Karnataka, Photography

St. Mary’s Islands: A Unique Geological Wonder

The name, “St. Mary’s Islands” was etched in my mind from childhood days… and no wonder, it was my mom, from whom I heard about this wonderland.

The name itself was very catchy and a thirty minute ferry trip to an island in the middle of Arabian sea was something really dreamy for a small kid who had hardly seen a beach.

St. Mary's Island-21Once we zeroed in Mangalore as our weekend hub, the first place that came to my mind was this tiny tropical island.

The journey to the Island starts from Malpe fishing harbor, which is around 5 k.m from Udupi, westward. Coming from Mangalore, we had to take a left turn at the main junction in NH-17 near Udupi.

Reaching Malpe bus stand, we could easily find the harbor gate and we need to proceed further and take a left to the wharf. The ferry service starts at 9.30 am from the harbor.

As soon as we parked and got down from the car, we took tickets. It costs Rs 100 for adults and Rs 50 for children.

We could find a boat, full of tourists, leaving the wharf, but didn’t have to wait for long, as there was a decent crowd and the next boat got ready for journey pretty quickly.

St. Mary's Island-1St. Mary's Island-11St. Mary's Island-5As we entered the open sea from the channel, we could spot the island and interesting rock formations all around. The island is around 6 km from the harbor and it took 30 minutes to reach.

St. Mary's Island-10St. Mary's Island-9As the ferry cannot get so close to the shore, we had to take a smaller boat and it was a real nice experience 🙂

The first thing that caught our attention was the crystal clear water and the interesting rock formations.

St. Mary's Island-13St. Mary's Island-15St. Mary's Island-16St. Mary's Island-14

There were some options for water sport with water scooters and all.

Swiftly we moved to the west side of the island, through the coconut groves and found one of the most interesting beach I had seen.

St. Mary's Island-17St. Mary's Island-20St. Mary's Island-19St. Mary's Island-21

The best part about this island is the hexagonal shaped columns of basalt rock formations. This is the only place in India, where this unique geological features are seen and classified as a National Geological Monument.

While my family was having a nice time at the beach, I tried to explore the island to the max. and capture images. There was plenty of action all around and it was really great to watch people in this beautiful setting.

St. Mary's Island-26St. Mary's Island-28St. Mary's Island-29St. Mary's Island-30St. Mary's Island-31St. Mary's Island-33St. Mary's Island-34

After spending a couple of hours, all got exhausted under the bright sun and the packed lunch got vanished in a few minutes 🙂

I am sure, if we were allowed to spend the evening to watch sunset, it would have been an unforgettable experience. But the last boat leaves the island by 5pm and there was no point waiting for that.

We decided to wind up our picnic and catch the boat back to the main land.

St. Mary's Island-37St. Mary's Island-39I said adieu to St. Mary’s island with the fulfillment of a childhood dream 🙂

A few suggestions :

It is always better to reach the island early and leave by afternoon unless you are planning for a full day outing. There is no provision for food and water in the island or toilet facilities.

Do carry enough water and eatables and don’t forget to apply sunscreen lotions and take umbrellas.

Best Time to Visit:

It’s better, not to plan this trip during monsoon months (June to September), as the boat service could get effected by bad weather conditions.

Places to Stay:

The nearest town of Udupi has wide range of options for accommodation.

At the same time, Mangalore, which is around 60 km away, is a big city, has all kinds of options.

Where to Eat:

If you are a vegetarian, Udupi is one of the best place in South India to try different kind of veg. food 🙂

How to Reach:

The nearest airport is Mangalore and the nearest rail head is in Udupi.

By road, If you are coming from Bangalore, you need to first reach Mangalore and then proceed northward taking National Highway-17



100 thoughts on “St. Mary’s Islands: A Unique Geological Wonder”

    1. You are absolutely right 🙂

      So hard to find another country with this kind of diversity in it’s landscape and culture…

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting…

      Wish you and your loved ones a Very Happy New Year 🙂


  1. Thanks for taking me to the island. It’s a beautiful beach and I also like those rocks. But no toilet facility? Did people know that before they went? 😉 Helen


    1. Yes Helen, this is really a shortcoming I felt about the place and I am not quite sure about whether people are informed before boarding the ferry to the island.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and so glad to see you liked the images 🙂

      The place is so unique and beautiful and I really wish, the authorities provide some basic infrastructure fitting the ambiance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a beautiful place Sreejith and the rock formations are so interesting. The colors of the boats make North American watercraft look absolutely dull in comparison. Nice to have all the tips and maps included too. Excellent post!


    1. Thank you so much, Sue for the lovey comments, as always 🙂

      Hope you had a great holiday season 🙂

      You are absolutely right about the colors of the boats here, they use bright colors and make it look so attractive.

