Having retired early on Day 1 (October 7) we got up early on October 8 (Day 2) and decided to see if we could do the darshana again in the temple. We reached the temple entrance, around 8.15 AM. We checked out the areas where the queues start. It was pretty crowded, we thought it may not be that crowded but were wrong. Apparently Monday is considered auspicious by devotees of Lord Shiva and hence the temple was busy already. We figured out that the darshana would take a long time and decided to head for breakfast. We went for breakfast @ Hotel Arpana opposite the bus stand. It was decent and definitely better than Trupthi restaurant, where we had dinner the previous day. The idlis and dosas here tasted better. Having finished breakfast, we packed our bags checked out from Sannidhi Guest House and headed out for the next stop – Udupi.
We decided to follow the route GPS shows us. So we started out at 10.15 AM and took the road to Ujire from Dharmasthala. About 1.5km after Dharmasthala we found a beautiful temple on our left side. It was the temple of Lord Rama, its architecture based on temples of North India. Apparently this is one the few places (some say only place) where Lord Rama is in sitting posture, in South India. The idols of the gods are made in marble and most of the temple interiors are made of marble. There are a host of other deities in the temple and would easily take half an hour of your time. Once we were done, we started out on our journey to Udupi.
Soon we hit the town of Ujire, which is a small town with a lot of educational institutions – most of which are run by the temple administration of Dharmasthala. We drove through this town and took a left turn towards Belthangady. The road so far was pretty good. After taking the turn and driving for a few kilometers we reached Belthangady, which is a pretty big town. There was some traffic and slowed us down a bit. No sooner had we passed Belthangady, we reached another small town Guruvayankere, there are two routes from here one through Venoor-Moodabidir-Mulki-Udupi, which is slightly longer than the route we took. The GPS showed us not take this route, but continue straight on from Guruvayankere, towards Karkala. This route was very scenic and passes along the fringes of the Kudremukh National Park. We saw a few sign boards about the National Park on this route. It passes through a few villages and there was some traffic on this road, mostly of buses coming from Karkala and going to Ujire and Dharmasthala.
Soon we hit the highway NH 169, and were driving towards Karkala, where the GPS showed us to take right onto SH 1. This road later took a left turn to put us back on SH 37. This stretch around Karkala was not as good as the other stretches on this drive. After driving for about 30km on this road and passing through a small settlement called Moudebelle, we reached a junction on the outskirts of Udupi where a left turn would take us onto NH 17 and then Udupi, the right turn would take us right into the town from the south eastern side. Having visited Udupi before and knowing where our Hotel was, we decide to avoid taking NH17 and went straight into the town which was about 7 kms from this junction.
We drove into the city and found our way to Hotel Century Executive on Mosque Road. We had stayed here during our 2010 visit and had booked the same place, as we liked the Hotel in terms of price, service and its proximity to Krishna Mutt. The checkin was a breeze and we had lunch in the restaurant attached to the Hotel. The restaurant is called Sheela Utsav and is a pure vegetarian restaurant. It’s pretty decent and reasonably priced too. We decided to rest for while before the visit to Krishna Mutt.
Having rested for a while, we decided to visit the Krishna Mutt early to avoid any crowd that may be there. We were surprised to see the temple relatively free and had a peaceful darshana of the deity. Having spent quite some time in the temple, we came out and visited a Shiva temple opposite the Krishna Mutt. We then walked back to the hotel, had coffee. One of the major positives of Century Executive, is its proximity to the Krishna Mutt, it is a 5 minute walk.
Having some spare time in the evening, a friend had suggested us to visit a Kali temple at Ambalpady about 3km from the town. To reach Ambalpady, head out on the road from Udupi bus stand towards the main entrance of Udupi on NH17. After about 1.5km you will see a Big Bazaar towards your left, take the right turn opposite to Big Bazaar, travel for another kilometer (cutting NH 17 along the way) . After crossing NF 17, take the first right and then the first left. At the end of this road, is the temple of Mahakli and Janardhana. It’s a nice and quiet place where you can spend some time.
We then came back to the hotel, finished dinner in the restaurant and retired for the day. Kollur was in our sight for the next day.
Dharmasthala – Udupi and Udupi local travel
Total Distance : 102 km (Dharmasthala – Udupi) + 10 km (Udupi Local)
Stay : Hotel Century Executive, Mosque Road, Udupi