Exploring coastal Karnataka: Mangalore and Udupi

Beaches, beaches and more beaches. This was on our to do list when we started our weekend trip to Mangalore and Udupi. We were not a teensy bit disappointed by the itinerary in the couple of days we spent there. All these Arabian sea beaches had few things in common:  golden( or white) sand, rows of coconut trees lined up along the coast and glorious sunsets. These places also had a variety of seafood and local cuisines.  The scorching sun never showed mercy though, it felt as if summer had arrived early at Mangalore.


We headed straight to the Someshwara beach after reaching Mangla Devi bus stand, at around 6 A.M. For this blog post, I will let the pictures do most of the talking.

Someshwara beach: From the Someshwara bus stand, we had to walk about a kilometer downhill, along a narrow road with brown grasses along the sides, to reach the Someshwara temple. Behind the temple, were huge rocks from where we could get a view of the beach. The pleasant sound of waves crashing on the rocks welcomed us. It was high tide and the beach looked unsafe for swimming, so we just sat by the shore and enjoyed the view.

At Someshwara Beach
En route Someshwara beach

Panambur Beach: Our 10 minute walk to the Panambur beach on the Mangalore port road was met by the glare of the afternoon sun and dust from the port. It was scorching hot near the beach and we could barely find any shade to spend the afternoon. But the beach was abuzz with activity: tourists taking a swim in the water, people flying kites, food stalls, little kids riding on camels and horses and vendors selling cotton candy. There were also many water sports like speed bike,boating and dolphin spotting. At around 5 pm there was slight relief from the sun and we went to enjoy a swim in the cool water. And then the sunset started, as if showing us the purpose of our visit. The golden sun spread it’s rays in all directions and the different colors of the sun danced in the clear waters of the beach. As the sun changed colors from gold to orange to deep crimson, the sky changed in sync and the waters reflected the beauty of the setting sun. Sitting on the sand, with the waves playing at our feet and watching the sun change, was the most serene moment of the trip. Later, we had fun in the beach festival that had many dance and singing performances.

Sunset at Panambur beach

After having a delicious breakfast of Mangalore buns(something that tasted like a cross between buns and pancakes but served with sambar) and dosas, we started to Kaup beach. The journey from Mangalore to Kaup had numerous coconut trees. And just when you’re tired looking at them, backwaters, mangroves or tiny ponds full of beautiful lotus flowers would show up. With coconut trees around them of-course.

Kaup/Kapu Beach: We visited Kapu beach the next day, on the way to Udupi. We could feel the brush of the cool breeze as we walked towards the beach. The sun was as fiery as usual but there were benches and stalls laid out in the shade of the coconut trees; with a clear view of the sea in front, backwaters and an old light house to the right.  The presence of the lighthouse and the shallow backwaters added to the picturesque view of the place. Since it was afternoon, the beach was deserted and we basked in the calm.

Lighthouse at Kaup beach
Shallow backwaters near Kaup beach

Malpe Beach and St. Mary’s Island: Giant wheels, toy cars, food stalls, coconut trees, tourists swimming in the water, ferry’s shuttling between Malpe and St. Mary’s, water sports and people enjoying the view of the splendid sea; Malpe beach was brimming with life and activity. We were amazed by the sheer size of the beach, a never ending coastline. After having the customary beach food, green mangoes sprinkled with chilli powder and muri mixture (puffed rice with vegetables and peanuts), we took the boat to St. Mary’s island.

A picture of Malpe beach shot during the ferry ride to St. Mary’s

The ferry from Malpe beach took nearly 20 minutes. 20 minutes of bliss as the ferry danced in tune with the waves, rising and falling with them. There was an unfathomable scale of blue; if the earth and sky did meet, it had to be here. St. Mary’s was a tiny island with a rocky shore and crystal clear water. The sea presented itself in varied shades of blue and the geologically significant basaltic rock mosaic in hexagonal pattern added to the splendor of the place. We collected many sea shells as souvenirs for the trip.

St. Mary’s Island

As the sun began to set at Malpe, we started our journey to Bangalore.

Cost and transportation: The entire trip cost us less than Rs.2500. Public transportation in Mangalore and Udupi was extremely cheap and cost us around 700 bucks. Frequent buses shuttled from Mangalore to Someshwara beach, Panambur beach, ullal beach, Kaup beach and Udupi, from Kaup beach to Udupi and Udupi to Malpe beach; with the exception of Thannirbhavi beach. The localites, especially the bus conductors, were very helpful in giving directions or answering questions about public transport.For every beach, we had to walk for a kilometer or more from their respective bus stand. Kaup and Panambur are little far from the bus stand but there are many auto rickshaws available from the bus stand at very reasonable rates. Panambur and Malpe were crowded with visitors but Someshwara and Kaup had fewer visitors and were more peacful.



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