DAKSHINA KANNADA DECKONS

Tucked between the Arabian sea and the Western Ghats lies the beautiful  scenic land of Dakshina Kannada (now known as Mangalore and Udupi Districts) Wherever our eyes take us, we see greenery all-around. Carpet like green   paddy fields, the swaying mass of coconut and arecanut palms, the undulating topography of hills dotting the land covered the wide ranging trees and bushes, the meandering rivers like Netravati, Gurpur and many other
rivulets shine like blue jewels adorning the green pasture. A fine blend of Oriental and Western architecture can be observed in the numerous churches, temples and mosques. The mingling of the Konkani and Tulu culture in the fabric of the Mangaloreans' lifestyle is an indication of the communal amity prevailing in the district. And now the Konkan Railway adorns the length of Dakshina Kannada like a necklace. This is Dakshina Kannada for you, Rome of the East, the land of the enterprising, the intelligent and the hardworking.

The potential of Dakshina Kannada as a tourist spot is not yet developed to the same extent as that of Goa which is homogenous in topography to Dakshina Kannada. Mangaloreans visiting Goa or vice versa, do not find much difference in the topography of these lands. They feel at home in both the places. Let us take a brief look at some of the well known
places of Dakshina Kannada.

Light Houses in Mangalore & Kapu
The Lighthouse in Mangalore is a monument of the 18th century. Though documentary evidence is not available as to who constructed, it is generally believed that Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan built it as they had stationed their navy and had built a dockyard and named it 'courial' (Kodiyal). It is situated on a height and is visible far out into the sea. 12 kms south of Udupi lies the Padubidri village which is situated on the West Coast National Highway. It has the wellknown Kapu Light house which is the guiding star of navigators who are warned of the presence of dangerous rocks in the sea.

St Mary's Isles
St. Mary's Isles are a group of islands lying to the north of the port of Malpe, about 57 km. North of Mangalore. Exactly 500 years ago, i.e. in 1498 Vasco-da-Gama seemed to have touched the island before he reached Calicut. It is noted for its famous basalt rocks which have crystallized into columns and split into hexagonal mosaic pattern. Perhaps this is the
only spot in India where basalt rocks show up such peculiar formation. The island has now become a popular holiday resort.

Gomateshwaras of Karkala, Venoor and Dharmasthala
The famous statue of Gomateshwara sculpted in a monolithic stone above the Ramasamudra lake on a granite rock near Karkala Town (53 km from Mangalore) is 13 metres high and weighs 80 tons and is considered to be the second tallest in India. It was erected in 1432 A.D. It commands a fine view of the surrounding country side. A similar but comparatively short (9 metres) statue in stone is built in Venoor near Karkala Recently
a Gomateshwara was erected in Dharmasthala. All these statues attract a large number of tourists and devotees throughout the year.

Karkala is also known for the St. Lawrence Church, Attur.
Lakhs of people visit the church throughout the year and especially during the   Annual Feast.

St. Aloysius College
One of the oldest colleges in India, St. Aloysius College was built on top of the Edhya Hills in Mangalore by Jesuits in 1880. The college celebrated its Centenary in 1980. Whereas there were only 150 students and two teachers in the inagural year, now the college boasts of over
5000 students and 150 teachers. It is known for its excellent standard of education and discipline. Its chapel is known for its beautiful frescoes on the walls and ceiling painted by Italian Jesuit Brother Moscheni. The college has a complex 19 buildings as of today.

The Most Holy Rosary Chruch
The Most Holy Rosary Church is one of the three oldest churches in Dakshina Kannada. The original church building was built in 1526 and the present structure which is 'worthy of the dignity of a Cathedral' came up in 1910. This is the only Church in the Mangalore Diocese
which can boast of the magnificent dome crowning the spacious sanctuary. This dome is built on the pattern of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica of Rome.

Sultan Battery
The Sultan Battery is said to have been constructed by Tippu Sultan to prevent the entrance of warships into the Gurpur river. It is today a deserted spot but its construction is bafflingly exquisite. Although it was a watch tower, it gives the impression of a miniature fortress
with its arrangements for mounting canons all-round.

Ullal
Ullal is situated on the south bank of the Netravati river at a distance of 8 kms from Mangalore. Ullal with its coarse grained beach has a charm, all its own. Karnataka's only beach resort, the summer sands is located here. The place has the well known Durgah of the saint Syed Mohammad Sherifulla Madani.

