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Our next stop on the Karnataka Coast was Maravanthe Beach.

After a simply-perfect evening at Ottinene Beach, we headed inland to Kollur but the next day we were back on NH-99, the highway that runs through a good part of the India's west coast. We were driving south and got to a part of the highway that had water on both sides. And I knew we were 'almost there'.

Maravanthe Beach (sometimes spelled Marawanthe) lies on a narrow strip of land that is sandwiched between the Souparnika River and the Arabian Sea.

There's the river on the left and the sea to the right.

The Arabian Sea from the highway.

Souparnika River as seen from the road.

Maravanthe Beach, Udupi district, Karnataka.

The sun was at its zenith when we parked by Maravanthe Beach and walked down to the seashore. The beach looked very quiet and almost deserted. Now this beach here is a popular attraction, it is beside a busy highway and had some decent parking space too. I'm guessing there were hardly any beach-goers in sight, only because it was 'that' time of the day. The harsh Indian sun at mid day didn't however stop us from spending some time on the sands of Maravanthe. 

We were on a beach-hopping-trip along the KA coast and we had to make a foot stop here. We spent a peaceful hour there. SonnyBoy doesn't mind the hot weather one bit, if he could lay his hands on some sand. So while he was busy scribbling on the sand and sieving it, I sat down to watch the swell in the sea, and the waves come in and lash against the slight incline of the beach and then make its way back into the Arabian Sea.








A while later we dusted ourselves and made our way to next stop -- Malpe Beach, further south of here. Do come back to see what Malpe looks like.

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More posts from the road trip along Karantaka Coast HERE

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Glowing clouds, Altamont, CA
Caught: the sun having a lazy day in the summer sky.

The week before last as we driving through Interstate 580 (I-580) near Altamont (California), we saw this amazing sight -- a glow in the late evening sky.

It was almost 8 pm and still nice and bright outside. I love summer evenings when the days are long. But what stood out that day was the radiant patch in the clouds, thanks to the sun lending a glow to the fluff in sky. The fact that some of the clouds were blue made the scene even more picturesque.

By the way, this part of the California is known for its wind and its windmills.

Radiant clouds, Altamont, CA
Here is another image of the sky, taken from I-580 near Altamont, CA.
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Catching Light







Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Simply Beautiful!
I wouldn't want to call it anything else. Decorative adjectives might steal Ottinene Beach off its pure, natural beauty.

Ottinene Beach -- I must say -- turned out to be the best part of our beach-hopping trip along the Karnataka Coast. When I looked up this place, I chanced upon so many good things people had to say about this coastal area in Byndoor. I heard that the cliffs around here lent this place unique beauty and that it was a place for spectacular sunsets.
All that, it was.
And more.

It turned out to be better than anything I had read about it. It was pretty clean. Most importantly, it was unspoilt.  How unspoilt, you will know by the end of the post.

Ottinene Beach was such a soothing picture: of stretches of undisturbed sand, dark rocks adding some contrast to the scene, of a river gently meeting the sea and almost invisible small white crabs playing tag on the beach, not having to worry about being run over by boisterous human giants.

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

The Byndoor river flowing down to the sea was one of the first things that caught my eye when I got there. The estuary was a stunner; it seemed to enhance the already sublime setting. It was not one of those rivers that furiously dumps its waters into the larger body of water. Instead the river chose to ever so gracefully offer its waters to the Arabian sea.

When we pulled-over near there, my littlest one was fast asleep and showed no signs of waking up. So hubby offered to babysit for a while so that SonnyBoy could begin playing in the sand. However, when we walked down to the beach we just decided to go for a stroll along the almost-deserted beach.

We headed for the estuary. It was on the way there that I noticed the crabs. They were almost transparent or should I say fairly-well camouflaged on the finely powdered sand and I didn't see it from afar. I was surprised by the sight of these delicate crabs on the beach. Then, as we walked further down we saw that it was quite a party over there. There were so many of them.

And the sand was not as undisturbed as I thought it was. The crustaceans had dug small holes all over and this only added to the natural beauty of Ottinene.

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

And the seemingly ladylike river I first saw, was found breaking and carrying away chunks of sand along its path to the salty vastness. It was quite something to watch small and big pieces of moist sand get eroded. We saw a large piece trying to hold on to its footing for a bit and finally give in, deciding to go with the flow. The process was quite slow but we chose stay and watch the process before we retraced our path.

