Apsarakonda – The Secret of the Nymphs

posted in: Asia, Beaches, India, Karnataka, Nature | 59

This year began with a trip to Jog Falls, much requested by my daughter for she had just studied about it. Though I knew that there wouldn’t be much water at this seasonal waterfalls, we went ahead for two reasons – one is the sheer thrill of driving along the scenic roads and the second with the aim of visiting an offbeat destination – Apsarakonda.

Glimpse of the Apsarakonda Beach, Karnataka
Glimpse of the Apsarakonda Beach, Karnataka
I came across Apsarakonda through my research online and the sheer solitude and beauty of the place is what got me excited about it. The place is around 50kms from Jog falls and  the plan was to head there for a day. Apsarakonda was just perfect to offset our disappointment of low water levels at Jog Falls.
Unexplored and relatively unknown, Apsarakonda is close to the port town of Honnavar in North Karnataka. The town itself is a small one, and the coastline with its blue waters is just mesmerizing. Honnavar is at the confluence of the river Sharavati and the Arabian Sea – the river being the same one that feeds the Jog falls.
Towards the blue waters in Honnavar
Towards the blue waters in Honnavar
With my GPS marked for the Apsarakonda Waterfalls, we left the ghats surrounding Honnavar to enter into a coastal paradise with an impressive bridge that connected the mainland to the rest of the coast. The falls is through a narrow lane off the main road and once you reach the cliff, the first thing that you will witness is the gorgeous blue waters of the Apsarakonda beach, surrounded by fields and greenery.
View from the top of Apsarakonda Cliffs
View from the top of Apsarakonda Cliffs
With a Mango icecream in hand and the warm sea breeze, we spent a few minutes out on the cliff, taking in the lovely landscape. The mango ice-cream definitely is worth a try here – it ain’t the regular ice candy but lovely pulpy ice-cream. Try it out at the small ice-cream shop near the parking lot here. 🙂
Ugra Narasimha Temple, Apsarakonda
Ugra Narasimha Temple
The falls are hidden behind the temple. You need to circle around the temple to reach the same. The Ugra Narasimha temple itself, seems to be lodged within the caves of the hillock. I am not sure of the history of the temple, but the presence of it , definitely adds to the mystical aura of the place.
Secret of the Nymphs - Apsarakonda falls
Secret of the Nymphs – Apsarakonda falls
Apsarakonda means the pond of the angels. It is said that the nymphs or apsaras of the heaven descended the earth to have a bath under these waterfalls. As you descend the steps behind the Ugra Narasimha temple, you are bound to be enthralled by the soothing sound of falling water and the cheerful chirping of the birds. The green cover is dotted with various caves – one of which is the opening to the lovely Apsarakonda falls.
Monsoons are the best time to visit these falls but even with its trickling water, you can quite imagine why the Nymphs loved this place. One can wade into the water if they so desire. Me? I am a little finicky. Sadly the water levels were low and the careless crowd had left the place a little dirty for my comfort.
Caves around the Apsarakonda Falls
Caves around the Apsarakonda Falls
They say that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata resided in one of these caves, and you can trek into them. Since we were a little short of time, we traded the trek for a visit to the Apsarakonda Beach. I honestly, could not ignore the call of those blue waves.
The Apsarakonda beach was truly the highlight of the day for us. The narrow approach road from the main road leads you to a paradise of greens along the small backwater pools that opens to the big blue sea. This lovely beach has it all and here is what I mean by it all –

The Backwater pools

Backwater Pools at Apsarakonda Beach
Backwater Pools at Apsarakonda Beach
You can have a quiet swim here or just sit by the edge, dipping your feet into the cool water. I can imagine the nymphs doing the same on a full moon night.
Backwater Pool at Apsarakonda Beach
Backwater Pool at Apsarakonda Beach

The sandy Apsarakonda beach

Apsarakonda Beach
Apsarakonda Beach
I loved the smooth sand under my feet – devoid of pebbles and shells. Perfect to just lie down on and chill out. With no or little crowd, the beach is all for you. There are no shacks or shops on the beach – a plus in some ways.

The bordering cliffs

Apsarakonda Beach
Apsarakonda Beach
Lovely hills surround the Apsarakonda beach and I totally loved capturing the waves lashing against them. You can even trek up these cliffs – I saw plenty of people do the same. My guess is that they lead to the Apsarakonda falls. I did not have any way of finding that out this time, but am going to the next time for sure.

The small green shelter

Apsarakonda Beach
Apsarakonda Beach

I call these the shelter for if you are spending an entire day here, they can really give you a pleasant shield around noon. Moreover, I felt it added to the beauty of the beach.

Perfect Water Fun.

Apsarakonda Beach
Apsarakonda Beach

The sea itself, was not rough nor does it have sudden depths. We totally had a blast here, with even my daughter wading in to the depths.

Apsarakonda Beach
Apsarakonda Beach at Sunset
Time felt short here and with the sun setting and casting its orange glow, we had to bid good bye to this lovely Apsarakonda Beach. We left but not before making a promise – that we would return to this part of Karnataka again and pitch ourselves here. We still had to unravel the complete Secret of the Nymphs.

Getting here:

  • Apsarakonda is just 6 kms from Honnavar. There are buses from Hubli and Bengaluru to reach Honnavar. However, the frequency is not too high and hence, one can make use of cabs or rented cars to get here.
  • Honnavar is the closest railway station while Hubli is the nearest airport.

