A refreshing getaway to Kemmannu - the land of islands and backwaters

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Report and Pictures by Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Udupi, 10 June 2010: It was an unexpected trip to Kemmannu just before the monsoon was to set in that enchanted me and after a brief sojourn in this land of islands, backwaters and coconut palms, i have no hesitation to say that Kemmannu can be considered as a blend of Goa and Kerala.

Sometimes things happen in an unexpected manner. Few months back as my wife Benny and i  were waiting for a bus at Kalmady after visiting a family, a vehicle just screetched to a halt and to our surprise we found our old friend from Dombivli, Alex Monteiro and his family- wife Gretta and daughter, Nisha were in that vehicle. After exchanging our mutual phone numbers and promising to meet each other in the near future we went  our own way.

In the last week of May, Alex Monteiro and his family who were on holidays at their house at Kemmannu paid us an unexpected visit at Moodubelle and invited us to spend at least a day at their residence at Kemmannu, which we did during the first week of June, just before the monsoon was to start.

My wife and I boarded a bus proceeding to Hode at Udupi city bus stand. The route up to Kallianpur Santekatte being the highway has been familiar.  As the bus turned towards the Kemmannu direction i was eager to see the land scape and the varieties of houses and bungalows covered with coconut palms and beautiful gardens. The bus crossed the Kemmannu church and the market.

As advised by Alex Monteiro, we alighted at the next stop, in fact right in front of their house situated right on the bank of the branch(backwater) of the Suvarna River. The rear sandy courtyard of their house touched the edge of the backwater canal beyond which i could see few islands or kudrus as they are locally known. Meanwhile, I could see boatmen moving on the backwater canal transporting commodities including dry woven coconut plams which are used by the people living nearer to the sea to cover the front portion of their houses to prevent rain water hitting their front doors and walls.

After we had a lot of nostalgic conversation sitting in the backyard watching the boatmen going up and down, Monteiro exhibited his fishing gears including gas light and fish trap as well as angling rod. He is a great fishing enthusiast and even intends to possess a powerboat in the near future after retirement so that he can spend his time at Kemmannu with various activities including venturing deeper into the Suvarana River for fishing.

After lunch, Monteiro suggested that we could go for a ride around Kemmannu, an opportunity that we did not want to miss. He took out his vehicle and all of us drove towards the fishing port of Bengre. As we drove ahead i could see the Arabian Sea towards the left and the Suvarna River towards the right and the road in the middle of the land strip lined with fishermen’s houses and covered with coconut trees that resembled ‘Koliwadas’ of  Vasai in Maharashtra.

 We stopped at Bengre and walked towards the fishing port which presented a deserted look. According to Monteiro, during fishing season, the fishermen would usually auction their catch from around 2.30 pm. We could see practically all fishing vessels anchored in a line. When asked, a passing fisherman as to why there was no auctioning of the fish, he said that the fishermen could not ventutre into the sea due to bad weather and the had been rough. From the Bengre port we could see the opposite bank of the Suvarna River known as Hangarkatte which has a  big structure used for ship building.

From Bengre we drove further where the narrow strip of land ends with the Suvarna River merging with the Arabian Sea. Climbing the parapet we could see the other side of the river  and the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea with  huge waves striking against the bouldrers. Practically all the houses on both sides of the road are those of fishermen with nets drying or being kept in bundles.

From Bengre, Monteiro drove us back and took us across the bridge connecting an island named Padukudru. Moving further through the rough road we reached the point where the so called ‘Hanging Bridge’ is located. The stone slab at the base of the bridge proclaims that the bridge is named as ‘Deepak’  which is 280 feet Suspension  Bridge.It was constructed by 2 and 4 Karnataka Engineering Company NCC Cadets during their annual training camp from 16 January 1991 to 27 January 1991.

The suspension bridge connects one island with the other. As i walked through the bridge i was amazed about the efforts that have been put up by the NCC Cadets in constructing this marvellous bridge and came to the conclusion that our youth can produce wonders with little of guidance and lot of imagination, enthusiasm, discipline and dedication. I salute those NCC students for erecting the bridge which still remains as a testimony of their hard work since the last twenty years.

