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Old 11th October 2010, 18:07   #1
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Default Coastal Karnataka in a week.

This trip had been on my mind for a long, long time. I wanted to visit the coastal pleasures that Karnataka has to offer.

Did the trip last week (Oct 1st - Oct 10th) accompanied by my wife and 2.9 year old son. Decided not to drive and use public transport wherever possible.

The planning started 3 months ago and we had to decide on the priorities - where to visit and what to visit. So, after lots of dilly-dallying the final itinerary stood as -

1. Bangalore - Mangalore
2. Mangalore - Udupi
3. Udupi - Murudeshwar
4. Murudeshwar - Gokarna
5. Gokarna - Karwar
6. Karwar - Hubli
7. Hubli - Bangalore

This trip would be extensive, in that I'd be covering quite some places, but not intensive - I won't be going into as many 'touristy' spots as one would normally do.

Plus I'd be using public transport, and with a 2.9 year old kid I can't afford to risk things that I'd normally do.

Destinations decided, the next thing was tickets.
I wanted to take the Bangalore - Mangalore day train to see the scenery that the ghats had to offer, but wifey wasn't comfortable with the idea of spending a whole day in train. So the Kannur Express it was on Oct 1st.

And for the return leg, we decided to use the Rani Chennamma Express from Hubli to Bangalore.

Just to elaborate on our indecisiveness on the final leg of the journey, we had actually evaluated three options -

1. Karwar - Mangalore: Take the train back to Mangalore and the night train to Bangalore. This would enable us to travel on the Konkan Railway, that we haven't done till now.

2. Karwar - Shimoga: Take a bus to Shimoga and break at Jog Falls to see it. Catch the Bangalore train from Shimoga.

3. Karwar - Hubli: Catch a bus to Hubli, the nearest rail-head for Bangalore (apart from Vasco).

We finally decided on the last options after weighing various possibilities.

To and fro done, we decided to use random public transport (buses/trains) between Mangalore and Karwar. No prior bookings done for this.

Next was to decide and book the hotels. Took help of lots of online forums and friends/colleagues and finally zeroed in on the following -

1. Mangalore - Hotel The Prestige, Balmatta. Reasonable rate and a great restaurant.
2. Udupi - Mango Suites. Newly opened. Looked very promising.
3. Murudeshwar - Where else, but the RNS Residency.
4. Gokarna - Gokarna International Beach Resort, Kudle Beach. Wanted to be on the beach and this seemed the best option with family.
5. Karwar - Devbag Beach Resort. Have stayed in Kabini earlier and been impressed with JLR.

Somewhere down the line, decided to drop Murudeshwar as a stay option and so no hotel bookings there.

The Gokarna resort didn't take advance bookings as this is the lean season and rooms are easily available.

All other three hotels were booked and payment made.

We were all set.
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Old 11th October 2010, 18:17   #2
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Nice beginning, waiting to read more ! Also assuming that you would be putting up the pics along with the narration of course ! Also, was Goa an 'intentional' miss ?

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Old 11th October 2010, 18:28   #3
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Devbag is an amazing place! If some one drives to that place, then you park at some place and then they take you to the resort in a boat!
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Old 11th October 2010, 18:29   #4
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Using public transport (bus) on some of those routes would have been back breaking. How was Udupi - Murdershwara stretch? How was Bhatkal stretch? How was Murdeshwara to Ankola stretch?
Also how was the road between Hubli and Karwar? (NH63).
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Old 11th October 2010, 18:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Nice beginning, waiting to read more ! Also assuming that you would be putting up the pics along with the narration of course ! Also, was Goa an 'intentional' miss ?
Thanks! Pics will soon follow.

We did a 10 day Goa trip last year covering most of the beaches right from the Maharashtra border to the Karnataka border. So, Goa was an 'intentional' miss. That too, was done using public transport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Devbag is an amazing place! If some one drives to that place, then you park at some place and then they take you to the resort in a boat!
That place is Kodibagh. You park the car there and then a boat takes you to the resort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Using public transport (bus) on some of those routes would have been back breaking. How was Udupi - Murdershwara stretch? How was Bhatkal stretch? How was Murdeshwara to Ankola stretch?
Also how was the road between Hubli and Karwar? (NH63).
It WAS back breaking. But we managed somehow. The roads are non- existent in a 10 km radius of Bhatkal.
Murudeshwar to Gokarna/Ankola was okay - mostly good with some craters thrown in.
Hubli and Karwar was great. Good roads throughout. I can remember a couple of bad craters, but nothing to complain.
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Old 11th October 2010, 23:03   #6
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I generally note down the logs on a daily basis on my phone. I shall reproduce the same random notes that I scribbled on my trip as is.
So it might give the impression that I am currently on the trip, but that's what is the fun - right?
Not knowing what the road has for you in the next turn.

