The thriving port city of Mangalore, on the estuary of the Netavati and Gurpur rivers is the largest city in the Dakshina Kanara district of Karnataka. The coastal district famous for coffee, cashew nut and pepper plantations. The Arab merchants who were attracted by the rich harvests of these crops as early as the 13 th century, were later on followed by the Portuguese and the British. The terracotta roofed houses, the palatial panoramic bungalows, the whitewashed crisp looking churches, temples and mosques, all of them, add a sense of value in terms how the modernity can prosper alongside with the lustrous past time glories, nestled amid the coconut groves.

Here are some of the places in and around the port city of Mangalore which make your time worthwhile when paying a visit to Mangalore:

One of the important historic monuments of Mangalore is the ancient watchtower made of laterite called the Sultan’s Battery built by Haider Ali of Mysore in the year 1763.

Sultan’s Battery
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Mangalore has a lot Christian influence in its soul and it is visible through the many churches lining the Mangalore coastline. The beautiful churches date back to as old as 19 th century including the domed Church of the Most Holy Rosary and the Jesuit College of Saint Aloysius.

Jesuit College of Saint Aloysius
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The Manjunatha temple, situated at the foot of the Kadiri hills, a temple built in the 17 th century has Buddha statues, dating to the 10 th and 11 th century, welcoming the devotees installed at the porch of the temple. A classic example of how Mangalore is home to all religions and people of various cultural backgrounds living in harmony.

Manjunatha temple
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The beach resorts at Ullal, just about 10kms from the city offers pleasant rendezvous for the travellers.

Numerous Jain temples and monasteries dot the villages near Mangalore and finest among them is the elaborate 15 th century Chandranatha Basti at Mudabidri, around 35kms from Mangalore.

The dominating on top of the hill in Karkala is the 13m high Gomateshwara monolith built in the year 1432. The town of Karkala is of great historical importance in upholding the rich heritage and culture of Karnataka.

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The 16 th century Chaturmukha Basti, a sight of perfect symmetry is a temple with the central chamber enshrining the 12 Thirthankaras, stands at the base of the hill.

The pilgrimage town of Dharmasthala, around 75kms from Mangalore, is well-known for its famous Shiva Temple, a revered place of worship thronged by devotees in huge numbers from all over the world.

Shiva Temple
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The other temple town famous in the Dakshina Kanara region is Udupi, situated 60kms from Mangalore is home to the Krishna Temple. All the road in this temple town lead to a large square where the temple is located at, which is centre of all activity, be it spiritual or commercial, in this bustling pilgrim town.

krishna temple udupi
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Roughly about 5kms from the temple town is Malpe Beach, where one can unwind from all the hustle and bustle of the city and relax under the sun or splash around in the waters of the beach. The fishing boats available in the beach can be hired by nominal prices for excursions.

Manipal, located 4kms from the temple town is an industrial and educational centre, housing many world-class institutions and companies, making it a major commercial hub for the state of Karnataka.

Barkur, 70kms from Mangalore, the coastal town is a flourishing port whose main attractions are the many temples built in their traditional sloping terracotta-tiled roofs, painted in Bhuta figures (local spirits). The people here worship and celebrate festivals based vividly on the local spirits, believed to guard and protect them against negativity. The Panchalingeshwara Temple, is the largest temple in the area, the main presiding deity being Lord Shiva.

Panchalingeshwara Temple
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Located along the picturesque highway of NH206 with the coastline on the right giving you company for your onward journey, passes right through the coastal town of Bhatkal, about 120kms from Mangalore is a key strategic port for the nation in terms of revenue it fetches for the country. The Khetapai Narayan Temple, built in the year 1540 whose sanctuary and hallways are enclosed within stone screens fashioned to imitate wooden structures. As is seen in all temples of the South Canara region, the finely sculpted guardian figures flank the temple’s sanctum sanctorum doorway.

Khetapai Narayan Temple
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Gokarna, spectacularly situated by the Arabian Sea, is a favourite tourist destination for visitors in search of sun, sea and sand. The place offers visitors both the fun-filled beach vacation and also is the place of worship, the Mahabaleshwara Temple, which is a part of mythology, with its references being made in the Ramayana. The place is an important centre of Sanskrit learning.

Mahabaleshwara Temple
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Talk about the coastlines of Karnataka and not mentioning the beaches of Karwar and Gokarna is a grave injustice. The Half Moon, Om and Paradise beaches in Gokarna and the pristine Binaga and Araga beaches offer lovely and soul soothing experiences to the visitors.

Beaches around Karwar
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The gently curving bays, fringed by the palms, are still majorly occupied by the fishing communities where their lives revolve around the sea and the daily catch. Tourism remains unknown in these parts and only a few shacks offering basic food and shelter have made their way till now.

The coastal cities offer spectacular views and leaves a calming effect on the minds by the waves of the beaches. Add to that a touch of spirituality and a wide array of rich heritage and culture that one is offered, the culmination of experiences and memories will ensure that the coastal line of Karnataka will make the travellers wanting for more.

Pack your bags with lots of light cottons and shorts, a bottle of sunscreen, mosquito repellents and you’re ready to explore the environs and beaches of Karnataka.

19 May 2016


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