St. Mary’s Island, also known as Coconut Island is pinpointed to the edge of the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka, India. They are well known for the distinctive geological formation of columnar rhyolitic lava. According to scientific records, rock formations found on St.Mary’s Island resemble the rock formations at Madagascar in Africa and it also suggests that Madagascar was attached to India around 88 million years ago. Later, it got separated because of sub-aerial subvolcanic activity and thus indicating the existence of similar rock formations and geological features in both these places.
The land where the geological importance is immense and its beauty is spectacular, is St.Mary’s Island, Karnataka. The basalt rock formations protruding out in different shapes were declared a National Geological Monument by the Geological Survey of India in 1979 and this monument is considered an important site for “Geo Tourism“.
"St. Mary's Island is a geological treasure and hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is a group of four individual islands, namely Coconut Island, North Island, South Island and Daryabahadurgarh Island. One can find a crystalline rock shoreline created during the separation of Madagascar Island from India."
History of St. Mary's Island
St. Mary’s Island is the place where Vasco De Gama set his first foot in the year 1498 on his journey from Portugal, fixed across the island and named one of these islands, O Padrão de Santa Maria, as a dedication to Mother Mary, before proceeding to Kozhikode in Kerala. It is from this name that the islands got their current name “St. Mary’s Island“.
Out of the four islands, the northernmost island has a Basaltic Rock Formation in a hexagonal form, the only one of its type which is seen in India is St. Mary’s Island, Malpe. It has prominent coconut trees, which cover reflects an azure south sea color, and hence the island is also called Coconut Island. There is no habitation on these islands.
St.Mary’s Island is also called Coconut Island and Thonsepar Islands. The Columnar Basaltic (Volcanic) Rock formations in a hexagonal shape are the prominent attractions in St.Mary’s Islands and these structures are unique in India. Hence, St.Mary’s Islands is listed as one of the Geological Monuments of Karnataka and India. The hexagonal columns of rock on the Islands are similar to those on the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and give clues to the historic formation of landmasses on the Earth’s surface.
Seashells of various shapes, sizes, and textures can be found on the Island. Unlike other beaches, there is no sand beach to swim in and have only rocks where one can pose for some mind-blowing photographs. The best time to visit St. Mary’s Island is from October to February when the temperature is low and the weather is mostly pleasant.
Places To Visit In & Around St. Mary's Island
Daryabahadurgarh Fort, Vadabhandeshwara Temple, and Malpe Beach are major tourist attractions in and around the area.
Best Time To Visit St. Mary's Island
The best time to visit St. Mary’s Island is from October till March as the weather remains pleasant. During this time, the weather will be pleased with the pleasant temperatures making outings to the beach comfortable and enjoyable. The beauty of the island is accentuated under the warm winter sun with pleasant temperatures.