Beach Trek: Bhatkal to Kundapura

December 27, 2007

I hadn’t done any major treks in this season while end of year 2007 was fast approaching. With not much time left for elaborate planning, I decided to do another beach trek, which probably is one of the easiest treks to organize. There is no confusion of the trails here and we are never too far from NH17 and hence never cut off from civilization. So the beach treks along Arabian sea in the Karnataka region need very simple logistics support. Food and night accommodation can always be arranged in the adjoining village or city, if one is not equipped to camp on the beach. To continue from where I had left last time, it was decided to trek from Bhatkal to Kundapura on beach this time. Many people were eager to join this time and I had to actually limit the number of participants. So we were a group of nine: Prasanna, Naren, Bharadwaj, Sripathi, Chandra, Chandru, Hariharan, Vinayak and I.

Start (L2R: Hari,Sripathi,Naren,Bharadwaj,Chandra,Prasanna,Vinayak)
The group

While Naren and Vinayak were to join to us directly at Bhatkal, rest of us boarded a Bhatkal bound 7PM KSRTC bus at Bangalore on a December Friday evening. We traveled for 14.5hrs through a long and circuitous route (Bangalore-Hassan-Charmadi-Ujire-Mangalore-Udupi-Kundapura-Bhatkal) to reach Bhatkal at 9.30AM ! We came to know only later that people from this region don’t use KSRTC from Bangalore but usually prefer private services.

Naren and Vinayak had already booked a couple of rooms for us in Vaibhav lodge for our morning ablutions. For want to time, we had a quick working breakfast at Vaibhav Hotel. (There are better eating places in Bhatkal than this; Vaibhav is highly not recommended). Now we had to find a suitable place to start the trek. There is a tiny water mouth at a distance of 6km from Bhatkal (towards Kundapura) at a place called Sodigadde and we were to start our beach trek from this point. Local Tempo service was used to cover this distance from Bhatkal to Sodigadde on NH17. It was 11.45AM and our group turned down my proposal to cover the rest of the distance of around 1km from Sodigadde to actual beach by auto and enthusiastically started on foot. So we spent some valuable energy walking in the midday sun and finally reached the beach at 12.15PM.

We walked on the sand for an hour until the beach stretch was intercepted by a tiny rivulet at a village called Alavegadde. The local kids helped us to find an appropriate point where stream could be crossed on foot. After walking further for around 15min, we reached the point where Alavegadde river meets the sea and this meeting point was too deep and wide to be crossed on foot. Fortunately we were just in time to catch a fishing boat which was all set to enter the deep seas and the fishermen were kind enough to help us cross over to the other bank.

Lake near Dombe
Alavebagilu Lake

Though google maps had shown a couple of breaks in the sand stretch, most of them turned out be plain green fields and not any hills as we had visualized. So most of the times we were walking on plain beach and did no climbing whatsoever. I had insisted on carrying oranges and some of us were carrying more than necessary quantity of them. So soon we could see generous people offering each other oranges and thereby reducing their backpack loads. We took lunch break at 2PM. At around 3.30PM we were at a village called Dombe where we could find a fresh water lake(Alavegagilu kere) beside the sea. There were a few kids enjoying the cold lake water bath in the hot afternoon and we were more than eager to give them company. The break really helped to us rejuvenate ourselves and without much trouble we reached the Someshwara temple of Baindoor at 4.30PM. We had probably covered a distance of 6-8km on beach for the day.

Someshwara temple, Baindoor
Someshwara temple

Someshwara temple is situated on a small rocky hill (which we had to negotiate) overlooking the sea. The surroundings are beautiful and temple has a calm atmosphere inside. Adjoining the temple is a rock, underneath which fresh water flows 24hours. This is called Nagatheertha. The name comes from the fact that a snake can be supposedly seen under this rock 365 days (The temple folk mentioned that a snake was sighted here in the morning also).

A view from Someshwara temple

One of our group members had used his contacts to secure a reservation in the Baindoor Govt IB for our night stay and after some confusion we settled down in IB before it became dark. After a good dinner, we crashed for the day with plans to get up as early as 5AM next day morning.

The trek group was so good this time that people actually woke up at 5AM! Some of them were so considerate that they took cold water bath at 5AM in the morning without wasting precious morning time waiting for hot water. Everything went as per plan and we were out of IB by 7AM. A little distance after Someshwara temple in Baindoor, Uppunda river meets the sea. The local folk advised us to continue our trek after this point (Uppunda Village). This involved covering 3km on NH17 and a further 2km into the actual beach. This time, everyone willingly agreed to take Autos to cover this distance of 5km. So our 2nd day’s trek started at 8AM. The plan was to cover most of the distance before 12PM after which time it gets too hot.

