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Old 15th November 2009, 19:49   #1
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Lightbulb 'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.

A quick little travelogue :-) - This was not a 'Xing' drive, but a TT-trip & a weekend trek.

We started from Bangalore at around 8.30pm on the evening of 6th Nov 09 and came back into Bangalore at around 5.30am on the morning of Monday the 9th Nov 09.

Trip outline:

Trek to Dudhsagar falls:
We reached 'Castle Rock' by around 7.00am the Saturday 7th Nov 09; Freshened up, reached Castle Rock railway station by around 10.00am and started walking along the tracks towards Dudhsagar falls.

It was a 14km trek and we reached the falls by around 3.30pm.

Spent some time around the falls and walked back to Dudhsagar station to catch a train back to Castle rock.

Trek to Kavala Caves:
The next morning we headed towards a place called 'Kavala caves'; which are located on a hill-top in the forest near the Supa PowerStation.

There are two routes to the caves, the longer (3+ kms) but easier route which is used by most pilgrims. The guide took us via the shorter (1 km) old route which is a much steeper climb.

It was around 12.00 noon by the time we came back from the caves and drove back into Dandeli.

Water sports:
Our original plan was to go rafting on the Kali River, but luck wasn’t on our side and the dam authorities had not released water into the river that weekend. So no rafting :-(

Instead of just turning back, some of us wanted to try their hand at Kayaking and the rest of the evening was spent in the river close to the dam, paddling around in Kayaks and a safety raft.

We started back towards Blr at around 7.30pm, stopping only at Dharwad for dinner. After an almost non-stop drive, we entered Bangalore at around 5.30am, reached home by 7.00am, freshened up and headed to office to start off the week.


'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-dudhsagartriproute.gif

After an overnight journey, we reached Castle rock by around 7.00 am; since we had a 14km walk ahead of us, we tried to get as much sleep as possible; and dozed off for most of the night.

Castle rock is a quaint little place, close to the KA-GA border...

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Mr.Chandrashekar's friend, who happened to be the Manager of the Canara Bank in Castle rock, allowed us to use his quarters to freshen-up and even got breakfast arranged for us...

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Dumping all our excess baggage in the van, we headed towards Castle rock railway station and started walking along the tracks towards Dudhsagar...

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Remains of the old Castle rock station...

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The tracks wind their way up into the hills...

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The route is fairly busy with passenger and goods traffic. This was the Kacheguda-Vasco express...

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IIRC, there are around 11 tunnels enroute to Dudhsagar. The longest one is a little over 400 meters long. This was the first tunnel we passed through. Since it gets quite dark inside the longer tunnels, we had carried along torches with us...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-011.jpg

The first tunnel was quite short...

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Abandoned stations along the way...

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This tunnel, dating back to the British / Portuguese days, is built like a castle!

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The second tunnel was the longest one, at 409 meters...

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Even while we were in the tunnel, we heard a train coming in towards us. No problem though; there is enough space on both sides of the tunnel to stand aside and let the train pass. But it surely is a very noisy experience!

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There are small streams cross the tracks at several spots along the way...

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The water is quite clean, cold and refreshing!

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Some tunnels are concrete lined and those drilled through solid rock are left unlined...

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Along the way we came across these small falls alongside the tracks...

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A small break for a few mins!

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One of the several bridges along the route...

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Not sure what is the origin of the name 'Castle rock'; but this rock formation does resemble a Castle... could this be the reason?

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Crossing over to Goa!

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A funnel-web...

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More trains...

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Old 15th November 2009, 20:08   #2
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Lightbulb Trek to Dudhsagar falls and Kavala caves...

At several points along the track, there was maintenance work underway...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-031.jpg

The surroundings are quite green...

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Along the way, we came across this waterfall and stopped there for lunch break...

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Continued our walk post lunch...

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This tunnel has been carved through a huge solid rock...

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The unsung heroes of the Indian Railways, the lines-men walk several kilometers each day checking the track and taking care of the routine maintenance...

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A colorful insect...

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We reached Dudhsagar station by around 3.15pm; the falls are a couple of hundred meters from the station...

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The old Dudhsagar station...

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The last tunnel before the falls...

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Our first glimpse of the falls...

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The tracks cross the falls at the middle tier. This is the lower half of the falls, as seen from the tracks...

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The steps leading down to the pool of the middle tier...

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The middle tier of the falls...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-045.jpg

This pic shows what the fall would look like during peak monsoon season. (Image Courtesy: Wikipedia.com)

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-045adudhsagarwikipedia.jpg

A few trains slow-down or stop informally at the Dudhsagar station to pick up workers and visitors to the Dudhsagar falls. We got into the last train for the day, at around 5.30pm...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-046.jpg

Since this was a shoe-string budget trip; overnight stay was at a very basic resort, which served the purpose of providing a floor to sleep, a roof on top and a clean loo...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-047.jpg

The next morning we headed towards the Kavala caves, which are on a hill-top near the Supa PowerStation. The caves are frequented by pilgrims mainly during Shivaratri festival. Else they are quite secluded. There are two routes to the caves, the longer (3+ kms) but easier route which is used by most pilgrims and that route is properly paved. The guide took us via the shorter (1 km) old route which is a much steeper climb.

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-048.jpg

The trek follows a very scenic route through the forest, crossing a stream along the way...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-049.jpg

Though there are steps all along the way, they are overgrown with vegetation...

