COVID messes up your travel plans. My daughter wanted to go to a beach after a year of online classes. The only place we could explore visiting without the hassles of testing was the Karnataka coast. Gokarna – Managalore / Udupi are all 9 – 11 Hr drives from Bangalore. To avoid the long drive we decided to break journey at Chickmagalur.
Here is the summary of the trip. Karnataka is a beautiful state. The road trip below can easily be a 5 – 7 days trip covering the hills, temples and beaches. Without the hassles of COVID testing.
Discovering Sai Radha Heritage
Unlike Goa the Managalore coast does not have any luxury 5 star beach resorts. After a lot of enquiry we settled on Sai Radha Heritage which seems to be the best option. The great thing about the place is the location – its right on the beach. And the beach is great – clean soft sand, warm water, and private.
The property has a few rooms facing the beach and the rest in a building adjacent. Wherever you stay the beach is a 1 min walk away. Rooms are spacious and nice, service is excellent, and rates are very reasonable. Its a great place to visit as a group and Oct – Feb would be the best time. I would strongly recommend this place. Its a great property and the owners are in the process of upgrading the facilities.
Sai Radha Heritage is easily accessible from the highway and its a 20 min drive to the Udupi temple & Manipal. The whole area is clean & well maintained, broad roads, no potholes, no garbage.
Here is a list of things that you could cover after spending the morning & evening at the beach.
Udupi Krishna temple is on everyones list. But right next to it are two ancient Shiva temples that precede the Krishna temple – the Chandramouleshwara Temple and the Anantheshwara temple. The usual norm while visiting the Sri Krishna Temple is to pay visits to the adjacent Ananteshwara and Chadreshwara Temples before stepping into the temple of Lord Krishna.
Popular beliefs say that King Rama Bhoja, a devout follower of Lord Parashurama, had installed the statue of Lord Ananteshwara (Lord Shiva). Another belief says that the Chandreshwara temple was built on the same spot where the moon God Chandra performed a great penance in order to get rid of the curse of Daksha Prajapathi. Both these temples are highly energised places.
There are interesting legends on the Sri Krishna Temple regarding why the Lord faces West in this temple and he can be seen only through a nine holed grill. The temple was consecrated by Madahvacharya and there is a interesting story on how he found the statue which is believed to have been worshipped by Rukmani in Dwarka
Click on these link for more information
We visited the temple at 7 AM and it was the perfect time for some Udupi breakfast after the Darshan. Inside the temple complex is a pocket sized restaurant called Nagaari canteen. Dont miss this.
Talking of food there are two other places you must visit while at Udupi. A nice restaurant called Saffron that is housed in a swanky complex adjacent to the Samanvay Boutique hotel. Pure veg – they serve Indian, Continental, Italian dishes. The other hotel you must explore is at Manipal – its an open air restaurant that serves great Pizzas. Its called Oh Me Oh Slice
While everyone heads to the famous Malpe Beach and Sea Walk Malpe for boating and activities, its worth exploring Mattu Beach
Mattu Beach is a calm and secluded beach, 11 km from Udupi town and very near to the Srikrishna temple. You can take a stroll along the long and clean seashore. The white sands and the blue sea gives you ample shots to capture in the lens. End your day at the beach by witnessing the beautiful sunset. Remember to carry your own refreshments as there are hardly any shops or eateries in the area.
Kudumari Falls – Situated in the Chaktikal village in Kundapura these falls cascade from a height of around 300 metres, and are a sight to behold. Surrounded by lush greenery, one has to trek for around 4 km through the forest to reach the falls. The trek is made of rocky terrain and will offer you scenic views. It is best to avoid visiting the falls during monsoons as water levels are dangerously high and the trekking route is not safe during the time.
Swarna river banks – This is a stunning place to spend your evening at leisure. The Swarna River is located in Manipal which is very close to Udupi at a distance of around 8 km. The sunset and sunrise from the river banks are indeed an amazing sight to catch with sun rays imparting a shimmer to the waters. The riverside is perfect for a session of yoga or meditation. One can also visit the nearby Hiriadka Baje Dam built across the river.
Malyadi Bird Sanctuary in Kundapur. Malyadi is a small village with both resident and migratory birds visiting the site. The place is an abandoned clay quarry which is being preserved and promoted by the combined efforts of the locals and the government. Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Red and Green shank are a few of the many migratory birds sighted here. Many of these birds arrive during the winters and leave before the first monsoon rains. Resident birds like Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, Reef Heron can be found in plenty here.
Sasthana Kodi backwaters – Head to the lesser known Sasthana Village for a leisurely backwater experience. The place is situated at a distance of 20 km from Udupi town. These backwaters formed by the rivers Kodi and Sita are enchanting and attract many tourists from the state and nearby areas. Local traditional boats are available for cruising through the serene waters while enjoying the scenic landscapes of Udupi.
Bangalore to Udupi – Plethora of temples
As we drove from Bangalore to Udupi it was like a tour of some of the greatest ancient temples of S India. You cross the giant statue of Bahubali and then on the way to Chickmagalur there are these amazing Hoysala temples – while most visit Belur & Halebid there are many more. On the 4 hr journey from Chickmagalur to Udupi you will see signs for Hornadu (Annapurneshwari Temple) and just bypass Sringeri. From Udupi the Kollur Mookambika temple is less than 30 Km and Kuke Subrahmanya is not far away. Most would also cover Dharmasthala and Murudeshwar as part of this circuit.
Driving thru W Ghats – take a break
I am not comfortable with long 10 hr drives. The roads are excellent, I would suggest you break journey along the way as you explore this area.
On our way to Udupi we stayed at Vismita County, which is at the edge of Chickmagalur on the road leading to Udupi. Its a very nice property with Villas, large rooms with jacuzzi / pools etc. Food and service is excellent. Its a relatively new property – 3 years old.
The drive from Vismita to Udupi is 4 hrs – if you plan to stopover at Sringeri or drive by Horanadu I suggest you spend a few days at Kolavara Heritage. Its a lovely homestay very close to Sringeri & Agumbe. Kolavara can also be the base for your day trip to Jog Falls
If you are the type of person who needs a break every 90 minutes while driving then stop at this small place called Green View Coffe Shop. Good coffee and spotlessly clean restrooms. Its about 90 Min from Chickmagalur on the way to Udupi.
On our way back from Udupi to Bangalore we stayed at the iconic Taj. A great vintage property with lovely huge rooms and a lot of greenery. The brand beckons but in reality there are many more nicer places in Chickmagalaur at a fraction of the cost compared to the Taj.
And while you are stopping at Chickmagalur here are things you can do