A 6-day trip of Uttar Karnataka. A trip with family.
Dates : 23rd December 2012 to 28th December 2012.
1. Mangalore - Subrahmanya - Dharmasathala - Udupi (270 kms)
2. Udupi - Maravanthe beach - Kollur - Murudeshwara (165 kms)
3. Murudeshwara - Honavar - Jog falls - Sirsi - Yana Caves - Gokarna (260 kms)
4. Gokarna - Udupi - 180 kms - 5 hours
5. Udupi - Mangalore - 60 kms - 1.5 hours
We reached Mangalore by 9 AM through JetKonnect from Chennai. I had already booked Ginger in Mangalore. I had planned the above itinerary and if one day is missed, then the whole schedule shall change. Hence, I booked rooms for only first day and had done some research on Internet to understand what are all available in other destinations to stay.
Instead of check-in from Airport, we went to three popular temples in Mangalore -> Mangaladevi temple, Kadri Manjunath Temple and Kudroli Gokarnath Temple. We had breakfast at Mangalore Woodlands and proceeded for the Dharshan. Then, we had lunch at Hotel Janatha near Kudroli temple and checked-in at Ginger, Mangalore. As like other Ginger hotels, it was very comfortable and took a 2-hour break. At 4 PM, we started to Panambur B each, 6 kms from Ginger hotel. The beach was quite crowded but enjoyable. We killed time watching lot of people and of course enjoying the beach. There are lot of entertainments at this beach - water sports like boating, water-scooter, camel ride and some fun for kids. Wow, what a sunset.
Then, had a good yummy dinner at Hotel TajMahal in Mangalore and good night !
Started around 7 AM and reached Subrahmanya around 9 AM. Had Dharshan standing in a queue and breakfast at Hotel Kumara Kripa -> Neocafe was most recommended in Internet; but, it was too crowded. One has to get tokens and self serve in either of the hotels. Kumara Kripa also served very delicious Karnataka breakfast - Upittu, Idli, Vada and Masala Dosa. Then, we started towards Dharmasthala. Reached by noon, we were startled to see a very huge crowd. We bought Rs.200 ticket and were able to have a Dharshan of Lord Manjunatheswar in 2 hours :(. We wish we could have lunch at the temple annadhanam, but, it was already 2:30 PM by the time we came out. We were too hungry and did not have patience to stand in queue again ! One of the worst lunches was available in a nearby so-called hotel. I think except temple, you don't get good food outside in Dharmasthala. Plan accordingly !
We then drove to Udupi and reached around 4 PM. Checked several hotels -> Kediyoor, Udupi Residency, Sriram but all of them were full. We had to be satisfied with a very mediocre stay at Hotel Siddharth - not so clean rooms/bathrooms/beds; No running hot water; No proper lighting; broken plug points. But, they were cheap. Better book rooms in Udupi before you go.
After a quick refresh, reached Malpe beach - 7 kms from Udupi town for the sunset. Excellent view of sun setting behind a small rock formation and amazing views post sunset. Then, visited Lord Krishna temple around 7:30 PM. We were tired and located Udupi Woodlands for Dinner ! So much travel for the day, our appetite to eat was very high. Wow; excellent spread so delicious. It was a so satisfactory food, that we decided to have breakfast there again.
Woodlands opens only by 08:30 AM :( and we were not aware. We then had a decent breakfast at Hotel Mansarovar - near the Udupi - Mangalore NH junction. Day plan was Kollur and Murudeshwara.
On the way on the coastal road, one had to take a left 5 kms before Maravanthe beach to Kollur. We decided to goto Maravanthe beach and then to Kollur as we had time. A virgin beach - so clean, none on this road should miss to stop. Returned back by 5 kms and took the road to Kollur.
Excellent roads and we had a good Dharshan around noon and we drove to Murudeshwara by 1:30 PM. We have only couple of options in Murudeshwara to stay - RNS Residency/guest houses and Kamat hotels. RNS Residency is costly but class. We reached and found that no rooms available, luckily someone cancelled the rooms by phone and we got it. Excellent breath taking views from the hotel. The hotel is partially located over the sea. They also have the Naveen beach restaurant (Veg) built over pillars on the beach. Amazing sea views and Murudeshwar hosts may water sports. Its almost a safe flat beach and anyone can take bath.