On the way back when we got to some big rocks we had run down on that descent to the beach, I spotted something else -- a white star on the beach. We walked around those rocks and I could barely believe me eyes for there in front of me was a small constellation of starfish!

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

In the couple of hours we spent at Ottinene Beach that evening, there were only a handful of visitors: a few families who didn't spend a whole lot of time there and two groups of students who probably didn't get enough of the beach as they were ushered back into their school buses in a few minutes of their arrival. So we, and the crabs and starfish did have the beach to ourselves for a good part of the evening.

Later, when we finally walked down to feel the ebb and flow of the waves,  I found that the waters of Ottinene Beach were even richer. I hadn't seen so many shells in a long, long time. (Or maybe I did and just cannot remember. What's more -- I could see them move about in the crystal clear shallow waters there. Yes. There was life in them.

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Ottinene Beach, Karnataka

Fast forward to late evening, I didn't feel like leaving. At least, not until sunset but then the sun didn't seem to want to leave the beach either. Seriously it felt just like that. So we left before the sun did, because there was one other thing we had to do before night fall.

Looking back at the visit to Ottinene Beach, what was unexpected was that even after all the bits and pieces I had gathered from the internet and also Karnataka tourisms's promotional material, we didn't find clear directions to beach. Not even the two maps of those two big internet giants that we have come to rely on for directions, were of any real help. The maps didn't give us 'directions' as such. But I did find a random map that marked something labelled 'secret beach.' We took some leads from that. It was quite like trying to find the way to a little dot on a physical map. But we got there, safe and sound and left there in one piece. And now, this is what I have to say: it is ok that it is. as it is. Perhaps this is why this beach continues to be what it should be: quite quiet, absolutely calm, a haven for little sea creatures and, most of all, 'simply beautiful.'

Summer, Mountain House, CA

Never before have I looked at fountains and noticed the natural light falling on the spurting water; never have I noticed the shadows cast by a water fountain. Thank you 'Catching Light,' thank you Monica for the inspiration.

Water fountain, light and shadow photograph
Caught: some water, some light on the spurting water and even some shadows of water.

caught on camera: water, light, shadow
These pictures are from Mountain House, CA and were photographed with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

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If you could see one thing in Seattle, go to that one place that shows you everything, suggests the brochure of the most popular structure of the city. Now, if you look at the skyline of the city of Seattle in Washington State, you will see that there is one building that stands out like nothing else -- The Space Needle.

After chancing upon several photographs of this structure, and reading about the design of this structure, I'd been looking forward to seeing this specimen of engineering excellence (It is said, it handle winds up to 200 mph and brave severe lightening and even made to brave an earthquake up to the magnitude of 9.1, considering it is on the US west coast).

We had Space Needle on the top of our list of Things-to-do-in-Seattle. Now if you know these parts well, you also know that it lies in a part of the United States that is wet for most of the year. So we had to keep looking at the local weather forecasts and looking out for a sunny day that only plays cameos even in Spring. That found, we booked our tickets online (this is advised) and made a dash for Space Needle as soon as we got to Emerald city.

Space Needle standing 605 ft tall.

I hear this place get over a million visitors a year. Here's why:

A view of the city of Seattle and Elliot Bay, WA

Seattle from 520 ft.

Lake Union and more of Seattle.

Puget Sound

Now, these spectacular 360 degree views can also be taken in after sun down, when Emerald City turns into a sparkling city. We visited in May when the days had already gotten longer and that meant that the sun doesn't set until around 8:30 in the evening. Having visited this observation tower before noon, we went about ticking some other points on the to-do lit. Later, after we were done with all that we had planned for the day, we were back at Space Needle before dark and that meant waiting in a longer line, even though we had already picked up tickets for our second visit to this landmark.

It also meant we had to wait for the long day to meet the night. In spite of the wait, we were up on the observation deck before dark. While we waited for night to take over the scene, we picked up some Starbucks coffee and some chips, found a table and sat down to watch the show of the sky turning from orange to grey and then a deep blue and the city lights slowly coming on till it felt like we were looking down at Seattle from a plane that was awaiting permission to land.

