The majesty and grace of a waterfall is a sight that we never tire of seeing. The happy gush and flow as it hurls itself gaily off the cliff, inspires us with awe and wonder. The waters blissful rush and graceful fall before it gleefully pounds into the rocks below enthrals the senses. Most especially, when a waterfall is set amongst the rolling green slopes in an area lush with forests and awash with history and form a lake that tempts swimmers to take a cooling dip, it becomes an essential site to see on everyone’s list.
The Arvalem waterfall, with a height of just 50m and a width of 7m, is a popular tourist spot and picnic location in Goa, especially during the monsoon season, when the falls are a gushing torrent hurtling madly into the lake below. Although it is not as imposing a sight as the famous Dudhsagar falls, it is less strenuous and easier to get to than the Dudhsagar falls, making it the perfect choice for a fun trip with family and friends.
Where to Go
The Arvalem falls, also known as the Harvalem falls, are located near Mapusa in North Goa. The closest villages are Bicholim, which is 8km away and Sanquelim which is 2km away. Transport is available from Panaji and Mapusa to reach the falls.
When to Go
The Harvalem falls are at their zenith during the monsoon season when the influx of water from the rains makes their outpouring full and majestic. Right after the monsoon season is also a good time to visit.
During the winter and summer months however, the falls themselves dry up to just a silvery trickle, but the lake that forms at the bottom of the falls is a popular watering hole for veteran swimmers.
What to See
The falls themselves are in beautiful and majestic surroundings with the hilly slopes being coated in the verdant greenery, so characteristic of the Goan forests. The government has built and maintained a park near the waterfall. This is a great place to enjoy a serene look at the falls or to stop for a picnic.
The old arched bridge which lays a little way away from the falls is a great place to walk along to get a good view of the falls, and is also a photographer’s dream. The area surrounding the falls is also popular for its other attractions. Close by lies the famous Mayem lake, just a little way away from Bicholim.
Within walking distance of the falls lie the Arvalem rock cut caves which are believed to have been either carved by Buddhist monks or to be the place where the Pandavas took refuge for a while during their 12 year exile, or both.
The Rudreshwar temple too is within easy walking distance of the falls. The stone steps that lead up to the temple are to one side of the waterfall, with the bridge being on the other side.
Those who enjoy more adventurous pursuits can even combine a visit to the falls with a white water rafting trip which starts at Valpoi, a village which lies just 13km (approx. 20 mins by road) away from the Arvalem waterfall.
This area is steeped in a rich history which reaches back, through the annals of time to the 6th century, which is believed to have been the time when the rock cut caves were created.
In more recent times, the area gained notoriety for being the place that the Rajput mercenaries were settled by the British colonial government. These mercenaries, known as ‘Ranes’, were sent to live here around the year 1700.
This was also the site of their revolt in the 19th century.
Going to the falls makes an exciting and educational day trip for the entire family. The spot is also popular with picnickers, swimmers and archaeological and history buffs. It’s an especially great activity for those who find themselves in Goa during the monsoon season.