Okay so, enough forewords done...

Oct 1st, 2010

We started for our Mangalore trip in a rather laidback fashion. Called up City Safari for a drop to the Bangalore City rly stn., but, in a first, they said that none of the cabs were empty. Something that I hadn't experienced before.

Finally settled for a Meru cab - seemed to be the cheapest and best option @ Rs.15/km. It really turned out to be cheap - Rs. 149/-.

Reached the station finally. Had dinner at the comesum outlet and then got on board the Kannur Exp. from platform no. 9. It was right on time. Got our comfortable 3AC berths and proceeded to sleep... looking forward to Mangalore now...

Oct 2nd, 2010

6:56 AM. Woke up to find our train at Kabakaputtur station. Seems to be running a bit late.

8:30 AM, Mangalore Central. The train was right on time. First glimpses of the city revealed it to be a rather laidback (weekend?) and very green.

The station was very old-schoolish, much different from the swanky and busy one I had envisaged. The city also took me by surprise. Rather smallish and much less busy than Mysore. The roads were not very wide and were in rather average condition.

9:00PM, Hotel Prestige.
The auto rickshaw from the pre-paid stand at Mangalore Central went by meter and the amount till the hotel was Rs. 24. I paid him 30.

We checked into the Hotel The Prestige - the facade much removed from the glitzy one in the website. But the room was fine - neat and spacious.

Freshened up and had neer dosa for the complementary breakfast.

Then hopped onto bus no. 15 and visited Mangaladevi Temple. Waited for 30 mins and saw the arati there at 12:00PM.

It was different from other typical South Indian temples having gopurams. Probably this one was far removed from the Vijayanagar influence that seems to have dictated the structure of most temples down south.
Back on bus no. 15 and went to the Kadri Manjunath temple.
Had to walk for 1.5 kms from the bus stop to the temple.

Again a different experience. No Vijayanagar influence. Though there is a gopuram, but seems that it is an afterthought rather than an original part of the complex.

Lunch time.

After temple tour, got an auto for the Maharaja Hotel (recommended in some travel sites) at Jyoti Circle. It was a Rs.15 ride.

The restaurant was closed and we made our way to the Gold Finch Hotel's San-a-dige restaurant for some good seafood. This is located diagonally opposite the Maharaja Hotel.
The lunch was sumptuous with local delicacies (Chicken Pulimunchi, etc.). The service was awesome and the 8th floor restaurant boasted great views.

Lunch done, grabbed an auto for Panambur beach about 14kms away. The fare came to Rs. 170/-. Thought of catching a Udupi bus and getting down at Panambur, but the baby was sleepy and we didn't want to disturb him.

Panambur beach
beside the New Mangalore Port was filled with mostly migrant port workers, or so it seemed.
Since the govt. notice clearly stated the dangers of this beach, we stayed away from the waters.

Aradhya had a great sandy time. Finally, we decided to move by the time the 'decent' crowd started filling in towards late evening.
An auto ride to our hotel cost Rs.190.

Cleaned up at the hotel and dozed off for the evening.
Got up at 9:00 PM and went to the hotel's restaurant - Deja Vu - for dinner.

The food was lip smackingly good Keralite cuisine - Chicken Alleppey with Appam. Finished it off with a Tiramisu, had a brief walk post dinner, and then it was bed time.

First day in Mangalore well spent.

Some images from the first day -

1. The gopura at the Kadri Manjunath Temple.
2. A lamp tower at the Kadri manjunatn Temple.
3. Aradhya and Sonali at the Panambur beach.
4. View of distant anchored ships from the Panambur beach.
5. The sun setting down on Panambur beach.
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Last edited by aryasanyal : 11th October 2010 at 23:08. Reason: Removed whitespaces
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Old 11th October 2010, 23:41   #7
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Couple more photos from the first day at Mangalore. I had to downsize these photos to comply with the 1MB limit for JPEGs.

1. A view of the Kadri temple.
2. The Hanuman statue at Kadri temple.
Attached Images
  
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Old 24th October 2010, 21:39   #8
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Default Day2: Bekal Fort

Sorry for the long gap in updating the thread. Got busy with less impressive things.

Back to the trip....


The day started with the loud ringing of the alarm clock.

Not mine, but from the adjacent room.

It was pathetic and simply annoying that the alarm should ring for close to 10 mins, before someone shut it down.

Later I started search of local taxi operators for our planned trip to Bekal Fort. The hotel quote seemed to be on the higher side, so we decided to take matters in our own hands. Thanks to my E71, the Internet, Vodafone and JustDial for helping my hands out.

