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Karnataka - Udupi Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

A beach and an island to relax on

Ganesh Prabhu



BY THE SEA: A camel ride at sunset on Malpe Beach. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Udupi: Malpe Beach and St. Mary's Island are excellent places to relax on, and tourists from all over the country visit these places. Thanks to the efforts of the Malpe Development Committee, which focusses exclusively on the development of the beach and the island, and they are seeing rapid changes for the better.

A small jetty was built in October 2003 at the Malpe port. Tourists and picnickers can now take a boat to St. Mary's Island from the jetty.

Malpe Beach has a legend attached to it. It is said that a ship carrying `goopichandan,' which had set sail from Dwaraka, was caught in a storm when it was approaching Udupi. The sailors began shouting for help. Madhwacharya, exponent of Dwaita philosophy who was meditating on the seashore, heard the cry for help and waved a garment towards the ship. The storm abated and the ship came safely to shore. The grateful captain of the ship urged Madhwacharya to accept any of the valuable items on the ship as a gift. But Madhwacharya wanted only the `goopichandan.' The acharya then carried it to Udupi, where he installed the idol of Krishna that was buried inside the `goopichandan.'

St. Mary's Island is 8 km north of Malpe. The picturesque island was formed out of lava that erupted from the bottom of the Arabian Sea millions of years ago and is famous for its basalt rock formations. The Geological Survey of India declared it a National Geological Monument on November 16, 1979. The rocks on the island have crystallised into columns split into a hexagonal mosaic. It is said that the Portuguese traveller Vasco da Gama landed on this island in 1498 and named it El Pardon de Santa Maria.

Some shelters have been built on the island for tourists. The boats operating between Malpe and the island have all the required safety equipment, such as life-jackets, and are periodically checked for adherence to safety guidelines.

A canteen near the Malpe jetty provides local fish delicacies. Tourists can visit the island between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are priced at Rs. 60 for each adult.

However, the special lighting and musical fountains on Malpe Beach are not functioning. Despite the initiatives of the committee, there is still room for improvement in both the places.

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