Offbeat Goa: Dudhsagar Plantation & Farmstay
The sound of chirping birds awakened us on a damp morning in Goa. Lazily walking outside on the verandah of our cottage, we witnessed the spice plantation bathing in warm sunlight. This was the beginning of our love affair with Goa’s spice estate. We had just spent a peaceful night in Goa’s best farm stay accommodation – Dudhsagar Plantation and Farmstay. The plantation also is the perfect hub to explore the surrounding forests of Bhagawan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary and some waterfalls in it such as the famous Dudhsagar falls and Tambdi Surla Temple & waterfalls. Opting to stay in Dudhsagar Plantation and Farm stay turned out to be a wise decision and in this review of the property we will make you believe the same.
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Stay at Dudhsagar Plantation and Farmstay – A review - This article
Location of Dudhsagar Plantation:
Dudhsagar Plantation, surrounded by forests of the Western Ghats, is a 30-acre estate that stands amidst the aroma of spice gardens. No matter how much we live in an urban city, our souls always lie in the countryside. Eager to ditch the city life for a few days and spend a peaceful time in a traditional manner made us choose this family-run farm stay in a typical village in Karmane district of Goa. It is around 50 kms to the east of Goa International airport on the edge of Mollem National Park which is now renamed as Bhagwan Mahaveer wildlife sanctuary.
The Dudhsagar Plantation Estate:
Doris and Ajit Malkarnekar started cultivating this estate into a spice plantation in the 1980’s. Today, it is run and managed by Ajit and his son Ashok. With swaying palm trees, lush green landscape, fruit-bearing trees, spices, medicinal plants, and an eco-friendly swimming pool, Dudhsagar Plantation is completely in sync with nature and is a paradise for nature lovers. The farm stay started in 2012, is nurturing local biodiversity by rainwater harvesting, converting waste to biogas and protecting the flora and fauna.
Our first impression of Dudhsagar Plantation:
The roads that lead to Dudhsagar Plantation are smooth and in excellent condition. As soon as we reached Dudhsagar Plantation, we were welcomed by the fragrant smell of the spices. The parking area followed the staff quarters and cowshed. We were warmly greeted by Ashok and his son Alex in the huge dining space. By just the first look of the property, we were assured that we made the right decision to come here. The dining space is huge with a thatched patio and lots of seating space. A bar designed on one end and music woofers complete the look.
As we were escorted to our room, we passed through plantation resembling a tropical forest with tall betel nut, palm and banana trees. Our cottage was spacious and simplistic with a double bed and a large washroom with adequate ventilation giving us a feeling of being close to nature. A huge verandah that opened in the front was great for a morning tea and a light snack. The 5 cottages were very well spaced apart to provide the privacy and feeling of oneness with nature. One of the cottage is a family cottage in case a larger group visits the place.
The Spice Tour in Dudhsagar Plantation:
In the evening, Ashok took us on one of the many farmstay activities – Spice Tour! Guiding us along the spice plantations in the spice garden, Ashok educated us about the different types of spices that were grown in this fertile land. We saw almost all kinds of spices like nutmeg, pepper, betel nut, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon; fruits trees like banana, pineapple, sapota, mango, papaya, butter fruit, passion fruit; the nitrogen-fixing plants and Goa’s famous cashew trees. We also happened to see an old well, a biogas plant, animals including pet dogs, cows and a porcupine while on the tour. The slurry from the biogas plant is further used as a fertilizer for the plants. Ashok explained to us how local alcohol – Kaju Feni (an alcoholic beverage made of cashew) is made at the in-house distillery. Spending his childhood in these estates, Ashok has tried to perfect his art of making Urak (beverage milder than Feni and made only in Goa). When we finally got to taste his in-house brew which he fondly calls Jungle Juice, we were reminded of the quaint bars in the small German towns.
Our fantastic host at Dudhsagar Plantation:
While cherishing the freshly cooked dinner, our host talked about how Goa has changed since the Portuguese left. Spending our free time in conversations with Ashok brought us closer to truly understanding the region’s complexities while enriching our journey with the rare tales of the Goan land. It was also interesting to know Ashok and his family, their global roots and goan hearts. Sipping on lemon tea post-dinner, Ashok helped us chart an itinerary for spending the next 2 days. Dudhsagar Plantation is a perfect base for visiting Dudhsagar Waterfalls and Tambdi Surla Temple and Tambdi Surla Waterfalls. Ashok and his son, Alex decided to accompany us to Tambdi Surla temple and falls the next day and to the Dudhsagar waterfalls on the day that followed.
We slept peacefully to the sound of croaking of frogs, the thundering of clouds, rustling of leaves, constant chirping of crickets, and pitter-patter of raindrops. The next day as we woke up, we could slowly see the jungle come alive with sunlight sneaking in through the tall trees, absolute peace being disturbed only by the singing of birds and the raw freshness of nature yielding a unique energy to the place. If only we could capture the experience in our cameras!
