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Best Offbeat places to visit in Udupi


Udupi is a coastal district of Karnataka with breathtaking views of green valleys, rivers, lakes, great architecture – both modern and old, and lovely beaches. This makes it a tourist hotspot, especially the Udupi town. However, in this post I will briefly discuss the best places to visit in Udupi district, off-the-beaten-path.

In 1991, three taluks of Karnataka – Udupi, Kundapur and Karkala came together to form one district. The town of Udupi is most famous for two things – the Sri Krishna Matha and St. Mary’s island. These places have most tourists but they leave upto the high expectations. However, there are many hidden gems that you can explore here.

If you like what you read, you’ll adore my book Postcards from India : India’s Hidden Gems tell their Stories . It’s an anthology of several letters from offbeat breathtaking destinations in India. Udupi is not there as it’s not so offbeat. But you’ll have a memorable journey through the letters in this book. Readers say it’s a “must-read for every travel enthusiast” which is “showcasing enchanting India”. Their own words, not mine. Please check it out on Amazon.

Let’s begin with the must-see places first..

Sri Krishna Matha

Vaishnavite saint Jagadguru built this beautiful temple in 13th century. 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

Off the Malpe coast lies this unique cluster of islands, called St. Mary’s island. 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 and named it so before he proceeded to mainland India.

The ferry from Malpe beach to St Mary’s Island is usually closed in July and August due to monsoon.

Malpe Beach – Not so offbeat

Best places to Visit in South India - Udupi beachesThe 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.

Kaup Beach

Kapu Beach

Kapu Beach – 40km from Mangalore (c) Backpack & Explore

Kapu is a beautiful coastal village, 13 km from Udupi town which is most famous for its more-than-100-year old lighthouse. The 130-ft lighthouse offers a mesmerizing panoramic view of the Arabian Sea. Because of it being off-the-town it gets lesser crowd than Malpe beach or Surathkal beach.

Mattu Beach

Places to visit in Udupi

Mattu Beach (c) Backpack & Explore

10 km from the town, Mattu beach seems like a world away from the touristy Malpe. 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.

If you decide to stay in one of the coastal homestays you may get a chance to witness the bioluminescence at night.


Udupi Manipal

End Point Manipal (C) Backpack & Explore

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.

Padubidri Beach

17km away from Udupi town, Padubidri is one of the only two Blue-Flag certified beaches in Karnataka. It means it has cleared the safety, eco-friendliness and cleanliness criteria of Denmark’s Foundation for Environment Education which awards the certification. As of today there are only eight blue-flag certified beaches in India, and Padubridri beach is one of them!

Check out the ultimate Karnataka Bucketlist here.

Besides strolling in the palm-lined long sandy beach, you can enjoy many watersports activities in the beach. The beach has all facilities that one can look for – changing rooms., washrooms, coast guards, cctv cameras, children’s park etc.

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

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?

Maravanthe Beach

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.

Places to visit in Udupi - the coastal town of North Karnataka that is seeped in history and spirituality. Breathtaking beaches, waterfalls and the cradle of raw nature is what a trip to Udupi has in store for you. Click to read more.Oh and don’t forget to save this postcard and share it with your near and dear ones.


Sinjana Ghosh

Sinjana Ghosh is a full-time business professional with a penchant for writing and travel planning. Backpack & Explore is a journal of her travel stories and tips she collected from her experience. She is the author of the travel book “Postcards from India” which is available on Amazon, Flipkart and Notionpress.com

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  1. Sonia Chatterjee April 23, 2020

    Udupi reminds me of the mutiple Udupi restaurants in Bangalore and Mysore that served the best chow chow bath. Ha ha.
    Jokes apart, ICICI bank had its regional office in Mangalore. The Mysore, Manipal, Udupi BMs reported to the Regional Head there. So, we were either traveling to Mangalore, Manipal, Udupi or they were coming to Mysore for monthly review meetings.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 24, 2020

      O! So this is a familiar territory for you. We travelled across the district just to explore. Have you visited all these places?

  2. Jyoti Jha April 24, 2020

    Awww, another place I have been dreaming of visiting someday. The place looks stunning! I only knew ‘Udupi Garden restaurants’ and loved visiting them in the hope of seeing the place they get their names from, one day.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 24, 2020

      Thanks Jyoti! Maybe son after the lockdown

  3. sundeep ananth dubey April 24, 2020

    You sure must make everyone envy your travel experiences. I love the food from this place. My travel is usually very brief and constrained to work. All your posts pump me up for the travel, but lockdown pushes me down badly.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 24, 2020

      Thanks a lot Sundeep!

  4. Shubhra Rastogi April 24, 2020

    I have heard a lot about it and now reading about it and the pictures have definitely made it a go to place o my bucket list.

  5. Noor Anand Chawla April 24, 2020

    Wow the beach looks amazing!! I would love to visit Udupi simply for that!

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 24, 2020

      Thanks Noor. Mattu beach is lovely and quite unique

  6. Durga Prasad Dash April 24, 2020

    The surroundings of Udupi has mani attaractions. I loved the seaside and the island.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 24, 2020

      Thank you!

  7. nadia April 24, 2020

    Wow great read! the island looks and sounds magical

  8. Pradeep April 26, 2020

    It’s the temple that is most renowned. But like you have mentioned, there is more to this place than the temple.

    1. Sinjana Ghosh April 26, 2020

      Yes, since this series is about offbeat places, I wanted to talk about the places that are not so famous here.

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