Beaches, Temples and Cafes
Udupi is a city in the Indian state of Karnataka located on the west coast touching Arabian Sea. The city is famous as being one of the pilgrimage centers especially for the followers of Jainism as well as for the cuisine named after it. The city also has a Krishna temple that goes back to thirteenth century. It is located about 50 kms from Mangalore and 400 kms from Bangalore.
I have a memory about the word Udupi going back to my school days. I did my schooling from Andhra School in Delhi which was located at ITO crossing near Delhi Gate. The road that would go towards Delhi Gate is called Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and the section between ITO crossing and Delhi Gate is also sometimes referred to as Fleet Street due to various newspaper offices that are housed on the road. The newspaper offices on the road included Indian Express, The Times of India, now-closed Patriot apart from few others. It was always fascinating to take a walk on the side street as it was always full of action and you will never find it deserted at any point of day or night. Sometimes, you could bump into a celebrity walking in or outside of the newspaper offices.
Somewhere nestled between the big offices on the same road, there was a cafe called Udupi Cafe and at that time I found the name very strange even though I always liked the food at the café. I would always look forward to opportunity to go there. Though such instances were very few and could be counted on fingers as my pocket money was not enough to allow me to go there more often. Off course, later during my travels whenever I got an opportunity, I would never let it go down to stopover at nearby Udupi café for a quick grub as it is not unusual to find a Udupi café in most of the cities.
When I moved to Bangalore about 4 years back, I got to know more about the place beyond the temple and the cafes. The place is endowed with abundant natural beauty including some stunning beaches and the rich historical past especially in the surrounding areas of the city. Friends who knew about my passion to travel recommended me to make a trip to this place. I was finally able to make the plan last week and like my most of the earlier travels, it was also a weekend sortie. However, I included things beyond Udupi as well in my agenda. Though I know it would be a big ask to cover all that in 2 days but then I decided to go ahead and prioritize. I can tell you that 2 days is not a sufficient time to do the justice with the place and the rich history it carries around. If you are planning for a trip and time permitting, I would strongly recommend at least 3 days.
My plan was to start on Friday night, move around Udupi on Saturday & leave by train to Murudeshwar same day evening. Cover Gokarna on Sunday & leave for Bangalore in the night to reach back Bangalore early morning on Monday. The three things that had to be covered on the trip were Sri Krishna Temple at Udupi, Shiva Statute at Murudeshwar and Om Beach at Gokarna. My friends and colleagues helped me in putting together a list of possible places that could be covered and the ones which I shall not miss out. One of my team member belonged to Udupi and her knowledge about the place was very useful for me to plan for the trip.
I compiled got the following list of places to be covered at Udupi / Mangalore / Murudeshwar and Gokarna -
Udupi & Moodbidri
Sri Krishna Temple, 108 Pillar Jain Temple, Padutirupathi Temple, 1000 Pillar Jain temple, Kodiadka Annapoorneshwari Temple, Malpe Beach.
Kudroli Temple; Kadri Temple; Mangaladevi Temple; Sri Manjunatha Temple & Kukke Subramanya Temple.
Gokarna & Murudeshwar
Shiva Temple & giant Shiva statute, Om Beach, Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, Idagunji Maha Ganpati Temple, Gunvanteshwar Temple, Dhareshwar Temple.
We reached the Udupi guest house around 7.00am on Saturday and soon hit the road after getting ready. We looked out for an auto or a taxi that could take us around at the places. When we shared our list with couple of auto guys, we were suggested to take a taxi instead as that will be much faster. We headed for Sri Krishna Temple and on the way we inquired with few taxis and they were asking between 3,000-3,500 for the whole day trip package.
We were in the Sri Krishna Temple complex for about 2 hours. The temple was on top of my list. It was founded by the saint Shri Madhwacharya in the 13th century. He was the founder of the Davita school of Vedanta. At present, the Krishna temple is maintained by eight matha's (or can be called as monasteries) in rotation. The temple complex is very beautiful and has a very nice ambiance inside and you may want to spend time just sitting inside. In case you want to go to the sanctum, men have to take out the shirts & vests before getting in.
This apart, there are couple of small temples as well as a pond in the temple area. We spent about an hour in the surrounding area. We could notice devotes who had descended in the town from all across. I also picked up a small statute of Krishna as a souvenir for 250 rupees from a brass shop which you would find many in the campus.
While we were coming out of the temple complex, we saw the office of Udupi Tourism. We thought of checking with them though I was not very hopeful. We spoke to the office manager about our requirement. Once he understood our requirement, he spoke to couple of cab owners on phone and connected us with a cab owner who was asking rupees 2,300/- for the whole day trip. We were pleasantly surprised and hired the taxi immediately. Our overall experience during the day was good. I will suggest that if you are travelling to Udupi and need to hire a taxi or need any other help, reach out to Udupi Tourism offices. However, while hiring a taxi, ensure that driver understands either English language or any other language which you know. Else, it could be a challenge during the day.
We started around 10.30am and shortlisted the places after consulting the driver as we had to be back at Udupi Railway station to catch 4.40pm train to Murudeshwar. Sadly, I had to pluck out the beaches from my list as I was keener to cover the monumental history of the place. The driver was very good and knew the place very well as well as the timings of the places which paced at decent pace and finally dropped us at Udupi Railway station at 4.30 and took the train to reach Murudeshwar around 7.00pm.
I will cover about the monuments that we went during the day in my future articles.
Udupi is well connected with road, rail and air. There are direct overnight buses from many cities including Bangalore. There are many direct trains from various cities of the country including Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express. Mangalore International airport is the nearest airport which is connected with direct flights from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Doha, Muscat and Dubai.