Netrani Island (Pigeon Island) Locally known as Netragudo, Netrani Island is an excellent picnic spot 10 nautical miles from the temple town of Murdeshwar, Karnataka coast on the Arabian Sea. Also called Pigeon Island,lies about 10 km off the coast of Murudeshwar in Karnataka. It is a 4 hour drive from Goa, or can be reached by Konkan Railway, with Bhatkal being the nearest station. There are currently no local dives centers here,and all diving at this location is organized by dive centers based in Goa. this island is about 25 km from the Bhatkal coast. It is really a seamount covered with wild growth of trees. The only inhabitants are wild goats. It has a ruined temple, a Roman Catholic church and a mosque.
The visibility here is generally in the 15-20m range and the dive sites are between 10 to 30m. Marine life is spectacular, with huge schools of Jacks, Barracuda, Triggerfish and Fusiliers. Sadly, a large rock on the seaward side of the island is often used by Naval ship and aircraft for target practice, resulting in the island being off limits for diving whenever this is happening.Once on dry land one can absorb the culture of the country by visiting the monumental Hindu shore temple of Lord Shiva - The Destroyer, believed to be approx 5,000 years old. Hear and see the colorful stories of Hindu mythology depicted on temple walls that have survived centuries of worship.
Unlike islands with vast, sandy beaches, this one creeps up straight from the sea with rock edges, a sight that would excite adventure buffs. The 30 acre forest area located above the hill called Netrani contains the spectacular sights of nature. Circum-navigating the island takes 15 to 20 minutes on a speed boat. The island was at least thrice its current size in the past. Netrani appears amazing from a distance, climbing atop its slippery rock edges is certainly dangerous. Without the usual beaches, boats have to be balanced against the rocks and the dashing waves at Netrani. Tthe sea is 200 meters deep on the shores of this island. Visitors have to simply jump off the boats to the rocks and start climbing the hill.
This place is a site of worship for fishermen belonging to Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, which made the island a rare thing. It's also used by Indian Navy for testing their bombing skills.
Fishermen of Uttara Kannada from Honnavar to Udupi frequent the island to offer their prayers to the sites of their respective gods. Hindus worship at Jatakeshwara and his family of gods, established here , while Muslims visit the Darga and Christians the holy cross rebuilt in 1994, after it was destroyed due to wear and tear of time and weather.
Fishermen believe visiting the place on special occasions, say while buying new boats, bring god's blessings and make sea ventures more profitable. On these occasions, they offer hens and goats to the gods in a vow called "Harake." Birds and animals thus offered to god will be left to live freely in the island. Fishermen also believe eating them or taking them back to the mainland would invite god's wrath.
Visiting the island isn't always safe, as the Navy's Cochin and Mumbai divisions conduct their bomb practice here. Fishermen are given sufficient warning and the island is sealed off during the bombing raids, which starts in April. Fishermen here say February is the best time to visit the island. With no major shift in its temperature, this turns out to be a true tropical paradise.
A small fresh water stream flows through the hill and on the trees, it houses thousands of pigeons. It is said that many traders come here from Kerala to collect the bird's droppings. Though you can't see pigeons, you can hear them from a distance.
Apart from visitors, Netrani has also been an attraction for scientific expeditions. Teams of scientists have been conducting experiments.
The unique characteristics of Netrani are that it has something for everyone: adventure freaks, those wanting to see religious sites, nature lovers and scientists. There are different ways of reaching the island; the most common one of course is taking a boat on hire at Bhatkal port.
||455 km North West of Bangalore
|By Road: -
||10 hours then boat
||1 hour and 2 hours by road then boat
||Take NH4 to Tumkur via Dobbspet then NH206 to Honnavar via Arsikere, Shimoga and Talguppa. NH17 to Murudeshwar.
|When to go:-
||KSTDC(bookings and info) Badami House, NR Square, Bangalore Tel: 080-2275869, Fax: 2352626 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Where to stay :-
||Naveen Beach Resort (Tel: 08385-560415; Teriff: Rs 800-2000).
Benzy Intercontinentan (Shamiana Restaurant)
Hotel Nisarga Residency (Hotal Nisarga & Sharavathy)
|Where to Eat :-
Hotal Nisarga & Sharavathy