Malpe & St. Mary's
This place is straight out of a dream - beautiful beaches with golden sand and blue, clear water. At Malpe town, boat service is available to go to St. Mary's, a beautiful island with lovely picturesque beaches. Malpe beach is around 2kms north of Malpe town and has a beach resort (Paradise Isle) just next to it for refreshing. Malpe is 3 kms detour from NH17, near Uduppi. Uduppi is 60 kms north of Mangaluru and 220 kms south of Karwar and famous for the Sri Krishna temple. From Bengaluru, one can travel to Mangaluru along NH48 and then take the NH17 or Konkan train to Uduppi. Buses ply from Bengaluru to Mangaluru and directly to Uduppi via Manipal. Do check my Mangaluru Bike Trip Page for photos and more detailed route information.
Maravanthe is quite a surprise for someone driving along NH17 to the north of Kundapur or to the south of Bhatkal. Because here, the Souparnika river flows parallel to the river creating a small stretch of land with Arabian sea on one side, river mouth on the other and the Kodachadri hills in the background. Beach is decent and the river banks lush green. One can also do boating around the river mouth and into a small islet trapped in the river mouth. This place is near the temple town of Kollur and Kodachadri hills. It is around 50kms north of Uduppi, 110kms from Mangaluru, around 75kms south of Honnavar and close to 165kms from Karwar. By train, one can get down at Kundapur and then travel further by road to Maravanthe.
Murudeshwar is 1km detour from NH17, 165kms north of Mangaluru and 110kms south of Karwar. By train, one can get down at the Murudeshwar station. At first look, its a small town with dirty beaches and couple big buildings around, including one restaurant jutting into the beach. Commercialized to a large extend, Murudeshwar is famous for the tallest Siva statue in India, which overlooks the Arabian Sea. The buildings are growing taller to the extend of hiding the very Siva statue. Do check up my Goa Trip Page for some photos and additional information.
Sharavathi River Valley
Sharavathi (Sharavathy) river originates in the western ghats and enters the Arabian Sea at Honnavar. Boat rides are possible from Gerusoppa to Honnavar. Honnavar town is 90kms south of Karwar and about 185 kms north of Mangaluru along NH17. From Bengaluru one can take the NH4 (till Tumakuru) and NH206 from there on to reach Honnavar. Gerusoppa is 30kms before Honnavar along NH206. Driving along NH206 from Sagar to Gerusoppa (around 60kms) is a great experience. First, it is the lush greenery on both sides and then the eerie fog-filled ghat roads around the famous Jog Falls. Jog Falls is just couple of kms from the NH206. Past Jog Falls the ghat roads become curvier and dangerous and at the same time picturesque. There are numerous streams, falls and view points along this road. The first one, the Sharavathi River Valley view point, around 12kms from Jog Falls offers a beautiful view of the river valley. 10 more kms ahead is a small bridge and the boating point, with water bodies on both sides, including a small water fall. Past this point, Sharavathi river appears on one side and is visible up till Gerusoppa. Do check up Karwar Bike Trip and Goa Trip Pages for photos and trip log from couple of my drives along this road.
Gokarana is 12kms detour from NH17 at Madangere, around 225 kms north of Mangalore and 50 kms south of Karwar. Konkan rail has a station at Gokarna road, which is again 10kms off the town. Both KSRTC and VRL run buses from Bengaluru to Gokarna town. Gokarna main beach is crowded, but just cross a hill on your left and you are in Kudle beach. Walk across the beach, cross another hill and you reach Om beach. Couple more hills across you can reach Half Moon and Paradise beaches, smaller and desserted but beautiful. Om and Kudle, once esoteric destinations of the hippies tired of Goan crowd, is now becoming crowded. These two beaches are accessible from Gokarna town through a 'kachaa' road. Bikes are available at the town for rent so that you can drive down to the beaches. Taxies are also available from the town or from the railway station to these places. Om and Kudle have shacks available for stay and most of the foreigners make a beeline to these places. Check out my Gokarna Beach Trek Page, Karwar Bike Trip Page or Goa Trip Page for more details and photos. Gokarna is essentially a temple town, with famous temples like the ones for Mahabalehwar, Bhadrakali and Mahaganapathi, and then the Kottitheertha tank. It is a very important Shaiva centre. The name 'Gokarna' is derived from the Sanskrit words 'go' (meaning cow) and 'karna' (meaning ear) after some legends about this place.
Karwar & Devbagh
Driving up the NH17 towards Karwar from Ankola is an enchanting experience. It presents you with a unique experience of climbing up and down the western ghat with sea on one side. Sea Bird, the largest naval base in India, under construction, can also be seen on the west side. At Karwar, the NH17 goes just meters away from the Arabian Sea. There is a beautiful beach park named after Ravindra Nath Tagore, just next to the town, followed by a bridge over River Kali, tunneling through a big rock. The most famous tourist attraction in Karwar is the Devbagh beach resort. Devbagh is a tiny island near Karwar with accomodation and entertainment facilities. Karwar is 521 kms north west of Bengaluru and about 100kms from Panaji. From Bengaluru, one can travel to Karwar by road, along NH4 (till Tumakuru), then NH206 (till Honnavar) and then northwards along NH17. Another route is NH4 (till Hubballi), NH63 (till Ankola) and then on NH17 till Karwar. Another option is to travel to Mangaluru (NH48) and then driving up via NH17, touching the numerous beautiful beaches en route. Or one can board the Konkan train from Mangaluru. From Panaji, one can drive down the NH17 or board the Konkan train to reach Karwar. Do check up the Karwar Bike Trip Page for a trip log and photos of my bike trip to Karwar and the Goa Trip Page for some more information about places en route.
The whole of konkan coast is dotted with beautiful beaches, interspersed with hills and river mouths. The major river in the area include River Mandovi (in Goa), Kali, Agnashini, Gangavali, Sharavathi, Souparnika, Sita, Netravathi and a lot more. Among these, Kali and Sitanadi are also famous for river rafting. There are lot more beautiful beaches than given in this list, like the ones in Ullal, Kaupe, Baindur, Bhatkal, Honnavar, Kirki, Kumta, Bellikere and not to mention the Goan beaches!!! The most notable stretch in Karnataka is the string of beaches from Bellikere (near Ankola) to Murudeshwar. A trek route, called GoldenRoute, is there covering all the beaches between these two places and climbing the numerous small but picturesque hillocks in between. Do check up the Gokarna Beach Trek Page for some more information and photos.