Karnataka coastline
Karnataka,  Travel Bag

A road trip along the Karnataka coast – Udupi and Mangalore

[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.

Padukone near Maravanthe along the Karnataka coast
Seen here is a ferry making its way across the Sowparnika in Maravanthe while the palm trees look on in an equal mixture of boredom and languidness. By the way, the river bank seen here belongs to a village where a former badminton champion and his actress daughter hail from. The name of the village is Padukone.

Udupi

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.

Udupi backwaters along the Karnataka coast
Boats idling around, some of these sights took me back to Kozhikode, the scenes are that similar. Numerous scenes like these are visible from bridges all along the national highway as it hugs the coast.
Udupi national highway along the Karnataka coast
The past (the boats) look on as the present mode of travel (the buses) hurry along without a second thought.

Udyavar

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.

Udyavar on the Karnataka coast
Gleeful stretch that had me rubbing my hands when I saw it first. There are not many details to be found about the Pitrody Udyavar stretch, except a solitary blog post or two.
Udyavar beach on the Karnataka coast
Believe it or nor, the 10 km stretch of beach didn’t have more than 10 people on it when we disembarked. A group of egrets flew past, welcoming us to the beach and we made our slow, leisured walk from the point where the road refused to go further.

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.

Sunset at Udyavar beach on the Karnataka coast
The day ended with the sun casting an orange-ish glow as it went down. Hearty reward for a day that ended as well as it began.

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. 


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