Legend has it that in 1498 Vasco da Gama on his epic journey first touched upon a group of islands off the coast of Karnataka before actually reaching Kozhikode in Kerala. Being the practicing Christian that he was he erected a cross on the island and dedicated it to Mother Mary. True or not , the island is still called St. Mary’s Island.
St. Mary’s is famous not just because it is (supposedly) the first place Vasco da Gama touched up in India. It has a more geological significance. The island has basaltic rock formation which are hexagonal in nature. This formation happens to be the only occurrence in India. The importance of the basalt in St. Mary’s is that is proves that there was a time when Madagascar was once attached to the Indian subcontinent.
The island can be reached via boats from Malpe in the western coast of Karnataka.