Friday, September 04, 2009

Mollem National Park - Goa's wild side

An event of days gone by...last December during my solo all india motorcycle journey...

As I was riding on NH4A towards Mollem in the Sanguem Taluk of Goa, I was wondering if I was riding towards a national park or was it a bustling industrial town. Instead of the surroundings becoming clean and green, it became red and dirty. A lot of dumper trucks were lined up on the highway each covered in red mud. Only when I reached Mollem did I find out that Mollem National Park is rich in manganese ore and thus a rampant mining operation. I cannot still understand how the Indian Forest Department allowed this to happen.

Mollem National Park is situated on the forested slopes of the Western Ghats close to the eastern border of Goa and Karnataka. Though not abundant in wildlife, this place sure looks pretty in its own way, though a bit too commercialized for my liking, thanks to the roaring Goan winter tourist season.

I had three places on my agenda: Dudhsagar Falls, Devil's canyon and Lord Mahadeva Temple at Tamdi Surla. Dudhsagar or "sea of milk" waterfalls is Goa's highest and largest falls that cascade down 306m. Taxi operators charge a steep fee for the short and bumpy ride to the falls. But, since motorcycles weren't allowed inside the sanctuary, I had no other option but to pay the steep fee. Fenny (cashew nut liquor) is like the patent drink here and all tourists seem to be buying this in huge numbers in spite of the fact that your mouth stinks for 48 hours after having fenny. As I entered the premises of the Dudhsagar falls, I saw a board which warned tourists of the ill effects of feeding monkeys, which are abundant there. But, as is the case with tourists, they ignored this sign, and fed bananas and ground nuts to the monkeys. Little do they know that over-feeding is one of the main reasons these monkeys meet their end. A short trek took me to Dudhsagar falls and the view that was presented to my eyes sure stunned me. It looked like milk was falling from above and formed a nice and deep swimming pool. This place was swarming with tourists especially Russians who have marked Goa as Russia's tourist hotspot. After a 2 hour stay at the Dudhsagar falls, I was dropped near Devil's canyon by the jeep driver. I made my way to an eerie looking zigzag rock formation with underground passages, through which the waters of the Dudhsagar river flows and is home to many suicidal and accidental deaths.

Post this, I trekked my way back to my motorcycle through a couple of knee deep streams and took the road that led to me to the 13th century Mahadeva temple at Tambdi Surla, built by the Goa-Kadamba dynasty. Located in peaceful surroundings, amidst serene picturesque Anmod ghats with lush green background, this temple complex has been well maintained by the Archaeological Society of India. This temple, built of basalt, consists of garbhagriha, antarala, and a pillared nandi mandapa. The main entrance of the garbhagriha suggests strong influence of the hoysala art. It is said that this temple bears a remarkable resemblance to the Kalleshwara temple at Balambi or Dharwad district and the jain temple at Belgaum.

Overall, a pleasant experience for me with goa's wild side! It was time for me to move on to my next destination...

To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist's lens, visit the album below.
my solo all-india motorcycle journey

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