Things to do · Destinations
August 19, 2019 Words: Stephen Milioti

What to Do in Mangalore, India

From treasured antiquities to picturesque beaches, this multicultural, multifaceted city has incredible depth.

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If you’re looking for a multifaceted travel destination, look into Mangalore. The main port city of the Indian state of Karnataka — officially known as Mangaluru is around 200 miles from the state capital of Bangalore. Don't let this little city fool you though, it is one of the most multicultural, multi-linguistic non-metro cities in India.

The city is a fascinating mix of old and new, natural and human-made. There are rolling hills, coconut trees, freshwater streams, and red clay-tile roof buildings as well as a growing number of skyscrapers in what’s become an increasingly popular business destination. All in all, Mangalore offers plenty of recreational and cultural attractions for travelers looking to go slightly off the beaten path in India. Here are just a few of its highlights:

Explore the Mangaladevi Temple

Believed to have been built in the 9th century, this treasured antiquity is the area’s most significant cultural attraction. Built in Kerala-style architecture (and mostly made of wood), the Hindu temple’s main feature is its central shrine featuring an image of the presiding deity, Managaladevi. There’s plenty beyond that to take in, from the two-story gateway tower to the prominent metal-plated flag pole. It’s beautifully embellished with lights and decorations during festival periods (which draw crowds), but worth a visit anytime. Visit mangaladevitemple.com for directions, hours, and other info pertinent to travelers.

Relax at Panambur Beach

Panambur Beach isn’t just the most visited beach in coastal Karnataka, it’s also considered one of the safest and best maintained in all of India. It has all the pros of Tannirbhavi (more below) — including the spectacular sunsets — but adds more amenities including boating, dolphin viewing and lots of food stalls and seating areas (it’s a prime picnic spot). Another reason for its popularity is its proximity to the city. Panambur is an oasis just outside the relative bustle of Mangalore. Plenty of special events are hosted here, including air shows, boat races, and carnivals. By far howeverthe most popular is an International Kite Festival, a two-day festival (held in January) in which teams from all over the world compete.

Become Enamored With Tannirbhavi Beach

Tannirbhavi Beach is the second most popular beach in the area (next to Panambur Beach). What sets Tannirbhavi apart is that it’s way more serene and less crowded. Reachable either by land or ferry, it’s a picturesque place to enjoy some time in the water — or a stroll along the shore at dusk (the sunsets here are breathtaking). Here, river and sea merge in a picturesque environment, with blue-green waters and a long, sandy coastline dotted with palm trees. Despite being quieter than Panambur, there are amenities from benches to casual eateries, and water-sports options including boating, jet skiing and surfing.

Kadri Hill Park

With myriad birds and flowers, expansive gardens, a large play area for kids, and a musical fountain featuring light shows in the evenings, this thriving public park has something for everyone — but it’s a particularly good spot for families to visit.

Mangalore, India
An aerial panoramic view of the Kodi Bengare/Delta beach, near Udupi, Karnataka.
Kite Festival, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Murudeswar Beach, Karnataka

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