Mangalore and Dakshin Kannada
I had reached South Kanara or Dakshin Kannada which was part of the erstwhile Madras Presidency. Mangaluru or Mangalore was earlier called Mangalapuram after the presiding deity of the city Mangaladevi. Part of the coastal Karnataka region Mangaluru is a melting pot of various communities like the Brahmins, Christians, Jains, Muslims, Tulu and Bunt. A learning center with numerous colleges and renowned universities like the Manipal has made this destination a major hub for education. Financial institutions like the Vijaya Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, Karnataka Bank and Canara Bank were founded in and around Mangalore.
I used the services of RR Tours and Travels to explore this land of rich history and varied culture. A company that has been providing its services since 2001 they are Luxury Cab Operators and Travel Agents with a fleet of cars, buses and coaches. They also do provide package trips to places in and around Mangalore.
South Kanara is a region which is told to be retrieved by Parashurama from the sea. European traders like Portuguese, Dutch and the English ruled it for a long period and their influences exist till date.
Sultan Battery or Sultan Bathery or Sultan Battery built by Tipu Sultan is a watch tower to contain enemies approaching from the Gurpur River.
Unlike Goa the beaches in South Kanara are untouched and pristine. I visited numerous beaches like the St. Mary’s Island an archipelago of four islands where Vasco da Gama is told to have landed is a geological monument with basaltic lava rock formation. Kaup beach, Malpe Beach, Panambur Beach, Ullal Beach are few of the numerous seasides with great sunset views. The beaches are a great place to unwind and relax as there isn’t much crowd and it offers great panoramic views of the ever changing skyline.
There are numerous temples, churches, mosques and Jain Basadis around Mangalore each with a great history. Darmasthala, Kateel, Kolur Mookambika, Udupi Krishna Temple, Sringeri, Murudeshwar and St. Aloysius Chapel, Milagres Church. One of my favorites is the thousand pillar temple at Moodabidri and the towering Gomateshwar or Bhaubali statue at Karkala.
A 42 feet monolithic statue commissioned by Raja Veera Pandian from the Bhairava dynasty in 1432 symbolises renunciation, self control, subjugation of ego as the first step towards salvation.
Moodabidri or Thousand Pillar Temple an amalgamation of South Indian and Nepalese architecture style took 45 years to be completed. Built in the Vijaynagar period in granite no two pillar looks the same. Situated in Moodabidri this place is also regarded as the Jain Kashi for its eighteen Basadis and eighteen ponds around the area.
The Udupi Shri Krishna Temple houses a small sculpture of Lord Shri Krishna and is decorated in silver. Surrounded by eight maths around the temple the shrine is a well known religious center for the Hindu community catering to thousands of people on daily basis through Annadanam.
South Kanara is a region with its unique cultural identity. Various folk dances and community rituals are conducted as per the traditions since long. Bootha Kola or spirit worship, Nagaradhane or snake worship and Yakshagana a folk dance drama ritual are few to name. I was lucky to witness a Yakshagana performance by kids.
Yakshagana is story telling through the medium of dance and drama with elaborate makeup. Mostly scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharat are enacted with a Bhagavata running the show.
Mangalore has loads to offer to an epicurean in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. If you look at the Bunt community they have spread all across the country and world setting up restaurants like the Shetty’s and the Kamats. Idli made in jackfruit leaves called Kottigai or Mudey, Jackfruit Patoli made of jackfruit pulp, jaggery, coconut, Sanjeera, Biscuit Roti and Cucumber idli are to name a few. Pathrode a dish made of colocasia or arbi leaves is a speciality during the monsoon.
South Kanara has loads to offer ever season with a plethora of flavours. In the non vegetarian section there are variety of sea food, pork, mutton and chicken dishes. When in Mangalore do not miss on the Gadbad icecream experience at Pabbas.
Mangalore is closer to places like Coorg, Murudeshwar, Darmasthala, Gokarna, Karwar, Hassan, Udupi, Chikmagalur as compared to Bangalore hence the best option for transit and stay as regards day trips. Easily accessible by road, rail and air it has loads to offer to the tourists and is a must visit when in Karnataka.
My trip to places in and around Mangalore was sponsored by RR Tours and Travels. You can avail their services at www.rrtravels.co.in and they are also reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org/ +91 9845331926 / 09035358888