Monday, 28 October 2013

Murudeshwar, bless us Lord Shiva


The next day from Jog Falls we headed towards Murudeshwara, the coastal town that is towered by Lord Shiva. The distance from Jog Falls to Murudeswara is approximately 87 Kms and since the road is also very good it didn't take long for us to reach Murudeshwar.

Lord Shiva (Murudeshwar)
  The good thing about the temple of Lord Shiva is that once you are near the temple you do not need to ask anybody about the direction. And that is because, from quite a distance, one can see the huge towering figure of Lord Shiva to guide them towards the temple.

Lord Shiva (Murudeshwar)
  Once we were at the feet of Lord Shiva we were awestruck. We have never seen such a huge statue of Shiva anywhere before. This is the 2nd highest statue of Lord Shiva in the world and the sitting pose of Shiva is 123 feet tall.
There was also a huge 20 storied Gopura near the temple. You can take the lift here which will take you to the top of the Gopura, from where you can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the place.

Gopura

Gopura
  We climbed up a series of steps to reach the temple situated at the foot of the Shiva statue. The temple is in the design of a cave.

  After seeking blessing from Lord Shiva we looked around the place from the temple complex. Since the temple is at a good elevation we could see the surroundings clearly. The temple is surrounded by the sea on all sides except the one that connects to the mainland.

  The scene is mesmerising.

Sea line from top of the temple

Chariot of the Sun God
The Murudeshwar beach is just opposite to the temple. Tourists are advised not to go to the sea as the sea is dangerous. So once we got down from the temple we did not go to any beach, instead headed straight to one of the numerous restaurants all of which serve vegetarian dishes.

Hand of Murudeshwar statue

Murudeshwar Statue

Thursday, 17 October 2013

St Mary's Island, the basalt wonder



We went to Udupi just for one reason... to visit St Mary's Island.
We had heard of this tiny island so much that it was on our secret self authored "10 Lakh Places to see before you Die" list for a long time.

  We started driving from Murudeshwar towards Udupi at 3:30 PM. A long stretch of the road was bad, so reaching Udupi took a lot more time than expected. When we reached Udupi it was dark. We checked in a hotel "Hotel Rukmini Residency" on Mosque Road near City busstand. The rooms were clean and the rates very much resonable.Non AC double bedrooms at Rs700 per night and checkout time is 24 hours.

  The next day we reached Malpe bus-stand at 9:00 AM. From our hotel, it was around 5 kms drive. The ferry dock is about 500 mtrs from the bus-stand.
That is where we had to go to book tickets for the ferry ride to St Mary's.
The counter opens at 9:30 AM and a minimum of 30 people are required for the ferry to start. The ferry charges Rs 100 per head that includes to and fro
journey from St Mary's Island.


Ship docked at the Malpe dock.
  We were the first to book our tickets but had to wait for a modest half an hour for a team of 30 to gather. Finally our boat set to sail on the emerald water. The ferry occasionally swayed sideways and the cool sea breeze played around. The ferry went past some very small islands formed of only rocks.
Sometimes a flock of cranes would fly past.


This is the boat that takes you to the island
  Finally we came close to the island which is about 7 kms away from the main land. We were transferred to smaller boats that finally took us to the island.
St. Mary's Island, as seen from the boat

The small boat that transfers you to the island
  The island is absolutely stunning. It is a small elongated strip of land.
The golden sand, the emerald water, the hexagonal basalt rocks, the coconut trees, the red crabs, the clear skies with white clouds and an endless view makes the island magical.


Coconut trees and shades at St. Mary's Island

Sea line at the St. Mary's Island

Hexagonal basalt rocks at St. Mary's Island

Sea Line and rock at St. Mary's Island

Crab at St. Mary's Island
  There was only one make shift shop on the island selling chips, water and fried fish. There was also water scooter for water sport enthusiasts.

  We roamed on the island for almost an hour. The Sun had become very strong by then and we were sweating, so we got up on the boat that was taking people back. As the boat started, the cool sea breeze started playing around us and we were instantly cooled off and got refreshed.

  The boat speed towards Malpe. In the next half an hour, we reached the disembarking point. As we were getting down, a couple that was waiting in the queue for thier trip asked us how the island was. We gave them a "Thumbs High" for we were very sure they too will have a wonderful island sojourn.


St. Mary's Island

Water crashing no the rocks at St. Mary's Island

Hexagonal Rocks at St. Mary's Island

And Finally, us at St. Mary's Island


Some info:
Time of visit: October, 2013
Parking facility: Yes, but not paid.


Keywords: St Mary's Island, Malpe, Udupi, Island

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