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 πŸ™‚

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

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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.

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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.

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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



Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

Last week I went to a harbor construction site near my home.

The beach near the harbor is really beautiful but to reach there we have to cross the dusty construction site with all these heavy trucks and all moving continuously.

I hesitated for a few moments, but saw this family even carrying an infant braving their way through the dust and going to the beach to enjoy a beautiful sunset.

You can find a great variety of posts on this challenge here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Dhanushkodi is the tip point of a narrow stretch of land that extends to sea almost connecting Sri Lanka and India.

It was a small fishing town bustling with activity till 1964, when a cyclone hit it so hard that the entire town was wiped off including a train carrying around 100 passengers.

Now it looks like a ghost town with hardly any activity. Let me share a couple of images here, one was an old church and the other is a long abandoned fishing boat.




Beaches of North Kerala: Ettikulam Beach

I just applied sudden break, pulled the hand break, turned off the engine and got down from car and just stood breathless for a few moments.

My wife and cousins were not shocked by my reaction after negotiating a sharp bend, they just followed suit and stood beside me.

We all had, one of our best scenic view ever, right there in front of us.

It was my fourth trip to this beautiful beach but first time I was driving through the “top road” of Ezhimala Hills.


It was a pleasant weekend day and there was a lot of activity around.


All stars eleven playing on beach πŸ™‚ and Messi scores…





There was a lot of action in sea as well, local fisher folks were busy with their work and it looked something adventurous for us.



We were lucky to witness one incredible sunset and started pack up.



Talking to the locals, I came to know that, we could have explored the other beaches with a short trek through the hillock.

Let’s do it next time πŸ™‚

How to reach:

Nearest airports are in Mangalore and Kozhikkode (just over 100 km away).

Nearest Railway station is in Payyanur, which is around 12 km from the beach.

Ettikulam beach could be reached either from Payyanur town or from KannurΒ city through road.

From Kannur, you can follow the route below,

From Payyanur,

Where to stay:

Pazhayangadi and Payyanur are the nearest towns and there are some good options available in Payyanur for accommodation.

Kannur is the nearest city and you could find a wide range of options there.

Note: Most of the images are taken with my old point and shoot and resulted in poor quality as the lights faded.


Beaches of North Kerala: Dharmadam

This is one place, where I won’t mind going any number of times any time of the year.

There is something special about this place, the beautiful beach, interesting rock formations, the river joining the sea and most interesting of all, the small island off the beach.


During the time of low tide, the sea recedes and makes a way to the island, around 100 feet wide.

We can just walk to the island without getting our feet wet, but there is knee deep water on both sides.

But you get this opportunity only twice a day and that last for around an hour each.

We have to go there and come back within this short time window.





Sand is very firm here and it becomes a beautiful cricket ground every evening.