Its been close to couple of years since I went out on a solo trip. A 4 day holiday during the Republic Day weekend served up as a perfect opportunity to let the solo travel bug bite again. 🙂 I had decided to visit the coastal district of Karnataka – Udupi this time. Udupi is famous for its Krishna Temple, sea Port at Malpe, various art, culture and sporting events such as Yakshagana, Kambala, Hulivesha. Udupi is also home to one of the largest universities of the country – Manipal University and also boasts of some of the most beautiful beaches in the state.
Travelling overnight through State Bus Transport services, I reached Udupi by 7.30 AM and headed straight to Hotel Century Executive where I had booked a 2 night stay in advance. Freshening up, I headed directly to the Krishna Temple. Being a long holiday, there was quite a rush at the temple. It would have required to possibly wait in the queue for 3-4 hours to gain an entry. Not keen to wait for such a long time, I moved ahead to collect a rented 2 wheeler which I had pre-booked with Royal Brothers. Having a rented self-drive vehicle is always convenient when you want to explore places at your own leisure. The next stop was at Malpe port where one can see hundreds of ships docked up after returning from catching the early morning fish in the sea. The place is very busy with vendors lined up everywhere to sell their prized catch. Heading ahead to the ferry point, I boarded a ferry to visit the St.Mary’s Island.
Crabs, plenty of them at St.Mary’s Island
Clear waters at St.Mary’s Island
The St. Mary’s island is famous for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava. The islands form one of the four geological monuments in Karnataka and is considered an important site for “Geo Tourism”. The islands provide a great panoramic view of beautiful beach dotting the clear waters and tall coconut trees in abundance. Spending close to an hour photographing the various formations and landscape, I headed back to the Ferry point.
From the ferry point as I was heading to the Malpe beach, I came across a stretch of beach which was flocked by various birds. Grey herons and egrets were seen in abundance lined up along the edge of sea waters.
Capturing some more snaps, I intended to head to the Malpe Beach. However the late noon heat was quite intense. So I decided to visit the beach later in the evening and headed back to the hotel to catch a quick afternoon nap. Refreshed after the nap, I had a change of plans and decided to ride to the Kapu Beach instead. The beach is located about 15 kms from Udupi and it takes about 20 mins to reach. The beach as expected offers a beautiful seashore view and is famous for the light house. Visitors can even go to the top of the lighthouse to have an even better panoramic view. The stairs to the top get narrower as you ascend and is virtually like a ladder at the summit. The beach was a fantastic place to capture photographs with rock formations jetting out along the borders.
I eagerly waited for the sunset here, but was unlucky as the evening became quite cloudy and soon enough there was a slight drizzle to cool down the temperature. After having some chats along the beach, I returned to Udupi to visit the temple again. However, the crowd was no less than it was in the morning. Again, not willing to wait for long hours in the queue, I headed to have my dinner in the temple instead. The temple serves lunch and dinner free of cost for all visitors. The food is served very methodically and even though it doesn’t boast of variety, it is very delicious to savor. The food is also considered as prasadam by devotees. After having dinner at the temple, I headed out to explore the local night life on foot. Not finding anything interesting, I headed back to the hotel and slept though the night.
The next morning, I was surprised to know that the hotel provided complimentary breakfast. This was not informed to me initially and thus had missed using the services on the first day. Upon request, the hotel executives offered to provide complimentary breakfast for the next day (3rd day of the trip) despite checking out early at 8 AM. The breakfast included a buffet of South Indian dishes and was not limited to just 1-2 servings. Having a brunch here, I headed out to visit Kundapur. En-route Kundapur, I came across couple of beaches which are virtually hidden from commercialization. The first beach on the way – Kota Padukere Beach, located about 24 kms from Udupi had no trace of humans and was completely occupied by birds and crabs. The beach waters were unpolluted and were abundant in fishes. One can see hoards of kites, seagulls, egrets, herons and other birds catching fishes here.
Basking in the Sun
Heading further, the next beach in the stretch was the Beejadi Beach. This beach was quite similar to Kota Padukere Beach in terms of absence of humans but was different in presenting a different view as it was adorned by coconut groves along the long border. Nothing much to see or photograph here, heading along I reached Kundapur by noon and had some tender coconut water to re-hydrate myself. Just after Kundapur and before Marvanthe, one must visit the Trasi beach. You get a deviation just after the Cafe Coffee Day to head to the beach. This beach is a perfect location to take photos. There are huge rocks close to the edge and are occupied by hundreds of seagulls. Without much thoughts, I immediately set about capturing lots of snaps of the birds. Here there was a moment of excitement too. As the birds were peacefully sitting on the rock, out of nowhere, a huge brahminy kite swooped in, chasing a seagull and flying away holding the bird in its mighty talons. It all happened in a matter of 4-5 seconds, too fast to capture on my camera but enough to register the scene in my mind 🙂 The whole place was filled with commotion now, as the seagulls were scared and in panic mode having seen one of their partners being chased and killed. After a chaotic frenzy of few minutes, the birds settled down back on the rock but this time with a lot of chattering.
