Apsarakonda – The Secret of the Nymphs

posted in: Asia, Beaches, India, Karnataka, Nature | 79

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
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 BeachYou 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

Hills around Apsarakonda Beach
Hills around 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

Greens around the Apsarakonda Beach
Greens around the 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 into the depths.

Apsarakonda Beach at Sunset
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.





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79 Responses

  1. Vaisakhi

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

  2. 2 Travel Dads blog

    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?

  3. MartaC

    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? 😉

  4. Saru Singhal

    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.

  5. Ami Bhat

    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. 😀

  6. Ami Bhat

    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 😀

  7. Lata Subramanian

    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.

  8. Ami Bhat

    🙂 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 😀

  9. Stéphanie Langlet

    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 😀

    • Ami

      No, it wasn’t the mango season but then the ice-creams were amazing! 🙂 It is the Mango season now and I am having a blast tasting them.

      • Stéphanie Langlet

        Oh, it’s already the season ? Good to remember ! I thought it was only around june.

  10. journalofnomads

    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!

  11. Vyjay Rao

    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.

    • Ami

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

  12. elizabeth

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

  13. asoulwindow

    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?

    • Ami

      🙂 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.

  14. utravelshare

    Wow Ami you have found a beautiful place and a really off-beaten destination! Pictures give us a perfect idea of this landscape! It should be great during rainy season too because it would be lot of water available. Thanks for sharing it, 😀

    • Ami

      Thank you. I only hope that people learn to respect and keep it clean. Right now the absence of crowds is what makes the place so nice.

  15. Travel tips

    I sometimes get anxiety haha knowing there are so many beaches , beautiful, that i will not get to see probably in my lifetime. Your pictures and description are amazing, i wish i could boo a ticket tomorrow to go there.

    • Ami

      I agree…there are too many places that I want to see and I fear this lifetime is just not going to be enough.

  16. Meghan

    This looks like an amazing day! I love that you included the tips at the end – super helpful and informative. That always makes for a better visit.

  17. Bhushavali

    OMG! Ami, Apsarakonda looks incredibly beautiful. The waterfalls look so beautiful. The beach is serene too. Its totally my types of places, without any crowd. Thanks for this. Its gonna be in my list of places to visit next time I go to Bangalore.

  18. Alina Popescu

    Apsarakonda is so gorgeous! The falls really look like a place where all kind of fae come and the backwater pools are fascinating. Would love to make it all the way there some day!

  19. Blair Villanueva

    I would love to enjoy my whole day in that falls (although am sure I would last the whole day because water in the falls tend to more colder!). If only you can have a picnic there, it will complete the experience.

  20. sveeteskapes

    I have been to Murudeshwara a few times but never heard of this beach. Definitely adding this to the list when I am down in India the next time.

    xx, Kusum