I feel the urge to go to the sea every few months. Two weeks ago, on a friday afternoon at work, I decided to go “somewhere”. Anywhere. Preferably, somewhere near the sea. I thought of going to Mangalore. Though I realised that getting a deluxe/volvo bus ticket just a few hours prior to the journey on a weekend is one highly improbable thing, I still gave it a try and to my surprise, I managed to get a ticket to Mangalore.
By the time I had the ticket in my hand, the only thing certain was that I would be in Mangalore by 7 am, next day. What I would do after that, I had no idea.
Since Mangalore and Udupi are nearby, I decided to visit Udupi. There were two reasons for that. First, I wanted to visit the famous Krishna Mutt and second, I wanted to have authentic Udupi cuisine. From there, I could catch the Konkan route train to Goa and then take the monday train back to Bangalore.
Of course, I did not have any train tickets. If you stay away from home for eight years and travel alone, you learn to make plans like that.
Once I reached Udupi at around 8:30 in the morning, the first step was to book the ticket to Goa for the afternoon train leaving Udupi at 4 pm. While putting the unconfirmed ticket in my wallet, I realised it already had 3 old rail tickets. Flattened now. One Vasco-Bangalore second class sleeper. One platform ticket, Bangalore railway station. One Bombay local train ticket. These are travel declarations and they have their own stories to tell.
Udupi is a small town, one of the last towns on the Konkan belt. The railway station is a little off the city, but like all Konkan Railway stations, its clean and very well maintained. A sign informs me, hinting a sense of pride within, that all the water served on the station is UV treated. Indeed, an achievement.
The Blessing of Udupi
The city’s biggest and the only tourist attraction is the Krishna Mutt. Its as if the city is aware of the fact. Every auto-driver expects the Mutt to be the ultimate destination of each visitor. I meet one such auto-driver and without much effort, reach the mutt.
I rent a room, take it for a day even though I know I would be leaving the city by late afternoon. Freshening up and taking a little nap is on my mind. That is what I precisely do before I head downstairs for the Krishna temple. Crowds gather at the entrance, as expected. The place is well-maintained, well-managed. Albeit a little surprising that even in this huge crowd, the calmness prevails. The Sarovar, a pool of green water, is a beauty to take a look at. I break my fast with the meal offered and its time to go.
The Sarovar at the temple
At Diana Circle, I achieve my second objective. The Diana restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Having a masala-dosa there is of prime importance since I want to know if it is only the Bangalore-udupi restaurants that put the red-chatni in their version of the masala-dosa or is it a part of the real thing. As it turns out, the entire thing does look like what they serve in the name of Udupi cuisine in Bangalore but the familiarity ends there. The taste is entirely different, untreaded territory and what not. Second objective achieved. And how.
By 2 pm, I am back at the station, waiting patiently for Matsyagandha Express to arrive from Mangalore. I have almost a couple of hours to spend there. I (try to) feed the two kittens I find there, give them milk and bread. Only that the kittens refuse to oblige. In those two hours, not one train passes by, though the frequency of trains on this station is as good as any station on the Konkan route.
The view that I get throughout the journey, my third on this track, is such that it makes it a sin, to travel without a digital camera. I make the most of what I have. Its peak summer but the rivers are full, the backwaters lovely and the greens are inviting. Trust me, when you travel here and you see what I saw, you don’t need any book, you don’t need any music.
All you need is the Sun spraying yellow rays on the layers of various shades of the Green below. That is all.
“Look at the star, look how it shines for you, it’s all Yellow”
Hope you liked the photos. Comments, as always, welcome.