From the outside, Mangalore is a sleepy coastal town characterised by red clay houses, rolling hills, and sunny beaches, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover the wonderful chaos of a city that is fast becoming an industrial and commercial hub.
Need to Know
Mangalore is tropical, and temperatures range between 27 to 34º C all year round. The best time to visit Mangalore is between September and May.
Getting around Mangalore is easy with auto-rickshaws available freely for short distances. For longer distances, travellers are recommended to book radio cabs.
Thanks to its location the cuisine here is coconut-based and meat-heavy, with a fair bit of spice thrown in. And everything is consistently delicious – from breakfast to tea time snacks.
Did You Know?
Rani Abakka ruled Ullal, part of present-day Mangalore, in the early 16th century and is considered to be India’s first woman freedom fighter. The warrior princess, well-versed in strategy and combat, repelled Portuguese forces that were consolidating their power, working downwards from Goa. She defeated the Portuguese army no less than three times, and though Ullal was eventually captured, her bravery is legendary here. While there is a commemorative statue in the city, she finds no mention in the annals of history books.
Things To Do
For Religious Travellers
Mangaladevi Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mangala from whom Mangalore gets its name. Each year on the ninth day of the Navratri festival, a rathotsav is conducted that sees thousands of devotees pull a chariot upon which rests the goddess’s idol.
Kadri Manjunatheshwar Temple, nestled in the foothills of Kadri, is a 1000-year-old temple dedicated to Lord Manjunath, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple premises contains seven holy ponds called Jogi Mutt as well as ancient caves.
Mangalore’s Catholic roots date back to the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 1500s. Built in the late 1800s, the St Aloysius Chapel in the heart of Mangalore with its Sistine chapel-like frescoes is a must-visit.
For Leisure Seekers
Head to Someshwar Beach in Ullal for splendid sunsets and serenity. Though swimming is not recommended here because of the beach’s rocky terrain, it is a wonderful place to kick back and relax.
The ruins of Rani Abakka’s fort at Ullal Beach, an extension of Someshwar Beach, makes for a great trek. Panambur Beach, located near Mangalore Port, is Mangalore’s most popular beach. It plays host to a Kite Festival every year in mid-January that is an experience in itself. Surathkal Beach, with its lighthouse, makes for a quaint experience and is ideal for a seaside walk. If you’re looking to catch some waves, Mantra Surf Club (Tel: 096631 41146) located in Mulki, 30 km north of Mangalore, offers lessons in surfing, stand-up paddle, kayaking, wake-boarding, and more.
What to Eat & Where
For the best Mangalorean seafood, which includes fish masala fry, fish thalis, and crab roast fry, try Giri Manja’s (Tel: 099000 00080). If the crowds here are anything to go by, it can well be called Mangalore’s favourite seafood restaurant. Hotel Narayana (Tel: 0824 2440891) and Machali (Tel: 0824 2496605) come a close second in terms of popularity but best Giri Manja in taste. Maharaja Restaurant (Tel: 099306 78023) and Anupama located at Abhiman Residency (Tel: 0824 2443449) are where the locals go for fiery, finger-licking good Chicken Ghee Roast. Shetty’s Kori Rotti (Tel: 0824 2491758) and Hotel Maya International (Tel: 0824 2435112) are other local favourites that serve delicious Mangalorean staples like kori rotti, neer dosa, and chicken sukka.
What to Buy
For handicrafts made from seashells, go to Emyes Seashell Crafts (Tel: 091195 08585) on Panambur Beach, where you can find mirrors, wall hangings, and other decorative items embellished with seashells. For Mangalore Halwa, a sticky Indian sweet made using pure ghee, head to Komal’s Sweet Palace (Tel: 0824 2440707) and choose from banana, apple, and jackfruit flavours. Phalguni Cashew Centre (Tel: 0824-6566011) on Balmatta Road is your go-to place to find export quality cashews to bring back home.