Karnataka constitutes a kaleidoscope of natural and cultural sites. Flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and by the Arabian Sea on the west, it attracts people from far and wide
While temples and architectural sites are found all across the southern region of India, south Karnataka is popular with tourists for its palm-fringed beaches and delicious cuisine as well. Here is a list for an offbeat trail in south Karnataka.
The region is famous for the Annegudde Vinayaka temple in Kumbhasi located about 30 km from Udupi. Known as one of the ‘Mukti Sthalas’ in coastal Karnataka, the Lord is highly revered here and the offering of “Mudde akki Kadabu”, a regional speciality, is also considered sacred. The latter are savoury dumplings made from a fermented batter of rice and black gram dal, which are steamed in handwoven moulds made from pine screw leaves.
Similarly, the Sri Guddattu Vinayaka temple houses an idol that always remains submerged in water and has self-manifested in rock. The “Aayira Koda Seva” or the offering of one thousand pots of water to the Lord, which is an elaborate Vedic ritual, is a unique feature of the temple. The temple town of Barkur is home to the Batte Vinayaka temple, which gets its name from the deity who wears a cloth around his waist. The temple is popular with vehicle owners and travellers who pray at the shrine before commencing their journey.
The Nandikeshwara temple at Mekkikattu houses idols being made of wood. The main shrine worshipped here is Nandi or the holy bull and the temple has around 156 wooden idols worshipped on a daily basis.
In Nature’s Lap
If you are planning to spend tranquil moments on serene beaches while watching panoramic sunrises and sunsets, head to the Kapu beach, which is about 15 km from the Udupi town.
The Kapu beach is best visited during early mornings or during dusk as it gets hot during the afternoon. The beach is famous for its lighthouse that dates back to 1901 when it was installed for the purpose of guiding sailors and fishermen.
The Kodi Bengre beach, which is located about 18 km from Udupi, is a hidden gem. Come here to witness the confluence of river Suvarna and the Arabian Sea. A stunning spectacle replete with azure waters, swaying palms and colourful fishing boats bobbing up and down, Kodi Bengre is a paradise not to be missed. The little sland of Uppinakudru, famous for its salt trading, offers beautiful views of the backwaters and mangroves.
Native Produce and Culinary Delights
Mangaluru is famous for its indigenous variety of jasmine flowers, which are grown locally in the hamlet of Shankarpura. Elongated in shape and with a pinkish tinge, the flowers are sold in bundles or units called atte. The price of each bundle varies each day and is fixed by a central exchange! The flowers are exported to the Middle East and across India.
Mattu Gulla is a variety of green spherical brinjals grown in and around Mattu, a small village near Udupi. It is a regional speciality that you can buy in the local vegetable market. Known for its unique taste, the sambar prepared from gulla is a popular dish during festivals and celebrations. Before leaving, do try the piping hot golli bajjis (refined flour fritters) at Mitra Samaj, a small eatery just behind the Udupi Krishna temple. It is the perfect way to end your offbeat sojourn of the south!