This just is not Murudeshwara. The temple Gopuram is an amazing spectacle so as the Lord Shiva Status over a short hill. We were happy to spent late afternoon, evening, night and early mornings on the beach, around temple, views from Shiva statue. WOW ! SPECTACULAR !
We had dinner at RNS Residency restaurant - Sea Lounge - it was delicious and not so costly. One gets north-Indian food at this restaurant and south-Indian at the Naveen beach restaurant.
The tall gopuram of Murudeswar has a life that takes anyone to the top for Rs.10. We missed it. Hope that would give an awesome view.
After having a good night sleep, started a long day towards Jog Falls. We had breakfast at Naveen, Murudeshwara and started. All along the way so much backwaters until Honavar and then we take a right turn - around 60 kms to Jog falls. Very good roads all along the way and breathtaking views all around. One should not miss stopping at a watch tower 2/3rd of the distance on the hills. It gives amazing views. Then on reach Jog falls, one can site it from the parking area itself. It is December, I could not imaging that there shall be so less water. I knew it is not going to be as good in July/August, but, it was something so less as if it was peak summer ! Quite disappointed. Anyway, did not want to miss any fun and trekked all the way and had different angles and views at the falls. There is a small dam all the way down which gives good views. We had some snacks and started towards Yana caves !
To reach Yana, one has to pass through Siddhapur and Sirsi. The roads are excellent and we covered the 60km stretch in an hour - ghat roads. Very good lunch at Sirsi - Hotel Madhuvana - recommended for anyone.
60 kms from there we reached Yana caves in 2 hours. Some places, roads were good and some places, no roads - only mud. The forest was so dense and almost rarely could see vehicles - could imagine how dreadful it would be in rains ! We need to walk around 1 km from the parking area to the Yana caves. It appears suddenly amidst the thick forests. Looks like a single rock cave - amazing ! There is a small Vishnu temple beneath and one can go around, climb up and down the Yana cave; though bare-footed. It is treated as a spiritual plan. Elders may find it difficult to walk around.
2 hour drive - roads and no roads, reached Gokarna and took rooms in Hotel Gokarna International. 3rd class rooms and one has to be satisfied as there are very less options. Few beach resorts are available but not budgetary. Internet guided me to Prema restaurant for food ! It is the first shop on the Main Beach - Gokarna. One has to place order and wait 30 mins to get it served; no urgent orders - board hangs ! One is being informed about the waiting time while placing orders - you can get good quality food and nominal price. I was not daring to try other places because it was a family trip - elders and child !
Visited the Lord Mahabaleshwar temple and the Gokarna Main beach. We then had breakfast at Prema Restaurant and drove to Om Beach. The approach roads are decent and could see many people trek all the way to Om Beach.One has to reach Om Beach from the parking area by climbing down steep steps and the view from above is breathtaking. Om beach is a rocky beach and easily one can kill time there. It also has the 'Namaste Cafe' and many people stay there overnight. Many foreigners are around which says how good the place is. From the Om Beach parking area, a 20 min trek over a hill takes you to the Kudle beach. Kudle beach is approachable by road also. From the Om beach, one can either walk by the beach down south and reach Half moon beach and then the Paradise Beach; also, can opt for boat rides from Om beach. We did not have time to go to Half moon and Paradise beach. But, they should not be missed. After checkout from hotel by noon, we started our journey back to Udupi. On the way had a good lunch at Bhatkal and reached Udupi. On the way, we also stopped again at Maravanthe Beach - spent around 45 mins there. Reached Udupi around 6:30 PM and checked-in again @ Hotel Siddharth. Most good hotels were fully booked.
After one more Dharshan at Krishna temple and breakfast at Woodlands, we went to Lord Balarama temple, which is on the way to Malpe beach. Drove back to Mangalore, lunch and pack up to catch our return train to Chennai.
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