Searching for fish
Seagulls on the rock
Seagulls on the rock
Commotion after being chased by a kite
Returning to the Cafe Coffee Day, I had a light snack and proceeded to visit the Marvanthe Beach. I had heard a lot about the beautiful view at Marvanthe Beach where the National Highway 66 runs next to the beach and the Suparnika River flows on the other side of the road. This presents a beautiful scenery probably never seen elsewhere in the country. I was hoping to get some beautiful snaps captured here. To my disappointment, there is a massive flyover being constructed at this place. The flyover and its construction completely blocks the view of the river 🙁 . The photo below shows how the view was earlier (Photo Source: Wikipedia)
People are no longer permitted to enter the beach here and one can visit the Turtle-Bay resort just before the flyover starts if he/she intends to get into the waters. The beach here is a private beach and is accessible only to the visitors of the resort. Not interested in going to the resort, I continued along for few more kilometers before deciding to ride back to the hotel in Udupi. Reaching Udupi late noon, I again had a quick nap of an hour before going to most famous beach in the district, Malpe beach.
Malpe Beach is located just 5 kms from Udupi and is also easily accessible with frequent buses and autos plying to and from the beach. I reached the beach in about 5-10 mins. As can be expected with the proximity to the city, this beach was quite crowded. There are also quite a large number of stalls alongside the beaches for people who wish to taste some sea food or have some chats. The beach itself is abuzz with various water sports available. One can also take the ferry to St.Mary’s islands from here. One interesting thing to note here is, the beach has free wi-fi for the visitors. Though it is limited to 30 minutes per device, it is still a very good initiative and is the first beach in the country to have this facility. The sunset which I missed the previous day was very beautiful to watch as the sky was quite clear on the day.
Sunset at Malpe
Dusk at Malpe
After capturing lots of photographs, I had walk on the beach for quite some time letting the gentle waters splash on my feet and watching the boats docking in for the night. I also had some light snacks before returning to the hotel. I visited the Krishna temple again, but to no avail as the place was still very crowded. Having had dinner at the temple the previous night, I didn’t stop for that either. Instead I had a good walk to the city bus stand where I dined at one of the many fast food centers. Udupi is also famous for Masala Dosa and that was what I had for my dinner as well. After the dinner and a long walk along the streets, I headed back to my hotel to retire for the night.
Waking up early next morning, I checked out from the hotel after having a sumptuous and complimentary breakfast. I intended to head south for the day visiting Manipal and Karkala. Starting off at around 9.30 AM, I reached Manipal in about 10 mins. I carried ahead intending to check the place while returning. Proceeding towards Karkala, I reached the place by 11 AM. Karkala is famous for the single stone 41.5 feet statue of Gommateshwara (Lord Bahubali) which is also second tallest in Karnataka after the one in Shravanabelagola. Karkala also has over 15 Jain temples (Basadi).
I visited one of the most famous Basadi – Chaturmukha Basadi named so because of its four symmetrical faces. The temple has exactly 108 pillars inside and 108 pillars outside. The top of Gommateshwara statue is also visible from here. From inside the temple one can see the reflection of statue as well through a small mirror which is quite impressive as the statue is about 1.5 kms away. The temple itself is completely carved out of granite rocks.
Moving ahead, I visited the Gommateshwara statue. I couldn’t take much photos here though as the statue was being given a face lift and was covered with logs which the people were using to reach the top. After having some fresh fruit juice at the base of the temple, I returned to Manipal. At Manipal, I saw a board showing directions to the Museum of Anatomy & Pathology. Having lot of time on my hand, I visited the museum and was glad that I did so. The museum is very well maintained and is one of its kind in the country. There are over 3000 specimens/ samples of anatomies of various mammals including man that are kept on display. As can be expected at a museum, the place is big treasure of information and knowledge. I spent almost close to 1.5 hours here looking through the entire collection of specimens. The visit was then followed with light lunch and topped off by savoring delicious natural ice cream at Thanco Fresh Fruitz Ice Cream. The place offers over 75 varieties of ice creams made from various other fruits apart from the standard ones of Mango, Strawberry, Pineapple…. I tried out the Guava flavor and it had quite an amazing taste. I then returned back to the Malpe beach for the evening to enjoy the last couple of hours of my trip by the sea side. I stayed put till 8 PM sitting on the edge of the beach, listening to nothing but the sound of sea waves. Having my dinner by the beach side, I then proceeded to board my bus to return back to Bangalore and end what had been a quite memorable trip. My next trip was already in plans for the upcoming weekend. From the west coast of India at Udupi, my next trip was to the east coast of India at Pondicherry. I wouldn’t be writing about it though as I have visited Pondicherry many times before 🙂
Until next time, adios! 😀