-“Vasco da Gama has set his foot first here.”
To escape the bleak January evenings of Pune, we made a quick weekend gateway plan to Udupi/Udipi, a beach town in Karnataka. Udupi is 60 kilometers away from Mangalore and is 700 kilometers from Pune. The beauty of the journey was some part of it was through the coastal areas of Karnataka. We started our journey at night and when we woke up, the Arabian Sea was accompanying us alongside.
The transition from chilling winter breeze to the warmth of the sunshine happened over night. After 13 hours of journey, we reached Udupi around 10.30 am. Our booking was at Udipi Heights.
After getting freshened up, our agenda was to try out some authentic delicacies and this Hotel named Annapurna in the same building served our purpose. Here is a picture of the Fish Thali we had. The overnight journey took a toll on us and we decided to take a break for 2 hours before exploring Udupi. Around 4 pm we headed towards Kaup/Kapu Beach.
Kapu/Kaup Beach is the hang-out place for school/college-goers. The main attraction was the beach houses a light house built in 1901. It is 15 kilometers away from the town and autos take Rs. 250/-. You can reach the top of the light house from 5-6.30 pm and enjoy sunset. In spite of being crowded, the place was clean. You can relax, have snacks and drink coffee in the seashore.
It was time to return to the town for our main attraction: Sri Krishna Math Paryaya. on the way back, we stopped at Udupi Gate for this picture.
Sri Krishna Math: One of the major reasons for this trip was the Paryaya of Sri Krishna Temple/Math. Sri Krishna Math was founded by Vaishnavite Shri Madhvacharya in 13th Century to worship Hindu deity, Shri Krishna. The idol is worshiped through a silver plated window with nine holes named Navagraha Kindi. There are eight maths (known as Ashta Math) established by Shri Madhvacharya and each math takes care of the management and maintenance of the temple for 2 years. These Maths are:Palimaru Matha, Adamaru Matha, Krishnapura Matha, Puthige Matha, Shiroor Matha, Sodhe Matha, Kaniyooru Matha and Pejawara Matha. This year, Ishapriya Tirtha Swami of Adamaru Math took charge of Shri Krishna Temple from Vidyadheesha Tirtha Swami of Palimaru math.
Paryaya is the religious event where the responsibility of administration and worship of the temple is transferred from one of the Ashta maths to another. This process reoccurs once in every two years of even numbered years. On 18th January of every even numbered years, the city celebrates this holy occasion. This year when 18th January fell on weekends, we did not want to miss it. The entire city has been decorated with lights and placards.People were in festive mood. There were stalls of toys, clothes, accessories, balloons and food items. For the people who could not stand on the long queue to enter the temple, the evening Arti could be seen on the TV screen placed outside the gate of the temple. I have never experienced such crowded yet graceful and astounding celebration. Everything was done systematically including the procession.
One word of caution: be careful of pick-pocketing. I almost became a victim before I could identify the person. Fortunately, I became cautious in time.
Please note that there is a Golden Chariot festival in Udupi where a Krishna idol was placed on the chariot made of gold.
Our morning started with Neer Dosa– a local edible famous for its simple preparation of the batter with water. Unlike regular dosas, the crape was white as sheet and was served with white chatni, podi and a coconut mix that tasted sweet. We had our breakfast at Hotel New Shanthi Sagar and it costed Rs. 50/-.
St. Mary’s Island: St. Mary’s Island/Coconut Isand is the unparalleled beguiling beach in Udupi. This spectacular beach is 7 kilometers away from the coast of Karnataka and can be reached by ferries. It is said that Vasco da Gama first set his foot into this Island when he was travelling from Portugal. The turquoise blue water, clean white sand and green coconut trees elevated the beauty of the island. On the other side of island, the existence of the sand is bare minimum. The beach is covered with uncountable layers of shells that are of different shape and size. Thousands of seashells can be seen through the water. Be careful when you walk bare feet.
Apart from the historical interest and exquisite natural beauty, this seaboard holds great geographical values: The entire island is surrounded by basaltic rock formations-this can be found here only in India. These hexagonal rocks were formed when Madagascar island moved apart from India. The rock formations resembled a lot with the iron throne from Game of Thrones.
Here are some useful information: We booked our tickets for the ferry. It costed Rs. 250/-. The timings of the trip are 9 am to 4.30 pm (September to May). it may vary on weekends and on other holidays. In the middle of the sea, we had to shift from the ferry to a steamer to reach the island. It took half an hour to reach there. Once we got down, we had to submit all our luggage in the counter because carrying plastic bottles, polythene bags and alcohol are strictly prohibited. They charged Rs.20/- for each luggage and Rs. 200/- to carry camera in the island. If you ever been to Udupi, don’t miss this place. it will take 2 hours at least to explore the island including the time taken in the journey. There were food and drink stalls and washroom in the island.
As our bus was around 2.15 from Udupi Bus stand, we had to rush back. Udupi holds surprises in layers. The moment I thought it was the best memory I had collected from here, it surprised me with something better. The culture, cuisine, colors- everything was enchanting. We bid adieu to the city with amazing experience.
Due to lack of time, we could not visit St. Lawrence Church situated 20 kilometers away from Udupi town. This beautiful Roman Catholic church was made on 1759.
Here are some details about our trip:
Buses: Both the buses took 13 hours in journey.
Pune-Udupi: VRL Travels. The bus was semi-sleeper and the ticket costed Rs. 1223/- per person.
Udupi-Pune: Vishal Travels: The bus was sleeper but was very dirty. the ticket costed Rs.1536/- per person. I’ll not recommend this.
We spent around Rs. 4600/- for this trip.