Bound by the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, Mangalore is one of the major port cities on the Malabar coast. It is named after the Hindu Goddess Mangaldevi.
Mangalore has a rich history as it was the seat of power for several dynasties – Kadambas, Vijayanagar dynasty, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, and the Portuguese. Several wars were fought between the British and the erstwhile rulers of Mysore to gain control over this city. After the British wrested control, it became a part of the Madras Presidency.
Mangalore’s population is around 5 lakhs with the gender ratio being perfectly balanced! Its economy is dominated by agriculture and port-related activities. It is India’s ninth largest port and handles 75% of India’s coffee and cashewnut exports. It is also home to several large corporations like Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers, Kudremukh Iron Ore Company, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals and many more.
On the cultural front, Mangalore is the hotbed for many classical and folk forms of dance. It is the birthplace of Hulivesha which means ‘tiger dance’ and Karadi Vesha, which means ‘Bear dance’, folk dances that are performed during the Hindu festivals of Dasara and Krishna Janmashtami. Equally famous are its ballads that are passed down generations by word of mouth. If you are in the city in July and August, you can share the excitement of Magalore’s regional festival ‘Aati’ and on the first Sunday after New Year, you can witness the spectacle of The Eucharistic procession through the streets of Mangalore.
Tulu, Konkani ad Kannada are the languages of the region but rest assured, English is widely spoken. Just be prepared for hot summers and heavy monsoons as Magalore has a tropical climate!
Some of the places worth visiting are:
Sultan Battery – A mere 4 kms away from Mangalore, this is an impressive watchtower built with black stones. It was made by Mysore’s legendary ruler to present warships from entering the city. This mini-fortress also had provisions for loading cannons. Step in to savour a taste of history!
Kadri Temple – This 11th century temple has nine tanks and is situated at the foot of the highest hill of Mangalore. It has a magnificent bronze of the deity Lokeshwara. You can also explore the stone caves that are believed to be the caves of the Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata.
St. Aloysius Church – This beautiful church was built way back in 1899. Situated on lighthouse hill, it boasts of a goldmine of paintings, so much so that it is compared to the Sistine chapel in Rome. The walls are covered by the works of the Italian artist, Antony Moshaini. Not to be missed by art aficionados!
Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple – This 800 year old shrine is a must-see! It is more a temple complex than just a temple and houses temples dedicated to several local deities.