Sun, sand and the sea in India - South Karnataka

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The Indian peninsula hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In addition, the beaches offer a unique perspective into the life of the communities that reside by the sea.

The 320 kilometre coastline of Karnataka is lined with beautiful palm-fringed beaches. The picturesque beauty and charm of these beaches is a major hit among the tourists to this state.

These are some of the best beaches of South Karnataka.


Ottinene, Byndoor

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Byndoor is a village located at a distance of 33 Km from Kundapur. The beach here is famous for its beautiful sunsets. The serenity and silence of this place attracts tourists.

The Kshitija Nesara Dhama located near Byndoor is a good place to enjoy some peace and calm. Ottinene with its overhanging cliffs is an ideal place for viewing the sunset. Apart from enjoying the scenic view from here, one can also take the steps to go down all the way till the sea.

One can visit the temple on the banks of sea called Someshwara Temple (Shiva Temple). Couple of rocks and a flat sea bed with a merging river makes this place spectacular to view.


Marvanthe, Udupi

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Marvanthe one of Karnataka's most beautiful beaches. It is about 55 kilometres from Udupi. NH-66 (erstwhile NH-17) runs next to the beach and the Suparnika River flows on the other side of the road, creating a spectacular scenery that is considered the only one of its kind in India.

The Suparnika, which almost touches Arabian Sea here, makes a U-turn and goes westward to join the sea after a journey of more than 10 kilometres. The golden sand, clear blue sky, swaying palm trees, and the endless shore provide an undoubtedly attractive tourist destination. The serene and unspoiled beach is at its best during the sun sets.

Water sports at Marvanthe Beach are famous and one of the favourite activities among visitors. You can laze in the sun or take a drive along the shore. You can go scuba diving and snorkelling and get a glimpse of the coral reefs and marine life that is abounded with deep-sea creatures. The water is safe for swimming as the tides are gentle.


Malpe, Udupi

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A natural port located just 6 km from Udupi, the Malpe beach is known for its golden brown sand and turquoise blue waters. It is lined with palm trees and the blue skies above add to the scene, providing a perfect picture. The beach is also famous for its sea food.

The beach in Malpe is calm and serene, as it is not yet known to a lot of tourists. The beach is popular with the locals, and exudes a pretty laid back ambience. A small river, known as the Udayavara River, flows around the beach and this is also known as the Malpe River.

The beach has numerous islands nearby and a boat ride will take you to these islands. Daria -Bahadurgad is the northernmost island here and Kari-Illada-Kallu is the southernmost island in the region. Daria-Gadara-Kalluthe is situated between the northern most and the southernmost islands and the fourth island that you need watch out for is St. Mary’s Island, which is also called Thonse Paar.


Saint Mary's Island, Udupi

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St. Mary's Islands, also known as Coconut Island and Thonse Paar, are a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe. They are known for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava.

Scientific studies indicate that the basalt of the St. Mary's Islands was formed by sub-aerial subvolcanic activity, at the time when Madagascar was attached to India. The rifting of Madagascar took place around 88 million years ago.

These islands are just rock projections arising out of the sea near Malpe. The St. Mary's Island beach is special for the unique formation of basalt rocks that have crystallized into whole columns and split into vertical hexagonal blocks.

The west coast of these islands is a haven of shellfish with shells of various shapes and sizes littered along the coast. The island is 300 m long and 100 m wide and has a few palm trees.


Kaup, Udupi

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Kaup or Kapu as the place is known in the local Tulu language is a village town located between Udupi and Mangalore. The region is predominantly known for one of the most serene and pristine beaches that you can find.

Owing to the greenery surrounding the beach on all sides, tourists make a bee-line towards this place for a quick weekend trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Kaup beach is famous for an old lighthouse that was apparently built in the year 1901.

Besides the lighthouse, Kaup also has ruins of Jain Basadis that line across the stretch of sand, and these are definitely worth a visit. Kaup is the base for two Hindu temples dedicated to the Goddess Mariamma.

This beach is also popular with students who come from Manipal, a student town. The beach also has small shacks and eateries where one can sample a bit of the local cuisine.


Surathkal, Mangalore

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Surathkal beach is located 12 km from Mangalore city. Surathkal has the rare distinction of having one of the best engineering colleges in the country and that too, right next to a beach. So, all you budding engineers with a love for the surf, you know where to head to for your studies now.

The beach is almost always empty, except for the mornings, when the fishermen return with their catch. There is a lighthouse on top of hillock that gives a beautiful view of the beach, the waters and the greenery around.

Most tourists plan a one-day trip from Mangalore to visit and enjoy this beach.


Tannirbavi, Mangalore

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A plain, straight beach, offers blissful evenings and beautiful sunsets. Opposite to the sea, the land is lined by tall trees, which add to the ambience. The beach receives more people on weekends, locals and tourists, with fewer people on weekdays.

One can see fishermen at sea in their boats, ships entering and exiting the Mangalore harbour from here. What used to be a plain beach with a couple of small stalls, now has some basic facilities like life guards, proper toilets, a parking lot, a couple of small eateries and some concrete benches.


Panambur, Mangalore

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Mangalore is famous for its rugged coastline and the Western Ghats. As a historic trading centre and port, Mangalore attracts many tourists who throng its beaches. One such beautiful beach is the Panambur beach.

Located at a distance of just 13 kilometres from Mangalore, to the south of the Mangalore Port, Panambur beach is very accessible. The beach is named after the nearby port. There are many tourist attractions in Panambur, like camel rides and carnivals organized by the district authorities in order to entertain the visitors.

There are boat rides and boat races, kite flying contests held during the kite festival, air shows and sand-sculpture contests that keep the holiday crowd happy and entertained.


Sasihtlu, Mangalore

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If one veers to the left on NH 66 at Mukka and takes the less-trodden road for about 6 km, one would reach a place that looks like it is almost cut-off from the external world. The road would lead one to verdant heaps of sand abutting the Arabian Sea adjacent to the scenic backwaters of Nandini (Pavanje) and Shambhavi Rivers.

The confluence of the two rivers with the sea has created an entirely different world with its own enchanting beauty. From Sasihtlu village, one has to take the kutcha road passing amidst an acacia grove to reach the beach.

It is quiet and peaceful here, with hardly any one in the vicinity. No tourists here, only the local fishermen. The beautiful island of ‘Munda’ surrounded by Shambhavi River, Nandini River and the Arabian Sea, is worth a visit.


Someshwar, Ullala

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Someshwara beach is located in Ullala at the confluence of the Netravati River and the Arabian Sea. The golden sands, greenery along route from Mangalore, and the coconut palms along the beach make this beach a must-visit destination on the traveller’s itinerary.

The endless golden sands are ideal for walking or sunbathing. Someshwara beach is famous for large rocks on the beach called Rudra Shile. During high tide, the sight of waves dashing against the rocks evokes a feeling of awe for the power of Nature.

The tourist facilities at this beach are virtually non- existent. This is an ideal place to enjoy the ambience of a beach without being disturbed by anyone. Since the beach has a number of rocks along the shoreline, swimming is not advisable in these waters.