Aug 1, 2023
When most of us think about a Goa, what comes to our mind is beautiful beaches, churches, temples, cruises, casinos, and some might think about liquor or fenny. Goa, a tiny land on the west coast of India which still has a footprint of Portuguese lifestyle and architecture. Many of us had explored and would prefer to explore beautiful beaches, churches, temples etc of Goa.
But there are few unexplored places in Goa particularly the waterfalls which flows abundantly in the monsoon season. As I venture another trek plan with Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI), this time I opt in for Goa Monsoon trek. Many of us have heard about Doodhsager waterfalls, but there are hundreds of waterfalls which can be explored in the monsoon season. So, I register for around 5 days Goa Monsoon trek. With a required set of accessories, I get into Mangalore-Madgaon passenger with a dilemma as meteorological department gave red alert due to heavy rainfalls in Goa and Karnataka. Before getting into the train, I got drenched due to heavy rains but I solace myself thinking that it is acclimatization phase.
On the way to Madgaon, I see abundant beauty of nature. Everywhere farms turned into green colour, mainly paddy fields. Trees looked fresher as if they had taken bath and waiting for the sun so that they could dry themselves. First 4-5 hours I try to be myself, but then conversation starts with a co-passenger as train was getting delayed.
As my fellow traveller was also a solo traveller, we talk about the different places we have visited in the past. So, our conversation becomes more interesting. Now due to rains, as usual trains are delayed. I was supposed to report in a Youth Hostel, Panjim, but due to delayed schedule instead of reporting to the Youth Hostel, I was picked on the way in Panjim to transit to the base camp.
Now little about this Monsoon trek, this trek was started in 2013 with single batch. Due huge demand, same trek is now conducted in more than 6-7 batches every year ranging from 50 to 90 participants in each batch. A monsoon trek base camp which is situated at Dongurli, taluq- Sattari and is about 50 km from Panjim. We reached our base camp of about 2 hours of journey.
We were allotted separate dormitories for ladies and gents. Our base camp building was part of Panchayat office building. After completing the registration process, we were handed over mat, plate, and mug.
As we settled down, we heard a whistle, that means tea and snacks were ready. We assembled at tea point, where I could hear various languages like Marathi, Kannada, Tamil & Hindi. So, I guessed as usual there are majority participants are from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and some from various south and North Indian states. I tried to exchange smile with some of them. After having evening snacks, along with my friend I went for a stroll.
Since it was raining like dogs and cats, the temperature had come down, which had made weather very pleasant. Colour of plants and trees became greener and were very much soothing to eyes. In front of base camp there was a huge playground where every evening boys play football. Some cows were grazing on the same ground from morning till evening.
Around 8 o’clock dinner was ready. Usually all youth hostel programs, vegetarian food is served, but I think this is the only track where the non-veg is served by considering the authentic Goan cuisine. After dinner there was orientation program, where instructions and detail itinerary of the next 4 days trek was given. Our camp leaders and local guides were introduced to us who were with us for the next 4 days.
Group leader, Culture leader and environment leader were also selected amongst us. Our Environment leader young Aditi along with other co-trekkers took initiative to collect garbage from various trekking points on next 4 days. All waterfalls which we visited; we saw lots of plastic items were left by tourist. All the four days some of the co-trekkers had collected n number of bags of garbage and handed over to concerned person for disposal. On some days we tried to educate tourists telling them to bring back litter from waterfalls which they carried with them like bottles, snacks wrappers etc. After orientation program, most of us retired to bed early as all of them had travelled from various parts covering distance of hundreds of kilometres.
Next day morning we were served morning tea around 6am.By 7:30 Am were served with Poha and broken wheat sweet. In all treks usually heavy breakfast is provided and for lunch usually poori-bhaji or roti-bhaji is provided. In next 4 days we had chance to taste various Goan cuisines like Various types of laddus, ‘Mangane-Goan style sweet khir’,’Uddamethi- Goan raw mango curry’ etc.
After having breakfast, we started day-1 trek. We had taken our packed lunch, water bottle, some of us carried raincoat/umbrella but many opted to get drenched in rain shower. We started our trek to Hivrem budurk. The climb was moderate, and we trekked around 10 km. Rain was pouring heavily. Here we visited 2 waterfalls first one was Jaricha falls. This waterfall had enough space to accommodate people. When we visited this place, it was a weekday, so we couldn’t see any public crowd. A lot of photography was done. By 4 Pm we reached back to the base camp where garam vada-pav and tea was waiting for us. Getting unlimited hot vada-pav in rainy season is a blessing. By the end of the day, we got acquainted with some co-trekkers. Though trekkers were from various age groups ranging from 20-65.Here age hardly made any difference, what was binding us together was a passion for nature and adventure. Around 8pm we were served hot dinner. Soon after dinner we all gathered to share our experience and to know about the next day itinerary. People from different states performed cultural activities like singing songs, dance etc. One of our co-trekkers was amazing flutist, so enjoyed some songs played on flute. Some people retired to bed early while some spent time singing songs on karaoke, playing carom, cards.
The next day we were ready by 7.30 after having breakfast and we started our trek to visit Pali waterfalls. Here we had to cross 2 big water streams. Water was flowing in force, so we made human chain to cross the streams. Our group leader Kaustubh and local guide Appa told us how to cross the streams in the heavy water flow. In one of the Pali waterfalls, there is the big dome shaped stone which looks like Shiv-ling and water continuously falls on this, so this waterfall is also called as Shiv-Ling waterfalls. On the way we enjoyed wild-berries. Also I could see everywhere chagatte/Tajank leaves which reminded me of local treks in Dakshina Kannada. We trekked around 12 kms to visit these 2 water- falls. On the way back to base camp, we saw some local people were getting ready for Ganapati festival. Making Ganapathi idol work was in progress. We stopped for a while there and chatted with them to know more about their work.
On the third day we visited 4 waterfall 2 each from Sherpe and Naneli village. These water falls also called as ‘Sulsulo’ which means slippery. We were given special instruction while venturing these waterfalls, still some co-trekkers slipped. Here trek distance was quite more where we trekked around 16kms to cover 4 waterfalls and some 18kms who missed the road like me and landed in covering 2 more kms. By the time we reached camp site, ‘spicy bhel’ was waiting for us. Most of us were very hungry after trekking around 16 kms, so people enjoyed bhel.
On the last day we visited Chirvane village to explore 2 more waterfalls. We found each day waterfalls and trails were unique. A different experience on each day. All these waterfalls provided a breathtaking view of lush green forest along with the gushing flow of the river. We enjoyed these waterfalls at our best. One of our co-trekkers had got lots of sweets and Namkins/snacks from his shop. Every day we got some prasad of various mouth-watering snacks like kachori, dry-fruit laddos, Wheat flakes etc.
After making so many friends, it is little difficult situation when you start a back journey. As trekking has many benefits like improved physical fitness, reduced stress, and social benefits too. Here we meet people from various professions, it helps us to know more about various general topics. We met two personnel from Railway Protection Force (RPF), from them we hear very interesting stories about how passengers gets drugged and looted and how we have to be careful with co-passengers.
Though I am not a dog lover, but this time I trekked most of the time with Jimmy(Name given by me) who trekked all 4 days entire trails , She use to come with us every day morning and use to return back to base camp with us.
As per itinerary, all the trekking participants dropped back to Youth Hostel Panjim, but I opted to depart from base camp- Dongurli to reach Madgaon. I boarded Netravathi express with lots of wonderful life-time memories, learning new recipes and games, making many new friends, tanned skin, lots of shoe-bites and a day dreaming about next trek plan…