Driving along the Karnataka coast can give you three things, an appreciation for Konkan fish fry, a tan and the cognition that beaches of the Arabian sea can be aqua marine. We recently went on a road trip from Bekal which is a coastal town on the Kerala Karnataka border till Calangute in Goa.
This road trip essential took us along the coast in Karnataka aka the Konkan aka Kanara. The beauty of the Konkan coast first came to be recognized to the uninitiated when the first train of the Konkan railway chugged along the sea coast on one side and verdant valleys and hills on the other side.
The road trip was to start at 3:30 am as we like to start early, we planned to leave our little one in his grand parents care as we planned to do the trip on a budget. Our little one soon got wind of our master plan and clung to me, we finally appeased him by bribing him with the prospect of us bringing back a gift for him which we absolutely honored.
The drive to Goa from Kundapur was legendary with the Arabian sea changing its colors from black to aqua marine on a whim.
This was the first time I was travelling for close to 10 days without my little one and my constant companion, we hardly take a leak without accompanying each other. After all our early morning excitement we left for the trip at around 7 am and promptly got stuck in Bangalore traffic (I know..).Our first stop was at Bekal, we drove to the Bekal beach park and called our hotel where we had our first reservation, turns out the reservation was cancelled without letting us know. Hence we were at Bekal beach park seemingly homeless, eating egg bhaji and coffee while trying to call up other hotels. Finally we got a reservation in a five star hotel (so much for our budget trip).
The second day I fell ill and thankfully had very fluffy pillows to sleep in, the third day I got some of my energy back and we went to the iconic Bekal fort of Tu hi re fame. It turned out to be one of the few well maintained forts in India, though I wish a little more of the history was explained at the site. Our next stop was Udupi and enroute we feasted on a new Arabic delicacy that has invaded north Kerala named Kuzhimandi biriyani. At Udupi we halted at the Krishna temple after the GPS decided to take us around a few other Krishna temples. Udupi ofcourse has amazing restaurants and equally amazing coffee.
Our next pit stop was Malpe beach which I would recommend very enthusiastically to water sports and beach enthusiasts. We watched a jatra competition which was open to the public at the beach, saw some amazing display of kites and then decided to try our hand at the one minute para sailing sessions. The para sailing team and their turn around time was simply wow, they were pretty professional and valued the safety of their patrons. I just wish the people on the beach understood that safety is an important part of life and being alive.
After spending the evening at Malpe beach we drove to Kundapur to a Confluence hotel and dug into some well deserved Mangalorean dinner. Kundapur was the half way point on our road trip to Calangute and back and it was here that we discovered that Shetty Lunch Home has the best akki roti, ghee roast chicken and the most succulent fish fry. At the hotel we looked up the things to do section and decided we would drive to Kodachadri, we had not done much research and made some discoveries along the way and an impromptu trek after a horrific drive up Kodachadri in a local jeep.
After we left Kondapur with its many waterfalls, hills and historic temples and forest reserves, we drove down Maravanthe – the prettiest beach I have seen. The next town Murudeshwar surprised us with its iconic Shiva statue and well developed tourist hot spot and water sports. We planned to reach Calangute, in Goa to ring in the New Year and bid adieu to the old man. The drive to Goa from Kundapur was legendary with the Arabian sea changing its colors from black to aqua marine on a whim. Goa of course was a different story but coastal Karnataka is worth hyping about and deserves applause for the beautiful beaches preserved here.
Pictures credited to co navigator and driver Razor Rasu.