      This is a unique place for the strange rock formations and
      I was trying to give as much info as possible along with my personal experience here, and glad you liked the post 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Marc, it’s a beautiful place and quite a surprise for us 🙂

      We haven’t seen anything like this before.

      I think similar formations are seen in Europe.

      Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂


    1. So glad to see your kind words, Natalie 🙂

      Though we live quite close to the sea, it was the first time we ever ventured in a boat trip in sea, and that was really an unforgettable experience 🙂


  3. love the flow of the post – the shore – to the boats – the people getting off – and then the nature – the photo with the crabs -the first and then the zoom one – it was at that point that I felt a bit there with ya’ll – Sreejith and saying adieu with that last photo – the vibrant blue boat – with the person facing onward – and the bow on that angle – tasty wrap up amigo… 🙂
    looks like a great place
    and again – I like the map and extra details (like how much it cost) it is good for travelers of course – but it also might be fun to see years from now – to compare – because blogs are also archives of the culture – esp. posts like this ❤


    1. well okay – real quick – without “overdoing it” just wanted to say that two shots I seem to have taken away with me – the water bottle ones.
      I am still chewing on how they add layers to this post – they fit in with the adventure in a way that adds something and they mix with the nature and the people/boats – like the sustenance humanity reminder =- and it is interesting there is two – two single and very diverse water bottles – adds an interesting layer –
      and the green one with the sandals – which brings you right into that joyous scene contrasts with the clearer bottle that also has an interesting placement among the people in action –


      1. Bingo… you did hit the bulls eye once again, Yvette 🙂
        These are the two images I used in this post to convey my two contrasting views on this beautiful little island.

        The first one, with the green water bottle simply portrays the lively scenes on this beach and how enjoyable this place is for people of all ages. Here, a family is enjoying fishing with their shawl and they got a little fish in the bottle. At the same time, a few young guys are chasing each other and splashing water.

        In the second image, I just wanted to show the impacts of mass tourism in such beautiful though delicate places. There are quite a number of used plastic bottles scattered in this island, which is really an eyesore.

        Anyway nothing can take away the sheer beauty of this place 🙂


    2. I really would like to call this post “a satisfying one”, as I was kind of, ‘fine tuning’ my posts with the right mix of images, personal experience and information…

      I have used the feedback of all kind people here and now I got the confirmation from you 🙂

      After December 19th, till last day, I was really tied up with some unavoidable work and could hardly spend enough time with my blog.

      That was the day, you spend quite some quality time on my blog and commented on quite a number of posts. I feel so sorry that, I couldn’t reply to them till this day, Yvette.

      I am sure, your support will always be there 🙂


      1. yes, support is always here from me – and never worry about the timing of replies and spacing can be a nice thing too – right? I know it is not the same as a “home visit” but in some ways it can be and so just like we visit our neighbors with consideration, we can have balance visiting blogs and take our time replying – so no worries ever –
        and by the way, there were about 6 different blogs I finally had the chance to go and “explore” and the pleasure was mine. I also for sure know that I am right on when i call a certain photo “classic Sreejith” – like I think you have a few “styles” expressed in your work – well at least 3 that I can identify – and also – thanks for valuing all your readers – I know we appreciate it…

        have a nice day amigo


    1. Yes Eliza, it was indeed a very lively day 🙂

      The weather was so pleasant and perfect for a day outing…

      Yea, the rocks are really the highlight of this place and one of a kind in India.

      Thank you so much for stopping by…

      Wish you and your loved ones a Very Happy New Year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting 🙂

      Yea, the basalt rocks are the real highlight of this place and the beach was also very interesting.

      As the shell fragments formed a layer over the sand, the water looked crystal clear.

      Hope you had a very nice start to the new year 🙂

      Have a beautiful day…


  4. Sreejith, to see these images from a place I will never see, just put such a strange feeling within me. Awe, and an avid curiosity as I saw St. Mary’s through your eyes, and felt your presence in each image. I thank you SO much for putting this wondrous post together! I know you spent a lot of time putting this together, and I for one, am truly grateful!!! Love, Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Amy 🙂

      You are one person who rightly recognize the amount of work that we put in each post.

      Frankly, for this post, I had to spend 3 days. Two days fro selecting 20 odd images from a collection of around 500 and then some basic corrections with Picasa. And a full day for the write up and organizing the post.

