- Bhatkal- Where Religion Blends with Nature
Bhatkal is a quaint little sea-side town located in the district of Uttara Kannada. It is one of the lesser known tourist spots of Karnataka and is thus ideal for those looking for a quiet and relaxed holiday. Bhatkal is most famous for its beaches and ancient temples. The temples of Bhatkal have stood the test of time and remain to tell stories of its past splendor.
Bhatkal also has a natural harbor of its own which is surrounded by hills and a river. Bhatkal has a considerable Muslim population. In fact the particular sect called the Nawayaths originated from here. As a result, Bhatkal has a number of mosques and centers of Islamic learning dotting it. Women in Burkhas covering them from head to toe are a common sight in the streets of Bhatkal.
Though a small town, Bhatkal played a considerable role in the history of Karnataka, especially during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. The occupants were mainly the Saraswats who were quite wealthy as a result of coastal trade. They, however, used it for philanthropic work and for constructing temples. The Tirumala temple, for example, was constructed by Santappa Nayak, who used to trade with merchants from Arabia. Bhatkal also had trade relations with the Portugese, the Dutch as well as Italians. The city was invaded by the Cholas during the 10th century. The Solesvara temple was built as a memorial of the event.
The Murdeshwar temple, situated 16 km from Bhatkal, stands perched on a
hillock called the Kanduka Giri by the sea. The temple, which dates
back to several centuries, is a monument of the past glory of Hinduism.
The inscriptions found in the temple throw light on the age of Devaraya
II of Vijayanagar. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, the temple
offers a good view from the top. An attraction of the temple is the
sight of the two huge concrete elephants right at the entrance. The
temple also has a statue of the Nataraja built in bell metal.
Hadwalli, a prominent town once upon a time, is now known for ruins. The lush and green town lies around 20 km from Bhatkal. It has several Jain monuments the most important of which is the Padmavati temple. The temple houses a magnificent array of statues of the 24 Theerthankaras. The 2 feet high statues are made of polished black stone. A prized possession of the temple is the statue of the Ananthana Theerthankara which is encircled with a halo.
The Chandranatha Basti dating back to the Vijayanagar times is famous for its pillars made of lathe. The most treasured possession of the Basti is the exquisite statue of the standing Chandranatha, built in transparent marble. The outer column of the Basti has engravings depicting various ornaments-bracelets, anklets etc. of the age. The doors of the Basti with its highly intricate carvings exhibit excellent artistry.
The Bhatkal temple, built in the year 1546 AD, is reputed for its erotic sculptures. The men and women depicted in the sculptures display the costumes and ornaments of the era. Huge corridors surround the temple, each of which has huge panels. Carved on the panels are erotic and other images depicting the social life of the age, the walls are also decorated with floral designs.
The coastline of Karnataka, stretching for 320 km, is the most picturesque part of the state. The Bhatkal beach lies around 16 km from Bhatkal. If you want to spend some quiet time enjoying calm stretches of sea, blue waters and a cool breeze, well, there is no place to beat Bhatkal.
- Best Time To Visit
Anytime between the months of August and March.
- How to Reach
Mangalore airport is the nearest airport (148 km).
Bhatkal railway station is one of the major stations in the Konkan route.
NH 17 runs through Bhatkal. Mangalore is 150 km from here, Bangalore 450 km and Goa 250 km.