September 28, 2016

Wandering alone in Karnataka - Part 6: Plan, Cost and Suggestions!

Hi Guys,

To read Part 1, click here (The Start)

To read Part 2, click here (Exploring Hampi)
To read Part 3, click here (Reminiscence of Vijayanagar Kingdom)
To read Part 4, click here (Hampi-Dudhsagar-Madgaon-Murdeswar)
To read Part 5, click here (Udupi and Around)

In final part of the series, I will jot down the plan I had executed along with costs and provide some suggestions as well. By the way, this is my 250th Blog Post (It has been 7 years, 1 month and 16 days since I started!)

Travel Plan
I started on a Saturday night from Chennai and reached back Chennai after 8 days on a Sunday morning in the following route

Dep Arr Train No/Name Dep Time Arr Time Remarks
Chennai Bangalore 12607/Lalbagh Express 15:35 21:35  
Bangalore Hosapete 16592/Hampi Express 22:00 07:10 (+1 Day)  
Hosapete Madgaon 17603/KCG YPR Express 6:20 13:55 Slip Train. 4 Days a week
Madgaon Murdeswar 16311/BKN KCVL Exp 9:30 12:22 Only on Thursdays
Murdeswar Udupi 13654/Bangalore Exp 16:30 18:15  
Mangalore Chennai 12686/Chennai Exp 16:20 08:00(+1 Day)

Out of the 6 trips, I had booked 2S in Lalbagh, 3AC in Hampi-Madgaon & Madgaon-Murdeswar stretches, Sleeper in rest. Given the crowd in Madgaon-Murdeswar stretch, I felt travelling by Unreserved coach would have even be fine and 3AC was not required. The total cost of train tickets came to around Rs. 2500.

I stayed in the following places

  • Hampi – Lakshmi Heritage homes (Rs. 900 per night for Non AC – One of the good places you will find in center of Hampi)
  • Madgaon – Hotel Greenview (Rs. 600 per night for Non AC – I stayed here as the Railway retiring room got cancelled in last minute – you could find better hotels)
  • Udupi – Hotel Shambhavi (Rs. 1100 per night for Non AC – again had an Airbnb option for Rs. 750 per night which was cancelled by Host. The hotel is nearby bus stand and a very good one).

I booked Hampi and Udupi via Cleartrip and effectively spent only around 2/3rd of the total cost. The total cost of Hotel Reservations came to around Rs. 4100

Other expenses included around Rs. 3000 for food, Rs. 1000 for local travel (Cylce, Auto, Bus) and some miscellaneous expenses in temples and museums. Effectively, the trip made be spend around Rs. 11000 (well within the budget of Rs. 15000 I had in mind). I had got no souvenirs or made any shopping except for cashew nuts in Madgaon due to the limitations of having only a rucksack.

Most of my trip went on plan except at a few places. Making some quick suggestions to people wanting to explore the places

  • There will be no network connectivity in most places. Download Offline Maps before heading to. Google Maps might be confusing to identify places, Satellite version works better.
  • Constantly look out for Hampi Map put by tourism department and places around the current location.
  • If you are short on time, hire an Auto. The place is huge.
  • A few places are secluded on Off days. Though I faced no troubles, I avoided venturing into a few places

  • I had a very short stay here and visited Colva beach.
  • Though I consciously avoided Goa, after coming back from the trip, I had a feel that having travelled that far, I should have spent one more day either in Goa/Gokarna/Karwar
  • Jog falls is also a nice place around here, but travelling to and fro would take atleast a day

  • Udupi left me confused in terms of the number of places around to visit.
  • Do a good research before heading and choose from the following list – Kollur, Agumbe, Karkala, Kundapur, Mudabidri, Dharmastala, Malpe/Kaup Beaches. Most of the places will take around half-one full day. So, decide your interest and head out.

It was a nice trip visiting different set of places over a week. Hope you enjoyed reading my series on it.

Happy Reading!

