St. Mary’s Islands near Udupi, Karnataka, are a group of
islands in the Arabian Sea near the coast of Malpe. Located around 60 km from
Mangalore, which is accessible only from the coastal town of Malpe, the islands
are famous for their distinctive rock formation of basaltic lava. These islands
were formed when the island of Madagascar drifted off from the Indian mainland.
The four main islands are North Island, South island, Daryabahadurgarh Island
and Coconut Island, also called St. Mary’s Island.
It is said that Vasco Da Gama landed here and named of the
islands El Padron de Santa Maria. This is how these Islands got the name, St.
Mary’s Islands. The Coconut Island has a unique hexagonal basaltic rock
formation, which is one of the four unique geological monuments in Karnataka.
The islands are uninhabited, and are covered with coconut groves;
hence, one of the islands is also called the Coconut Island.
Boat Ride To St. Mary’s Islands
The only way to reach these islands is by boarding a ferry
from the coast of Malpe. It is a 30-minute boat ride from there to reach these
isles, which is a distance of 6 km. The boats start at around 9 am each
morning, and on average, each boat can accommodate 30 people.
When you reach the islands, you can explore the beaches with
their unique geological features. These rocks were formed millions of years
ago, when the island of Madagascar was still a part of the Indian mainland, but
was drifting away. They were formed by sub-volcanic activity as the geological
plates shifted away from each other.
Attractions at St. Mary’s Islands
The beaches are covered in sea shells in attractive shapes
and sizes. Walk around, collect sea shells of different patterns and colors,
stroll down the beach, and watch the beautiful sunset. For bird lovers, while
on the islands or on the boat ride to get here, you can steal the chance to
watch Gulls, sandpipers, Brahminy Kites, Great White Egrets, Grey Egrets and
The islands have a few shelters where you can sit down to
enjoy a picnic. The coconut groves, the blue sea stretching out in front of
you, the birds flying around - these are the soothing sights. The only sounds
here are the noise of the crashing waves and the calling of the birds, which
takes you away from the hustle and bustle of busy city life.
Remember to prepare well for this visit. Keep in mind that
these islands are just a picnic spot; they are not inhabited, and there are no
hotels here. Moreover, you cannot stay on these islands. You have to bring your
own food and drinking water here.
After visiting places of interest in Mangalore city or after
a visit to the Krishna Temple in Udupi, you can go for a picnic to these
islands. The best option would be to stay at Udupi or in a resort at Malpe and
make a day trip to this place.