Thousands of people across the world have earmarked India’s “party capital” for its beaches, local shacks and unforgettable vibes. But if there was one thing that Goans regard as amchi Goa, it is the Mollem National Park.
Mollem National Part is formally named the Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park. This massive protected area in South India’s beloved Western Ghats is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna.
However, the coastal state recently woke up to devastating news. Part of Mollem National Park is bookmarked to be razed down for three developmental projects– one widened highway, one double-tracked railway line and one power transmission line.
As rightfully enraged Goans take to social media and placards to protest these schemes, this guide to natural sights in Mollem National Park hopes to further highlight just how precious this landscaped pocket is.
We’d best start off with one of Mollem’s more well-known offerings– the Dudhsagar falls. The four-tiered natural behemoth is named so because of the illusion of a “sea of milk” created by the rapid waters and spraying mist. Further along from the base of the waterfall, the water tames to become an inviting deep green pool, perfect to cool off after a long hike. Lifeguards are available, but we’d still recommend being cautious while swimming in the pool.
Good to know: Consider staying at the Dudhsagar Plantation to remain close to the waterfalls. The hosts of this South Goa plantation and farm stay know all the secret rock pools and hiking trails, so you won’t go wrong by chatting them up and signing up for a day-long hike.
Located bang on the Goa-Karnataka border, the Tambdi Surla Waterfalls might not be as famous as Dudhsagar, but we daresay you’ll find it a lot more fulfilling to visit. The waterfalls are a short but satisfying hike away from the Mahadeva Temple – which, by the way, often visited in tandem with the waterfalls. If you visit during the monsoons, you’ll see the waterfalls in all their glory– a cascading flow surrounded by near-opaque mist against a lush green backdrop.
Good to know: The waterfalls are located in the heart of a lush forested area accessible via tough jungle trails, so you’ll want to put on your hiking boots and take a local guide along.
We’d wager that stumbling upon this stunning 12th-century temple during your trek would feel quite like Indiana Jones coming face to face with a long-lost ruin, but without the curses and doom. Dedicated to Lord Mahadev, the Tambdi Surla Temple is a historic work of art, featuring Ashtoken lotus carvings resonant of the Kadamban period it dates back to. The temple is the only one to have survived waves of religious intolerance and the Goa Inquisition.
Good to know: The temple is frequented by devotees, so consider visiting earlier in the day to avoid any crowds or disturbing prayers.
You’ll find that the Devil’s Canyon is quite as eerie as its name. It’s even more so when you tack on the local lore associated with it– in short, a devil, a fisherman and a curse upon the area. This rocky canyon comes at the end of a long-winding hike through Mollem, quite close to the Dudhsagar Falls. The perennial path of the Dudhsagar River naturally formed this canyon; at one point, you’ll find a rocky little pool that makes for a picturesque place to catch your breath. Past hikers have expressed that Devil’s Canyon is quite unlike anything you’d expect from Goa. We’d wager this has everything to do with the local legend and the strange rock formations!
Good to know: The currents are strong and dangerous, so visitors aren’t allowed to swim.
These natural sights are under threat due to the proposed expansions in Mollem National Park. So are countless other natural hotspots that are critical to the survival of native flora and fauna.
However, the citizen movement shows no signs of backing down. We urge you to add your voice to the chorus by signing the petition and following frontline activists such as Gabriella D’Cruz, Amche Mollem and Act for Goa to keep yourselves updated.
Featured image by: Holiday Photographer