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The caves...

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The caves have been paved and a few small shrines have been built around the place. The floor is covered with bat droppings and the place stinks of guano...

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Inside the cave there are stalactites and stalagmites...

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The shivalinga is actually a huge stalagmite that will continue to grow slowly over the decades...

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There are also a couple of other caves, which are supposed to go quite a long way...

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A view of the river Kali in the valley below the caves...

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A bat hanging from the roof of the cave...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-059.jpg

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Old 15th November 2009, 20:15   #3
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What a hidden gem you have brought out!!!! Inspiting stuff..... awaiting more.

Remember, 20 years back when we went for our honeymoon, took a train from Mysore to Goa, took 24 hours to Vasco on Dec. 22nd. There was this one compartment which was full of honeymooners, compatment gets detached and attached to 3 different trains on the way, last one at Arisikare and goes over Doodsagar falls, have photos of it in an album somewhere!!!! Brings back lovely memories, thanks for starting the thread.

Wonder if that train runs now????

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Old 15th November 2009, 21:59   #4
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Lightbulb Dudhsagar Waterfalls & Kavala Caves Trek... Contd.

On the way back, we stopped for a while at a stream we had crossed on our way up...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-062.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-061.jpg

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As per our original plan to go rafting, we returned back to Dandeli, had lunch at a small place called 'Veerappa Khanavali' and reached the Jungle Lodges Kali adventure camp by around 2.00pm...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-064.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-065.jpg

Luck was not our side that day; and the dam authorities had not released water into the river that weekend. So white-water rafting had to be cancelled. We contemplated the other options available and some of the folks from the group decided to try their hand at kayaking instead.

Sangeetha and I decide to give the Kayaking a skip since we had recently done a lot of it during our Andaman trip.

It was a rather bumpy drive from the JLR center to the spot on the riverbank close to the dam where Kayaking could be done...

'Xing'ing around ! - Trainspotting at Dudhsagar.-066.jpg

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After a brief demo and safety instruction session, the guys went into the river, accompanied by a couple of instructors on the safety raft.

Sangeetha went along on the raft to paddle around a bit. I was content with lazing around on the riverbank…

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The folks paddled around for almost an hour and finally it was time to head back...

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One of the instructors gave a demo of some advanced Kayaking techniques, including the Eskimo roll...

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And some of the guys decided to jump into the river and swim back to shore...

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Returned back to the JLR center, had some tea & snacks and started our journey back to Bangalore by around 7.30pm, stopping at a Kamat's in Dharwad for dinner. The next stop was Bangalore!
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Old 15th November 2009, 22:35   #5
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Awesome! Never have I come across a travelogue as amazing as this before! Beautiful to the core. You'll soon have a PM asking for specific details... :-)
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Old 16th November 2009, 06:30   #6
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Hotstuff, tell you what, about 5 years, few of us friends decided to do the same Dodhsagar waterfalls by bike but it could never materialize due to some sudden office related issues. It never materialized till date.

Your pics just relived my dream. Awesome expereince all together.
BTW, How much distance did you walk on track?

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Old 16th November 2009, 07:02   #7
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You are always on a roll Sanjay. Great Stuff.
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Old 16th November 2009, 09:11   #8
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Thats amazing report hotstuff. You have great energy. Since last 5 years I am trying to execute the trip that area which is 100km away from my parents place, but could not get permission from my family yet. I hope to do it next year Although I am not interested in rafting but I love dudhsgaar and areas around Dandeli.

Castle rock name is because of lot of castle type rocks around that area mostly named by British. I heard Jungle lodge people conduct safari too in that area although animal spoting is limited. Rafting is famous activity there. Its advisible to visit that area before Feb end. (summer is hot) and avaoid rainy season. Best time to visit is october to feb so you visiting in perfect time.

Do trekking next time around Kali river around Kaiga-Ganesh Gudi-supa area although there might be security issue since that area has lot of reservoirs.

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Old 16th November 2009, 09:32   #9
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However, is it safe to walk thru train tunnels ?
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Old 16th November 2009, 09:39   #10
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Hotstuff. Your travelogues are truly hot and spicy. This one is truly good and am for sure adding it to my list. Nice shots and great narration. Excellent and keep it up. Wow!!
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Old 16th November 2009, 10:52   #11
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Really Hotstuff. I must appreciate both you and your wife for the kind of energy you are carrying to have such trips regularly. Trekking down the railway track towards Dudhsagar is an experience itself and must thank you for sharing this with such a wonderful travelogue. The photographs are great too.
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Old 16th November 2009, 11:07   #12
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Great. Very interesting. The images are mind blowing. Much appreciated.
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Old 16th November 2009, 11:19   #13
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Nice Travelogue. Always wanted to go to the Dudhsagar falls and your trip combines both my loves... Driving and Trekking together.

What is the best time to go? I heard it as December, but also was told that too many tourists come and it would be crowded. Is Jan a good time to go?
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Old 16th November 2009, 11:41   #14
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Good to see that you are at it again Sanjay ! As always, wonderful writeup and pics ! What was the distance of the trek from Castle Rock Station to Dudhsagar ? And are the tunnels wide enough to go through in case a train passes by when you are actually in the tunnel ?
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Old 16th November 2009, 12:43   #15
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Very nice travelogue. Really irresistible. It would have really been one hell of an adventurous trip. The snaps were awesome as well.
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