St. Mary's Islands aka Coconut Island and Thonse par, is a group of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka. These islands have a great geological value due to the formation of hexagonal columns like those of Giant’s Causeway in Ireland. These basaltic lava columns give clues to the formation of land masses on the Earth, something geologists spend years studying.
The islands lie 58 km from Mangalore and have a good connectivity by roads, making it easier for riders to reach. People who wish to prefer to ride to the island, enjoying the scenic beauty can get bikes on rent in Bangalore from the newly popular Bangalore bike rentals. These rentals have made hiring two-wheelers much more convenient, simple and affordable, allowing tourists as well as locals to visit beautiful places of Karnataka at an affordable price.
Though the islands are ever beautiful, the best time to visit them is December- January. There are no accommodation facilities available on St. Mary’s Islands and visitors have to make Malpe or Udupi their base. Several resorts and restaurants have come up in these towns and since the islands are less than ten km from either of them, they happen to be pretty convenient places to stay overnight. One can ride up to these towns and on the two-wheelers, keep their luggage at the resorts and either walk up to the islands or go for a ride. Bike hiring has changed the way of tourism in Karnataka. Many people, who travel light, now wish to get scooters on rent in Bangalore to visit places instead of calling cabs or relying on public transport.
St Mary’s Islands were named “El Padron de Santa Maria” by Vasco-Da-Gama, the Portuguese explorer, as a dedication to Mother Mary. It is said that he landed on these islands on his way to Calicut, Kerala. The four islands are individually called Coconut Island, South Island, North Island, and Daryabahadurgarh Island while they are collectively referred to as St. Mary’s Islands.
Geological studies say that the islands were created during the time when Madagascar and Africa separated from the peninsular region of India. The rock columns on the shoreline are hexagonal in shape and the beaches aren’t sandy unlike other beaches of India. A large variety of seashells is found along the rocks of St. Mary’s Islands. There are no facilities for tourists to rest their heads and they must come armed with sunscreen, hats and water. The rocks provide a vantage point to view the beautiful sunset over the Arabian Sea and a glimpse of the Maple harbor.
Tourists have also reported seeing colonies of rare species of butterflies on the islands and birds like Brahminy kites, white and gray egrets, Sandpipers, and seagulls can be frequently spotted, making is a nice bird-watching sight.
The Vadabhandeshwara temple, dedicated to Balrama and consecrated by Saint Madhwacharya is also located on the islands. The Maple beach is famous for its silver sand and unique seashells that get washed up the shore. The ruins of the Daria Bahadurgarh fort can also be seen on the islands.
It is a perfect place for those who wish to see the beautiful Arabian Sea and the hexagonal columns. They can pick up two-wheelers on rent in Bangalore ride to the town of Malpe or Udupi and either ride to the islands or go for a stroll. They can also pick up Harley Davidson, R15 and Bullet on rent to add a dash of style to their ride.