Ensconced on the southern coast, this maritime city makes a pleasant and convenient stop between Kerala and Karwar. It’s the gateway to the Konkan coast and inland Kodagu region. The district is bound by sea in the west and Western Ghats in the East, Udupi district in the North and Kerala State in the South. Mangaluru is the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada and it has been synonymous with banking and education. It is also famous for its temples, cuisine and beaches.
Till the 14th century, Mangaluru was the capital of the Alup Rulers. Then for over 200 years, it came under the governance of the Vijayanagar Empire. The greatest influence came from the Portuguese who arrived during the 15th century. Trade relations were established and a factory was set up. They also introduced Christianity to this place. Mangaluru was also a major seaport and ship-building centre in Hyder Ali’s time.
Mangaluru is virtually a ‘melting pot’ of cultures as it has a cosmopolitan mix of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins, Roman Catholics, Bunts, Moplahs and Bilavas. The languages are also diverse with many languages spoken like Tulu, Kannada, Konkani, Urdu and Malayalam. Today it is a bustling commercial centre and Karnataka’s major port for the export of coffee, spices and cashew. However, it has preserved its old-world charm too – with its narrow, winding streets fringed with coconut palms, quaint houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, beautiful beaches, temples and churches, and the aroma of spicy coconut curries.
For further information, visit the official district website click here!
When to go: September to February is the ideal time to head for the coast, when fish is plentiful so you can relish some scrumptious seafood while enjoying the much-needed vitamin sea break, temperatures benign and the sea absolutely delightful. Summers are hot and humid.
Art & Festivals
- Yakshagana: Yakshagana is a traditional folk dance form popular in coastal Karnataka districts. Watching Yakshagana performance is a treat to the senses due to the amalgamation of unique costumes, rhythmic music and unique performance involving dialogues, music, dance and action.
- Huli Vesha: Huli Vesha or Tiger faced dance is a dance form unique to coastal Karnataka. Huli vesha is performed by local youth during the Navarathri festivals (the 9 night long festival which often falls in the month of October).
- Nagamandala: A popular ritual of worshipping snake god
- Kambala: Famed buffalo race event where well nurtured buffalos race in a slushy field
- Bhootada Kola: A community ritual popular in interiors of Dakshina Kannada.
- Kumara Parvatha Trek: Kumara Parvatha Trek is a highly recommended trekking adventure activity in Western Ghats. Kumara Parvatha Trek is of easy to medium difficulty level and can be undertaken by anyone with standard fitness. Kumara Parvatha trek, also referred to as Pushpagiri trek spans about a total of 25-28 kms from the base and is usually completed over two days in leisure. Maximum altitude reached during the trek will be about 1700 meters from mean seal level. The scintillating views from the top, giant rocks and cool breeze/mist will make all the effort worthwhile
- Manasa Amusement Park: Located inside Pilikula NisargaDhama, Manasa Amusement park offers a full day of water sports, adventure and fun activities.
- Beach activities: Visitors can try ATV rides, JetSki rides, Banana boat rides; horse rides etc at Panambur beach.
- Panambur Beach(10 km): Panambur Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Mangaluru city in coastal Karnataka. Known to be one of the safest and well-maintained beaches, it is also famous for its dramatic sunset. The beach aura warms up during the carnivals, organized by the district authorities. The festivities include boat races, beach sports and sand sculpture contests. Panambur beach has jet ski rides, boating, dolphin viewing, food stalls, besides trained beach lifeguards and patrol vehicles to ensure the safety of the visitors to the beach.
- Someshwara Beach(14 km):The sunset view in Someshwara beach is an unforgettable feast for the eyes and a favourite among photo lovers. The place is dotted with several large rocks with the presence of beautiful hills and lush greenery in its vicinity. These rocks at Someshwar Beach are called Rudra Shile. The spectacular views of the hills and beautiful trees at the time of dawn and dusk are definitely worth watching. The historical Somanath Temple constructed during the regime of the famous queen Abbakka Devi is situated in the north side.
- Tannirbhavi Beach (12 km): It is one of those beaches that have trees on them and offers a picturesque landscape. Tannirbhavi beach also has some basic facilities like life guards, toilets, parking lot, few eateries and concrete benches. One can sit under the green trees and lose track of time while enjoying the scenic beauty of the place.
- Ullal Beach (15 km): Stretched out in a hue of blue and green, Ullal Beach is one of the most serene and calm beach in Karnataka. Set in about 14 acres of casuarinas groves, the beach offers a breathtaking view during sunset. Primarily a fishing village, Ullal also tells tales of the courageous Queen Abbakka, who had repulsed a Portuguese attack near the city killing many enemies in the early 1600s.
- Surathkal Beach (15 km): Surathkal Beach, on the shores of Arabian Sea, is a clean beach with tremendous scenic beauty. The beach has a curving shoreline and a lighthouse at the end of the beach. A steep path connects the lighthouse to the historic Sadashiva Temple.
- Sasihithlu Beach: Scenic beach surrounded by backwaters of Shambavi and Panavje rivers.
