Temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – Day 3 Travelogue

Day 3 was dedicated exclusively to visit Kollur, initially we had plans to stay in Kollur. After not being able to find a convincing place to stay, decided to make the trip to Kollur out of Udupi. The plan was to get to Kollur before the Maha Mangalaarati (The final aarati before temple closes for the noon). 

We started from Udupi around 9.30 AM. Again we took the route the GPS showed us. Joining the NH 17 from the hotel was straight forward. We were on the NH 17 in about 10 minutes. One thing I must say about the NH 17 is that, it seems to be in widening mode for eternity now and its still not complete, I would say I did not see much work going on it either. The stretch from Udupi to the point where there is a deviation for Manipal, the road is bumpy at best and the patches on the potholes definitely don’t help the ride quality. It gets better afterwards, but there is too much of zig-zag, moving from one side of the road to another to another as the opposite side is being “widened”. I would say its a drivers nightmare to drive on roads like these. There are some stretches before and after Brahmavar where it is two sided, but there are idiots (99% of them are two-wheelers) who choose the high speed lane to pop up, with the sun beating down and mirages on the road, its better to be off a couple of feet from the median.

   Soon we crossed the towns of Kota, Saligrama, Koteshwar and approached Kundapur. You have to be on the watch out for muddied boards that points towards Kollur. If you keep going straight on NH 17 you enter the town. As one approaches Kundapur town, bear right at the fork to take the bypass. As I had driven on this stretch before I knew the route and took the bypass. This was probably the worst stretch of road I travelled on during this entire trip. I wouldn’t say this road is littered with potholes, its an insult to them, they are craters. There are two bridges on this stretch and this probably the only place where you can shift up beyond 2 gear. If you are in a vehicle with less GC, you should be extra careful about getting the under body bruised. After navigating this pathetic stretch, we took the right turn towards Kollur.

  We had done this route before and knew the roads were good. It did not disappoint us, the roads got better and its a pleasure to drive on this stretch, with lots of greenery and very little traffic. The road gets better as one enters the Mookimba Wildlife Sanctuary. I somehow love driving here than anywhere else, it gives a feeling of calmness, may be its Mookambika’s grace 🙂 . Soon we were in Kollur, the time as 11.10 AM. Total distance was 75km.

    We parked up in the general parking area, there were not that many vehicles around and we sensed that the temple was not crowded. And it was true, we just walked into the temple had a good darshana of the deity in a relaxed manner with no one hassling around. The maha mangallarti was at 12.15 PM. We settled down and waited for the aarti to get over. Once that was done, had delicious prasada (lunch) at the temple and headed back towards Udupi.

     During our last trip on this route, we had visited two Ganesha temples on this stretch at Hattyangadi and Aanegudde. So we decided to see if the temples were open and visit them this time too. So on our way back from Kollur towards NH 17, about 5-6km before the highway intersection there are boards to take a left turn towards Hattyangadi and we took that turn. This is a narrow road, that passes through some paddy fields and coconut farms and hits a road that again comes from NH 17. The point where it intersects that road, one can see an arch that has the name of ganesha temple on it. Take the road under the arch and it will lead you to the temple after about a 3 km drive. Its a nice little temple and it was open, but no pooja or aarti there.

 

We started from here, joined back the road near the arch, took a left turn on the road to join NH 17. In a few minutes we were on the horrible stretch of NH 17. After negotiating the stretch , crossed Kundapur and we wanted to visit the second Ganesha temple of Aanegudde, near the small town of Kumbashi. After about 6km from Kundapur, one can see a arch on the left side (when going towards Udupi), take the road under the arch and you will reach the temple after about a kilometer. This temple was open as well and we spent about 15 -20 minutes there. 

We were now back on NH17 and heading towards Udupi, we reached Udupi by around 4.30 PM. We rested for a while and had coffee at Shanti Sagar in Udupi (opposite Udupi Bus Stand). I opted to stay back in the room, while my folks decide to pay another visit to Krishna Mutt and do some shopping in Udupi. They left around 6 PM and were back by 8 PM. We decided to try out a different place for dinner and went to Woodlands, which is a 5 min drive from our Hotel. It was not much crowded and we found parking easily. I had some dosas, while my folks opted for South Indian Thali. The food was great and very reasonably priced. We finished dinner, returned to our rooms and retired for the day.

