Driving around Mangalore and Udupi in Karnataka – A Road Trip to Remember!

After exploring the pristine beaches of Karwar and the temple town Gokarna we headed to the port city of Mangalore. On the way, we had a quick stop at the magnificent Murudeshwara temple. For much of the journey, the route winded through the coconut and beetle nut farms.The vistas on the outskirts of the cities alternated between deep valleys and sometimes hills perched with quaint houses with thatched roofs typical of the rural Mangalore. And into the city, the sprawling lush green farms and coconut farms was obscured by the urbanization along the road.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Many times we drove through small bridges running on the meandering rivers which were reminiscent of our road trip in Kerala. The river shore lined with coconut trees made for a picturesque landscape. A beautiful show of hues put up by the setting sun on the river was a beautiful sight to behold.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

As we entered into the city of Mangalore we could spot a number of churches beautifully decorated for Christmas and New Year.

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By the time we reached our hotel it was late in the evening. We ended our day with an early dinner at the hotel we stayed which had a buffet arranged.

Day 1

Moodbidri

We started our day with a visit to Moodbidri a town in Dakshina Kannada district of coastal Karnataka 35 km from Mangalore. Saavira Kambada Basadi temple is a 590-year-old popular Jain temple dedicated to an eight-foot idol of Tirthankara Chandraprabha. The temple is noted for its 1000 pillars which have elegant carvings sculpted on them.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Venoor

Around 20 km from Moodbidri is a small village of Venoor. Famous for the 38 feet monolith statue of Bahubali or Lord Gomateshwara which dates back to early 17th century.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Mangalore Beaches

We next headed back to Mangalore to explore its beaches. The first beach we visited was Someshwar beach located 9 km from Mangalore city in Ullal town. The beach is lined with coconut farms punctuated by the local houses. The beach was secluded except some kids playing cricket in the forest area along the beach.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Our next stop was Ullal beach around 5 to 10 minutes from Someshwara beach. It was pretty much same as the Someshwar beach, secluded and non-touristy. We did spot some fishermen and boats moored on the shores.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Our final stop for the day was the well-known beach of Panambur jam-packed with locals and tourists. There were several stalls for snacks and ice creams and carousel games, horse riding and kite flying for kids. The beach also has water sports for enthusiasts.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Mangalore City

Back into the downtown Mangalore we drove by some more churches and finally stopped by the Chocolate Room for a much-needed toothsome chocolate treat.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

The Chocolate Room has a wide tempting assortment of chocolate desserts and drinks where you will be spoilt for the choices.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Day 2

Mangalore Temple Hopping and Sultan Battery

Our day began with a visit to the 11th century Kadri Manjunatha Temple in the Mangalore city. The temple complex has several temples dedicated to Hindu deities Ganesh, Ayyappa and Durga.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

We next drove to Shree Gokarnanatheshwara Temple dedicated to Gokarnanatha, a form of Lord Shiva. The temple complex awash in bright red and the sparkling golden color was strikingly impressive. The tower is adorned with murals depicting scenes from the Hindu epics.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Five minutes drive from here is the Sultan Battery a watch tower constructed in the era of the emperor Tipu Sultan in the 18th century. One can climb up the stairs to the top of the tower which rewards with remarkable panoramic vistas of Gurupura River shoreline dotted with coconut trees.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Tannirbhavi Beach

We drove for a couple of km through the countryside along the calm Gurupura River. We spotted several boats in the river which looked like filled with sand as a part of Sand Mining.

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Tannirbhavi beach is one of the popular beaches of Mangalore. Tanirbhavi is a calm and serene beach with a couple of eateries and options for horse riding. There were several benches put up along the beach where one can sit and soak up the vista of waves rolling over the golden sandy beach.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Karkala

Our next destination was Karkala a small town in the Udupi district of Karnataka around 60 km from Mangalore. Attur church situated on the outskirts of Karkala is an imposing 200-year-old Roman Catholic church and a popular pilgrimage destination dedicated to St. Lawrence.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Around 10 minutes drive from Attur church is the Chaturmukha Basadi, a 400 years old Jain temple perched on a hill amidst the lush green. The temple which took 30 years to complete has 108 pillars supporting the granite temple roof and four entrances which give the temple its name.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

One can also see the famous Karkala Bahubali statue of Karkala from Basadi. The Babubali statue is much similar to the one we saw in Venoor but much taller, the statue is 41.5 ft. granite monolith of Bahubali.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

When in Mangalore do not forget to indulge in some fresh delicious cakes and Puff pastries from Iyengar bakeries which you will find in abundance.

Malpe Beach

We next drove to the famous Malpe Beach on the outskirts of Udupi. Udupi is around 50 km from Mangalore. The direction we followed to the beach was through the Fish market. The harbor was choc-a-block of fishing boats and the fishermen loading trucks with fishes.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi
One can take a boat to St Mary’s Island from here but ensure that you reach before 5 pm in the evening when the last boat leaves. From this point, we could see the crowded beach of Malpe at a distance.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

Having experienced this crowd the previous day at Panambur beach we chose against driving further and walked into the beach close by which was frequented by the local fishermen.

Though the beach wasn’t much clean we were elated to capture one of the most stunning sunsets of our life.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

After sunset, we drove back to the city center where we had our hotel booked. There were many veg and seafood special restaurants around our hotel. The day ended with a scrumptious dinner at one of the seafood special restaurants.

Day 3

We visited the famous Sri Krishna temple of Udupi in the morning before heading back home. The temple a popular pilgrimage destination dates back to 13th century.

