Malpe

This is a word I have to keep up….

I had promised to do a detail blog on Malpe when I touched upon this jewel of a beach during my road trip episode. Well; here it comes….

Beautiful Malpe beach

Beach Umbrella typical of Malpe

Some of you will think….What’s so different ? A beach is a beach whether it’s in Goa, Kerala, TN, Maharashtra or even Pondicherry. Well it’s not like that…each of these beaches has it’s own flavour and ambience. Each of these beaches has its own colour of sand, the coarseness of the sand grains, the rockiness of the coast, the width of the beach, the drop of the sand ridge into the ocean and various parameters that make each one unique. Each of these beaches has its own unique water sports, food and local ambience too! I will be touching on most of these beaches in my forthcoming episodes and that should clear the air.

Located just 6 kms from the temple town of Udupi in Karnataka, Malpe beach is an awesome destination. Very few know about the wonderful beach that this temple town is home to.

Mangalore at a distance of 60 kms is the nearest airport and Udupi the nearest railway station. It is located very conveniently at a short drive from the Mangalore Mumbai highway.

Not as well marketed as the beaches of Goa, helps in maintaining its serenity and peace. I have visited this beach many times and I can tell you, its gaining popularity but simultaneously losing its peace. So those of you who love peace on the beach, you are running out of time!.. Head there before it gets to that stage of “just another beach”. Those of you who like crowded beaches can take it easy….the more you wait, the more crowded it will get…the popularity of this beach is growing!!!!!

A little history and geography…

Malpe is one of the exquisite unexplored beaches of the Indian West Coast. Located at the mouth of the Udayavar River, the rocky coastline has 4 islands, the most famous being St. Mary’s Island.

For centuries, Malpe has been an important trading port with the West. It is also believed that Vasco da Gama had made a short halt during his voyages at St Mary’s Island and it was he who gave the island its name. Malpe is also an important fishing harbour due to the diverse marine life here due to the mixing of the fresh river water and the sea.

Safety is what adds to the tourist attraction of a place. Being a very uniform and gentle sloping sand beach with no sudden depth , makes it one of the safest beaches in the region. As mentioned earlier, the popularity of this beach has grown and lot of tourists and locals reach this beach in search of a great beach holiday. The authorities have risen to the occasion and a lifeguard station functions here. Apart from that coloured flags indicating the level of danger are put up on the beach front regularly. Beach patrolling by the guards who monitor the swimmers also occurs.

Life guard station Malpe

Red flags on a risky day

Accommodation

Accommodation of various categories ranging from luxury hotels to backpackers and homestays are available close to the beach itself which makes it very convenient.

Paradise Isle Resort where we usually stay

Some other hotels overlooking the beach

A variety of watersport activities take place here in the evenings. Indulging in them or even just standing by and watching them can be a very relaxing experience. Some pictures from my visit to Malpe…

Boards displaying various activities at Malpe

Some of the activities at Malpe beach

Sea Walk

A seawalk is one of the latest additions at Malpe that helps one enjoy the sunsets from an extended walkway into the sea.

Sea Walk Malpe

St Mary’s Island

Another activity that one can indulge in, is a visit to St Mary’s Island. This island can be spotted in the horizon from Malpe. A short boat ride takes one to this palm fringed island.

The boat ride to St Mary’s Island

Approaching St Mary’s Island

St Mary’s Island

Rare basalt volcanic rocks are found here and it has been added as a National geological monument.

The Basalt Rocks

Food

The word Udupi is almost synonymous with typical South Indian breakfast fare of Idly,(a steamed rice cake) Dosa, ( savoury pancake made of rice),Sambar,( a gravy that accompanies the idly) and Vada (deep fried lentil fritters) . When we talk loosely of a Udupi Hotel, it refers to such vegetarian fare. But contrary to that, local food includes lot of nonvegetarian items too.