The Eco-Pool at Dudhsagar Plantation:
We spent our morning lazing around the eco pool overlooking the plantation. Ajit and Ashok have brilliantly grown water purifying aquatic plants towards the shallow end of the pool to keep the water clean and fresh all the time. They do not use chlorine or any other chemicals to clean the water in the pool. A dip in the pool was rejuvenating. Spending idle time and chatting around on the lounge chairs surrounding the pool was certainly the highlight of our trip. Even a tributary of Dudhsagar River flows by from behind the farm stay in which one can swim but due to the monsoon, the water was flowing with full force and hence we did not feel safe to dive into the deep water.
Tambdi Surla Waterfall and Temple near Dudhsagar Plantation:
Ashok drove us to the base of the trek to Tambdi Surla waterfall. He had trekked this route several times before and hence volunteered to be our guide. We are so grateful that he volunteered, else we would have certainly lost our way in the hills. While Ashok doubled up as our guide, Alex was our motivator. We haven’t met a kid as active, energetic and talkative as Alex. The total 5-hour trek seemed like a piece of cake to him. Moreover, as we were shooing away all the insects and reptiles that came our way on our trek through the jungle, Alex was making us feel ashamed by being so comfortable around nature, trying to catch the frogs and moving around with snails and woodlice in his hands. Tambdi Surla waterfall was stunning and we were able to spend a good amount of time near to it. Post the waterfall, we visited Tambdi Surla Temple which is believed to be one of the oldest temple in Goa. A quick worship, offering flowers to Shiv Linga, answering multiple questions that Alex had and we were back to Dudhsagar Plantation tired enough to enjoy a cup of tea. A day well spent!
Suggested read - You can read more about our experience while visiting Tambdi Surla Temple & Waterfall
Dudhsagar Waterfalls near Dudhsagar Plantation:
Knowing that we would need a guide for our visit to Dudhsagar Waterfall, Ashok made a few arrangements in the night and our guide was present the next morning to take us to Dudhsagar Falls along with other guests at the plantation. Since the jeep safari to Dudhsagar Falls was closed due to the monsoon, all of us staying at Dudhsagar Plantation decided to trek to the falls. Ashok and Alex accompanied us on this 22 km trek as well. Our guide, Sameer, took us through the forest, the rail track, and the jeep track to the base of Dudhsagar Falls. The trek was moderately difficult but we all were thrilled once we reached one of the highest waterfalls of India. Also exciting was to see a train run past the waterfalls right in front of it. Ashok also arranged lunch for all of us mid-way through the trek by requesting the villagers to cook us a meal. We were so tired by end of the day that we were thrilled we stayed so close to the starting point (Kulem) of the trek. Had we stayed close to the beach, it would have been excruciatingly painful to return after a physically tiring trek.
Suggested read - You can read more about our experience while visiting Dudhsagar Waterfalls
Food at Dudhsagar Plantation:
We were lucky to have all our meals at Dudhsagar Plantation. The food served was fresh, homely and very tasty with the right amount of spices. All meals were light on the stomach and gave a homely feel. We also had authentic cuisines like Goan paos (bread), ghee in place of butter, coconut and passion fruit dessert and avocado chutney. We learned from Ashok that before they started the farm stay, folks visiting Dudhsagar and Tambdi Surla used to stop by at the spice plantation for a one time meal. And now we know why they did! The dining area is also the hub of Dudhsagar plantation where we spent most of our time. It is a great place to hang out and meet other like-minded travelers and have conversations.
Other activities at Dudhsagar Plantation:
We regret that we did not have enough time at Dudhsagar Plantation to participate in other activities. Apart from the ones mentioned above (Spice tour, swim in Dudhsagar river, lazing in Eco-pool and trek to Dudhsagar Falls and Tambdi Surla temple & waterfall), the farm stay also offers activities like cashew picking. This happens in months from April to June. The picked cashews are then washed, taken to the distillery and brewed to produce Feni. Village exploration around Dudhsagar Plantation on a route mapped by Ashok is another activity that travelers must be interested in. Birders from Goa happen to visit the farm stay quite often to spot and click rare birds.
All in all, if you are looking for a home away from home and wish to spend some peaceful time with nature, then Dudhsagar Plantation is the place for you. Visit Dudhsagar Plantation and experience swimming in eco-pool, spotting butterflies and birds, walking through the nature trail, having a dip in the river, eating organic food, staying close to nature and an opportunity of meeting an amazing family. Note that the whole concept is to stay closer to raw nature and this means being okay with what the nature around you offers. If you are someone looking for luxury and room service, this may not be the place for you.
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Hope you liked Dudhsagar Plantation Farm Stay as much as we did and plan to stay here during your trip to Offbeat Goa. You can book them through booking.com or from their official website here. What do you think of Dudhsagar Plantation Farm Stay? Is it the type of place you were always longing for? Do let us know in comment section below.
Note: All opinions expressed in this blog are our own and not influenced by Dudhsagar Plantation in any manner.