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit is during Monsoons when the waterfalls are full. However, October to February is a good time for the Apsarakonda Beach.
  • There are no shops and restaurants close to the beach. The closest ones are in Honnavar.
  • If you are seafood lover, try out the Navrathna Fishland, especially their Fish Thaali. For Vegetarians, you can head to the Kamat or other exclusive veg options in Honnavar.
  • A set of spare clothes is recommended given the tempting water 😀
  • Suntan lotion is a must.
  • You can even visit Kasarkod beach, close to the Apsarakonda beach or take a drive to Murudeshwar which is around 1 hour from here.
  • Remember that the beach is quite undiscovered and hence, there are no danger limits set. Hence, it is always better to stay closer to the shore than venture out into the depths of the sea. Avoid taking risks and experimenting as there are no lifeguards here.





Share the Thrill of Travel

59 Responses

  1. Now you surely found a gem! I loved the pictures, all of them but the sea and the backwaters a little more!

  2. I am still to explore Karnataka beyon Mysore and Bangaluru. Going to keep this place in mind! Thanks for letting us know about Apsarakonda 😀

  3. A hidden treasure there! May be calls for one more trip to Jog Falls. 😛 🙂

  4. me too…the Sea and the backwater pool were amazing

  5. Thanks Vaisakhi…you must head there soon

  6. Yes it does…maybe we should do one together 😀

  7. What a wonderful place to retreat! I feel like I might be a bit cautious visiting after a monsoon though, just because that could be a whole lot of water 🙂 And how interesting that there aren't shells on the beach. Why is that?

  8. You really take us to some amazing destinations, don't you? This one is an absolute hidden treasure like Indrani says 🙂

  9. What an amazing place! Even with low water levels, it looks like a real paradise: I can just imagine what it must be like in the right season. I guess the dry season at least meant you could make the most of that gorgeous beach? 😉

  10. With such a history of the caves, I would love to go there. Your pictures are beautiful. Karnataka has many places which we didn't discover when we lived there.

  11. Looks beautiful! The cave really reminded me of gate to the underworld cave in Belize, Stunning!

  12. An amazing destination! A great history of the caves!

  13. That's a nice beach. Need to plan a trip here sometime.

  14. Not sure of why no shells but we really had to look hard for some. Monsoons would be good, just to see the waterfalls in its full glory. 😀

  15. Thanks Archana. Glad I stumbled upon it too.

  16. Yep, the beach made up for the low water levels. I guess the pond will look cleaner with lots of water and hence, I would want to try it out in the monsoons 😀

  17. Thanks Swati and Sam. Let me know your experience once you make it there.

  18. Thanks Swati and Sam. Let me know your experience once you make it there.

  19. Yep, Karnataka is quite unexplored and under-rated. Head back here for a visit soon

  20. Thanks . The place was beautiful alright.

  21. Thanks Maitreni

  22. You must Arun…it is a lovely place

  23. Ami, sometimes I feel places such as Apsarakonda should be kept as carefully guarded secrets until such time that Indians understand what responsible tourism means and Swaach Bharat Abhiyaan really has an effect. The question before me is therefore should I or should I not share this post? Ah well, I guess beauty needs to be shared and happiness spread.

  24. Real beauty here! My favorite was the backwater pools, how inviting do they look? 😉

  25. 🙂 This is a perpetual dilemma that I am in. I am hoping that my readers are the responsible types who will take care of preserving our places. Besides, I do feel that we need to share our treasures for the world to explore and appreciate it as well 😀

  26. Thanks Melody. They sure seemed fun.

  27. WOW really love your posts Ami…lovely pictures…!!
    xo, Neha

  28. Thank you Neha.

  29. Congratulations! Your blog post was selected for Tangy Tuesday Picks edition on Feb 09, 2016 at BlogAdda.

    Please find it here:

  30. Thank you Blogadda for the honor.

  31. Sheer beauty…thanks for writing about this place. will surely make a plan to visit.

  32. Am sure you will enjoy it Balaka.

  33. Beautiful place. That beach looks lovely!

  34. Thank you Elizabeth

  35. A great place again ! As it’s related to apsaras and Mahabharata, it only gives me the envy to discover it.
    About the mango ice creams : you were there in january or february, so I assume it wasn’t from fresh mangos, right ? I’d like mango’s season to be the whole year 😀

  36. What a magical place!! Your photos are stunning Ami, they really give the reader the feel of Apsarakonda! I loved the colors of the falls!

  37. What a cool place! It has pools, hills, temple – what’s not to like!

  38. Thanks Ami for uncovering yet another hidden gem for me, I think I will love the falls and the beach apart from the mystical aura.

  39. Those sandy beaches look fantastic. I wish I could be there right now. 🙂

  40. That waterfall is absolutely gorgeous~ This looks like the perfect hideaway for a romantic getaway with my hubby.

    • Thanks Jennifer. The place was absolutely beautiful. Though would suggest going in Monsoons as the waterfall would be full.

  41. elizabeth

    I love the scenery. It sounds like a lovely day! And I’d go just for the mango ice cream!

  42. Just stunning! And how nice to be able to go somewhere this beautiful without all the crowds!

  43. Hi,nice offbeat location. A quick question. How much time do I need for Apsarakonda? Can I do Apsarakonda and Gokarna in one day from Shimoga?

    • 🙂 Not a good idea to combine the two in one day. If you are staying in Gokarna, you can do a day trip to Apsarakonda. Alternately, you can do Apsarakonda from Shimoga but keep Gokarna as a separate destination or trip.

  44. Whoa! Had never heard about this one. Seems to be a nice place.


Would love to know what you think