This is especially for all the overseas subscribers of my blog
Visitors from outside of India are ideally pulled to the metro cities of India which you can’t deny have more or less a westernised infrastructure and they end up enjoying and observing the uniqueness of our beautiful nation to a limited extent
I often encourage people to visit unconventional places so that they can enjoy the true spirit of India which is symbolised by diversity in demography as well as in geography
One of my recent visits was to Udupi (Karnataka)
Udupi is a beautiful city in the state of karnataka , The proximity of Udupi to many important towns and cities is what I love about it, Mangalore airport is about an hour away from Udupi.
Here’s why you should look forward to visiting udupi:
1. AMBALPADI TEMPLE :
I spend hours here, during each of my trips to udupi. The Main Idol is carved out of the bark of a Jackfruit tree and is around 400 years old. There’s also a Janardhana temple within the compound of the main temple. It is a peaceful place to be at and is associated with several miraculous incidents, About 25 years ago a Woman entered the temple premises with some offerings for the divine mother, but the Ambalpadi(goddess) temple inside was closed, the upset devotee sat chanting prayers for Mother and that’s when the goddess herself appeared before her to accept the offerings. This temple also hosts numerous rituals and is famous for the variety of prasadam(temple meals) offered on a banana leaf. The temple also has a backyard garden and a pond in front of it adding to the aesthetic beauty of the place.
2. MANIPAL :
Manipal is a town located very close to udupi. It has numerous educational institutions having a wide acclaim from people within and outside India. The university crowd is very cosmopolitan owing to the diversity of students coming from india and abroad. There are many fun places to hangout here with numerous restaurants and hotels surrounding this place.
a. Dollops : This is a fun food joint serving a range of cuisines to satisfy your taste buds. I recommend – Egg Plant in hot garlic sauce and their milkshakes! The rest is your choice, but it surely is a must visit.
b. Onesta : This is Karnataka’s very own Pizza joint and is popular amongst the students in manipal, the range of calzones, pizzas, desserts and soft beverages makes it a great option for all visitors.
c. Venugopal temple: It is a famous temple in manipal. The main deity is lord krishna. The architecture of this temple is very unique the roof of the temple is a huge dome it reminds me of a butter ball. It is a must visit in manipal.
3. KARKALA :
I would strongly recommend visitors especially those from other countries to visit small towns like karkala to experience new cultures and life-styles . The central location of Udupi facilitates transport to various towns and cities. The small town of Karkala with population of about 26000 derives its name from kari-kal that is black stone in TULU a language spoken in some parts of karnataka, it shouldn’t be surprising that black granite is unusually common in this area. Another language spoken here is KONKANI which happens to be my mother toungue ! The drive from udupi to karkala is beautiful, one comes across lush green spaces and little houses every now and then. Though we hire a car in udupi i love to take a bus ride to Karkala, it is a different experience travelling with the locals chattering in their unique mother tongue, the wind playing with your hair as you slide the window open, the fragrance of the first rain in the region and the rare interaction you have with travellers who’ve been shuttling between towns on account of employment. in karkala there are some places one could visit:
a. Venkatramana temple:
it is also known as padutirupathi temple, it’s said that if one is unable to make it to the popular pilgrimage destination-Tirupathi due to any reason one must visit this temple.
My grandmother was born and brought up within the compounds of this temple, i have a sentimental attachment to this place, it is amazing to imagine her as a little girl running around the pillars of the temple, it reminds me of the stories she told me about the beautiful carvings of grapevines and sparrows on these pillars. I recommend this place to people not because it is a unique experience for me but because it is so well maintained and peaceful inside that one may not want to leave the place for hours!
b. Hanuman Temple : Opposite the venkatramana temple is the hanuman temple where one would fine a massive idol of lord hanuman covered with Orange sindoor, it is a small temple but the visit to karkala is incomplete without paying a visit to Lord Ram’s (a form of lord venkatramana) beloved devotee hanumantha.
c. Gomateshwara statue : Karkala was ruled by Jain Bhairarasa Odeyars who worshipped lord Gomateshwara, hence there is a tall statue of this saint who is said to have meditated motionless for one year in standing posture later attaining omniscience.
d. FOOD : With limited options i generally recommend dining at ‘Sagar’ it serves delicious south indian and north indian delights
e. Snacks: There are some unique snacks available in this part of south india, I would recommend picking up Banana chips , Jack fruit chips , sweet potato chips most of them fried in Coconut Oil, other items that could be taken home and later deep fried (healthy option- put it in the air fryer) include- vodi (onion/garlic fritters), potato papad, jackfruit papad and many more!
4. UDUPI KRISHNA TEMPLE :
This place is in udupi, it is a very famous temple and has some other temples around it ( eg. raghavendra swami temple) . There is a moving story behind this temple’s main idol. Kanakadasa was a devotee of lord krishna and lived in a hut in front of the gopura of the temple, he was not allowed to enter the temple on account of belonging to a lower caste and a wall separated the devotee from the deity’s idol, But one night a tremor cracked the wall and the east facing idol rotated to the west to bless his devotee, it was a wonderful lesson to one and all – Caste and status meant nothing to the lord, Devotion was all that mattered. The wall was never fixed infact a window was built in the wall to allow everyone a darshan even from outside the temple.
5.BEACH AND OTHER FUN PLACES: There are many other places to visit in and around udupi including the Malpe beach, St. Mary’s Island, Kudu falls, Mattu beach
6. MITRA SAMAJ: This is a wonderful restaurant with a modest ambience but delicious food. It is the Birthplace of the all time favorite Masala Dosa. It’s our standard breakfast joint, we feast on their specialities: Masala Puri, Manglorian Buns, Vada Sambar, Masala Dosa, Idly and Filter coffee. It is right behind the udupi krishna temple
7. DIANA ICE CREAM : The king of Ice-creams in Udupi. It is a well known joint I have been visiting since childhood. Some of their specialities are Gadbad ice-cream, Horlicks Cake, Vegetable Cutlet, Dahi Vada. It serves yummy north indian and chinese items too ( chinese items in india could be very spicy for the residents of other countries)
You could take a flight to mangalore and drive to Udupi and the places around it, I love staying in udupi because it’s an experience very different from the usual metro-city life that i tend to lead. The list summarises the true flavour of a Udupi local’s weekends in the city. So go ahead and book your tickets !