Koodlu Teertha, Agumbe

It’s the last day of the year 2017 and the day was spent well. As I write this blog, I feel some calmness inside me due to the experiences which I had earlier in the day. As many of you are aware of my fondness for traveling, I follow many accounts related to tourism & travelers on Instagram. One such account posted a picture of a picturesque waterfall. At first, when I looked at it, wouldn’t believe it was in Karnataka. I went through the tags for the post and many other comments to find the name of the place, which was Kudlu Teertha, Agumbe.  Luck favored me as this place was en route to Udupi. I made up my mind to visit this place on my next visit to Udupi.

We had come to Udupi to be with my in-laws as we had a long weekend ahead on the occasion of New year. We had visited St. Mary’s Island the other day and couldn’t go to Kaup beach as we were tired. At night, we decided to leave for Koodlu Teertha early in the morning and reach back home in the afternoon as elders had plans to visit a temple. We left early in the morning around 8 from Udupi and reached Varanga to visit the Jain temple. By the time we left the place, it was around 9.30 AM. We went to Seethnadi Hotel to have our breakfast and from there to the destination.

The road to waterfalls is partly good (cement road) and partly off-road. Locals inform the travelers not to travel by their cars as they might get damaged but we decided to take it anyway. It took us about 45 mins to reach the parking area of the falls from the hotel. We didn’t expect the crowd to be large in number but then we were surprised. The entry ticket per person is Rs. 50 add to that the parking fee of Rs. 50 and camera charge Rs. 200. One has to trek for 1.5 km from the parking to reach the falls.

The trek to the reach falls is tiring as it passes through difficult terrain. There are few steps in between which might help the visitors a bit. It was tiring but when the waterfalls unraveled in front of us, it was just mesmerizing. The tiredness of trekking for more than half an hour vanishes by seeing the baffling beauty of the place and the height of the waterfall from where the water descends from a height of about 300 feet. It plunges straight into a pond which is not deep and one can swim easily. The calm and tranquillity found near the waterfall are just magical, adding to it was the echo of the sounds. To reach closer to the waterfalls, we had to cross a small water stream, as soon as we stepped into the water, it sent chills all over the body. Water was too cold which freaked many people and made the person jump instantaneously. Her cousins jumped into the water while we stood there admiring the waterfall.

I was pretty pleased with the location where it was situated, how it was not disturbed by the visitors, not much litter around and no washing of clothes or any absurd things we see at other places. I had the plans to swim but then dropped it due to water being so cold. We sat on the rocks immersing our legs into the water and looking at the waterfalls, huge rocks and the echoes created by the people in happiness. It was serene and the atmosphere around makes you feel rejuvenated. Time had passed around 2 hours at this place that’s when we called her cousins to come out of the pond to which they were dejected. After a lot of persuasions, they came out and changed their clothes. As we walked back, everyone was happy to the core of visiting this wonderful place. Upon reaching near parking, we had snacks (bread omelet, lemon juice, cold beverages etc.) at a small shop and started our journey back to Udupi.

Important Information:

  • Best time to  visit: August to December
  • How to reach from Udupi:
    • By Bus: One can take a bus, get down at Hebri and hire an auto.
    • By car: It’s an hour and 30 minutes drive.
  • If your planning to visit the waterfalls, also visit Varanga Basadi which is nearby (best time is evening).
  • As the waterfall is deep in the forest, it’s recommended to carry water bottles and snacks along with yourselves.
  • In monsoons seasons, be watchful of the leeches.
  • Kindly DO NOT litter and let’s keep the nature clean.

St. Mary’s Island, Malpe Beach, Udupi

St. Mary’s Island was on my bucket list from a couple of years ( back when I visited Mangalore). Ever since it always evaded me from getting there. Tried planning with friends a couple of times, but nothing worked out. Even a couple of months back, we had to visit Malpe beach but couldn’t go due to time constraints. And here I’m today, finally after visiting St. Mary’s island felt like one quest completed.

Many people had told me to visit the place and even in many sites, this was ranked no.1 in must visit attractions near Udupi. Curiosity made me dig up the history of the island and I found this: In 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed on his journey from Portugal and named this island as a dedication to Mother Mary.

I visited Udupi twice within 3 months now, courtesy: my in-laws stay there. Luckily, the place where we stay is very near to Malpe beach. We all planned and decided to leave early and come back soon.

Malpe beach, famous for many reasons. The primary reason being ‘St. Mary’s Island’. The sole reason for many people to visit Malpe beach is to visit this island. And we were also one of them. We reached boating office around 10 AM while the ferry was getting prepared. The tickets cost us Rs. 250/- per person (which I felt pretty expensive). I guess, we were the second trip to the island, but had to wait for a modest half an hour for people to gather. Finally our boat set to sail when around 80 people boarded it. The ferry went past some very small islands formed of only rocks. We were moved to smaller boat near the island so that we reach the shoreline if the island. It takes around 30 minutes to reach island from the boating office.

