Udupi is a coastal town in Karnataka, most famous for its vegetarian cuisine and South Indian restaurants all over the country. With beautifully carved ancient temples, laidback beaches and unexplored forests, Udupi is also the place where the educational hub of Manipal is located. Situated 60 km from Mangalore, Udupi is famous for its temple culture.
Surrounded by the Arabian Sea on one side and the Western ghats on the other, this pilgrim centre is the most important city in Karnataka after Bangalore and Mangalore. Being a holy town, one of the most important attractions here is the Krishna Temple. Udupi is also known as Rajata Peetha and Shivalli locally.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Karnataka are in Udupi. Malpe Beach is a tourist hotspot as it has beach shacks selling some of the most delicious seafood fresh off the boat, a beachside culture unlike any other in Southern Karnataka and many water sports too. From here, you can take a boat to St. Mary’s Island which is famous for its black rocks.
Places to Visit
The land where Vasco De Gama set his first foot, the land whose geological importance is immense and whose beauty is spectacular, is St. Mary’s Island, Karnataka. A quaint island just off the coast of Udupi, St. Mary’s Island is an island of white sand beaches, rock monoliths and great wildlife making it a mesmerizing place to be in.
Located just 4 miles off the coast of Karnataka in the Arabian Sea, St. Mary’s Island is a geological treasure and hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is a group of four individual islands namely Coconut Island, North Island, South Island and Daryabahadurgarh Island. One can find a shoreline made up full of crystalline rocks which were created at the time Madagascar Island got separated from India. The enchanting site is wonderful but is yet to be truly discovered for its tourism potential. Watching the sunset standing on the crystalline rocks is one of the most alluring experiences on the island.
Considered to be one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in South India, the Krishna Temple or the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha is one of the most auspicious temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. The idol of Krishna is adorned with jewels and a golden chariot. What makes the temple unique, is its worshipping pattern. The prayers and process of the whole worship take place only through a silver-plated window with nine holes called the Navagraha Kitiki. A temple known as Udupi Anantheshwara Temple surrounds the Shree Krishna Matha. This temple traces back to 1,000 years.
The temple bears a resemblance to a living ashram, fostering daily life and devotion. It is also the birthplace of Daasa Sahitya, a Udupi form of literature. Every two years, the administration and temple offerings are managed cyclically between the eight mathas. They are collectively known as Ashta Mathagalu. It is because Krishna’s mother Yashoda wanted to see him take the form of a child, his idol has seen the same kind.
Every year, the Krishna Temple attracts thousands of devotees, and daily prayers begin with the blowing of a conch shell at 4:00 AM. Several festivals like Ramanavami, Deepavali, Krishnashtami, Hanuman Jayanti, Saptotsava or the Seven Utsavas (celebrated in January) and the Paryaya festival (once in every two years).
On the top of the list of exquisite unexplored beaches in India is the Malpe beach. It is located at a distance of 66 kilometres from Mangalore and 6 kilometres from Udupi in Karnataka. This scenic beach is popular amongst locals and foreigners alike. The pristine white sand, pleasant weather, and the delectable food shacks here and the plenty of water sports options make Malpe Beach an ideal spot for a quick escape. The latest addition to the beach by the authorities are the free wifi facilities that are available 24 x 7!
The vast coastline of this hidden gemstone of Karnataka has four rocky islands. The northern-most island is the Daria-Bahadurgad, the middle one is the Daria-Gadara-Kallu, while the southernmost island is the Kari-Illada-Kallu. The fourth rocky island, St. Mary’s Island, is the most famous and frequently visited one. This beach is situated at the mouth of the Udyavara River, which is a small river that flows around this beach and is commonly referred to as the Malpe River by the locals.
A must visit beach in the area, this might just be one of the most beautiful destinations of the town. Also find here a lighthouse, twinkling at a height of 100 ft.
