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A Weekend Break In Udupi

Udupi is the perfect confluence between a spiritual and leisurely holiday

Priyanka Kapoor
June 3, 2023
A Weekend Break In Udupi

Udupi is a picturesque, offbeat district in Karnataka. It has a fascinating history intertwined with local legends. For instance, the name “Udupi” originates from the Sanskrit words “Udu” (meaning “stars”) and “Pa” (meaning “lord”). According to a legend, King Daksha cursed the moon, causing its light to diminish. To regain its radiance, the moon prayed to Lord Shiva at the Chandramouleshwara Temple in Udupi. As a result, a linga representing Lord Shiva was created and can still be seen today at the temple. This legend gives Udupi its name, which translates to “land of the lord of the stars,” referring to the moon.

Apart from a rich spiritual and cultural heritage, Udupi is home to many beautiful white sand beaches and the “Coconut Island”. If you are planning a vacation in Udupi, here’s a list of must-visit places.

Malpe Beach

Set along the western coast, Malpe is a stretch of golden sands with open blue skies. It is located near the Udyavara River, which flows around this beach. Roughly 6 km away from Udupi, it is also home to the largest natural port in Karnataka. Enjoy an afternoon nap by the beach as you listen to the sound of the ocean. In the evening, if you feel like taking a stroll, try Karnataka’s first sea walk that starts at Malpe Beach. The sea walk can be reached via the Malpe-Udupi Road. Just follow the road until it ends. There are parking spaces, benches, and rocks available for relaxation.

Getting there: The nearest railhead is Udupi railway station, roughly 10 km away.


St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s is a group of four uninhabited islands situated to the north of Malpe Beach, made up of the North Island, South Island, Darya Bahadurgarh Island, and Coconut Island (the most popular). Vasco da Gama is said to have landed at St. Mary’s in 1948 before journeying on to Calicut (Kozhikode). He placed a cross here as a tribute to St Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and gave these islands the Portuguese name “O Padro de Santa Maria.” The islands are also known for columnar rhyolitic lava, a unique geological feature. Geologists claim that this is the residue of volcanic activity from millions of years ago when Madagascar and India were part of the same land mass.

Getting there: St. Mary’s Island can be reached by boat or a ferry departing from Malpe Beach.


Shri Krishna Matha

This ancient Krishna temple, dating back to the 13th century, is a popular pilgrimage destination in South India. People throng here to see the idol of Lord Krishna, portrayed as a young boy (Balakrishna). The idol cannot be directly observed but is viewed through a unique nine-hole window called the Navagraha Kitiki. Shri Krishna Matha’s history revolves around the tale of Kanakadasa who was denied entry into the temple as he belonged to a lower caste. Undeterred, he sought solace behind the temple walls, where he fervently prayed to the Lord through a small crack. Deeply moved by his devotion, the statue of Lord Krishna turned around, granting him darshan (divine appearance).

Getting There: Shri Krishna Matha is located at 3 km from Udupi railway station.

The Information

Season: The best time to visit Udupi is between December and February.

Getting There:

By Air

The nearest airport to Udupi is the Mangalore International Airport (IXE), approximately 60 km away.

By Train

Udupi has its own railway station, which is well-connected to major cities across India. To reach Udupi by train:

By Road

Udupi is well-connected to neighbouring cities and states by road networks. The journey by road from Mangalore to Udupi takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

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