After having visited Kollur and Udupi, our next stop was Subramanya, but we had decided to visit Kateel enroute.
So the day started with the usual breakfast at the restaurant in Hotel Century Executive. We finished the breakfast and asked for the bills to be prepared for check out. The check out was a breeze and we soon set out towards Kateel. Again GPS was the guide, as we hit NH 17 in about 5 minutes. This time we were riding on NH 17 in the opposite direction (towards Mangalore ) as against last time. The road conditions are similar, good in patches with the eternal widening going on. After about 25km, we neared the town of Mulki. Just before entering the town, there is a left turn, that is marked with directions to Kateel. This road is SH 70 that continues towards Moodbidri. Kateel is about 14 km from NH 17. We passed through the small settlement of Karnad (some really narrow roads) and were headed towards Kateel. We passed by a fairly decent sized town of Kinnigoli, the roads were pretty good. After about 11km on this road, there is a arch on the right hand side, which points towards Kateel. Take this road and in about 3 km you will reach the parking lot of the temple. Since this was a weekday and not either Tuesday or Friday, there were hardly any people around. We had a nice darshana, spent a few minutes walking around the temple.
Just a few words on the temple itself. It is situated on an island sort of a structure, the stream flows around the temple. There is a bridge one has to walk on to enter the temple. Similarly, there is a bridge behind the temple to reach the other bank of the stream. It’s quite picturesque.
We were now headed to Subramanya. We had two options, one to take SH 70 to Moodabidri, then go to Bantwal, join NH 48 and other was, join NH 17 , then hit NH48 just outside Mangalore and head towards Subramanya. Having heard from friends that Moodabidri route is not all that great as far as roads are concerned, we decided to join NH 17 and then head towards NH 48. We traced the route back towards the arch from where we came to Kateel and took a left turn towards Mulki. After about 4.5km one will see a board named Pakshikere, where another road merges with the road going towards Mulki. Make a sharp left here, you will now be on Pakshikere road. After about 5km on this road you will be on NH 17. On Pakshikere road, you will go over a level crossing, about a kilometer before hitting NH17.
Once you are on NH 17, its pretty straight forward. Take the left turn towards Surathkal / Mangalore and you are all set. Just keep going straight on this road, you will pass by MRPL and KIOCL factories and also Mangalore Port (all towards your right hand side). After this, there are directions towards Bangalore, follow them and at a round about NH 17 and NH 48 will intersect, stay to your left and take the first left turn in the round about. This is NH 48, the Bangalore – Mangalore highway. Just keep going on this road, following directions for Bantwal / Uppinangady / Gundya. You will pass through Bantwal and Uppinangadi on this road. All though this stretch is a two-lane highway its well laid and you can maintain good average speeds on this road. However keep in mind that this is a winding road and one has to be careful while overtaking and also watch out for morons overtaking in blind turns.
There are multiple options to get to Subramanya after you are in this road; one is from Bantwal taking the Kadaba – Subramanya road, the other one is SH 113 from Uppinangady and the shortest one is just after the town of Nelyady. We decided to take the last one, this is a right turn immediately after the turn from NH 48 towards Dharmasthala. Please note that all the above mentioned routes are clearly marked and all are right turns ( coming from Mangalore ). The route we took was narrow at places, but was very scenic, driving through some forest patches, rubber and coffee plantations. The quality of the road is not all that great, but its manageable. This is apparently called the Ichilimpady Road ( I came to know later ). After about 12km on this road we hit SH 37/ SH 113 which is Uppinangadi / Kadaba – Subramanya road. The road quality gets exponentially better once on this road. It is pretty scenic too !!! There was apparently some rain just before we drove through this road, so the dark black road, with green grass on both sides looked like paradise. After about 15 km on this road, this road merges with the Gundya – Subramanya road ( SH 114). Then after traveling for about 3km you have to keep right to stay on this road towards Subramanya. Going straight will take you onto Bisle Ghat road otherwise. (There is a barricade with a check post at the enterance of this road, so don’t take this road). After a further 2.5 km you will be in Subramanya town.
We had booked ourselves in Sheshanag Aashraya, a good hotel in Subramanya. The time was 3.30 PM We checked into the hotel freshened up and went to the temple for a darshana. Again there was no crowd and we had a relaxed darshana and decided to grab a bite. We then proceeded to the temple of Adi Subramanya, which is behind the main temple and a 5 minute walk from the main temple.
We had some free time, so walked around the main street of Subramanya and decided to go back to the temple for the evening aarati. If you have not watched this, you have missed something. The aarati happens around 7.30PM and the temple gates close by 7 PM, so the trick is to get in by then and grab a place to sit inside the temple. The aarati goes on for about 10 minutes. Once this was over, we had dinner at the temple dining hall and headed back to our room.
All in all a pretty good day, with some nice drives on scenic roads with good weather too !!!
Udupi – Kateel – Subramanya : 180 km
Stay : Sheshanag Aashrya ( A/c rooms – Rs.1850/night and Non A/c rooms – 1250/night)