Mookambika Temple is dedicated to Aadiprakarshakti who is believed to embody the powers of three goddesses, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Mahakali and Maha Lakshmi. The sanctum sanctorum houses a Linga representing Purusha as well as Shakti and is called the Udbhavlinga.
Also known as Sita Falls, Kudlu Falls is famous for its picturesque beauty. The waterfall cascades down the Western Ghats from a height of 150 feet in the midst of a dense green cover of the hilly terrain. It requires a moderate level of trekking through the green zone to reach the enchanting waterfall. The attraction is, thus, a favourite amongst trekkers and nature lovers.
Located in the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Jomlu Teerth is a waterfall formed by the mesmerising River Sita. The fall cascades down a rocky terrain from a height of 20 feet in the middle of the dense natural reserve. The music made by the gushing water body and the birds singing their hearts away is sure to captivate one and all.
Well known for the Manipal university, this town is home to multiple educational institutions founded by Dr T M A Pai. It is located in the Malabar coast region with the Arabian Sea at a touching distance of 8km. Apart from the Manipal University campus, this place also houses the international headquarters of Syndicate bank and a regional IT hub.
Manipal was a sleepy coastal town that was not very famous before 1950. It was once a part of the Shivalli village panchayat. However, all that changed when the town was selected by Dr Tonse Madhava Anantha Pai as the location to set up an institution for imparting medical education.
With the establishment of India’s first private medical college, Kasturba Medical College, in Manipal in the year 1953 this sleepy town started getting attention and within a few years, it became one of the most well-known places in Karnataka.
The birthplace of Sri Madhavacharya, a Dvaita philosopher, this village has a number of attractions that depict or mark the events and life of the philosopher. Find here a Banyan tree grown by him and the Madhava Mandir.
Although Udupi is relatively a smaller town, it has quite a few interesting listings on its shopping manual. It is widely known for its world-famous Udupi cuisine, so one is bound to find most shops selling a plethora of culinary items starting from snacks, juice extracts, spices and oils used in authentic Udupi cooking. Aluminium pans to make Guliyappa and Aruvamane used to scrape coconuts find a special mention among cooking vessels sold here.
Udupi is also reputed to be a storehouse of traditional clothing and textiles. Kanjeevaram, Dharmavaram and Banarasi silk sarees can be found at reasonable rates. Other traditional and modern garments and various types of jewellery are particularly famous among female shoppers.
One can also find wooden handicraft items like agarbatti stands, idols of deities, altars, etc. Fans of Ayurveda and massage therapy will be satisfied with the wide range of oils found here. Wheat halwa, banana halwa, banana chips and mango pickles are most sought-after local delicacies.
Must Try Food in Udipi
1. Woodlands Restaurant
2. Thimmappa Fish Hotel
4. Hotel New Shanthi Sagar
5. Cafe 7 Bees
6. Hotel Swadisht
7. Fish Factory Restaurant
8. Sagar Ratna
9. Mayuri Ristorante
10. Biryani at Cafiya Restaurant
How To Get Here
Udupi is well connected to the rest of India by rail & road. Regular rail and bus services ply to and from the city of Udupi; buses being operated both by private and government owners. There is no direct flight connectivity from Udupi. But Mangalore airport, 60 km away, is the nearest airport that connects Udupi to the rest of India and a few Gulf countries.
There is no direct flight connectivity to Udupi. Mangalore Airport is the nearest airport, which is approximately 60 km. away from Udupi via NH 66. You can take a taxi or a bus to Udupi once you touch down at Mangalore Airport.
Nearest Airport: Mangalore International Airport (IXE) – 45 kms from Udupi.
You can also take shared taxis or cabs for the same route. It’s a straight drive on NH 66. The conditions of the road are great and there is no traffic.
Udupi is well connected to the rest of India via railways as well. Regular rail services operate on a daily basis to and from Udupi. Udupi Junction is the principal railway station that serves the city of Udupi.