Panambur Beach
The Panambur Beach is very popular and it lies next to the harbour. The ships anchored out in the sea waiting for berth in the harbour can be seen from the beach at present. Thousands of people visit the beach every day to spend their evening.

Kadri Hill Park
In the vast woodland there is Kadri Hill. There is a beautiful park cum animal conservatory within city limites. It shelters a few animals locally caught which include spotted deer, sambar, leopard, jackals, monkeys, ant eaters, crocodiles and different types of snakes and birds. A breathtaking view of Mangalore can be had from this spot. The childrens
park which is adjacent to it has a children's trains. The circuit house, the state home of visiting dignitaries is adjacent to the park. There are eight tanks whose water has the capacity of curing skin diseases. On the hill behind the Kadri temple there are some stone caves which are known as the caves of the Pandavas where, it is believed, that the Pandava
brothers during their exile had spent one night.

Suratkal Beach
Suratkal has a fine beach which is favourite holiday resort. It is about  15 kms from Mangalore. There is a temple dedicated to Sadashiva on a hill rock on the sea shore. Hundreds of people visit the beach daily to spend their evening specially on holiday.

New Mangalore Port
The new Mangalore Port is the ninth major port of our country constructed in 1975. A boon to hinterland Karnataka and part of Kerala.

Maravanthe Beach
Maravanthe, about 9 kms east of Kundapura, is one of the beauty spots of Dakshina Kannada along the sea coast. It is an enchanting place, where on the western side the Arabian sea is stretching, while on the eastern side runs the Saupanike river. In between them passes the west coast road.

Malpe
Malpe town is about 4 kms to the west of Udupi. It is the most important fishing port of Karnataka. The place has a fascinating natural scenery, and has been a centre of commercial activities for a long time. It is a natural port. The oldest tile factory of the district set up by the Basel Mission exists here. Fishing and fish curing are the important industries of this place.

Manipal
Manipal lying about 3 kms from Udupi was a barren hill not long ago. Now it has been transformed into modern Manipal due to the efforts and long sightedness of Dr. T.M.A. Pai the sage of Manipal. It is an educational centre and has Medical, Engineering, Arts and Science Colleges. The Pai family has established Banking and other financial institutions which have grown far beyond the boundaries of Manipal.

Other interesting places, products
Mogras of Pangala are highly popular in Mumbai and Gulf Countries. Hundreds of families make a livelihood out of it. The unique fragrance of the Mogra flower is wellknown. The Mogra in large quantities is a must a Mangalorean wedding wherever it is held. When Pope Paul John Visited Mangalore in 1986, the entire stage was decorated with white Mogras.

Another world famous product of Mangalore is the tile, the elegant roofing material made of unique clay available in the rivers. Practically, every Mangalorean home has Mangalorean tile for its roof. The cashew  industry also is flourishing here.

Besides the above, there are several places of tourist in Dakshina  Kannada which cannot be narrated in this brief article.

The Konkan Railway
On 26th January 1998 the Konkan Railway became fully operational and  the first train from Madgaon to Mumbai was flagged off on that day. Uniqueness of this railway lies in the fact that it passes through the  four western states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala reducing  distances and travel times substantially. This was a dream come true
for Mangaloreans as their travel time is reduced by 26 hours.

The entire distance of Konkan Railway is lined with scenic beauty of  the rugged Konkan region and the green belt of the Dakshina Kannada and Goa. It is a pleasure and a great experience to pass through our beloved Dakshina Kannada in the Konkan Railway train watching long tunnels, breathtaking bridges and subways. The green paddy fields and
the swaying coconut palms and the nearby hills provide balming effect on the troubled mind. Important stations between Mangalore and Madgaon are Kankanady, Suratkal, Mulki, Udupi, Barkur, Kundapur, Bhatkal, Murdeshwar, Honavar, Kumta, Ankola, Karwar and Kanakona.

Thus, Dakshna Kannada, the beloved land of the Mangaloreans, is  firmly and irrevocably placed on the Map of India.

by : J. B. Moraes.

About the author:
Mr. John Baptist Moraes, founder editor of "Divo" Konkani Weekly, was born in the Niddodi (Kallamundkur), Mangalore on June 29, 1933. Retired as regional Distribution Manager in Parke Davis 1993 after 42 years service. He is a poet, writer, editor and a Konkani leader. He has won the Central Sahitya Academy Award for his poetry in 1985. He is also the recipent of the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar in 1990. He has written over ten books in Konkani in various genres.

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