Malpe offers great non vegetarian cuisine especially fish. Tulunadu…that’s what this region is known locally , is known for its variety non veg fare. (“Tulu” is the local dialect of Kannada and “nadu” is country) Kori Rotti, ( chicken and wheat bread) Fish Curry, Prawn roast, Neer Dosai etc are part of typical tulunadu food.

A typical restaurant signboard

Just reaching the kitchen!!

A sombre ritual

I was witness to a religious ceremony one morning on the beach. A family was performing the obsequies of a relative.

It is customary for Hindu families to perform certain rituals after the death of their family members. It is performed close to waterbodies and Malpe is no exception….

Obsequies

As you have seen, Malpe beach is a hub of activities that can keep anyone entertained. However, if you prefer a quieter place with the ambience of a lagoon, head to the mouth of the Suvarna river a few kms from the main beach. Here there are resorts on the banks of the estuary which have a quiet ambience.

Some pictures from one such place.

The resort

The beautiful views from the resort

With Malpe offering so many avenues of entertainment, it sure is finding its way into everyone’s bucket list. Apart from Malpe, one can visit other lesser known beaches along the Karnataka coast from here.

Kaup is one such beach destination where there is a famous light house. It is also a famous surfing destination.

Kaup Lighthouse

Maravanthe is also another beautiful beach close to Udupi on the highway.

Beautiful Maravanthe

So as you can see , there are lot of beach holiday options along the Karnataka coast. Easy to approach and pocket friendly, all of you should definitely try out some of these.

Before I bid goodbye , let me leave you with a sunset view from Malpe..

A cloudy sunset at Malpe…

As you plan your beach holiday, don’t forget to subscribe, comment and send in your feedbacks.

A Road Trip

This time, I am on a road trip from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu to Ratnagiri in Maharashtra…..a simple Indian road trip. Not focussing so much on the destinations as on the travel. We covered a distance of more than 2000 kms over 10 days, halting at interesting places along the way.

A map showing the route we took….

The Route Map

This blog will focus on the sights along the way…

Starting from Coimbatore early morning our target was 200 km to reach Mysore by noon. Drove to Annur where we had breakfast of idli, vada….traditional south Indian and topped it up with filter coffee.

From Annur we were headed to Sathyamangalam. On the way we passed a famous temple at Bannari

Bannariamman Temple

It was a cloudy day and the drive was pleasant. The road condition was good by and large. Crossed the town of Sathyamangalam and headed to the Dhimbam ghat road.

This drive took us through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve . Some pictures captured as we drove through the reserve..

The entrance to The Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve

A video to give the feel of driving through the reserve.

Soon we found ourselves on the Dhimbam ghat road. This road has 27 hairpin bends …some of them almost V shaped with significant lorry traffic making it a little challenging for anyone.

The Dhimbam ghat begins…

The Dhimbam ghat road

The view of the plains below

The sharp turns

Soon the fog started setting in hampering visibility…

Fog setting in

Dhimbam was the highest point and from there we started the descent.

As we descended, the fog reduced and we were in for some sunshine…and of course the vegetation also changed. There were bamboo clusters all along. This area is a elephant habitat and the bamboos are probably the reason , as it is a favourite of the giants.

Warm sunshine again

Bamboo clusters…change in vegetation

Soon we were at the town of Hassanur where everyone was taking a break….

The break at Hassanur

Hot vadas sizzling in oil

Soon after that we crossed the border from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka.

We crossed over to Karnataka

From there we headed to Chamarajnagar…a small town on the way. The road was bad for a few kilometers here.

Then on to the temple town of Nanjangud , and on to Mysore

Nanjangud Temple gopuram

Reaching Mysore just past noon , we took our overnight halt here. Checked into the hotel, rested for sometime and took a nice walk around The Radisson Blu hotel . Had some nice filter coffee and bonda in a hotel nearby.

Saw the excited crowds at the zoo which we were not interested in , as we had visited earlier. Returned to the hotel, had dinner and rested for the night.

