Asmall coastal town in Karnataka, it used to be highly unlikely that Murudeshwar was on the travel wish-list for any one other than the inhabitants of Karnataka state. But the times are a changing now. Coupled with accessibility and the increased desire of visiting off-beat destinations, people have started venturing further south of beach haven, Goa, to Murudeshwar. Scuba diving has been another reason for this destination becoming popular over the past couple of years.
The summers in Murudeshwar are hot and extend from March to May. The winters are quite pleasant and do get as chilly as it can possibly get on the Indian west coast.This makes the months of Oct to Mar the perfect time to visit Murudeshwar. Leaving aside the monsoon months of July to September, anytime is a great time to visit here.
Being a religious town, it is not easy to come by non-vegetarian restaurants in Murudeshwar. The Sea Lounge at RNS Residency is a great place to sit and have a meal given its ambience and view but does not serve non-veg or alcohol. You can however come down here for a juice or milkshake in the morning or afternoon. Naveen Beach Resort is probably the only one in the main town where you get both alcohol as well as non-veg food and is therefore the one most popular amongst tourists. Definitely go here for seafood.Naveen Beach Restaurant is a great place to have breakfast with its traditional south indian fare. They have amazing dosa, upma, meduwada, etc.
Places of interest
Murudeshwar is a small little beautiful beach town with loads of tourists visiting to see the temples and to take a dip in the holy waters of this town. The town is in fact named after Lord Shiva.
Murudeshwar is home to the second tallest Shiva statue in the world. Standing enormously tall at 123 ft, this statue is the main reason thousands of tourists throng to Murudeshwar.
At 18 to 20 storeys high, this tower was built by Mr R.N Shetty, a very well known businessman and philanthropist in Murudeshwar. To me it seemed like he practically owns the town. This Raja Gopura was built with a viewing gallery on the 18th floor so that everyone could witness the spectacular views from a height as well as get a great view of the statue of Lord Shiva.
While the beach is beautiful just as any other beach is to me, it is lined with small, cheap food stalls, crabs, garbage and locals who stare at you enough to make you uncomfortable. So Murudeshwar beach is preferably best scene from afar. However a trip to the beach really early in the morning might not be a bad idea.
Netrani Island – Scuba diving & snorkelling
A boat ride of around an hour and fifteen minutes from Murudeshwar beach gets you to Netrani Island. This is a small island, one that you don’t really need to get down on to. The boatmen will keep the boat parked close by to the island and you can jump in with a snorkel mask and have some fun. I’d recommend giving scuba diving a try. It is probably the next best thing to travelling into outer space as a lot of people say.
How to get there
The nearest airport is Mangalore at 165 kms away. It probably doesn’t make sense for people to fly in to Mangalore and then drive to Murudeshwar unless they’re coming from far up north and are really constrained on time.
Murudeshwar is well connected on the Konkan railway line with a few trains daily connecting it to Goa and onwards to Mumbai.
The journey from Pune to Murudeshwar is over 600 kilometres. We left in a friend’s car at 7:45am, not bad considering our targeted time of departure was to be 6:30am. While getting out of Pune, head in the general direction that you would to go to Goa. You could go up till Goa and then drive southwards but it is a better idea to travel through the interiors of Karnataka via Hubli and reach Murudeshwar directly. The time taken for this journey was around 11 hours with enough leisurely tea and eats stops.