September 3, 2016

Wandering alone in Karnataka - Part 5: Udupi and around

Hi Guys,

To read Part 1, click here (The Start)
To read Part 2, click here (Exploring Hampi)
To read Part 3, click here (Reminiscence of Vijayanagar Kingdom)
To read Part 4, click here (Hampi-Dudhsagar-Madgaon-Murdeswar)

Day 7 – Aug 5, 2016
Udupi is an interesting place with lot of scenic tourist spots around, but it takes time reaching each of them. I had a few options in mind – Kollur, Agumbe, Karkala among others. I had rounded it to two options – Kollur or Karkala. My friend Vijay had suggested me to head to the Kollur temple as it was located amidst forest and you also get free food (A good enough reason to travel two and half hours each way) I was finding Karkala interesting, but one review that I had read said Karkala has slippery steps and you got to be careful in monsoons.

So, I started the day with no clear plans. I went in search of breakfast and no restaurants were open at 8 am near the bus stand. So, I trudged back all across to Woodlands hoping that it will be open. Luckily they had just opened (their timing of breakfast is from 8.30 am!). After breaking my fast, I returned back to the bus stand. Instinctively, I caught a bus to Kollur. It took almost 2 and half hours for a 75 km trip. After Kundapura, the road was bad for a stretch of 10 km and I was wondering if the ride is going to be bumpy. But luckily the hill roads were much better.
Breakfast at Woodlands - Udupi Masala Dosa
As I reached the temple, it started pouring. There was huge queue and I was wondering, why I came here. I stood in the queue at around 12.15 pm and luckily I was sent in around 1.25 pm. Behind me, the line was closed and were to be remained close till 3 pm! After finishing the prayers, I went back to the Annadhanam Hall for food and joined the queue there. It took 30 minutes, but the food was pretty good and experience different. They had Rice with Rasam, Sambhar and ended with sweet Payasam. I came back and it was still raining. There was so much of rains at this place.

Kollur Mookambika Temple amidst rains
I started back at 2.45 and I was wondering where to go next. I hopped onto a bus heading for Kundapura and then went to Anegudde which is considered to have a beautiful Ganesha temple atop a hill. It turned out to be a dull place. So again, I started to Udupi at around 5.10 pm from there. At around 5.55 pm, I got down at Udupi Bypass and caught another bus to Malpe beach. It was a day of impulse decisions.
Malpe Beach
Malpe Beach is part of Malpe Village, a fishing harbour on the outskirts of Udupi. The beach is serene with White Sand, Coconut Trees, Huts and a few shops. After missing out Sunsets in Tungabhadra and Colva, I finally had my chance in Malpe amidst the heavy monsoon rains. The sunset was indeed splendid with huts and Gandhi statue in the backdrop.
Sunset at Malpe Beach
After sunset, I came back to Udupi and headed to the temples around Krishna Mutt – Chandramoulishwara Temple and Sri Anantheshwara Temple, both dedicated to Lord Shiva. Both were peaceful and not thronged by too many people. After that, went to Woodlands restaurant again for dinner. Had Udupi famous Masala Dosa and a few other items there. A very good place to have food if you are in Udupi.

Day 8 – Aug 6, 2016
The day started with a visit to Krishna Mutt. It was interesting to find the tradition of viewing the God through window also known as ‘Kanakana Kindi’. The tradition is that the famous poet Kanaka Dasa viewed Krishna through the window in 16th century when the temple was affected by earthquake and the structure had collapsed.
Udupi - Sri Krishna Mutt
Then headed for breakfast at the traditional Mitra Samaja which is a dilapidated status today. Still the food tastes pretty good here.

After checking out, started to Mangalore at around 11.30 am. Reached Managlore by about 1 pm and was wondering what to do. Went straight to Ideal Café which is well known for Ice Creams. After having Lunch there, came back to the Railway station and started reading a book. Mangalore-Chennai Express uses the modern LHB rakes (which are more agile, safe and big). But as it started raining, we figured out the windows were not closing properly and water started spraying all around (was wondering if this is the localization of German Coaches). So, I settled on my upper berth for the rest of the journey.

Day 9 – Aug 7, 2016
The train arrived 45 minutes to Chennai on the final day. Totally, I lost 5 hours of my Trip thanks to the train delays. I headed back home amidst the hot Chennai Sun which reminded me that Southwest monsoons donot affect this part of the country.

Thus, my great expedition of Karnataka came to an end.

To be continued... Trip Plan, Expenses and Suggestions to form the final post of the trip!

Happy Reading!