After lots of discussions with taxi operators, finally decided on the Rs.1200/- for 8hr/80km package, a full Rs.400 cheaper than the one quoted by the hotel. But yes it was for 80kms and Mangalore - Bekal is 68kms. So the final cost is estimated to be around Rs.1600.

We did look for train options, given the fact that the NH17 between Mangalore and Kasargod isn't really a road - rather a moonscape. But due to the non-availability of proper timings of the ones that run to Pallikere (the station has now been renamed as 'Bekal Fort'), we chose the taxi option.

When the taxi came down, it was a Lancer instead of the Indica. At first I thought that this might cost me more, but came to know that the charges are the same irrespective of the car models.

We started at 11:00AM from our hotel.

On the way we got stuck in a massive traffic jam at Shiriya, near the Shankarnarayan Temple. An overturned oil-tanker was the culprit. That added to the already late running, due to the bad roads.

Reached Bekal Fort around 2:00 PM. A full 3 hours from Mangalore. And the distance - a measly 68kms.

Upon enquiring, found that the fort remained open 365 days a year. Entry fee was Rs. 10/head and camera was charged at Rs.25.

At the Kerala border check-post.

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A shot of the Arabian Sea from behind the tinted windows of the cab.
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As you enter the fort, this is what you'll first see.
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The watch tower. Very well maintained, I'd say. View from the top is impressive.
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A view of the nearby Bekal beach, south of the fort. We couldn't find time to go down there.
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Old 24th October 2010, 22:12   #9
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Default Day2: Bekal Fort...contd.

Upon first seeing the Bekal Fort, the first thought that came to our minds was "Chapora Fort".
That one loomed over the Vagator beach in Goa and this one loomed over the Bekal beach.

But this fort was remarkably well preserved. Built of laterite blocks, the preservation was evident. Kudos to the ASI!
And it is much much bigger than Chapora. We walked on the ramparts, went down to the sea bastion that juts out to the sea, hopped onto the tiny beach adjacent to the sea bastion.

More information about the Bekal Fort on the ASI site.

We had a whale of a time in the hot and humid afternoon sun. The breeze from the sea was the one that allowed us to roam for some time.

Some more photos -


This stairway leads to an underground tunnel that is said to open towards the Sea. This is off-limits to visitors now.
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Looking down south from the Observation Tower. The Bekal beach, the railway line to Kozhikode and the mountains far behind make for a real breathtaking scenery.
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The area inside the fort has been converted into a very well-maintained garden. You can see the fort entry to the right of the picture.
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View of the granary and the Observation Tower from the ramparts.
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View from the ramparts of the fort.
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The sea-bastion on the western part of the fort. The rough waves lash against it day and night.
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Looking down onto the small beach next to the sea-bastion.
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On the same beach, looking out to the sea.
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The ramparts of the fort.
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Drenched in sweat, and feeling tired and hungry, we made our way out of the fort and to the Nirvana resort next door to have lunch at their restaurant - Kia Ora.
Food was okay but expensive.
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Old 25th October 2010, 12:03   #10
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Arya thanks for sharing those lovely pics of Bekal Fort. The place looks awesome now and really calls for a visit. The last time I visited this place in Dec' it was all dry. Hope it aint a problem me adding a few pics here

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BTW I stayed at the same resort called Nirvana. The rooms were pretty neat and so was the hospitality. Have posted about them here.
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Old 25th October 2010, 15:09   #11
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Arya, the pictures are excellent - particularly, the crashing wave sending up a spray of water at Bekal is superb. It feels as though I am standing there - miss the sound effects though :-( .... waiting for more!
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Old 25th October 2010, 16:29   #12
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Nice starts. Please pour some more Info and well written. Keeps coming new pics. Why dont you also update the Accommodation threads and update all your hotwl details also
The same trip I wanted to do in the last year Manson with my wife in car. But unfortunately our typical work pressure did not allow.
The Beekal Fort is very nice, the view is really great.

Last edited by arin_12 : 25th October 2010 at 16:33.
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Old 25th October 2010, 17:55   #13
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Lovely crisp pics Arya, waiting for more ! BTW - which camera do you use ?
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Old 25th October 2010, 23:07   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Arya thanks for sharing those lovely pics of Bekal Fort. The place looks awesome now and really calls for a visit. The last time I visited this place in Dec' it was all dry. Hope it aint a problem me adding a few pics here

BTW I stayed at the same resort called Nirvana. The rooms were pretty neat and so was the hospitality. Have posted about them here.
Thanks, and feel free to add your pics as well. You got some real crisp shots there. I was shortchanged by the strong afternoon sun and had to make do with darker shots.

