Around 1000 km from Mumbai, down south along the west coast towards Goa and Karwar is Mangalore. It takes about twenty hours by state transport buses or the numerous private luxury buses that ply between Mumbai and Mangalore. The spotlight is now turned on the New Mangalore port, the giant state fertilizer plant and other industries coming-up in and around Mangalore. But, the age old beedi, tiles, fisheries, cashew, coffee-curing continue to occupy the pride of place in Mangalore’s future. It has all the basic requirements: a rich culture, a complex history, rapid infrastructural development and industrial growth, residential apartments and hotels, natural beauty, golden beaches and alluring country-side. Those with love for art, culture and architecture can visit the famous age-old temples, churches and mosques and other historical sites or can even relax at the coastal resorts at Summer Sands.
Mangalore, headquaters of South Kanara district of Karnataka state, derives its name after the presiding diety, Mangaladevi. And the famous Udupi, the Madhwa centre and Sringeri, the seat of Sankaracharya are situated near Mangalore. South Kanara district, which originally formed the part of Madras Presidency was later integrated with Karnataka state. But meanwhile the city has experienced a rather phenomenal development in the last couple of decades. Scenes of idyllic rustic bliss and bustling industrial activity sleepy suburbs and fast metropolis go hand-in-hand in Mangalore.
The history of the city is very old. During the early days, it was known as “Kodiyal” or “Kudala” meaning “meeting place” by Tuluvas. Later in the nineth century, Mangali who was converted by great Guru Matsyendranath, while coming to meet her master, fell ill and was forced to stay at Bolar, a suburb of Mangalore. The Ballals of Attavar, constructed a temple and installed it with an image of Shakti which was inaugurated by Goraknath. This was the origin of Mangaladevi Temple. This temple was rebuilt by Kundavarma and Alupa Ruler of Mangalore in 968 AD. Thereafter the name of “Mangalapura” came into vogue.
An agricultural based paddy growing district, South Kanara though industrially not backward is the leader in the educational field with a very high percentage of literacy. Its Medical and Engineering colleges rank high not only in India, but also in Asia. Students from all over India and other Asian countries study in the numerous colleges spread across Mangalore. Hence Mangalore holds the distinction of being the only city to have the best educational institutions in the country. The city is well served with many first class hotels and very soon will boast of five star hotels.
The district’s contribution to the banking industry, hotel and tailoring industry are well known. Canara Bank, Vijaya Bank, Syndicate Bank, The Corporation Bank, etc are some of the well known banks originating from Mangalore. The Udupi hotels and their Idili and Dosas are very common sights in Bombay and other places in India. Now they have even reached Gulf, U.S.A. and Swizterland. Many leading tailoring establishments in Mumbai were either owned by Mangaloreans or have Mangalorean cutters.
Though agriculture is the mainstay of the economic structure of South Kanara, now many small scale industries are supplementing them. Mangalore is known for its tiles, which are exported to foreign countries. Apart from this, it is also known for cashew, fisheries and beedies which sustain many among the poor local population.
In the city stands Kadri temple, the name of which originated from ‘Kadali’ meaning bananas. When Matryendranath and Gorakhnath visited Mangalore, they found this place thick with jungle where yellow-skin variety of banana grew in plenty.
This peaceful place was selected by them for their penance. The first temple built is attributed to Parusarama. Kundavarma II rebuilt it and installed the idol of Likeshwara. The speciality of this is that the temple is below and nine tanks which are drained every week and refilled with fresh water from a nearby spring known as “Linga Thirta” is on a higher level. Further up, Kundavaram Alupendra built a mutt which came to be known as ” Jogimutt”. Once in twelve years, crowning of a new Jogi king by sanyasis of Nath Panth takes place.
Nearby is the St Aloysious college, the famous educational institution is situated on light house hill commanding a panoramic view. This college has a chapel with Biblical paintings by Italian masters. A watch tower constructed by Tippu Sultan, to prevent the entering of the warships into the Gurpura river still stands. About four miles from Mangalore, is Kulshekar where over 4000 litres of milk per day is bottled to meet the local demand. On the southern bank of Netravati river, stands Ullal. This sea-shore township is famous for its Sri Laxmi Venkatesh Temple. The coast here is a sun-bather’s paradise, with Summer Sand, having all modern amenities for tourists. There is a long strip of golden beach along the coast line. Places were the rustling breeze through the coconut trees lulls you to peaceful tranquility. Quiet surroundings and serenity is the main attraction of this resort.
And to the north of Mangalore, Panambur linked by the two modern bridges on Gurpura rivers at Kuulur where the New Mangalore port is location. It is an excellent sea-shore resort too. Eleven miles from Mangalore, Srinivasanagar formerly known as Suratkal, is also famous as a sea side resort, shore temple of Mahadeva and the well known Karnataka Regional Engineering College. The Krishnapur Mutt is three miles east of Suratakal. One of the oldest towns on coastalSouth Kanara is Moolky. Here the Sri Venkataramana temple attracts thousands of devotees and pilgrims from far and wide during annual ‘Ratha’ festival and on the Rama Navami and Pratishta Poornima.
