Coastal Karnataka Day 2 – St Mary’s island, Malpe.

Place: Shri Krishna Temple, Udupi and St. Mary’s Island, Malpe

Distance: 352 km from Bangalore
Type: Temple, Beach
Ideal for: Family and Friends
Best time to visit: October to February

Best of the beast: St Mary’s island

This is the second part of my day. Do read the first post before reading this part.

After savoring the 15th-century art at Saavira Kambada Basadi we moved on to our next destination. It was 1 in the afternoon, I wanted to cover kapu beach en route but due to lack of time, we skipped it and directly went to Krishna temple in Udupi.  It’s best to visit kapu beach in the evening to watch the sunset, so let me keep it for my next trip to Udupi. 

Shri Krishna Temple, Udupi

Brief about the place: The temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and god is worshipped only through a window called the Navagraha Kitiki also called Kanakana Kindi or Kanakana Kitiki. I hope you remember the famous Kanakadasa story where Lord Krishna was pleased the worship of Kanakadasa and gave darshana through a small window. It is said that Krishna, pleased with his devotee’s faith, turned himself and created a hole in the back wall of the temple to face Kanakadasa, who could now have a clear view of his Lord.

Holy pond adjoining the temple
The temple premises

Kanakana Kindi from where Lord Krishna gave darhsna to Kanakadasa

The folk song being sung for nonstop two years

The temple was crowded and we didn’t have enough time to have darshana. We bowed from outside and went ahead for the lunch. Temple serves delicious free lunch throughout the year for the devotees.

Malpe Beach: After lunch, we headed to trendy and buzzed Malpe beach which is some 3.5 km far towards the sea. The beach is around 1 km from the parking spot (Gandhi Maidana). The Malpe Beach has pleasant weather and silver white sand which makes it ideal for a variety of water sports activities like parasailing, jet ski, and banana ride were going on. Few of us were interested to try water sports but our main motto was to visit St Mary’s Island so we didn’t waste any time.

Malpe beach

Marble statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Malpe Beach

Malpe beach

The beach would be croded in weekends


Ferry ride to St Mary’s Island


Art with a deep meaning

Malpe beach is famous for water sports

Parasailing at Malpe beach

Reaching St Mary’s Island: To reach St Mary’s Island one has to take a ferry ride from Malpe. The govt ferry services start from Malpe harbor which was around 1.5 km from the place we were standing. There was similar service offered by private but govt approved smaller motorboats. They were charging Rs. 400 per head while the govt ferry is Rs. 300 (That’s what my friend said. correct me if wrong). Since we were 1.5 km from Malpe harbor, it wouldn’t make any sense to walk that far to save little money and a loose lot of time. We opted for the private motorboat. We took the tickets and boarded the boat which accommodates around 20 people. (Keep the tickets safe as you will need them while returning). It took close to 15 min to reach St Mary’s island.

Taking boat ride to St Mary’s Island

These smaller boats carry upto 20 people at a time. While the bigger ferrys carry more people.

People have to shift from big ferry to smaller boats which will finally take you to the island

St. Marry’s Island
St Mary’s Island: The first thing we observed was the crystal clear water and silver white sand. We were tempted to take a dip in the azure water but we wanted to explore the island first. The spectacular island is small in size but big in surprise. This beautiful island is lined with coconut trees and covered with a blue sky that provides a perfect picture for nature lovers.

This view of the beach is a treat to the eyes

Crystal clear water

There are tall coconut trees on one side and hexagonal rocks on the other. The rocks are columnar basaltic lava formed by volcanic activity that may have taken millions of years ago.  We climbed one of these rocks and found a vantage point to enjoy the vast ocean. While most of us sat down to enjoy the view, Bharat and I decided to explore the island. We walked across the headlands and reached to the other side of the Island which is unknown to the tourists. It was an isolated stretch of white sand which we could claim as our own private beach.

These rocks were formed by some sub volcanic activities in past.

The island is mostly rocky 

Columnar basaltic lava rocks

Watching setting sun

We came across this part where there were no one around

When Sagar meets Sagar

The clear water made me feel like to jump into it

Boulders on the sea line offer an excellent view of the Arabian in sheer quietude.

Coconut Lagoon


Couldn’t resist myself from capturing the beautiful sunset

We were so much lost in taking photos that we couldn’t keep track of the time. The return boats would commence at 6 pm. We were left with no time to get into the water 🙁

We joined the queue for the returning boats. After 15 min we boarded a ferry and reached the Maple beach. We sat on the beach for half an hour enjoying the cool breeze and chit chatting. One of our friend who stays in Udupi came to see us. We made plans to visit a pub in Manipal.

Party time at Manipal: Manipal is just 10 km from Udupi and it is the most happening place in the Udupi district. There’s a drastic change in the culture as you move from Udupi to Manipal. We visited a pub called Hashtag in Manipal. After spending a great time at the pub we roamed around the college area. Manipal is famous for its colleges and hospitals. Looking at the students, nostalgic feeling of our college life came to life.

Party time

World Wide Manipal
It was 11.30 in the night by the time we decided to leave. I had booked a stay at Byndanoor which is around 70 km from Manipal. We checked in to our rooms at 2 am. We had some issue with the rooms, after quarreling with the hotelier and talking with the MakeMyTrip customer care we went to sleep at 3 am.

Read my next day’s post where we celebrated the new year and had a blast at Om Beach, Gokarna.
1. Malpe beach timings: 6 am to 9pm
2. St Mary’s Island timings: 6 am to 6 pm
2. If you are planning to take the govt ferry ride then directly navigate to St. Mary’s Island Govt. Boating Office, Malpe. You can also enjoy the sea walk from this place.
3. The govt ferry takes around 45 minutes to reach and there would be a huge queue. So if you are on the tight timeline then go for smaller motor boats from Malpe beach.
4. No plastic and food are allowed in St Mary’s island. You may be asked to deposit the bags in the locker room. There are small stalls available on the island serving tea and snack.
5. If you want to use your DSLR then you will have to pay Rs. 200. I would suggest you smuggle it in your backpack and use it inside.

Do share your thoughts in the comment section below. Let me know if you need any info

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