My girls’ gang we were planning a trip for a long time. Finally, we decided to go in January 2018 long weekend. I love planning vacations. It’s my favorite hobby. I asked my friends, and all the girls were ready for a trip no one needed to know where we are going. No one required telling twice, it was decided; all 8 of us were going on a weekend getaway. The destinations were finalized – It was a 5-day trip to Udupi, Murudeshwar, and Gokarna, Karnataka.
The excitement was too much to handle, planning went on for weeks, there was packing and unpacking and repacking. At last, the day dawned. Here is how we reached to Udupi. We tried for, but unfortunately, we didn’t get it because of the long weekend holiday season. Another option was Redbus – Yes, bus journey. All the tickets booked. Chetana and Kirti started their Journey from Mumbai and remaining joined them from Pune – me, Priya, Noopur, Shweta, Mrunali and Sonali. It was an overnight journey.
We reached Udupi in the afternoon, after checking in the hotel, we decided to go out for lunch. As we all know Udupi is a birthplace of dosa and world-famous veg thali. So, we reviewed Woodlands restaurant on Tripadvisor, and we decided to go to there, it was nearby our hotel, and secondly, it’s one of the oldest Vegetarian restaurants in Udupi. Located very close to Sri Krishna Mutt. Spotless and hygienic place. Excellent quality of food. Authentic vegetarian cuisine and very reasonable pricing.
Next on the agenda was to watch the sunset at Malpe beach. It’s a splendidly sandy beach with a never-ending coastline flanked by 3 rocky islands. Its amazingly flat beach, we played in the water for an hour, and we don’t want to come out. The white sand felt like we were all kids again. Here you will find various watersports activities. We watched the amazingly dramatic sunset that day!
The second day, our first stop was a very famous pilgrimage site, Sri Krishna Matha, a 13th-century temple, where Lord Krishna is worshipped only through a small window with nine tiny holes called the Navagraha Kitiki. The temple founded by the Hindu saint and philosopher Madhavacharya. You could see the rath and Madhava Sarovara while moving in the queue. Photography is prohibited here and so are foreigners. Once darshan was done, then we headed to the Prasadam hall where you need to sit down and have meals (rice, sambhar, kheer, and curd) as prasad. The taste was heavenly and the way they serve you was astonishing as well. Here, anyone who comes gets a meal, and there are thousands every day.
Next to Shri Krishna Matha, 8th century Sri Anantheshwara Temple, you must visit. Anantheshwara temple is the ancient temple in Udupi and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple isn’t crowded as Shri Krishna temple. There are many fables related to this temple. Some of them are that one should visit this temple before worshipping Lord Krishna. It is believed that Madhavachrya disappeared in this temple during penance, it is tradition to offer oil at the Nanda Deepa located in the entrance of the temple, the place where Madhavacharya disappeared. The architecture of the temple is worth watching, built by joining rock slabs connected by limestone plaster.
I also suggest taking a walk in the little bylanes surrounding the temple. Its a step back in time. Old-fashioned houses while not wholly untouched by modernity, still retain the beauty of the vintage. Moreover, you must visit the Art center of the temple in the evening where artists volunteer classical dance-drama of Shri Krishna’s life. Luckily we watched it, and it was amazingly outstanding to experience.
Next day was packed with a boat ride to St. Mary’s island – a small group of tiny islands. You can reach this island by paying around Rs.400/- by private ferry OR Rs.250/- by big Govt. Ferry from Malpe beach, and it was 20 mins of sailing till you reach the island. The ferry ride was a super pleasure as we rode through the Arabian Sea. As we landed the island, we saw numerous coconut trees, and it’s called Coconut Island. The shore is entirely a bed of broken shell of various colors. The water is so clean and bright. As we walked further, we found a fascinating geological formation in the form of hexagonal pillars of rocks. These bizarre ‘columnar joints’ are noted as one of the National Geological Monuments. It was a sunny and hot day, tired and hungry we retired to our rooms, devoured the food and slept like logs. In the evening we were resting in our rooms and chatting, gossiping because we all met after a long time. We had a blast of fun, dance, music and good food that night.
Next morning we started from Udupi to Gokarna via Murudeshwar by train. It was a 2-hour journey. Murudeshwar is a small city. The temple at Murudeshwar is one of the most prominent temples I have ever seen. The huge Statue of Lord Shiva on a small hill left us speechless. The entrance of the temple has a tall building with a lift which takes you straight to the 18th floor. The view of Murudeshwar Beach from this point is a sight to behold. One of the major attractions here was the cave that depicted the story behind Gokarna and Murudeshwara. The story is represented in 16 tableaus as it happened. Everyone was surprised by seeing the statue of Lord Shiva. Later we rushed to the station for Gokarna train.
Kudle beach, Gokarna is 5 mins away from the halfway home. In the evening we all got ready and visited a beautiful Kudle beach. You have to climb down the hill to reach the beach. It’s a beautiful, clean and well-maintained beach. In the middle of tranquillity, if you are looking for some entertainment and booze, you have come to the right place. Kudle welcomes everyone. The only beach which has many shacks and great music. Its couple of kilometers from OM beach. We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset here, played in the water and clicked many photos.
Places to Visit in Gokarna
Next day after breakfast at halfway home we headed for the famous Gokarna temple, around 4-5 km from Kudle hilltop. The main deity is Lord Shiva is also known as Mahabaleshwar. We all reached the temple to find a long queue, after half an hour we took darshan of the Atmalinga we were hearing about it all these years. It is also one of the main Hindu pilgrimage sites, and the temple has the Atmalinga which Ravana received from Lord Shiva and the legend everyone aware of. Right behind the temple is the Gokarna beach.
Next attraction was OM beach, here also you have to climb down toward the beach. Here we strolled in the sands and clicked photos we all were lost in its serene beauty. The shape of the beach naturally shapes as OM, therefore, its known as the OM beach.
At the evening, we headed to catch a bus. Our minds full of temples and beaches, of calmness and serenity, of happiness and peace. This was the best singles vacation of my life, with memories carved into my soul for years to come.
Are you looking for a Long Weekend Getaways in 2019?
With the 2019 long weekend list of India, If you are in Pune, Mumbai I suggest you Udupi, Murudeshwar, and Gokarna in Karnataka. These offbeat places are one of the best places to go to.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill