[Continued from Part I]
Often on the Karnataka coast, you come across endearing sights of backwaters surrounded by palm and coconut trees, swaying gently with the sea breeze. There is an alternate version of life going on, on these waters that is at once laid back, languid and yet extremely charming. Hands up, if you haven’t sketched some of these scenes in your primary school drawing books.
One does not need to talk a lot on Udupi, considering it is the birthplace of the eponymous Udupi cuisine, that is now famous all over the world. A visit to the Krishna temple and the various eateries dotting the road to the temple, was of course mandatory on this trip. In particular, the snacks at Mitra Samaja is something that one simply cannot afford to miss in Udupi.
A chance conversation on Indiamike (a popular forum for travelers visiting the breadth of India) a few years ago made me look curiously at a long thin stretch of beach that I had never heard about earlier. Udyavar, as Google calls it, falls far off the list of touristy places to visit, and has a stretch of tarred road that merrily runs along the entire stretch. In between, the sand tries to reclaim the road but we pushed on nevertheless. This adjunct piece of beach on the Karnataka coast is a long 10 km ride that ends near the naval shipyard at Malpe. So untouched is this one, far away from the tourists, that the locals peered curiously at our vehicle as it sped along.
There were a few locals at the end of the stretch, where a stone barricade had been put up. They were busy catching fish, this being off-season, fish fetched a handsome price – even the sea threw some of the fish back on to the land and the crows made a noisy feast of it.
From Udyavar, we turned back to Udupi, visiting the academic university town of Manipal, thronging with students and a good place as any to find some good food for dinner.
We ended our sojourn of the Karnataka coast at Mangalore the next day, visiting Kaup beach and its famous light house before taking the left turn to Bangalore.
As always, the reward of exploring and traveling lies not in the pictures we take back, but the memories we create and by that yardstick, this trip was no different. Anyone fond of beaches and the sun, should not miss out on the gem that the Karnataka coastline is. Although it might not offer the familiarity of Goa; it might yet be the next backpacker paradise in waiting. And to become that, it possesses unlimited potential.