Road Trip Mangalore Udupi

When driving on NH66 from Udupi towards Murudeshwara one cannot miss this wonderful spot near Maravanthe Village about 55 km from Udupi. The highway runs along the Maravanthe beach with the Suparnika River flowing on the other side. The river which flows very close to the beach meets the Arabian Sea 10 km further at Gangolli village. Due to some road construction, we had difficulty framing the river and the sea in a single picture, and below is the best we could get. Left is the River and on the right is the spectacular Maravanthe beach.

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Road Trips are always amazing where we can drive around get lost and explore the unexplored. Discover the places of interest at our own pace to relish the moments. The road trip around Mangalore and Udupi was one of the most memorable and rejuvenating tours.

We are sure the road trips definitely fascinates every traveler who loves to explore. Do you have one to share with us? Do Share with us your memories.

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25 Comment

  1. Revati says: Reply

    I’ve always loved Mangalorean food, and my husband who has travelled a fair bit of the region doesn’t stop gushing about the place as well. I can see why. From the beaches to the architecture, there’s so much more to Mlore than meets the eye! Hope I manage to see it for myself someday!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree the coastal food in Mangalore is something which is definitely drool worthy!

  2. Joe says: Reply

    A road trip to remember indeed! Those temples look like really fascinating places to visit – 1000 pillars?! That’s the very definition of impressive. The churches aren’t far behind in the visually impressive stakes either. And of course, those exquisite beaches would tempt and delight even the most jaded traveller. No one gets bored of sunsets as beautiful as these!

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      True Joe Mangalore has so much to explore from temples, churches to beaches, something for everyone who makes a visit to this lovely city.

  3. It sounds like you really covered a lot of ground. The Attur church is beautiful, and I might end up staying a long time in The Chocolate Room.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yeah! We had a lot of road tripping exploring nooks and corner in and around Mangalore 🙂

  4. I always want to explore this part of South by a road trip or by train. The beaches don’t seem to be flooded by tourist and that is a big positive sign for me. That 400-year-old temple is quite fascinating with so many pillars. I have heard you get good seafood in Mangalore esp Fish..

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yeah, Seafood is heavenly… And yes much of these isn’t touristy though you might find couple of crowded beaches close to the city

  5. Indrani says: Reply

    I haven’t done this detailed tour yet. There are large statues of Bahubali in Venoor and Karkala is new to me. The post is a wonderful mix of travel elements 🙂

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      The statues of Bahubali in Venoor and Karkala was something new to us too which are smaller versions of the famous Gomteshwara located at Shravanbelagola

  6. I have never done a road-trip in Karnataka, but this reminds me of the trips in Konkan. Lovely small towns all the way with great (and often much less known) places to see. My favourite was the Saavira Kambada Basadi temple…

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree a road trip along the Konkan strip could be the most amazing trip ever. We wish to make most of it sometime soon 🙂

  7. Joanna says: Reply

    One thing I really love when I travel are road trips and the freedom they give you to stop wherever you want and spend as much time as you wish in each place. Your road trip looks fantastic and I love that you got the chance to explore such wonderful deserted beaches. My favorite would be the one lined up with coconut farms, I bet the smell in the air is so delicious! 🙂 Sri Krishna temple of Udupi look special also. For me, an European, Indian heritage, architecture and culture is always fascinating.

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Completely agree with you Joanna the road trips are the best if you want to explore and get the best from a trip. Glad to know that you have a liking towards the Indian heritage and culture. 🙂

  8. Your post makes me feel like Magalore is such an underrated destination. It’sbeautiful with those offerings, blend of simplicity. Particularly love the Ullal Beach and the Sri Krishna Temple of Udupi!

    Parampara-Parichay

    1. mm GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree with you Parampara Mangalore is indeed a very underrated destination but that is what helps keep it pristine and untouched 🙂

  9. neha says: Reply

    We have been wanting to visit Mangalore, but thought road trip all the way from Bangalore will be hectic. But I have changed my mind after reading your post. This looks like a perfect itinerary for a road trip and we would love to plan something similar.

  10. The lush greenery and the beautiful sunset made me feel blissful, thinking about how good it will be in front of me. The beaches and temples are stunning. Beautifully decorated churches and the temples carrying rich tradition and culture stand together with such pride.

  11. Emily says: Reply

    Beautiful photos as always! I love the shots of the deserted beaches and palm trees on the fringe – paradise. Karnataka looks as lovely as Kerala. The churches and temples are also stunning and I’d love to explore them too. And that chocolate shop – you’d have to drag me out of there!

  12. Karnataka is one of my favorite states of India. In fact I love the entire western belt of India which is Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Lovely people and nice weather.

  13. Great sights! Although I lived in Bangalore I could never explore these parts. The pressure of the job made sure that I did not enjoy too many trips back then. Now I have the time but settled in the North. Let’s see if I can manage something this monsoon.

  14. I didn’t know Malpe is in Mangalore! Keep hearing about it, so now i know 🙂 karnataka has such jewels hidden away, itnis surely a traveller’s delight. The sunset pixs were breathtaking 😀

  15. I never heard of these places before. They were amazing nonetheless with those awe-inspiring places of worship. The beaches and sunsets are lovely. Definitely worth checking and visiting in the future.

  16. Wow, what an epic road trip and beautiful part of the world! I love that shot of the boats. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Your pictures and post took me back to our road trip from Bangalore to Mangalore, Udupi & Bekal. Yes, we did Bekal too on the same trip. It was crazy. Now after reading your post, I think it would have been better to cover all the places then heading to Bekal on a whim. We missed so many places.

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