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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Solo Tour Diary: Trip 3 - Coastal Karnataka - Day 2 - Murudeshwara, Idagunji, Kasarkod, Apsarkonda

Continued from Day 1:

I woke up early in the morning, at 6.15 am and was all ready and fresh by 7.15 am. I checked out of the hotel and got a bus headed towards Bhatkal. The bus left at around 7.45 pm and once again, I witnessed a wonderful view of Maravanthe from the highway. The ticket cost a little over 30 Rupees if I'm not wrong.

After a while, we reached Bhatkal at around 8.45 am. Bhatkal appeared like a new kinda town to me - many signboards of shops had their names in Urdu as well, in addition to Kannada and English. Anyway, from Bhatkal, I got a bus to Murudeshwar cross. This hardly took more than 15-20 minutes. From the highway itself, from a distance, one can see the tall gopura and the statue as you approach the cross. I got down at the cross and saw a big arch welcoming people to Murudeshwar :) (A little like the RR Nagar arch)

From there, I took an auto and got down at Dhenu Atithya for 30 Rupees. The hotel looked more like some apartment than a lodge. Felt very homely.

It was around 9.15 am by the time I checked in. I decided to have breakfast and then head to the temples. I had an idly-vada at the in-house restaurant. It was awesome! Yummy! I then headed towards the temples - it was barely a 5 minute walk. The hotel is very close to the temples. I was stunned by how huge the gopura was - one of the tallest I've ever seen.

After seeing hundreds of pics online, it was finally amazing to see the mighty Lord Shiva statue with my own eyes :)

There was a lot of boating going on too, in the adjoining Murudeshwara beach. I was even approached by boatmen, like how auto drivers approach you at railway stations. But I didn't want to go boating.

After handing over my slippers at the counter, I entered the temple. The main temple comes to your left, so I headed there first. There wasn't much of a rush, so I had a good darshan - that's the one good thing when a temple gets commercialized like this - it is extremely well-maintained and clean.

So yes, after that, I headed towards the statue. I was so amazed by the statue that I just couldn't stop clicking photographs of it :D No amount of clicking seemed enough or sufficient! :) Anyway, I then went up for the darshan, went around the statue, went inside the cave as well. The cave has some excellent sculptures, with an audio-narration playing on the speakers.

Once out, I went down to my left and saw the Shaneeshwara temple as well.

I then came back to the Gopura and waited for a while outside the elevator, to go to the top of the Gopura.

Soon enough, my turn came and once I reached, I was amazed by the view on all sides!

The town:

The temple:

The sea:

The mighty statue:

The beach:

I went down, fully satisfied. Murudeshwara was totally worth my money :) After clicking some selfies outside the gopura, I headed back to the hotel.

It was just 11.15 am. I had a lot of time for my plan for the rest of the day - Idagunji would open only at 3 pm and it was en route Apsarkonda, which I wanted to see only in the evening. So there was no point in leaving early. I decided to catch another nap - I slept until about 12.45 pm and then headed to the in-house hotel to have a south Indian meal. It was really good and filling.

At around 1.30 pm, I headed out of the hotel and right across the road, there was a mini-van waiting to go to Honnavar. So I got into that and for a ticket of about 15 Rupees, if I remember right, I got a ticket to Mavinkatte. The mini-van made its way through the small roads of Manki, a near-completely rural area. I finally got down at Mavinkatte, where another mini-van came from Idagunji and took a U-turn. This was totally crowded, I had to squeeze my way in and stand. The bus moved. I couldn't see where we were going. All I knew was that we were heading to Idagunji. After a very bumpy 20-minute ride filled with sharp turns, we reached Idagunji.

The ticket cost about 10 Rupees. It was 2.45 pm I think. From the bus stop, I had to walk a little bit, to the actual temple.

As I went in, I was stunned by the huge crowd of devotees that had already gathered outside, waiting for the doors to open.

I waited too, but luckily, things moved quite fast and I was out in all of 15 minutes.

It took me a while to get a return bus, but since I still had some free time, I decided to make a last-minute addition to my plan - I decided to cover Kasarkod beach as well :) I finally got a bus and reached Kasarkod at around 4.15 pm if I'm not wrong.

The beach is very close to the stop, it's walk-able - not more than 5 minutes. As you enter the beach, you are stunned, you are blown away, you are awestruck - there is not a single soul around!

Just you and the beach. You feel as if you've entered into another world, another planet where there is no life, just you and the peaceful sound of the waves, just you and the fresh breeze of the ocean.

