If British super-spy James Bond comes visiting at the Dudh Sagar waterfall, he had better take care of some do's and don'ts. Local people regard it as a guardian spirit.
The crew of "Bond 23", which is on the floors and will star Daniel Craig, has shortlisted Dudh Sagar as one of the locations for their January to March shooting schedule along with another location in Gujarat.
But sociologists and social historians say the waterfall Dudh Sagar, literally translated as 'Sea of Milk', is regarded as a fear-invoking deity, whom the villagers of nearby villages call 'Rakhno Dev' (protector god) and unfailingly pay obeisance to.
The waterfall, which comes thundering down a few hundred metres into a basin barely kissing a railway arch bridge, is located deep in the Western ghats, 70 km from here.
Prajal Sakhardande, a leading social historian from Goa, told IANS, "The Dudh Sagar is a guardian spirit for the villagers of Collem. People worship it in awe."
He said a temple has also been built in its honour a short distance away.
"You are not supposed to spit when you are near the waterfall or throw non-vegetarian food into the water or shout and scream loudly. All these things are taboo at the waterfall site."
Sakhardande said these are factors that the "Bond 23" crew might have to consider, if they finally choose India's sixth highest waterfall as a shooting location for their January-March 2012 schedule.
The alternative shooting locale for the stunt sequence, which reportedly involves the 'blonde Bond' Daniel Craig jumping off the train with the waterfall in the backdrop, is in Gujarat.
"The villagers of Collem (a nearby village) regard the Dudh Sagar waterfall as god itself. The waterfall, because of its sheer size and because of the fact that it provides them with water all year round, is for them a deity, whom they worship and treat with awe," sociologist Bernadette Gomes said.
Villagers say several families annually slaughter roosters as an offering to the 'Dudh Sagar Deo', seeking his protection against any potential evil.
"The sacrifice happens at the Dudh Sagar temple located a short distance from the waterfall. It is an old, old custom, which most families observe, either when they want a favour from the 'rakhno', or when they feel some trouble is plaguing them," said a local resident of Collem, who did not want to be identified.
The authorities in Goa earlier this month confirmed an interest expressed by the Bond production team for shooting a sequence for the forthcoming film at Dudh Sagar.
"They have shortlisted Dudh Sagar as one of the locations for their January to March shooting schedule along with another location in Gujarat," said Manoj Srivastava, CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), which issues permission for film shoots in the state.