      I was really exhausted after publishing this one…

      And, this is the sweet reward that I get for all the effort and I am so happy for that 🙂


      1. Oh, yes, my friend, I DO know the work invovled and the exhaustion some posts evoke. To put that much work into something is a sign of your Heart’s Passion. I too recognize that, and I agree, to have just one person see the work that went into the post, is reward enough for me. I get a lot of thank yous, but it takes that one special person to notice something about the post that I really put a lot of effort into doing, that just makes all the work all so worth it. Many don’t realize just sometimes taking the photographs themselves can be “work” … yes work we LOVE but nontheless, work. When I saw this post of yours, I was in awe at the extent you went to. I applaud you, Sreejith. I wish you every success and then some!!! May 2015 be your year that your Dreams come true … (smile) You really do deserve it. (((HUGS))) Amy

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I had really a tough year 2014, one of the toughest in my life, and this is the place I took refuge in.

          Here I got all the support and appreciation to get going and be a better person.

          And now I got something like an Omen here, in your kind words, your wishes… I get a feel like, I am going to make a difference in my life and I am going to fulfill my dreams in this coming year…

          2015 is going to be mine… and I’ll always remember your support, Amy.

          May god bless you and hope to share the little joys of life from the opposite sides of the globe 🙂


        2. Oh, Sreejith, tears are pooling in my eyes from reading what you wrote to me. We may be on opposites of the globe but we have more in common then you know. I’ve had I think two of the hardest years of my Life these past two years, and when everything around me was falling apart, including me, I took refuge in Petals, pouring my Heart into it. You are the first person I am telling about this, but your words hit me deeply. I honestly feel a lifting, a release, something that has been opened if you will, allowing us a way to move forward into a New Life, and into our Dreams.

          I had a moment while resting on the couch the other day, where I “saw” myself searched out in life as I am on Petals, my work so appreciated and wanted, that I actually had to step away from it all at times, just to get a breather. I really believe, my friend, that those of us who have been so unappreciated and pushed away in this world, all of a sudden, something will happen that the attitudes of people will change, and our work will be honored and respected and very sought after.

          Call me a Dreamer, yet, I am not able to shake this experience off, as if I know this is what I am walking towards. Those of us who Light up this world, will be sought after, and that includes you, my friend. I think it will happen in ways we haven’t even thought of, in the most surprising ways. I am really seeing TODAY an opening of ears of some people I have known my whole life, who for the first time ever, are really listening to my advice, and following through with it.

          This to me is a sign, that the blocks and the dead ends and the pushing away, are all coming to an end, and we who bring such Beauty, Truth, and Love into this world, will be seen and respected. Sreejith, I won’t let anyone tell me any different. What I experience just today I would classify as a Miracle, all because my Heart was heard, Truth was spoken and not shunned, and a person I Love very much is being taken care of better all from the result of someone’e ears being open and willing to take my advice.

          I am not officially back to blogging, but I had to just tell you these feelings of mine, and if I in any way can ignite that “knowing” in you too, that I am indeed a very fortunate woman. It’s going to be OK, my friend. I honestly believe our huge struggles are finally coming to an end. With Love, Amy


  5. A very refreshing series of shots ~ the 4th shot between the two silhouetted heads I really like, different and so well framed. As I have cold & rainy weather in Seattle right now, I envy your incredible beach shots…brilliant Sreejith. Enjoy your weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much , Dalo, for stopping by 🙂

      Hope you are alright now and celebrating Christmas 🙂

      Yes it is the best time of the year for us here in South India.

      Moderate temperatures and clear blue skies… best time to explore and photograph.

      I am trying to use this time for the max. 🙂


    1. Hello Justine,

      I am so sorry to miss this comment for all these days.

      I had to be away from blogosphere due to some unavoidable work.

      I just checked your post, and I really felt humbled by the introduction you had given to my blog 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind words and it really means a lot to me 🙂

      The new year has started with quite a lot of challenges, both personal as well as work related, and I am finding it so hard to keep aside enough time for blogging.

      But I am sure, the encouragement from people like you will surely keep me going 🙂

      Hope you had a great start to the new year and have a beautiful day 🙂


    1. Thank you so much, Sylvia, for stopping by and for your Christmas wishes 🙂

      I really had a busy time and checking all the messages after a long time.

      Hope you had a great start to the new year 🙂


    1. Hello there,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting 🙂

      So nice to see you liked this post 🙂

      Yea, there were a number of options for water sport and I have seen many a guys trying out the water scooter and having fun 🙂

      Hope you get an opportunity to visit India 🙂

      Have a great time…


  6. A wonderful series Sreejith. I am from Mangalore, and although I have been to Malpe beach several times, I have never crossed across to St. Mary’s island!!


    1. So nice to see that you are from Mangalore, hardly two hours drive from my native, Kannur 🙂

      I am sure, next time you won’t give a miss to this beautiful place as you pass by Malpe 🙂

      Yea, it happens, we used to keep aside travel plans to places close by and travel around the world.