There were not even crows or dogs here. It was that deserted! For a person whose only frequent experiences with beaches has been Marina & Besant Nagar, one can imagine how it must've felt for me, to come across an ABSOLUTELY quiet, silent and deserted beach like this :)

I really wished that I could spend all evening there, but I had another place to visit. So with a heavy, sinking heart, I bid goodbye to Kasarkod beach.

I walked back to the highway and immediately, found a mini-van waiting. I hopped on to it and got down at Apsarkonda bus stop at around 4.45 pm.

Now, here's the thing - from Apsarkonda, you do not get any autos, buses to the beach and it's quite a walk. So be prepared. But you'll absolutely love the walk through the cattle-grazing farms and the little hill.

Imagine what it must be like for someone who sees only his laptop-screen and heavy traffic every single day, to walk through quiet farms, seeing huts and cattle all over. Imagine what an extremely refreshing change it must be! :)

I also came across a small hut that made for a post-office! Wow!

So yes, this is quite a bit of a walk - At least 2 km, before one reaches the Apsarkonda mutt / temple.

I saw the temple and then went around it to head to the falls.

As I approached, I could already hear the sound of the water.

Once I got down, I finally saw the falls - it was every bit as charming as it was on the photos of it that I had seen on the net earlier :) I spent about 5-10 minutes there. I really felt like I was in the middle of some jungle and that I was in some Tintin comic. (Prisoners of the Sun?)

So yes, once done with this, I headed up the hill to the sunset view point. There was an amazing view from there.

But I wanted to go to the beach, so I took the stairs down hill.

And I finally got to see the Apsarkonda lake as well, on the way to the beach.

Once I reached the beach, I was at a loss for words. It looked every bit like a cinema song shooting spot. You have many movie songs being shot in islands with beaches along mountains etc etc. This was similar to that sort of a place.

I was just spell-bound by how beautiful it was. I went out of control and constantly kept clicking pics on my camera. The "____ shots remaining" notification on digicams is a BAD IDEA. It only provokes you to keep clicking more and more! :D

But for a handful of people. this place too, was quite deserted. Hardly any visitors :) I kept clicking away to glory and the sunset was finally happening.

After clicking enough, I just paused for a few minutes just to stare at the whole scene. I was completely engulfed by how beautiful it was - simply amazing! Apsarkonda is a mini-heaven in Karnataka that has everything - a temple, a waterfalls, a lake and one of the best beaches in the world. Apsarkonda is straight out of a fairy tale. It is an absolute must-visit for anyone! :) Apsarkonda remains the most favorite part of my trip! :) It is the place I enjoyed the most.

Anyway, the sun set early, by around 6 pm. From there, again, it's another 2 km walk back to the highway, not along the hill though. There is another straight road that takes you to the highway. As I walked along, I saw a bunch of folks playing cricket on the highway.

What a blissful, peaceful life the people of Apsarkonda must be having! :) Free from all the tensions of techie life, free from all the city madness and in rural peace. Anyway, like they say, grass is always greener on the other side, so you never know! :)

It was around a half an hour walk for me. I managed to get to the highway just before it became totally dark. It can get a little scary :) - you suddenly feel you're in the midst of some remote place, all alone, with no idea of where you're going, until you see the highway with your own eyes :D

So yes, female solo travelers...well, this can go even to males too - Make sure you leave IMMEDIATELY after the sun sets. It gets dark very soon and remember, you can only walk to the highway. There are no autos or mini-vans or buses that ply from the beach. So start early, reach early.

Once back on the highway, I found a mini-van to Murudeshwara and it took me about 45 minutes to get back. I reached the hotel by 7 pm. I didn't go the hotel though, I had straight to the Murudeshwara temple again, to get a night-view of the statue, under lights :)

After this, I headed back to the hotel, had an excellent and extremely delicious north indian meal for dinner and crashed.

So that ends an amazing Day 2.

Day 3, the last day, can be read here!


dimpy roy said...

Lovely pictures. You will be surely mesmerized by the elegance and beauty of the Kethapayya Narayan temple, which symbolizes the grand Vijayanagara architecture in Bhatkal.Check out best hotels in Bhatkal also.

Tanu Singh said...

Kernataka is most famous tour destination it has several historical and modern tour destination. Goa travel holiday is also a good idea to explore Goa beaches, forts, churches and temples.

Khushi R said...

Very informative post on Gokarna. Its famous for its soothing beach and scenic beauty. The place has lots of splendid spots to explore and Gokarna places to visit are a must visit.