We did a pretty brisk non stop walk for an hour probably covering around 5km to reach Koderi village where Yedamavina Hole (stream) joins the sea. As we were approaching Koderi, a fishermen volunteered to help us cross the stream. It took him two trips in his boat to ferry us to the other end but he flatly rejected our repeated requests to accept money for his services. This was in sharp contrast to my previous beach trek experiences where people actually tried to charge us more for the boat service. We had to enter the Koderi village and cover some distance (around half a km) on road before joining the sea again. Though some villagers told us that it would just take an hour to reach the Maravanthe beach from here, one of them who had observed our pace on the beach earlier, clearly told us that we would take at least 2.5 hours to reach Maravanthe.

Next it was quite uneventful long walk, sometimes on the beach and sometimes on the village road running parallel to beach. Walking on hard village roads under the shades of coconut trees is much preferred than walking on loose beach sand. We reached a village called Navunda at 12.30PM. From Navunda it is around 1.5km to Maravanthe and from there it is around 9km (on road) to Kundapura. Attempting Kundapura was out of question given that it was already past midday. Navunda village was just 200m from NH17 and we were tempted to call it quits at Navunda. We must have covered approximately a distance of 12km on beach from Baidoor to Navunda. While others settled down in the comforts of a hotel waiting for their overnight bus to Bangalore, I boarded a bus to Sirsi to start the next leg of my long vacation.

Bharata B Rao- bharata{dot}rao{at}gmail{dot}c0m

My previous beach treks:
Ankola to Gokarna
Gokarna to Honnavar
Honnavar to Bhatkal


Beach trek: Honnavar to Bhatkal

January 28, 2007

It was second weekend of January and we were ready to continue our trek along the coastline of Karnataka. After having the done the Ankola-Gokarna-Honnavar stretch, this time the plan was to continue from Honnavar and reach Bhatkal via Murudeshwar. Not much planning and preparations were needed for this trek as we had decided for a night halt at Murudeshwar, which is a popular tourist center.

The group started with Naren and me, but quickly we were joined by Veena, Ananth, Prasanna and Kulki. Going out of Bangalore on long weekends is turning out to be real tough these days with all kinds of transportation running full. Fortunately we could reserve our return tickets from Bhatkal, thanks to Naren’s contacts in Bhatkal.
Our bus started 1 hour late due to heavy traffic around Majestic. Accordingly we reached Honnavar an hour late at 8.45AM. Honnavar surroundings had become familiar to us, thanks to our last beach trek. Without wasting much time, we quickly checked into Hotel Sanman to finish our morning ablutions. The breakfast at Kamat Hotel was followed by sweet tender coconut. We even packed lunch from Kamat.
At the start, Kasargod beach(L2R: Veena,Bharata,Naren,Prasanna,Kulki,Ananth)
Trek start
We had ended our last trek at a village called Karki near Honnavar. River Sharavati joins the Arabian sea after Karki village. Hence we wanted to start at a point after this river mouth. Autos were hired to reach a village/beach called Kasarkod, which is right after the long bridge across Sharavati. It was 11AM by the time we touched the Kasarkod beach. We were expecting mild temperatures in January, but that was not to be, the thermometer was already showing 30. We could see an island to the right which we had used as landmark to reach Karki last time. Now we had to walk towards left away from that island.

The initial stretch from Kasarkod to Apsarakonda(As seen from Apsarakonda)
Initial trail

The initial trail is a 5km continuous beach stretch which ends in a hill near Apasarakonda village. We covered this uneventful stretch in about an hour. A fisherman advised us not to cross the hill from the rocky beach end, but rather climb up the hill. We took his word and did try to follow the trail, but had to retreat as we could no longer trace the trail after sometime. Returning back to the beach, we decided to take the rocky path to cross the hill. Though walking on rocks right adjacent to the sea was fun, the end was never in sight. We walked almost an hour and a half on the rocks. Rocks were literally thorny at many places. At many places, crossing the sharp edged rocks needed lots of attention.