Left Mysore next morning and took the Mysore Madikere highway NH275 en route to the temple town of Udupi which was our next halting point…..300kms drive

Authentic Karnataka breakfast of Dosa at Mysore

Mysore Madikere highway

The Mysore Madikere highway had good road condition and some pictures taken on the way...

Fruit shops like this one dotted the highway as we left.

Besides, there were lot of new developing housing projects on the outskirts of Mysore.

As we moved away from the city, more fields were seen on either side…..

Fields on either sides of the highway

Road signs like this one provided guidence and direction as we proceeded.

Some of the towns we passed was Hunsur, Periapatna and KushalNagar.

Just as we reached KushalNagar, we crossed Bylakuppe, the Tibetan settlement colony.

The Tibetan settlement colony at Bylakuppe

Tibetan monks in traditional attire is a common sight around KushalNagar.

A few kms away, we crossed Nisargadhama too. Nisargadhama is an eco park along one of the tributaries of the Cauvery river which offers various recreational facilities. It is one of the important to-do destinations from Coorg/Madikere.

Nisargadhama

Gradually the roadside scenery changed from fields to estates of coffee heralding our location to be Coorg. The climate was also getting little cooler and we had a slight drizzle. This added to the beauty though it hindered my photography.

A typical coffee plantation with pepper vines on the trees.

Another familiar site as one reaches coorg are the boards advertising typical Coorgi food .

Coorgi Pork recipe advertisements are typical here

Soon we were at Madikere ,where we bypassed the town. There is a proper bypass to this town and it helped a lot in saving time.

After that, there was a steady incline and the roads were more winding.

We passed several coffee and pepper plantations on the way. Coorg has plenty of spice plantations and the roads are dotted with spice shops.

The roads started getting more winding .

More coffee and pepper….

We did take a short coffee break among the coffee estates…

A short coffee break was welcome!

Another typical roadside sight are the spice shops like this.

After some beautiful scenic roads, the coffee estates were replaced by rubber estates heralding our descent to the plains….

Rubber estates on the way

We were entering south Karnataka and the main city there is Mangalore.

The first main town was Sullia where had a lunch break.

A typical south Indian Thali Meal

After lunch, we crossed Puttur and were heading to Bantwal when we had a stretch of real bad road for about 10 kms. That really slowed us down , but after that we took NH 73 which was again pretty good and reached Bantwal.

The Bantwal river was one of the first of the many rivers that we crossed on our way

After Bantwal, we joined NH 66 and headed to Mangalore but diverted off to Udupi from the outskirts of Mangalore . Again we did cross some bridges over rivers like this one near Mulki town

The Mulki river

Soon we were at Udupi the town known for its Sri Krishna Temple where we took a halt for the night.

We had visited the temple earlier and decided to stay at Malpe, a beautiful beach resort town near Udupi.

Malpe is a beautiful beach resort near the temple town of Udupi. One of the safest beaches in this area, it has various recreation activities. Some pictures from Malpe….

Beautiful Malpe beach

Resort at Malpe

Evening at Malpe

We also made a new friend here, a little lady who compared us to her grandparents ……

A new friend at Malpe

There is a lot more about Malpe which we can talk about in an episode dedicated to it. Here, Malpe is just one of our halts on the trip….

Next morning we departed from Malpe headed to Murdeshwar.

This was actually a break day after two long days of driving. So we did a short journey of around 100 kms only.

Continuing on our own “Route 66″…NH66

NH66…..our own “Route 66

This route is dotted with bridges crossing beautiful rivers and backwaters ( difficult to distinguish) . Islands of mangroves can also be seen here in many places.

One of the many beautiful rivers on this route

There is a beautiful beach on this route at Maravanthe where the road is adjacent to the beach….some pictures from Maravanthe

Beautiful Maravanthe

Maravanthe….the beautiful beach

After this amazing beach comes the town of Kundapura from where one can visit the famous Kollur Mookambika temple.