- Pilikula Nisarga Dhama (15 km):Pilikula Nisargadhama (15 km) Pilikula Nisargadhama is an eco-educational and tourism park located on the banks of the Gurupura River. Promoted by the district administration, it showcases the cultural, heritage and natural wonders of this part of Karnataka. Spread over 370 acres, this eco-zone has a biological park, heritage village, artisans’ village, golf course, amusement park, lake garden, arboretum and a science centre. The recently opened 3D planetarium is Asia’s first. The state-run Jungle Lodges and Resorts also operates Phalguni River Lodge which is located in Pilikula Nisargadhama.
- Bendre Theertha: Bendretheertha is an offbeat attraction and the only natural hot water spring in Karnataka as well as South India. Depth of Bendre Theertha is estimated to be 85
- Jamalabad Fort: Formerly known as Narasimha Angadi, Jamalabad in Belthangady taluk of South Canara district is famous for an 18th century fort. Jamalabad fort was built on the ruins of an old Hoysala fort. Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan built the fort in 1974 and named it after his mother, Jamalbee.
- Ullal: Ullal is a coastal port town in Dakshina Kannada district on the outskirts of Mangaluru city. Most popular attractions in Ullal are a fort, palace, Someshwara temple and Jain Basadi. In the past, Ullal was ruled by two brave and patriotic queens- Abbakkadevi and her daughter, who defeated the Portuguese army in 1618.
- Lighthouse Hill: A new lighthouse was set up here in 1900. Offers good views and also has a park. Locally known as Bavata Gudda.
- Sultan Battery: It is situated in Boloor and was a watchtower built by Tippu Sultan to prevent warships coming in from the sea. The construction is bafflingly exquisite with a long flight of steps leading to a circular landing and paved with granite slabs. Although it is a watchtower, it gives the impression of a miniature fortress with its arrangements for mounting cannons all round.
- Kadri Manjunatha Temple, Mangaluru:The Kadri Hill is famous for the 11th century Kadri Manjunatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed to be the oldest Shiva Temple in Mangaluru. The temple also has tanks with natural springs and laterite caves, also knows as the Pandava Caves. The bronze image of Lokeshawara and Guatama Buddha in the Dhyani posture point to its Buddhist origins.
- Kudroli Gokarnanatha Temple: Kudroli Gokarnatheshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is built by Sri Narayana Guru, the great philosopher, saint and social reformer from Kerala. The temple is built in the Chola style. A huge statue of Nandi stands at the entrance of the temple. There is also a statue of a chariot pulled by horses which depicts the scene of Lord Krishna and Arjuna from Mahabharata in multiple colours. Navarathri and Shivarathri are the two big festivals celebrated at this temple. The celebrations at the temple during Dasara is popularly called as Mangaluru Dasara.
- Mangaladevi Temple: Mangaluru has the ancient 10th century Mangala Devi temple that has given the town its name. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Shakti in the form of Mangaladevi. The presiding deity, Mangaladevi, in the central shrine is in a seated posture. There are shrines around the sanctum for other deities. The Dasara celebrations here attract lots of devotees here and on Vijaya Dashami day, parents perform ceremonies to initiate the tiny tots into the world of letters.
- Venkataramana Temple: A 17th century temple dedicated to Sri Veera Venkatesha
- Durga Parameshwari Temple, Kateelu: Situated towards east of Mangaluru in Kateel is the Durga Parameshwari Temple, located on an island in Nandini river. The temple dedicated to Goddess Durga Parameshwari is in the form of an Udhbhava Moorthi (naturally formed). The pillars of the temple also has beautiful sculptures.
- Infant Jesus Shrine, Mangaluru: Infant Jesus Shrine is a Christian monastery dedicated to St Joseph, located on Carmel hills in Mangaluru. Infant Jesus Shrine was set up by the Teresian Carmelites who migrated to South Canara from Goa in the 17th Infant Jesus church is known for its peacefulness and well maintained campus.
- St Aloysius Chapel, Mangaluru:The St Aloysius Chapel was constructed in 1885. A line of circular pillars holds aloft an arched ceiling. Oil paintings on canvas bonded to the ceiling depict the life of Aloysius Gonzaga to whom the chapel is dedicated. The Chapel also has beautiful paintings done by Br. Anthony Moschemi of Italy.
- Milagres Church, Mangaluru: Milagres Church is one of the oldest churches in South Canara, located in Mangaluru city, dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles. Milagres is a Roman Catholic church set up in 1680 by Bishop Thomas De Castro.