After having tea at Monteiro’s house, he dropped us at Udupi bus stand from where we took a bus to Moodubelle. On the way back, I was just thinking about the wonderful places that we have in close proximity, but ignorant about them. After a day’s visit to Kemmannu i was quite refreshed with new site seeing and experience which i felt that i could share with the readers of Bellevision.


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Comments on this Article
Premanand Shenoy, Mangalore Fri, December-23-2011, 2:04
Infact, the Hangarakatte ShipBuilding Structure also is designed by us.( I resigned from KREC 15 years ago and running own Firm called Roy Shenoy)
Premanand Shenoy, Mangalore Fri, December-23-2011, 1:51
Yes. I am very happy that people remember me as the designer of the Bridge. But the real task was to construct the Bridge in the record time of 11 days ! It was done. Maj PT Lazarus was the Officer commanding, conducting the Camp. Dr. NR Shetty, the Then Principal of KREC came to inaugurate the bridge( I think Dharmadhikari Sri Veerendra Hegde did the Honours) I do remember the Dinner Given to all of us by the Christian Family on the other side of the Bridge. I have some photographs of the stages and cadets who were involved. During that time, Deepak(NITTE) a cadet who was not in the camp , expired due to some illness at his place. We named the Bridge Deepak to remember him. I am Quite Happy that Prakash Acharya rememberes me as the designer. Thank you Prakash!
Prakash Acharya, Thirlapalke Thu, January-20-2011, 1:52
This bridge was designed by Mr. Premanand Shenoy - Department of Civil Engg, KREC Surathkal(NITK). I was studying my second year in KREC that time. This bridge was completed in only 10 days during our Annual NCC training camp in Kemmannu and all the carpentry work is done by me.
Philip Mudartha, Qatar Sat, June-19-2010, 5:45
In my younger days, many a trips have I made to the villages described in this travelogue. My city-bred wife, fearful of roved boats, my naughty boys ever ready for herculean experiences and me, never saying no to fried fish and fresh madachi sur , life seemed beautiful. Not necessarily, how we viewed it if we were to fish for a living!
Owe what a beautiful pictures Thank you Dr.Eugene
shashi, Ankudur/Bangalore Fri, June-11-2010, 1:28
Udupi Mangalore districts are naturally very rich like Kerala. However during one of my recent visits to Udupi, I noticed that Real Estate boom is slowly Engulfing the Mother Nature. I foresee down the line 6-7 years we will be left with only 50% of tress what we have today. You don’t have to roam around Udupi, just Travel between Udupi to Moodubelle you can see so many flattened surfaces with red patch in place of thick forest. Root cause for this problem is Real Estate Investors. Who are chasing for land across the district. These are not necessity driven Developments instead Investment driven Development which will silently kill our nature. This is definitely a wake up call.
Victor DSouza, Moodubelle / Doha Thu, June-10-2010, 5:39
Kemmannu is a truly amazing place with its magnificent scenic beauty. The calm beach is full of white sand and lined with unending coconut trees. It is one of my favorite places and I am a regular visitor to Kemmannu during my vacation because it is also my in-laws place. Dr. Eugene the pictures you have captured are beautiful and make lasting impressions.
Louis Alva, Kattingeri / Dubai Thu, June-10-2010, 4:42
We have a lot of sweet memories with this place ( Kemmannu River / Hanging Bridge and also its surrounding places) as we use to spend our childhood school Holidays in our Uncle / Aunty’s and Cousin Sisters house. Even now also if we come on Holidays we stay at least one day with our dear once here and we enjoy it for maximum by catching fish and riding in small boats as they stay just beside this Hanging Bridge. The Climate and sceneries are too good here as Dr. Eugene mentioned. infact I was just thinking few days back when we were looking our photo album , how come our Master BV Photographers /reporters Dr. Eugene or Mr. Anil not yet happened to visit to this beautiful place and take few pictures ? as I know from my cousins for few Movies also sceneries are already taken/shot from here. Thank you Dr. Eugene for the lovely Photos and report, as you just refreshed our old memories !!!
Vijay Dsouza, Moodubelle Thu, June-10-2010, 2:14
We go to Kerala and Goa for holidays, but we forget nearby places like Kemmannu, Hoode, Thottam, Kallianpura ... etc. Pictures are so fresh and beautiful. If the government supports the tourism in these places, it will be a very big hit. Thanks Dr.Eugene for this wonderful information.
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