The beautiful Sowparnika or Kollur River

Mangrove islands in the backwaters

Our destination for the day was the temple town of Murudeshwar where we halted .

Murudeshwar is a temple town with a huge temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is unique in many ways and more details will come up later.

Murudeshwar has a beautiful beach with lot of water sports activities too. More on Murudeshwar in an episode dedicated to it.

The arch at the entrance to Murudeshwar town

The beautiful beach at Murudeshwar with its water sport activities

Next morning after breakfast we were headed to Pernem in Goa, a distance of 300 odd kms for the day.

Joining NH 66 again we continued our journey northwards skirting the west coast.

One thing I noticed was the lurking danger of cattle crisscrossing the NH 66. I must mention this here as it is rampant. Cattle are left to fend for themselves on the road and they are a serious threat to the unwary driver. We did see a couple of cattle run over along the highway too. This trend continues into Goa and Maharashtra too. On city roads we do find cattle , but on a highway with speeding vehicles they really pose a danger.

Lurking cattle ….danger on NH 66

Some of the important towns we crossed were Honavar, Kumta and Gokarna. Also saw the roads to Sirsi and Jog Falls branching off the highway.

The River Gangavali was skirting the highway for some time too.

The River Gangavali skirting NH 66

Soon we crossed Ankola and Karwar and there was a clear change of landscape see. Muddy hill slopes dotted the highway. The highway was probably carved out from these slopes.

The muddy hill slopes from which NH was carved out

Soon we crossed the Karwar Naval Base, Karwar fishing village and Karwar Port

Karwar fishing village

Port of Karwar

Soon we were on a long bridge across the Kali River.

The Kali River

Soon after this we crossed the border to Goa.

One of the first signs that greeted us at Goa was this….

Welcome to Goa….

Crossed the Talpona river . Could see the muddy water clearly joining the blue sea.

The Talpona river…note the muddy water and the blue sea at a distance

Plenty of rice fields also dotted the highway…

The paddy fields of Goa

After entering Goa, for a considerable distance, it looked like an ordinary road and often with ghat sections. Soon we joined a 4 lane highway and then on to some amazing roads. A long flyover which crosses backwaters at places connects North and South Goa.

Was quite impressed with the infrastructure development in Goa. Crossed the Zuari River bridge. As we crossed it, we saw the new Bridge under construction….really impressive.

The new Zuari Bridge under construction

We also saw the Atal Sethu bridge which is a cable stayed bridge which is over 5 km long and is the third longest cable stayed bridge in India. It is built over the Mandovi river and one can see the River and the passenger terminal as one crosses the bridge.

Atal Sethu Bridge

The Mandovi River and Goa’s passenger terminal.

Proceeding further north we reached Pernem where we halted at Mandrem Beach which is one of the last beaches in North Goa.

At Mandrem, we halted at the Riva Beach resort. Some pictures..

A cute wooden bridge across a small backwater stream leading to the beach

The resort as seen from the beach…nestled among coconut trees

Beach bar

Some authentic Goan food was also on our radar

A typical Goan Thali with a big chunk of fish

After a day’s break at Riva Resort where we rested, we were headed further north towards Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri. Another 300 kms was our day’s target.

We continued on NH 66 for a considerable time and from Rajapur diverted towards Pawas.

Very less traffic once we left Goa and the highway was concreted probably keeping the high rainfall that these regions face in the monsoons.

The highway was dotted with huge mango orchards…

Mango orchards

The road from Rajapur was bad and it took us some time to reach Kohinoor Samudra Beach resort at Kurli in Ratnagiri. This resort is just 5 km from Ratnagiri town.

It is a huge resort with excellent views of the sea . Located on a hillock, we can see Bhatye Beach Ratnagiri from here. It looks awesome…the arial view..