- Dharmasthala: Dharmasthala is a popular temple town on the banks of Netravati river, in Belthangady taluk of South Canara district. Dharmasthala temple originated 8 centuries ago when divine intervention convinced local village chief Birmanna Pergade to dedicate their life for Dharma (justice). The Pergade family shifted to another house and began worshipping the gods at their original home-Nelyadi Beedu. Again upon divine intervention, four different daivas (gods) were established and trained priests were appointed to perform temple rituals. Upon suggestion from priests a Shiva Linga was obtained from Kadri near Mangaluru and Manjunathaswamy temple was built around it. Descendents of Pergade family run the temple management till date, with Dr Veerendra Heggade being the current Dharmadhikari (leader)
- Zeenath Baksh Jumma Masjid:It is located in the Bunder area in Mangaluru and this mosque portrays the life stories of Prophet Mohamed. Believed to be established by Arab Muslim traders during 644 AD, this mosque surpasses all others mosques due to its pure Indian architecture style. It is probably the only mosque in Karnataka made entirely of wood. The main highlight of the mosque is the wooden inner sanctum consisting of 16 pillars made of teak.
- Mahalingeshwara Temple: Mahalingeshwara temple is located in Puttur town and a popular temple in the region. Puttur Mahalingeshwara temple is a 12th century temple with red tile roofs and a Kerala style design.
- Thousand Pillars Temple, Moodubidiri: Saavira Kambada Basadi (Thousand Pillars temple) is the most prominent of the 18 Jain temples in Moodubidiri town, Karnataka. Official name is Tribhuvana Thilaka Chudamani temple. Jain tirthankara Chandraprabha is the main deity in the thousand pillars temple.
- Kukke Subramanya Temple: Kukke Subramanya is home to 5000 years old Kukke Subramanya temple on the banks of Kumaradhara river. Kukke Subramanya is a popular place for ‘Nagaradhane’ or worship of snake god.
- Venur: Venur near Belthangady is known for 35 ft tall monolithic statue of Gomateshwara. Venur was the capital of Ajilas and remains of their palace could be seen. Venur is on the banks of river Gurpur, 19 kms from Belthangady and 52 kms from Mangaluru.
- Uppinangadi: Known for Lakshmi Ventakaramana T
- Shishila: Known for a small temple of Shishileshvara.
- Polali Rajarajeshwari Temple (19 km): A pilgrimage centre, this temple that's steeped in legend attracts travelers and pilgrims alike. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Rajarajeshwari and is situated on the banks of the river Phalguni. The Temple was constructed in the 8th century and has been developed by many dynasties which ruled over the region. The idol of Goddess Rajarajeshwari is completely moulded from clay with special medicinal properties. The Polali Chendu festival celebrated annually here is rather unique which is otherwise known as the football festival; with football matches being played to represent the fight of good over evil. During the annual festival, which begins in the month of March and lasts for one month, the deity is placed on 'Prabhavati', a beautifully adorned circular crown-like structure.
- Mulki: Known for Venkataramana temple and Durga Parameshvari Temple at Bappanadu.
- Karanje: Known for its Shiva temple, Ganapathi temple and Parvathi temple
- Rosario Cathedral: A roman catholic church
- Shanti Cathedral, Balmatta: A huge 19th century church based on Switzerland’s Mission House
- Madani Dargah, Ullal (15 km): Ullal is home to the famous Dargah of Saint Syed Mohammed Sherif Ul Madani, who is believed to have come here from Madina around 400 years ago. He settled here and is credited with having performed several miracles. An urus (festival) is held once in every five years and attracts thousands of devotees of all faiths.
- Golibaje: A unique tea time snack
- Patrode: An itchy, tangy dish made from colocasia leaves one should not miss when in Udupi.
- Neer Dose: A simple but tasty dosa variant made from soaked rice.
- Banana Bun: Mangaluru Banana Bun is a sweetish quick bite snack that is popular in coastal Karnataka. Banana buns are made from mashed ripe bananas, flour and sugar. Banana buns are a must try delicacy while visiting coastal Karnataka. Banana buns may also be referred to as Banana Poori.
- Mangaluru Fish Curry: Favorite non vegetarian dish in the region, made from locally sourced fishes and spices.
- Kadubu: Idli cooked in jackfruit leaves
- Meen Oota: Fish meals, an opportunity to enjoy delicious coastal Karnataka meals along with serving of locally captured fishes.
- Ganji Oota: Boiled Rice meals, usually had with ghee and pickle.
- Manjusha Museum: Manjusha Museum is a unique museum of its kind in the temple town of Dharmasthala in South Canara district, showcasing vintage cars, temple chariots and ancient artifacts. Manjusha museum is privately owned and curated by Dr Veerendra Hedge, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, known for its popular Manjunatha temple. The vast collections of jewelry, paintings, sculptures, cars, precious stones and other artifacts at Manjusha has been achieved after 35 years of dedication in sourcing and maintaining objects of pride and significance. Dr. Veerendra Hegde’s passion for photography is also seen from the display of camera collection
- The Seemanthi Bai Government Museum: This museum was established in 1960. The museum exhibits an assortment of artefacts like coins, stone and brass idols, wooden carvings, puppetry, porcelain and glass. It also contains materials of art and archaeology like palm leaf manuscripts, paintings, etc
- Kadri Park: Large park ideal for recreational activities and kids’ activities
- Banga Fort near Urva: Built during the 17th century and now in ruins.