Udupi Unexplored – the lesser known places
I am Udupi. No not the temple-town of Karnataka. I am the district, Udupi. In me I have a taluka named Udupi, which houses your temple-town Udupi. Confused? Don’t be. I’m writing to you because I want to talk about some of the lesser known places here and how you can make the most of your trip. I am a beautiful coastal district of Karnataka with breathtaking views of green valleys, rivers, lakes, great architecture – both modern and old, and lovely beaches.
In 1991, three taluks of Karnataka – Udupi, Kundapur and Karkala came together to form one district. That is me, Udupi district.
Sometimes famous places are underwhelming and offbeat places blow your mind. But a couple of things that people know me for will certainly not overwhelm you. Two such places you must see when you come here are the Sri Krishna Matha and St. Mary’s islands. Let me briefly start with them and then, as promised I will take you only to the top-secrets here.
Sri Krishna Matha
So let’s start with Udupi town itself. In 13th century, Vaishnavite saint Jagadguru built a beautiful temple here. An unique feature of this temple is that the devotees worship SriKrishna through a silver-plated window with nine holes. There are several other temples surrounding the matha, including the 1000-year old Anantheshwara temple.
St. Mary’s islands
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever” said Oscar Wilde. Well, St. Mary’s island is exactly that. This is the first place people throng to when they visit me and I’m not surprised. Off the Malpe coast lies this unique cluster of islands. The special feature of these islands are the volcanic rock formations which are among the 32 geological monuments of India. In the year 1498, Vasco Da Gama came to these islands while navigating his way to India. He named her after Mother Mary before he proceeded to mainland India.
The Malpe beach is quite crowded by fishermen, boatmen and tourists, especially on weekends. On weekends you might even have to queue up for the boat to St Mary’s Island, if you visit during the peak season of winter months. But trust me, it will be worth it.
While Malpe beach and Kaup beach are very famous beaches of Udupi, Mattu beach is not there on the tourist radar yet. It is more than 10 km form the Udupi town. With backwaters on one side and sea on the other this is a wonderful road to drive slow. The beach is part rock part sand and partly covered in green vegetation. Remember that this is a very long uninterrupted coastline. So just keep walking till you see no tourists around you. It will be a short walk till it’s just you and the sea and the quite backwaters.
Manipal is actually a small town which is famous for the educational institutes founded by Dr. TA Pai. You will see some beautiful modern architecture here. Just roaming around the township is delightful. The institute opens its gates to visitors for 2 hours in the afternoon for those who want to visit the “End Point”. This is a place offering breathtaking views of the valley with Swarna river flowing in the forests.
You can also see some amazing and novel Church architecture here. When in Manipal, don’t forget to visit the Hastashilpa Museum. It’s a model village and a living museum.
Swarna River Banks
Just 8 km from here you can go to the Swarna river banks and sit there for hours. Indulge in family time or solo-time with yoga. You can also visit the nearby Hiriadka Baje Dam.
Indrali falls is located a little more than 1 km from MGM college, and hidden from plain sight. This mesmerising spot is a top secret among trotting students.
Kemann Hanging bridge
This 280 feet long hanging bridge lies in Kemmannu. This is a beautiful place connecting Padukudru to Thimmannakudru. It was built in 1991 for the training of NCC cadets. With a new facelift it has become a gorgeous attraction. But did you know about that?
This gem is located in the Kundapur taluk. For a long time I knew that the beauty of this beach would put the popular beaches of Karnataka and even Goa to shame. But not many people knew about it. Recently some travel site called it one of the most beautiful beaches of India. I’m sure some people might still be thinking, where’s that. Well don’t miss it. With sea on one side and river on the other, this is a breathtaking beauty indeed.
So that was a sort tour of the offbeat yet stunning corners of my abode for you. I will look forward to your visit once the COVID mess is gone. Till then, just relax, read, work and dream about travelling again.