 

Day 3

Udupi – Kollur – Udupi

Total Distance : 150 km

Stay : Hotel Century Executive, Udupi

 

Temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – Day 2 Travelogue

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.

Day 2

Dharmasthala – Udupi  and Udupi local travel

Total Distance : 102 km (Dharmasthala – Udupi) + 10 km (Udupi Local)

Stay : Hotel Century Executive, Mosque Road, Udupi

Temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi – Day 1 Travelogue

It was decided by family that we would visit a few temples in Dakshinna Kannada ( South Canara) and Udupi districts of Karnataka. It was sometime since we last visited these temples and we thought it was time to go pay our visit. After some planning we finalized the list of places to visit and it was in this order – Dharmasthala, Udupi, Kollur, Kateel and Kukke Subramanya. We decided that the dates would be between Oct 7 – Oct 12, choose these dates as it falls just before the festive Navaratri season and the crowds would be less, it indeed turned out to be the correct decision. We were all set and started on Oct 7.

Day 1, October 7 2012 : Bangalore – Dharmasthala

  We finished breakfast at a hotel close to our place in Bangalore and started off at 9.30 AM. Our place is in South Bangalore and this being a Sunday, we decided to take the Ring Road via Deve Gowda Petrol Bunk – Nayandhalli (the flyover over Mysore road is now ready and the messy junction crossing is not a problem) – Kanteerava Studio Junction – Gorguntepalya and hit Tumkur Road (NH4). This was a breeze and there was absolutely no traffic anywhere along the way. Once on NH4 we took the elevated road, paid a toll of Rs 20 and were in Nelemangla in no time. Here we took the left turn towards Hassan / Mangalore and were on NH 48. This is a fantastic highway one of the best I have driven on. After about 4 km from Nelamangla there is a toll booth where you pay Rs.36 as toll and zoom off towards Hassan. The stretch from here to Bellur Cross is an absolute charm. Most of this route was covered in Cruise Control mode. Took a bio-break at a Coffee Day and moved on towards Hassan. There is another toll of Rs 36, a few kilometeres before Bellur Cross. Most of the road after Bellur Cross is still being widened, however the quality of roads are good and one can maintain a good average speed. We were in Hassan by 12.30 PM, as it was a tad too early for lunch we took the Hassan bypass and headed out towards Sakleshpur. The double roads end where the Hassan bypass begins. We reached Sakleshpur around 1.15 PM, the road from Hassan to Sakleshpur is not a double road but still very very good. After crossing most of the town, we stopped for lunch near the new Bus Stand at a place named Hotel Ashritha. This is a pure vegetarian restaurant and serves decent food. We finished lunch and started off to Dharmasthala at 2.30 PM. The dreaded Shiradi Ghats begin about 7km after Sakleshpur. Had heard various reports about the quality of roads here, but I was pleasantly surprsied. The road was bad in stretches, but not as bad as I expected. Finished driving the ghat in about 1 hour. about 50km of Ghat roads is not really bad. The roads get better after Gundya and we were soon at the point where we needed to take a right turn towards Dharmathala. There are sign boards about 2km before the turn, so there is no chance one will miss the turn. The road from here to Dharmasthala is average at best. After about half an hour, we were in Dharmsthala. It was 4.10PM.

   We had booked ourselves in Sannidhi Guest House operated by the temple administration. After entering the town, we found our way to the guest house and settled in. I was amazed by the quality of this guest house. It is probably the best accommodation in Dharmasthala. The charges per room, per night is Rs 1000 (pricey by Dharmsthala standards) and can be booked by calling the temple administration office. Once we freshened up, we went to the temple for darshana. Since the queue for the normal darshana was pretty long, we decided to go for special darshana at Rs.200 per head. With this special ticket, we bypassed some part of the normal queue, but not as much as we expected. Anyway, we had a nice darshana of Manjunatheshwara. 

   After the darshana, we checked out see if we could have dinner at the temple dinging hall. It was way too crowded and decided against it. If you are looking to eat out in Dharmsthala, I am sorry, you don’t have much choice. You can either eat in Trupthi restaurant opposite Nethravathi Guest House or Hotel Arpana opposite the Bus Stand. We were closer to the temple so we choose Trupthi for the dinner that day. Dosa, Idli, Avalakki (Poha) were the items on offer. We had some idlis and dosas, returned back to the guest house and retired for the day.

Day 1

Bangalore – Dharmasthala : 310 km

Stay : Sannidhi Guest House, Dharmasthala