Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a mini version of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland or the Devil’s Postpile in California? Well, you don’t have to travel far to experience the same geologic phenomenon. Just head to St. Mary’s Island, a group of four small islands in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Udupi, Karnataka, India.
St. Mary’s Island is one of the few places in the world where you can see columnar basaltic lava formations, which are hexagonal in shape and vary in size and height. These formations are estimated to be 88 million years old and were formed when volcanic lava cooled and contracted into cracks.
But that’s not all. St. Mary’s Island is also a tropical paradise with white sandy beaches, clear blue water, and rich biodiversity. You can enjoy the scenic beauty of the island, snorkel in the crystal clear water, watch the sunset from the western side of the island, or spot some of the rare and endemic birds and animals that inhabit the island.
St. Mary’s Island also has a historical significance as it is believed to be the place where Vasco da Gama first landed in India in 1498. He named it El Padron de Santa Maria, which later became St. Mary’s Island.
If you are looking for a unique and memorable destination for your next vacation, St. Mary’s Island is the perfect choice for you. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip to St. Mary’s Island and Udupi.
How to Reach St. Mary’s Island
St. Mary’s Island is located about 6 km from the mainland of Udupi, which is a popular pilgrimage and cultural center in Karnataka. Udupi is well connected by air, rail, and road from different parts of India.
The nearest airport to Udupi is Mangalore International Airport, which is about 60 km away. You can take a taxi or a bus from the airport to Udupi.
The nearest railway station to Udupi is Udupi Railway Station, which is about 4 km away. You can take an auto-rickshaw or a taxi from the station to Udupi.
Udupi is well connected by state and national highways from Bangalore, Mangalore, Mysore, Goa, and other cities. You can take a bus or a car to reach Udupi.
Once you reach Udupi, you can take a ferry or a boat from Malpe Beach or Malpe Port to reach St. Mary’s Island. The ferry service operates from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and costs Rs. 300 per person for a round trip. The boat ride takes about 20 minutes and offers a stunning view of the island and the sea.
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Tips and suggestions for travelers
Here are some tips and suggestions for travelers who want to visit St. Mary’s Island:
- The best time to visit St. Mary’s Island is from October to January, when the weather is pleasant and the sea is calm.
- The island is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, and the entry fee is Rs. 300 per person.
- The island has no facilities or amenities, so visitors should carry their own food, water, sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas.
- The island is a protected site, so visitors should not litter, damage, or disturb the natural environment or wildlife.
What to See and Do on St. Mary’s Island
St. Mary’s Island is a geologic wonder and a tropical paradise that offers plenty of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages and interests.
The main attraction of the island is the columnar basaltic lava formations that cover most of the island’s surface. These formations are hexagonal in shape and vary in size and height. Some of them are as tall as 6 meters and as wide as 2 meters. They are arranged in clusters or rows that create an amazing pattern on the island.
The formations are believed to be formed when volcanic lava cooled and contracted into cracks about 88 million years ago. They are similar to those found in other parts of the world, such as Ireland, Scotland, California, Iceland, and Ethiopia. They are also considered to be one of the 26 geological monuments of India.
The best way to explore these formations is to walk around the island and admire their shapes, textures, and colors. You can also touch and feel them, but be careful as they can be sharp and slippery. You can also take some amazing photos and videos of these formations, especially during sunrise or sunset, when they glow in different hues.
Another attraction of the island is the pristine beaches that surround the island. The beaches are white and sandy, and contrast beautifully with the black rocks and the blue water. The beaches are ideal for relaxing, sunbathing, or picnicking. You can also enjoy the view of the coconut trees and the coral reefs that line the shore.
The water around the island is clear and blue, and is home to various fish and marine life. You can snorkel, swim, or boat in the water and see the colorful corals, starfish, sea urchins, crabs, and other creatures. You can also watch the dolphins that often visit the island and play in the water.
One of the best things to do on the island is to watch the sunset from the western side of the island. The sunset offers a spectacular view of the horizon and the sky, as well as the island and the sea. The sunset also creates a magical effect on the rock formations, as they change their colors from black to red to orange to yellow.
St. Mary’s Island is also a haven for wildlife, especially birds and animals. You can spot some of the rare and endemic species that inhabit the island, such as terns, gulls, sandpipers, egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, pelicans, eagles, kites, owls, bats, monkeys, squirrels, mongoose, lizards, snakes, turtles, and more. You can also hear their sounds and calls that create a natural symphony on the island.
St. Mary’s Island is a place where you can experience nature at its best. It is a place where you can marvel at the wonders of geology, enjoy the beauty of the beach, explore the diversity of the sea, witness the glory of the sunset, and discover the richness of wildlife.
Other Places to Visit in Udupi
Udupi is not only famous for St. Mary’s Island but also for its other attractions that showcase its culture, heritage, and spirituality.
Udupi is one of the most popular pilgrimage and cultural centers in Karnataka, and has many temples, beaches, waterfalls, and resorts that attract tourists from all over India and abroad. Some of the other places to visit in Udupi that are close to St. Mary’s Island are:
Sri Krishna Temple:
A famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna that dates back to the 13th century and attracts millions of devotees every year. The temple is known for its unique idol of Krishna that is visible only through a window with nine holes. The temple is also known for its delicious prasadam (food offered to God) that is served to all visitors.
A beautiful beach that offers various water sports and activities, such as parasailing, jet skiing, banana boat ride, fishing, and more. The beach is also known for its seafood stalls that serve fresh and tasty dishes.
A serene beach that features a lighthouse that offers a panoramic view of the coastline and the sea. The beach is also known for its sunset view that creates a romantic atmosphere.
A scenic waterfall that is located in the Western Ghats and offers a refreshing escape from the heat and crowds. The waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and rocks that create a natural pool where you can swim or relax.
Also check out: St. Mary's Islands -A wonder by those Unseen Hands
St. Mary’s Island is a geologic wonder and a tropical paradise that will leave you spellbound with its unique beauty and history. It is a place where you can have an unforgettable vacation with your family or friends.
Don’t miss this opportunity to visit one of the most amazing places in India. Book your trip now and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful for planning your trip to St. Mary’s Island and Udupi. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to share them in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.