Some pictures from Kohinoor Samudra resort where we spent Diwali 2022.

The open sea as we reached Kurli.

View from hotel, the Ratnagiri light house point is seen in the backdrop

Bhatye beach from resort

Sunset point at the resort with cliffs protruding into the sea.

Diwali celebrations at the resort

The sun sets on Diwali 2022

After a two day halt at Ratnagiri, we started our return trip

Benaulim beach in South Goa was our next destination.

Since we were following the same route down to South Goa, on NH66, the views were the same…some pictures

A typical Goan scene

One of the many churches that dot Goan roads

I must mention here one more dangerous trend on these highways. The 6 and 4 lane highways suddenly become 2 lane roads specially close to towns, With no proper warning boards, this can be dangerous and one has to be careful.

One such example

Sudden narrowing of the highway...a real nightmare on the drive

Well apart from being careful ourselves, nothing much can be expected….

Leaving the unpleasant things away….let’s talk about Benaulim…one of the best Goan beaches I have seen.

Really great broad beach with clean whitish sand.

We stayed at Benaulim for two days and enjoyed the beach ambience and of course also saw the rare solar eclipse from here!

At Fairfield Marriott Benaulim

Beach shacks at Benaulim

A parasailer looks down at the sands of Goa

And I managed a shot of the solar eclipse at sunset

Next day, we were headed to Koteshwar, a town close to Udupi where there is a beautiful beach at Beejadi. An unspoilt beach ; far from human intervention, it was a sort of private beach for us.

We were put up at Gluklich Beach Cottages, a cute small beach resort with direct beach access. Some pictures..

Gluklich Beach Cottages

Some of the offered activities

As you walk to Beejadi Beach

The long coastline along Beejadi beach Koteshwar

A lone unfortunate star fish was washed ashore!

Nature had sketched on this beach!

And we tried our best to get the sun home!!

The last beach sunset on this trip….had to be beautiful…..see the pink of the sky on the sand below!!!

After a nostalgic goodbye to the beaches, we returned to the hotel for the night.

Next morning we left Koteshwar for Hassan, a distance of 230 kms which we thought would be easy , but it took us some time due to the ghat roads, bad roads at Chikmagalur and nearing Hassan.

Some of the main towns we crossed were Haladi , Belve, Agumbe, Balehonnur, Chikmagalur and Belur.

After Haladi and Belve we were in to some winding roads with thick forests on either side. Arecanut and Cashewnut orchards were another common sight here.

Arecanut farms

Cashew orchards

Soon we were on the ghat road to Agumbe. Agumbe is one of the places in this region which receives lot of rainfall. Close by to Agumbe near Sringeri is also the most number of Indian King Cobras sighted according to National Geographic. The forested ghat road had some challenging hairpin bends where vehicles often stopped to give way to others. Some pictures

Thick forests line the ghat roads

Sharp turns at Agumbe ghat

The spectacular views from sunset point Agumbe ghat

After we cleared the ghat road, we were at Agumbe town and following SH 27 and 65 we were into Chikmagalur district. Coffee , pepper and arecanut plantations dotted the roads. Surprisingly we did pass through a small tea estate too. Some pictures

Coffee plantations

Driving through a coffee estate

The roads were pathetic in Chikmagalur area to say the least! There were no roads at places….felt like we were on a Himalayan rally!!!!!

After an overnight halt at Hassan, we left next morning to Bangalore and reached our son’s home by noon. Staying there for a couple of days, we took a breather after nearly ten days on the road.

After a nice stay at Bangalore, we drove back to Coimbatore.

A successful road trip of more than 2000 kms; a memory to cherish!

This blog has been different from my usual ones…

HERE I WAS FOCUSSING ON THE JOURNEY RATHER THAN THE DESTINATION! As promised, details on the various beaches will be covered in separate episodes . And as per popular demand, food was also included !!!

Hope you all liked it…

Do keep your feedback and comments coming