      Same thing in my case too, I have seen many a beautiful places close to home after coming back from Bangalore…

      Have a beautiful day 🙂


  7. I recognized basalt columns right away, since they are common where I live, in Portland, Oregon. However, I am used to seeing them in part of the greater landscape here of volcanic activity through history. Your columns on a beach of yellow sand and palm trees really blows my mind. Where are the volcanoes?! ha ha That is certainly a place I want to see one day.


    1. Thank you so much Crystal for spending your precious time on this post and sharing your views 🙂

      When I searched for information on these rock formations, I came to know that, they are of Volcanic origin and I was also wondering where are the volcanoes ???
      There is not even a single volcano in the whole Indian landmass 🙂

      But, the story goes back to millions of years and there were quite a lot of volcanic activity in this part of India.

      I really wish you get a chance to explore this place along with innumerable stunning places across the length and breadth of this amazing land 🙂

      So sorry for the late response and hope you had a great beginning to the new year 🙂

      Have a beautiful day 🙂


        1. It’s always nice to see your comments Crystal 🙂

          India is so beautiful and diverse but I tries to share the pleasant side of India only 🙂

          It’s still an emerging nation and millions live under poverty. I am sure, it’s going to be great experience exploring this ancient nation and it’s culture 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Great shots and a wonderful island. The rock formations remind me of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. I thought they were unique there, but this little island has proven me wrong. Very cool, thanks for sharing.
    Happy New Year!


    1. Thank you so much, Michael for stopping by and for the new year wishes 🙂

      Yea, when I googled for this rock formations, I have seen images from Northern Ireland and even some of my friends here shared images.

      In India, it’s seen only in this very small area, and that makes it really interesting 🙂


      1. The legend in Ireland goes that a giant named Finn McCooll got in to a battle with another in Scotland, and they hurled stones back and forth. But when finn saw how big the ither giant was, he dressed as a baby. The other giant saw how big the baby was and decided the dad must be huge if baby is that big, so he ran away never to be seen again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sylvia for the kind words 🙂

      Yes indeed, this place is quite special for the unique rock formations.
      The crystal clear water and colorful boats all adds to the charm and we had a great day exploring this little island 🙂


    1. Hello Anuradha,

      Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

      Yes indeed we had a great time in this beautiful place.

      I am not in a position to compare North and South, as I am yet to venture north, but I totally agree with your perspective.

      South India, is so diverse as far as landscape is concerned and so rich in temples and other monuments.

      I really wish you get a chance to explore this part of our country 🙂

      Have a great time…


  9. So many stunning photos in a single post! Is the nice lady with flower-patterned dress your Mrs? Two things caught my eye: the painted eyes on boats – are they there for good luck? And the fact that I can see no swimmers in the water, but I saw some fishermen. Why isn’t anybody swimming?


    1. There are quite some interesting observations here, Paula, and let me try to answer one by one 🙂

      Let me start with the “nice lady with flower-patterned dress”, she is just one of our fellow travelers and my Mrs. was busy taking photos as soon as she got down from the boat, and this is the only question I can answer with surety 🙂

      The other observations, really made me think too, and I mentioned your name and this question in another post, in reply to Mabel.

      I frankly don’t know, why we can’t find anyone really swimming in this clear warm waters and enjoy the beautiful beach?

      There are countless stunning beaches in this country and thousands of kilometers of coastline too. If you observe, how people are dressed, we could see that, no one has come prepared for the place/occasion. Even I was not 🙂

      One other reason could be the lack of infrastructure, like rest rooms or change rooms.

      Though we have almost everything to offer for a tourist in India, we lack basic tourism infrastructure.

      Yea, the painted boats… you could find really colorful boats with all sorts of images and names on them.

      Superstitions also plays a big part in the life of common folks in India 🙂

      Hope you had a nice weekend 🙂


  10. Oh Gosh..!!!
    We had planned this trip once..!!
    But got cancelled due to leave issues ..!!
    I just knew the name of the place, but its a really interesting one I have learnt !!
    I could use this post an itinerary !! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many a times I planned to explore this place before but missed out…

      Couple of months back, while we were coming back from Kollur/Kudajadri we took a diversion and had a wonderful time…

      You can really have a great experience if you go prepared, with enough food and spare clothing for water sports 🙂

      Feel free to contact me for any more info. when you plan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I said you,
        your post would be my Itinerary,
        and you would be my official “Trip guide” ..!!
        Thank you so much for your kindness 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really a unique place in India and we certainly had a great time.

      But, I really wish, some basic infrastructure be there for the tourists to really enjoy their time in this island.

      Thank you so much for checking out this story, Alexandra 🙂

      Have a beautiful day ahead 🙂


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