Rocky path
Rocky path

At around 1.45PM, there was some respite from the rocks when we entered a tiny (around 10m long) beach stretch. We needed this to literally cool off our heels.
Another view of rocks
Rocks2
Crossing the next rocky stretch turned out to be a bit tricky. When it appeared that we can’t cross this without taking some amount of risk, we abandoned the idea and tried to cross over the hill by climbing it. But when we quickly realized that climbing is not feasible, we turned back and reached the tiny beach stretch again. We had two options, either to retrace our steps back until Apsarakonda and enter the village there or try to climb up through the thick vegetation. We choose the latter and Naren led us from the front by clearingall the vegetation and making a path for us to follow. Though it started well, he could do that for around 30min before he got exhausted and I took over. The vegetation was very dense and it was getting difficult to force our way up thro’ such dense bushes. I could manage for another 5min and we were still halfway from the top of the hill. It was 2PM in the afternoon and with sun beating down hard, Naren and I lost all of our energies and had to resort to glucose supplement. That’s when Naren and I decided to head downwards. Though others following us wanted to try a bit more, we were absolutely in no condition to do any further climb.

We failed to get past this hill
last hill

We took half an hour to descend and reach the tiny beach stretch. What was a tiny beach stretch 2 hours back wasn’t there anymore as tide had changed and the sea had encroached further till the rocks. Without an inch of shade anywhere, some of us had to finish the packed lunch in the open sun. At around 3PM we started back and reached the Apsarakonda beach by 4PM and spent around 30min in the beach. Though the current was strong, we had some nice relaxing time. We needed this after such a tiresome day at work. There is a freshwater source at Apasarakonda. By walking beside it, we reached a temple affiliated to Shringeri Sharada Mutt. There is ample space in the temple for night stay and food is also available on request here. But since they didn’t have bedding arrangements with them and neither we were carrying any; we couldn’t make use of this excellent opportunity to spend the night in that serene atmosphere.

Fields and Sea beyond as seen from Apsarakonda
Fields and sea

We did a kilometer of walk thro’ the lanes of Apsarakonda village before reaching NH17 at 6.30PM and boarded a tempo to Murudeshwar. If we had followed the trail which goes over the hills as mentioned by the fisherman at Apsarakonda beach, we should have ended up in Manki village which is around 4km from Apsarakonda village by road. One should ideally start this beach trek from Manki and not at Honnavar/Kasarkod. From Manki it is around 12km to Murudeshwar, and from what we heard from villagers, is free of any major rocky stretches. So ideally one should start from Manki in this stretch instead of Kasarkod like what we did. It was 7PM when we reached Murudeshwar.

Shiva at Murudeshwara
Shiva at murudeshwara

Most hotel rooms in Murudeshwar are exorbitantly expensive and we found one hotel charging as much as Rs 1200/- for a double room! We finally managed to find a decent looking midrange hotel. Most of us didn’t have energy to go through the routine of wash and bath; dinner was foremost in our minds. After a quick visit to the Shiva statue we settled for the night in Murudeshwar.

Next day started early with breakfast and a visit to the temple. There is an ancient Shiva temple here. We started the 2nd day’s trek at around 9AM. The route from Murudeshwar to Bhatkal is a continuous beach stretch of around 12km. At around 2km from Murudeshwar is Kaikini village and at around 4km is the Bengre village. At 11AM we reached Alavekodi village which is around 8km from Murudeshwar. At Alavekodi, we left the beach and entered the village. We entered a house to replenish our water sources. The curious inmates of the house were more than willing to be our hosts. We had entered the village to visit the Durgaparameshwari temple. The temple is big and beautiful. The temple is on the banks of Venkatappa river where the river joins the sea. We had to use the boat service to reach the other side and join the beach again. From here we walked for around an hour to reach Herthar village where we decided to end the trek. We had to walk around half a km before boarding an Auto to Bhatkal. We had reached Bhatkal at 1.30PM.

Walking past Kerekund (Kakekunda as per locals)
Kerekund
At Bhatkal we had lunch in Vaibhav hotel which is probably the only decent vegetarian hotel there. We hired a room in Vaibhav lodge to spend the evening. While Kulki and Prasanna returned back to Honnavar from where they had return tickets to Bangalore, rest of us decided to check out the Bhatkal lighthouse. We had to hire an Auto to reach the lighthouse. We could spot police vans stationed at many junctions on the way to lighthouse. We had reached Bhatkal on a day after the local protests against a suspected terrorist arrest. Fortunately the city remained peaceful until we were there.
The lighthouse is situated on an elevated hill. There is a small temple adjacent to the lighthouse. A good view of the sea and surrounding areas can be obtained from the top of the lighthouse. We could see the Hog island here. The next stretch of beach towards Kundapur is also visible clearly and we even started making plans about how to approach our next beach trek. We witnessed the sunset from near the lighthouse. After an unexpected dinner at Naren’s friend’s house in Bhatkal, we boarded the night bus back to Bangalore.

Sunset as seen from Bhatkal lighthouse
Sunset

My Previous beach treks:

Ankola to Gokarna
Gokarna to Honnavar