BEHAVE! at this Waterfall and Cave (Harvalem)
Waterfalls are one of the top attractions of nature be it any part of the world. Higher the fall, further the safe zone to experience the beauty. With large volume of water crashing at the foot you could easily be swept away before you know it. This is the very reason I prefer seasonal waterfalls that peak in the monsoons and last just a couple of weeks. The view is scenic, water isn't too rough to get into and the location is usually secluded and known only to the locals. However, there is one waterfall in Goa where the intensity is borderline dangerous in the monsoons and gets gentle until it reduces to a trickle in the Summers. It was a perennial waterfall about a decade ago but the volume of water has been reducing ever since.
Goa had a huge mining operations for several decades where the water used for the mines were diverted from nearby streams and the excess was channeled back. The Locals believe that once the mining had been disrupted, the cycle has been broken. Water isn't sufficient to keep the waterfall alive throughout the year. The flow is voluptuous during the monsoons. So much so that it creates a mist around a radius of 15 meters. It's refreshing to stand against the Misty breeze.
The name Harvalem is believed to have been derived from Har- Halli where Har is a reference to Lord Shiva. There is a Temple just beside the waterfall dedicated to Lord Rudreshwar and the image of the deity is found facing the fall. The most popular time is during the festival of Mahashivaratri where devotees flock to pay their respects. In addition to the festival, the Hindu community perform the last rites for the recently departed here. This is the primary reason why one MUST NOT SWIM HERE. Unless of course you have a fantasy of getting coated with mortal remains and flowers... EWW!
It is a beautiful spot for photography. The best angles for a perfect shot can be accessed with ease. One could spend typically half an hour to an hour to have a look at the place. The road to the location ends about 50 meters from the actual fall. You can see the temple from the parking area. This spot isn't commercialized so the entrance is free. Timings are according to the temple which is 9-5 Pm but isn't strictly followed. Ideally visit during the day. Remember that there aren't any good shops for food or snacks nearby. So, grab your fill on the main road which is about a kilometer away.
While you are on your way to the waterfall, make a pit stop at the Arvalem Caves which you will see by the road. These laterite caves are simple in design cut into the hill. Believed to originated from the 6th century, due to the 5 caves legend suggests a link with the Pandava brothers during their time in exile. This spot is good for photographers to take their pictures back several centuries. You might want to spend about 15 minutes just exploring the caves. Not spectacular but worth a stop for a few minutes.