Katapady is a historical town, 3 miles east of Kunjalagiri, the birth place of great Madhavacharaya. Udupi, the famous seat of Madawa Philosophy is a pilgrimage centre. Here is the Krishna temple and the Anantheshwar temple and the eight mutts (Sode, Palimar, Shirur, Krishnapure, Adamar, Puttige, Kaniyur and Pejawar). This is the second biggest town of South Kanara. Apart from this, there are good hotels, educational institutions and an Ayurvedic College and Law College. Malpe, with a natural harbour is only two miles from this town. It has been developed into a big fishing harbour. There are fisheries, schools, fish curing yards and fish canning industries.
Manipal, three miles east of Udupi is situated above sea-level. Today this is one of the greatest seats of learning in India with its Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Engineering College, etc. It is also the head quarters of the Academy of General Education. An Alloy Steel Foundry and a Tile factory is located here.
Venoor, which was once of the capital of Ajila king (Jain kings) is now a small township. Here the third biggest Gomateshwara in India, a monolith of 36 feet stands in the heart of the town, installed four and a half centuries back by Thimmanna Ajila. Ten miles from Venoor is Moodabidri, the ‘Kashi’ of Jains. It is also where Rantnakara Varni, one of the great Kannada poets lived and wrote the ‘Bharatesha Vaibhava’. The ‘Tribhuvan Tilaka’ Basadi, is called the ‘Thousand Pillared Basadi’ built five centuries ago. It is said that no two pillars in this Basadi are alike. There are eighteen such Basadis.
Karkala known for its 42 feet Gomteshwara on top a rock, the second biggest after the Gomateshwara of Shravana Belagola, is 33 miles east of Mangalore. The Chathurmukh Basadi stand on an elevated place, opposite the Gomateshwara hillock. Ananthashaya temple and Sri Venkataramana temple, known for aesthetic architecture contains some rare carvings from the national award winner sculptor Sri Ranjal Gopal Shenoy. Aforty feet Gomateshwara, installed at Dharmasthala, was carved here out of a single rock, by great artist.
Dharmasthala, a very old pilgrimage centre, is 47 miles from Mangalore. It is laid out picturesquely, surrounded by Netravati river. The place is famous for its Daivas- Kala Rehu, Kumarswamy, Kalarkayi and Annaappa Daiva. The temple is Vaishnavite, where three and half centuries ago Sri Vadiraja Swamiar of Sode Mutt installed the idol of Sri Manjunath Swamy brought by Annappa Daiva from Kadri Thirtha. This Vaishnavite temple and its institutions are administered by Jain Heggades, a legacy from olden times.
The present Dharmadhikari (Heggade) is Shri Veerendra Kumar Heggade who came to the Gadi in 1968. The temple attracts pilgrims from all over India. The annual festival is “Laksha Deepostava” usually held in the month of November, when the two sammelans, “Sarva Dharma” and “Sahitya” are held. Sri Manjayya Heggade, who conceived the idea of such sammelan forty years ago, was a great patron of art, music and drama etc.
Subramanya, one of the famous shrines is 64 miles from Mangalore, situated at the foot of Kumara hills, Adi Subramanya temple, and Biladware are the most revered sites. It is said that Adi Shankara installed the idol of Subramanya Swamy there. Panja is a small village where the two great twins Koti and Chennaya, the heros worshipped as Daivas, and in whose honour Garodies are run, were laid to eternal rest, is just 4 miles from Subramanya.
What strikes you most about Mangalore is its openness and size ideally cradled in majestic hills, landscape and sea; and a land of greenery and red soil. Bajpe airport, located on the elevated flat hill boasts of a modern international airport. Here apart from Mangaloreans, Malayalees and Gujaratis; now people from different states of India rub shoulders with each other and get along well. Mangalore is also one of the cleanest cities. It wears a decent look. But the streets are ornamented with auto-rickshaws, buses and tourist cars. It is a spring-board to the beautiful discoveries you can make in and around Mangalore, where nature is in the raw and un-spoilt by modern influences in many areas.
Mangalore has a Municipal Corporation to help and provide better civic amenities to the people; the city limit has been extended up to Panumbur (New Mangalore port). Mangalore has every quality to become a city big. It has a good harbour, agriculture, traditional industries, big and modern industries, high literacy and educational institutions. Today Mangalore is looking forward and it will make it. Modern day Mangalore is a fascinating mix of ancient wonders and modern marvels. Age old monuments still stand proud enduring the vagaries of nature – within sight of newly constructed buildings, malls and complexes. The city with historic legacy of hundreds of years is today the hub of commercial activity. Mangalore is looking ahead with confidence. And it will make it.
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