Karnataka is majestically bestowed with the lush green Western Ghats and the lovely white sandy beaches. At places both wonders meet and present the visitors with gorgeous and serene spots tailor made just for your retreat. Coastal Karnataka comprises of regions like Karavali and Udupi.
Start your Coastal Karnataka trip in Mangalore because this is where you will probably arrive by flight or train. Mangalore is one of the best places to visit in Coastal Karnataka because of its rich history, culture, Mangalorean cuisine and stunning beaches.
There are some unique temples that you can visit in Mangalore. Kudroli Gokarnatha Temple is one of them. Built in 1912, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and hosts the colorful Mangaluru Dasara every year. There are several smaller temples in the complex, all adorned in gold and silver. This makes the temple a wonderful Coastal Karnataka destination.
You can also visit the Mangaladevi Temple, explore Sammilan Shetty’s Butterfly Park, and relive some history at Sultan’s Battery when in Mangalore.
The next stop on our coastal Karnataka adventure trip was the city of Udupi. Home to many iconic South Indian temples, Udupi is sometimes referred to as the temple city. Therefore, you cannot miss visiting one when you are here. Take a tour of Udupi Sri Krishna Temple which is thronged by thousands of tourists every year for a sneak peek at the baby boy idol of Lord Krishna [Balakrishna]. There are many interesting legends surrounding the temple including one of the Balakrishna statue turning around on its own to be viewed by Krishna’s lesser-privileged devotees.
When in Udupi, do not forget to spend some time at one of Udupi’s most gorgeous beaches – the Malpe Beach. Located only about 6kms from Udupi, Malpe beach coupled with St. Mary’s Island makes for an amazing one-day getaway from Udupi or Mangalore.
There are tons of things to do at Malpe beach. If you are feeling adventurous, indulge in parasailing, jet-skiing, and banana boat rides. If not, just lounge in the sun and soak in the colors of the place. Try some tasty sea food at Fisherman’s Bay Beach Cafe right by the sea. And watch a traditional Yakshagana performance in an open-air amphitheater to end your day.
St. Mary’s Island
Right next to the Malpe beach, only a 15-minute ferry ride away, is the unique St. Mary’s Island. This island is also called the Coconut Island or Thonsepar and makes for an offbeat getaway from the mainland.
What is interesting about St. Mary’s Island is the fact that it was formed when Madagascar rifted away from India more than 88 million years ago. The rift gave rise to columnar basalt rocks that are hexagonal in shape. They give the island a distinctive character today.
You will get some amazing views of the sea from here apart from walking on soft white sand and treading through millions of sea shells. 1-2 hours on the island is sufficient for you to completely explore the place. Plastic bags and bottles are not allowed on the island – so make sure you don’t carry any.
As you travel up north from Udupi, you can take a slight detour to get to the sleepy hamlet of Varanga. Here, you can visit one of the most picturesque Jain temples in the world.
The Jain temple, also called Kere Basadi, is located in the middle of a beautiful lake. You can reach the temple only on a small boat that can accommodate around 10 people at a time.
It was a 5 minute boat journey from land to the temple. Yet, this was one of the most beautiful journeys in my entire Coastal Karnataka trip.
Baindur (or Byndoor) is yet another idyllic town facing the sea. The white sand beaches, lush green hills, and plethora of water sports make Baindur one of the best places to visit in Coastal Karnataka. Also, one of the most offbeat ones.
Sepnd a couple of days at Baindur and enjoy the unspoiled beaches in the region. For example, book a stay at the pristine Sai Vishram Beach Resort, indulge in surfing or banana boat rides, ride an airboat through the Maravanthe backwaters, or simply sip a drink under a thatched cabana and watch the world go by!