It was a totally different scene at night: bright lights ornamenting the tall buildings of Seattle, the boats of Union Lake, the clearly cut-out waterfront area that overlooks Elliot Bay and Puget Sound and the Seattle Wheel are just some of them. Up there at night, I could even see the lights of cars zipping down Interstate 5 (I-5); at first, I thought it was a train rushing by.

My night-time photos from the Space Needle are not the best. Most of them ended up with some glares from the Sky Cafe as there was no escaping the glass exterior of the Observation Desk.






Note:
  • I recommend buying tickets online. You can pick a time that suits you. If you'd like to see Seattle from Space Needle during the day and after dark, you could take the day/night pass or combine your Space Needle visit with Chihuly Garden of Glass, just next door. If you are doing the latter you won't have to bother about parking while you visit the second attraction. Btw, there's valet parking also. (Click here for tickets and types of tickets.)
  • Sunny days are best days for views from Space Needle. If you'd like to see night views and city lights, you might want to make bookings for night viewing as well. If you are into photography, I'm sure even rainy and cloudy days --which this place has no dearth of -- will give you lots of photo opportunities.
  • Attention, Mommies and daddies - Strollers are not allowed into the sky deck. But the baby car seats can be carried to the top. You can leave your strollers in the stroller-parking area, close to ground level. 
  • When we visited, my baby-number-2 was just a few months old. I carried her around in a baby carrier. Wearing her on me made it easy to walk around the Sky deck and take in the 360-degree views. (Hubby offered to take over when I decided to go get some pictures of the view.)
  • Wheelchairs are allowed inside.
  • You might want to take some warm clothing, it can get cold up there. 
Oh, and there is a revolving restaurant up there, just below the observation deck.


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Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
Just off what was popularly known as NH -17* (Edapally- Panvel Highway, now NH- 66), around 80 kilometres south of Gokarna is another temple town, known for its Shiva temple, a humongous statue of the god, an imposing temple tower and of course, its beach.

Murudeshwar

I had heard about the place and that it was a religious site was what came to mind every time I came across a mention of it. What I didn't know -- at least not until I was doing my pre-trip homework --was that there were other temples around it and the temple complex was on a peninsular piece of land.

When we on the road trip along Karnataka's Coast I wanted to visit Murudeshwar just to set my eyes on the 20-storey gopuram (temple tower) I had seen so many pictures of.

Now I have pictures of my own:

20-storey tall Gopura, Murudeshwar
The massive Raja Gopuram
Murudeshwar's 20-storey temple tower.

20-storey tall temple tower, Murudeshwar
A side view of the gopuram.

temple tower, Gopura, Murudeshwar
Just so you know how enormous this temple tower really is
 (or how tiny we human beings are, in comparision).
It goes up to a height of over 235 ft.
Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
A close up shot of the massive structure.
This gopuram owes its enormity to businessman RN Shetty who hails from this temple town.

I would have also liked to go up those 20 floors and take in the sweeping vistas of this peninsula, the sea that curls around it and all the seemingly-minuscule structures that complete the view. Alas! the doors of the temple were closed when we got there. But then again, there was plenty to see even otherwise.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
Murudeshwar's massive statue of Shiva.
This Shiva rises to a height of 123 ft. 
Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
A sculpted chariot and Krishna delivering the 'essence of the (Bhagvad) Gita.'
The statue park in the complex that is home to the huge Shiva statue and the Krishna-in-chariot also has a few other figures that tell the legend behind Murudeshwar and how the temple came into being here. 

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.

[Read story of Murudeshwar here - The legend]

After looking around and seeing some of these man-made attractions of Murudeshwar, we moved on to see the natural surroundings of this temple complex, which is not without its charms.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
Even the crowd on the beach seemed to be massive. 
Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.
There were people and boats and vehicles. Yeah, it is one of those beaches that allow 4 (or more) -wheelers on the beach. 
Later we drove up to the top of the hill (on which the Shiva statue stands) and saw the other side of this piece of land that juts out into the Arabian Sea. A long stretch of beach caught my attention and I was quite surprised to see that this one was pretty deserted.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.

Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India.

From there we also got to see some nice views of the sea that wraps around Murudeshwar (but it was sad to see a lot of litter on one part of the hill).






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