I didn't stay at Nirvana. We just had our lunch there. The place sure looks great and the hospitality was good. The only grudge was the quality of food served and the price attached to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vrprabhu View Post
Arya, the pictures are excellent - particularly, the crashing wave sending up a spray of water at Bekal is superb. It feels as though I am standing there - miss the sound effects though :-( .... waiting for more!
Thanks. More photos on the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arin_12 View Post
Nice starts. Please pour some more Info and well written. Keeps coming new pics. Why dont you also update the Accommodation threads and update all your hotwl details also
The same trip I wanted to do in the last year Manson with my wife in car. But unfortunately our typical work pressure did not allow.
The Beekal Fort is very nice, the view is really great.
Thanks, arin_12. Your Mahabalipuram trip report was one fine-grained one, and a tough standard to keep up to.

Actually, in the very first post I have put in all the hotels that I had pre-booked during our trip. But yeah, it makes sense to update the accommodation thread as well. Will do that.

Get out of office and do this trip - it's worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Lovely crisp pics Arya, waiting for more ! BTW - which camera do you use ?
Thanks, kannan666.
I use a simple Canon S3 IS hacked with the CHDK. And also use the standard Canon Wide Angle and Telephoto Converter that comes for this model.

Last edited by aryasanyal : 25th October 2010 at 23:09.
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Old 26th October 2010, 00:30   #15
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Default Day3: Udupi

Returned to hotel late from Bekal Fort on Day 2, and the result was that we couldn't accommodate St. Aloysius Church into our itinerary. That was a bad part to it as I had been waiting for long to have a glimpse of the magnificent interiors of the church.

Had another great dinner at the Deja Vu restaurant of our hotel. The hospitality and food has really blown us away.

Day 3 morning, checked out of the hotel and caught an auto to the bus stand near the State Bank. This day being Monday, I saw the busy nature of the city for the first time. It seemed like a different city altogether.

The roads near the bus stand are very bad. A big thumbs down to the Mangalore City Corporation!

We immediately got onto an express bus for Udupi. The Shimoga bound bus, also acted as a courier/parcel/postal service for the Mangalore-Shimoga route what with medicines destined for a Shimoga pharmacy tossed in, and parcels handed over to the driver.

The fare to Udupi was Rs.38/head.

The journey reminded me of my bus trips back in my native Bengal. The landscape was the same. Coconut trees all around, green paddy fields, numerous rivers and rivulets all added to the same experience.

We passed by Baikampady, Surathkal, Kaup and finally reached Udupi at 1:15PM. A brief thought of getting down at Kaup and spending time at the beach did pass my mind. But the sleeping baby made me give it a miss.

Checking into Mango Suites was swift. It is a year-old smart hotel located a stone's throw away from the bus-stand and was a good find on the net.
Run by enthusiastic young guys, I found it to be sort of an odd man out in the temple town of Udupi.

By the time we were ready for lunch, it was pretty late. So, we had to make do with lunch at Hotel Shiva Sagar in the bus stand complex. A typical bus-stand eatery but the thali was okay.

Post lunch, we went to visit the temples of Udupi. They were a mere 10 mins walk from our hotel.
Spent the whole evening visiting the three temples. But the real dampener was the rain that started drizzling while we were inside the main Sri Krishna Temple.
Visiting the other two temples became a bit of an activity juggling the baby and an umbrella.

The temple complex in Udupi consists of three temples and the road that runs around it - the Car Street.

The three temples are -

1. The Anantheswara temple.
2. The Chandramouleeswara temple
3. The Sri Krishna temple.

The first two temples are much older than the Sri Krishna temple and hence are visited first.

From Wikipedia:

The Krishna Matha was founded by the Vaishnavite saint Shri Madhwacharya in the 13th century. He was the founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta.

Legend has it that once Kanakadasa, a worshipper who was so pious and devoted to Lord Krishna, was not allowed entry into the temple. It didn't upset him, but instead made him pray with intense devotion. Lord Krishna was so pleased to allow the disciple to gaze upon his heavenly form through a small window at the back of the mutt (monastery). Till today, devotees still worship Lord Krishna by praying through the same window that Kanakadasa was blessed with a view.

The main gate of the 800 year old Sri Krishna Matha.
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Another view of the same.
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The Anantheswara temple and the Car Street.
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The Madhav Sarovar beside the Sri Krishna temple.
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A series of images at the Madhava Sarovar depicting how Shri Madhwacharya established the temples.
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The shopping complex inside the Sri Krishna temple.
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Another view of the same.
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The Madhava Sarovar...
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Back from the temple, we had dinner at the Udupi Residency hotel next to our hotel. The food was average, I'd say. And then we called it a day.

Last edited by aryasanyal : 26th October 2010 at 00:32.
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