get some sleep in intervals.
The next morning we got up to see the mighty Dudhsagar in full flow right in front of us. We were standing on verandah of the house and could feel the spray of water. As the name suggests (Dudhsagar means sea of milk), the white water was roaring and rushing with a tremendous force. The organizers told us that we had a choice of either directly heading back in a while or trek another km along the tracks to see the panoramic view of the waterfall from the opposite side. After having come this far and endured the brutal night, few of us (Sharat, Mayank2 from Bangalore, Yash1, Yash2, Nikhil and me) chose to complete the experience by trekking the final part. The rain had reduced and we passed through a few more tunnels. On reaching the opposite side, we were awestruck seeing the fabulous panoramic view of the falls. It felt much taller than what we had seen as the bottom portion had not been visible when we had been over the bridge. Also, as an icing on the cake, a train which had previously passed us on our way, passed over the bride in front of the waterfalls giving us the perfect imagery we had been hoping to see. Nikhil had decided to leave his camera at his tent and was now regretting his decision. After having marveled at the scenic beauty, we spent some time trying out creative shots on the railway track and with the falls in our background. We finally headed back and rejoined the group in time for breakfast. There was a building on the end of the bridge opposite to the falls where they sold poha and tea (We had missed this the previous evening as they had closed by the time we reached the falls) which we quickly consumed. Then a photo session later, all of us headed back to Dudhsagar train station (about a km from the falls) to wait for our train. While waiting for the train, we took a number of selfies with everyone in great mood now that we had managed to pass the previous night. Once on the train, we waited for Castle rock to arrive as we had to switch our bogie. With that done all of us settled down and waited for Londa station to arrive as we had a stopover for about 2 hours there. We forced Yash1 to go to sleep to get some peace and calm in our bogie. With that successfully achieved, I decided to read a murder mystery Varun had with him. By evening we reached Londa and as we had time for dinner before boarding our train to Hyderabad, we set out to explore Londa. While few of the people went to shop, rest of us stayed near a restaurant to wait for dinner (We were famished and were not keen on shopping). Once our dinner was done, we joined the rest of our group and headed back to the station and boarded the train to hyderabad. The night was pretty eventful with a lot of emotional drama happening. We had a lot of people in our group pouring out their souls wrt their desires and ambitions (We did take an oath that the sacred words spoken there would not leave the train). It turned out to be deep and philosophical which gave more insight into everyone's thoughts. Slowly each of us decided to sleep, some ecstatic that the experience was finally over and deciding never to go on a trek and some happy to have witnessed such a stunning nature's gift to mankind.
The overall trek in general was a pretty simple one. But if you just want to view the falls and skip the trek, you can do so by catching the train in the morning and coming back by the same train in the evening (Only one passenger train runs through that route and you must catch it in the evening). The whole area is totally devoid of the city culture and it proved to be a good time away from the normal city hustle bustle. With the rain the scenic view of the whole path of our trek was astounding though it made our trek irritating and our night chilly. June - October is the best time to visit because of the rains. The waterfall is pretty dry during summer and is not such a grand sight. Ensure everything you carry can be completely protected by rain (by protected I mean totally protected and not just waterproof bags). It is always fun to have a huge group of close friends in a trek and that again proved to be so in this trek. The only downside in such cases is that one generally tends to stick with the same group and does not interact much with the rest of the group.
Dudhsagar falls is surely a hidden gem completely isolated from the city and does justice to its name. It is a must for any waterfall and nature lover.
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