We had booked a taxi to take us from Anjuna to Dudhsagar waterfalls on the Mandovi River at the borders of Karnataka and Goa. It falls over a thousand feet in multi tiered falls ending in a pool at the bottom where you can swim.
It was about a 2 hour drive and when we got there it was very crowded and after 20 minutes during which one of the straps on my brand new sandals snapped the driver came over and said it was too busy and if we popped down the road to the spice farm its should ov quietened down by the time we returned. I don’t do crowds so we climbed back into the taxi and headed back towards the spice farm we had passed earlier.
The spice farm visit was not too exciting unless you are into that thing. Your not actually taken around the farm but a kind of garden they keep to display the plants for visitors. Plenty of banana trees and palm trees provide shade. Lunch is included for the price and a brief dance by local girls but I did not catch what the dance was supposed to represent.
We left the spice farm and noticed by the gates elephant rides were on offer. Well its on my bucket list so why not while we were there. We paid 500 rupees which seemed a bit expensive but we heard the next visitor paying the same so I presume we did not get cheated. It was quite exciting climbing on top of the elephant. One of the guys had taken our cameras and took plenty of pics as we wobbled along. I did notice that he seemed to control the Elephant by poking sticks into the top of its head which made me feel uncomfortable let alone the poor animal. We finished our tour of the field then came back had a couple o more photos taken then got our cameras back. I finally took a proper look at the elephant. There were mottled patches on its skin a bit like chocolate will go sometimes, the seat was held on by very narrow nylon ropes for the job and round its ankles were chains. I could maybe understand chaining the animal up on a night so he doesn’t wander off and cause damage but why keep the chains round the ankles during the day. Not nice. Regretting the ride we returned to the taxi and back towards the start of the waterfall trip.
The crowds had gone down so no problem there. Straight away my other sandal broke so that was going to be a nuisance but never mind I had gone bare foot before so no worries. You are organised into groups of six because thats how many fit in a jeep, so me and my mate joined our crew of some Indian lads who seemed really friendly and up for a laugh.
The first 40 minutes are taken up by a jeep ride through rivers along dirt track and as far as the jeeps can go then its a further walk to the base of the falls themselves. The jeep ride is almost worth the trip alone. Going deep across rivers with water rushing in and a quick grab for the bags with the cameras in to get them off the floor. At one point the jeeps were getting stuck so we were in a cue as the vehicles were having to be pushed out of the river and onto the far bank with a cheer.
Eventually it was our turn and with our troop shouting wildly he managed to cross without getting stuck. Cheers erupted from our jeep like kids at a football match. Finally we got as far as we could and had to walk the rest. I abandoned my sandals and decided to go bare foot. It was a good 25 minute walk, through fast flowing rivers and streams, climbing over rocks and with a back log of people at difficult spots.
At one of these spots I noticed some young fellows taking a short cut by jumping down onto a big rock in the river about 6 ft down. Me and Pete went to have a look. Its wasn’t too far I was sure and if they could do it we could surely. I looked judge the distance took two steps back and took a tremendous and if I must say rather heroic leap. I landed with a wet slapping sound and a slight crunch. No sandals. I had totally forgot and had landed all 13.5 stone of me from 6ft onto solid rock in my bare feet the pain was crippling at first. I slowly stood up. Looked toward Pete for moral support. “I’m going around” he said and walked off.
The rest of the trail consisted of me hobbling like an old witch but it was worth it when you get to the falls. They just seem to go up and up and the crashing of the water as it hits the pool at the bottom is tremendous. Half way up they have constructed a railway bridge going across the falls. I could just make out people on it from my position. The view from there must of been brilliant. Everyone went for a swim in the pool which was beautifully chilled after the walk through the jungle to get there. Eventually it was time to hobble back to the jeep and return back through the rivers back to our waiting taxi. We said goodbye to our new friends and returned home. I had lost all the hard skin of my feet from years of walking in boots and there was a certain sandal seller I wanted to have a few words with.