Udupi is a sacred town dotted with ancient Hindu temples and monasteries. To the west is the Arabian Sea, where you'll find sun-drenched beaches and palm-fringed islands.
Things to do in Udupi
Attracting thousands of Hindu pilgrims throughout the year, the 13th-century Krishna Temple is Udupi's signature place of worship. It's encircled by eight monasteries and is filled with the sounds of chanting and prayer rituals.
It's easy to spend hours chatting to shopkeepers and bargaining for trinkets in Ratha Beedi, a bustling market known for colourful spices, hand-painted pottery and bejewelled silk saris. For a history fix, head to the Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village, where you can peer into traditional Indian houses and admire antique furnishings.
Ringed by powdery sand and swaying palms, St. Mary's Islands are a tropical paradise. Parts of the shorelines are laced with basaltic lava columns, rugged rocks and crushed seashells. Boat charters are the best way to explore the off-the-grid islands.
For the best dosas in town, head to Mitra Samaja, a local institution just south of the Krishna Temple. It's known for its tasty Karnataka cuisine, including wafer-thin rice pancakes, coconut chutney and rich korma curries. Wash it down with a creamy mango lassi.
Getting around Udupi
Udupi is best explored on foot or by using the auto rickshaws and taxis. Regular buses run to Mangaluru in around 1.5 hours and Gokarna in four hours.