The first impression of the island was clean and impressive. The island now provides various kinds of water sports. Before you enter into the island, bags are checked. One has to take tickets for camera (Rs. 200) and for luggage (Rs. 20 per luggage). The island is not vast in size and can be easily covered in an hour. I had decided not to let myself in the water whereas my wife and her cousins readily jumped into the water. We walked around the beach and settled somewhere near the end. My wife & her cousins got into the water yet again, playing within themselves. As time passed by, it was getting crowded. I took pictures of them and the beautiful scenic views presented to my eyes. It was such a bliss even in such scorching heat.

After playing for more than an hour, we decided to leave. Everyone quickly dried themselves and went to the only food court available. There weren’t many options available so we sticked to veg puffs & tea. We sat in the shade and talked for a while to get back the lost energy. As we walked back, we enquired about the cycle ride near gate, were shocked to know that it charges Rs. 150 for mere 30 mins ride. We nodded our heads and walked back to the same shore where were dropped, to catch the ferry. As we reached there, her cousins wanted to have a go with ‘Jet Ski’. The ticket for the ride for 2 mins ride was pretty expensive i.e. Rs. 300/- per person. Three of them (Herself and two cousins) experienced the feeling of Jet Ski. As they finished, the ferry was about the leave. We quickly boarded and were off the island.

It was different experience all together where I travelled in a ferry, moved to smaller boat in the sea, explored the island, water sports etc. One thing which pinched me a bit was the price. It was hiked up pretty much and people didn’t care about it much even if it would ticket cost them Rs. 500 or parking cost them Rs.100. At the end of the day, there was a good vibe about the island which makes you forget everything.

Tips for visiting St Mary’s Island:

  • Best time to visit: Dec to March.
  • Get here early, people pour in so fast that it becomes crowded soon.
  • Take your time and checkout all the corners of the island.
  • Take care of our body, carry sunscreen lotions, caps, umbrella’s and sunglasses.
  • Outside food is not allowed inside the island (gate) but can be had outside the island gate.
  • Last ferry from the island is at 6 PM, so make you get on that :P.

How to reach Malpe beach:

  • By bus, it would take around 20-25 minutes and cost of the ticket would be Rs. 15.
  • By car, it depends upon where you have made your stay.

Advice: Irrespective of mode of you travel, its best to book a hotel near the bus station as its centre to many places such as Manipal View point, Malpe Beach, Krishna temple, quickly connects to highway etc.

Christmas Day

It is Christmas Day. Even though I belong to a different religion, I always loved Christmas for one sole reason and that was SANTA CLAUS. In my childhood, have seen many Christmas & Santa movies which increased my love for Santa every year.  As a kid, I believed in Santa very much, but as I grew up it decimated. One of the things I love about Christmas is the coziness and the anticipation that comes along with it.  I love how society (schools, offices etc.) shuts down and everyone gathers inside their houses to eat warming, seasonal foods that they’ve looked forward to all year long.

This year, one of our closest friends (Mamta & Nelson) had called up for the Christmas party at their home. We were speculative at first as we had plans of our own, as that was a long weekend. We decided not to travel anywhere as most of the places were booked and many of them were overly priced. A day before Christmas we decided to go the party. My brother was also in the city so we tagged him along to the party. We reached their home around 8 PM and many people had already gathered in. The party was organized in the party hall on the terrace. She introduced her friends to us and we jelled up pretty quickly. We bought a ‘Fish Bowl’  with a couple of golden fishes as Christmas gift for them, which they loved it.

One of their friends had brought Christmas cake, which they decided to cut to start the proceeding. After the cake cutting, snacks were served with alcohol & cold beverages. I personally enjoyed the pineapple sponge cake which brought the childhood memories of Hyderabad. If I remember correctly, I had 5 pieces of it ;-). Everyone sat around in groups with their friends & families talking, enjoying the songs tuned in by one of the guests.  As announced earlier, ‘Housie‘ game was arranged for the guests whose ticket was Rs. 20 each. We had taken 6 tickets in total (2 each or myself, my wife and brother) just to test our luck. And as expected, we failed. All of three of us failed and didn’t win neither of the three lines nor the full housie. As we were done with the game, dinner was brought to serve. There were Veg and Non-Veg dishes for the guests. I was already filled up with the starters and the cake :-), so had little vegetable rice and raita to it. My brother was bit high after a couple of drinks and was talking about luck and other stuff. We finished our dinner and sat for a couple of minutes until the hosts became free.

It was around 11.30 at night when we decided to take leave from them. We went down to collect our bag and take one last selfie amongst us for the remembrance. It a first-time experience attending a Christmas party for me and thoroughly enjoyed being there. Also, happy seeing the hosts having fun which was clearly evident on their faces. We were glad that we made to the party and had lots of memories to cherish for.