Udupi is a coastal town in the Karnataka state of southern India. While the Udupi restaurants are famous around the globe, particularly with the Indian diaspora for the dosa, idli and other south Indian fare they serve, the town itself is a must-visit tourist destination. Udupi is renowned for its historical Krishna temple and a monastery established by one of the greatest Hindu saints, Madhavacharya.
The city offers some very nice beaches, lush greenery, a series of temples, and the quaint charm, typical of a small coastal town. Unlike the beaches of Goa that lies about 200 miles away, Udupi beaches are less crowded and relatively more serene.
The Sri Krishna Temple and the adjoining monastery (Mutt) top the list of attractions in Udupi. History of the temple dates back to the 13th century and has several local mythological stories attached to it. The architecture of the temple follows the typical Kerala style of temple architecture and presents several layers surrounding the sanctum sanctorum. Free lunch is offered to devotees every day, and the dining halls have only Indian style dining arrangements. According to Hindu tradition, food must always be consumed while seated on the floor so that you connect with the Earth.
The Anantheshwar Temple is another significant religious place in Udupi. It is believed that the temple was built over thousand years ago. Alternatively known as Manjula Kshetra, this is one of the most visited places in Udupi. Kapu Beach is located on NH 66 while driving south off Udupi. The timings to visit the beach keep changing in tune with the season and local conditions. Late evenings are unlikely to be a great bet throughout the year. This beautiful beach is also home to a lighthouse about 100 feet tall.
Malpe Beach is on SH 65 abutting Stella Mary’s Church. The beach is known for its fantastic sunset views. You can book a Savaari cab to head to the beach. This is a clean and nice beach with fewer tourists visiting. Manipal End-point Park is also on SH 65 and represents a small cliff overlooking the Swarna River. This point offers an alluring view of the Arabian Sea on the west and the Western Ghats on the East. Check accessibility when you draw up your itinerary.
St. Mary’s Island lies off the Malpe Beach, and visitors can take a boat ride from the fishing harbour at Malpe. You can witness the rock formations from waves and volcanic lava. Historians link the island to Vasco Da Gama, the Portuguese explorer. Boat services to the island are not available after 6 pm, and at least 30 people fare-paying passengers are needed for the boat to take off. This service may not operate in inclement weather or rough sea conditions. This island is best visited in the forenoon hours.
A visit to Udipi is never complete without tasting the widely acknowledged Udupi vegetarian food. While you can explore many restaurants here, we recommend Mavalli Tiffin Room or MTR whose popularity is growing with each passing day in Southern India, albeit for Vegetarians.
The ideal time to visit Udupi is in the winters between the months of October to February. You can also visit during the monsoons to enjoy the lush green covers and the ambient atmosphere. Udupi does not have an airport, so you have to fly till Mangalore which is about 60 km away, and then book a taxi to reach Udupi. The city is well-connected to other cities via both roads and rail network. You can take a train from Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore, etc. to reach the Udupi Railway Junction. Private and state transport buses are available from the nearby cities, and so are the private taxis. Local autorickshaws are available to commute within the city. Happy Vacationing!
From Udupi, you drive down the gorgeous Malpe Padukar – Pangala Road and see the Pithrody Udyavar Beach. From Malpe, take a ferry out to St Mary’s Island and see the Columnar Basaltic Lava formation on the northern tip of the island.