The first thing you notice about Mangalore and Udupi is that, the cost of living is very less. The streets and buildings have this old world charm to it and the town isn’t as commercialized as metros. You get good food at very reasonable rates. And both the places are famous for their local dishes, former being a haven for non vegetarians and the latter for vegetarians.
How to Reach – It is about 9 hours from Bangalore and you have frequent buses to and from Bangalore. Alternatively, there are trains to Udupi. However they take longer than buses.
Accommodation – You can always find, clean rooms at very reasonable rates inside the temple. Simply walk into the temple and go around. You’ll find old styled buildings and lodges. Ask around or walk into these lodges and talk to the receptionist. They have single rooms for INR 150 and family rooms for INR 400.
Commute – This was one place where the rikshaw drivers were super-disciplined. They mostly turn on the meter. The base charge was INR 25 (Whaat!?). You can always rely on rikshaws to not rip you off. Udupi has a couple of bike rental places.
1. Sri Krishna temple
Udupi is famous for the Sri Krishna Temple. Legend has it that the sage Kanakadasa being from a backward caste was denied entry into the temple. He stood outside and began to sing Lord Krishna’s praises. Seeing his devotion, the idol of Krishna turned around to give him Darshan. There are documents that disprove this too.
Anyhow, you can visit the temple in the morning. The entire temple vibrates with all the chantings and the rituals. The Black Krishna idol is decorated so beautifully in diamonds and silk, and the little Krishna looks magnificent and different every single time. You can have the local Udupi breakfast from the temple premises. Udupi is famous for the South Indian vegetarian breakfast and snack items.
2. Varanga Jain Temple
If you have a thing for Jainism and Jain Temple, this place is a must visit. One of the three temples – Varanga Lake Basadi, Varanga Jain Mutt and Neminath Basadi – here is located at the middle of the lake. Varanga is about 40 Kms from Udupi. The road is one smooth stretch with barely any vehicles. The scenery alternates between tall trees that are similar to Eucalyptus, some vast expanse of yellow-green fields and thickly populated trees on either side. The journey itself is beautiful.
Follow the Google map. Once you reach the temple, you need to take a ticket for the boat ride. It costs Rs. 10 and that is all the expense you’ll ever incur. In the Jain Mutt, you will get Lunch (Prasad). It looks like a typical Kerala house and you can sit there for as long as you want, enjoying the nature. The Neminath Basadi was made completely out of stone and seemed abandoned. It has a monolithic stone pillar right next to it.
The entire trip takes about 4 hours in total. If you like a day without crowd, without much activity, just by yourself, this is the place for you.
3. Malpe Beach
Malpe Beach is one of the most famous and crowded beach in Udupi. On my way back from Varanga, I proceeded to Malpe beach. But I had another destination in mind. So I went to the Govt boat office and bought a ticket worth Rs. 250 to St. Marys Island.
4. St. Marys Island
I came across this island a week prior to the trip and since it was reachable for me, I spontaneously went for it. The island is famous for the geological formation of basaltic lava. The island is one of the four geological monuments of Karnataka and one among the 26 in India. The rock formation is said to have happened due to volcanic activity millions of years ago.
Facts apart, this is a tiny island with relatively clearer water, whiter sands, lots of greenery and dark brownish-black rock formations. These contrasts make the island breathtakingly beautiful. It is a picturesque location and if you are a beach lover, you must go here. Period.
5. Lunch and Dinner
Being at a place which is famous for ‘Udupi cafe’s and restaurants’ across length and breadth of country – a meal at well known restaurants in the city should not be missed. Give it a try and thank us later for this tips.