The 300 odd km of coastline from Mangalore to Karwar has plenty of scenic and breathtaking beaches, along with equally famous towns in between. In fact, Karnataka’s coastline is probably India’s best shoreline. Untouched beaches, uncluttered, crisp golden sands sandwiched between lush green coconut trees and undulated rocks and blue water that lovingly meets the land – a true delight for every traveller yet probably the best kept tourist secret in the state. If you are a beach lover, beach hopping across Karnataka is a must for you.
We started early and it was a Sunday, so roads were relatively less crowded compared to regular traffic around Mangalore. Just before Suratkal, we stopped for breakfast. Drove past the REC Suratkal (Now NIT) and our target was Kaup. I have shortlisted a few places as exploring all the beaches of Karnataka might be a one full week’s itinerary and unfortunately we didn’t have that much time. Kaup is infamous for its strong waves and rough seas and swimming or any kind of water activity in this beach was not recommended, but it will touch you with it’s rocky terrain and lovely golden sands. The lighthouse is a place to visit but unfortunately it only opens between 4 to 6 pm, so if you have time, plan for watching a memorable sunset from top of the light house.
Spending some time there, we headed for Malpe, which is mostly a fishing center but has a nice long beach as well. This is the place from where you have to catch the ferry of St. Mary Island, one must visit to get a taste of the emerald water and heavenly beaches of Tropical Islands for which Lakshadweep or Male is famous. The stunning rocky basalt formations that rise out of the sea would leave you spellbound for sure. Legend has it that Vasco da Gama first dropped anchor here on his expedition before entering the country from further South. The ferry timing is tricky unless you venture on a Sunday. A ferry takes at least 100 people and the only regular ferry to island is at 10.30 in morning, so apart from Sundays it’s really risky to venture if you miss the 10.30 ferry. To and fro charges for adult are Rs. 85 and for child it’s Rs. 50. The 30 mins long ferry would take you to island, there would be a small boat which would take you from ferry to island but still it’s almost certain you have to get down in the water before reaching the island, so be careful about the shoes you are wearing, we were aware of this and kept our shoes in car and wore sandals before venturing there. This is a place where you could spend your whole day actually but the ferry usually gives you 2 hours time to enjoy this lovely island before it starts its return journey.
From St. Mary we drove straight towards Maravanthe and the beach there just beside NH17 would definitely be a pleasure to watch and spend some time. Our destination was Turtle Bay, a very nice resort for many reasons: right next to the beach, very clean, good service, and great privacy to chill out on your vacation. It was costly though but if you can afford it, the experience staying here is unmatched.
After quick check in I started my northwards drive to Ottinene sunset view point. As you leave Maravanthe, at the start you would find Arabian sea at your left where waves crash with a roar and on right, the fresh water of Souparnika river dancing around, one hell of an amazing drive as you can imagine. Take a left up ahead just after an upward curving section of NH 17 where you would find a sign board, only to hit a dirt track half-a-kilometer later. A km of driving on dart track would take you to a view point, that you should never miss. To look below and find the Sauparnika River meeting the Arabian Sea in a gentle embrace, the waves of the sea rolling towards the beach and crashing there, and the long shoreline in front of your eyes, would cast a magic spell.
Car Odo Reading:
Mangalore – 45436
Kaup – 45488
Malpe – 45508
Turtle Bay, Maravanthe – 45565
Ottinene – 45587
Maravanthe – 45618
Pristine Kaup Beach:
The crabs :
The lighthouse at Kaup:
St. Mary’s Island from far:
The beaches at St. Mary Island:
Amazingly colorful St. Mary’s Island:
The stunning rocky basalt formations:
Far away the bigger ferry that took us here, the smaller one used for transporting to island, note you have to walk in water anyway:
Mind blowing NH17, left side Arabian Sea, Right side Sauparnika River:
Sauparnika river embracing Arabian sea from Ottinene:
The day started with a lovely stroll on the secluded beach adjacent to the Turtle Bay resort, the fishermen starting their daily life, the colorful fishing boats, the crystal clear blue water embracing the golden sands made you feel out of this world. Soon after breakfast we headed north towards Baindoor, a beach which I loved the most in my whole trip. Lovely serene beach with one lonely temple and Ottinene sunset view point on top, Sauparnika river meeting sea in front of you, the textured sands and tracking the star fish trails on the beaches is something you won’t be able to forget in lifetime. If you want to experience the serenity and isolation and want to experience the ocean in an exclusive date, this is the place for you.
Next stop was Murudheshwar, the whole town was probably built by R.N.Shetty and his company, It’s everywhere you would find RNS group. The beach was fabulous and colorful and the Shiva statue was awesome. RNS Hotels are also located in a nice place where you would almost feel to be on the ocean. Those who are keen to explore more, can go to the other side to discover a nice and small fisherman’s village. We had lunch at that sea top restaurant and after that headed towards Honnavar.
Just after crossing the bridge we went to Apsarakonda falls, the setting was nice and peaceful but even in a weekday noon, filled with tourists, mostly locals though. This is a small falls where the ambience is more attractive than the falls itself. We kept continuing our journey towards further north and again took a left just before Kumta town to explore Kumta beach, so close to Gokarna and not that well known, this is a place where you can easily spend many hours. Long and nicely shaped beach with white sands and the nearby hills where there was a old and abandoned building with its own romantic charm would attract you for sure. Me and my kid started walking on the top of the hill, crossed two more hills, discovered on the far side the Gokarna beaches across the hills. It’s a feast for your eyes with stunning views all around, waves crashing down below the hills, the breeze sounds so melodious, on the other side of the hill, the view is equally picture-postcard – a fishing village engaged in its daily activities, and vessels of all hues and sizes lined up along the coast.
We moved slowly from this heavenly place and took a turn from NH17 to a 10km detour towards Gokarna. We booked Nimmu House with the help of JP, which was nice but only problem was it doesn’t have a restaurant with it, making it little difficult especially with kids, if you are not too keen to go out for dinner after a long hectic day.
Car Odo Reading:
Maravanthe – 45618
Baindoor – 45643
Bhatkal – 45664
Honnavar – 45713
Kumta Beach – 45732
Turtle Bay Resort – Excellent location:
Maravanthe Beach at Morning, busy with fishermen and the turtle:
Maravanthe, the isolation would touch you:
Baindoor, the best beach that I experienced ever:
Star fish trail at Baindoor:
Murudheshwar Beach, so colorful it is:
The temple and the famous idol:
Other side of Murudheshwar:
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