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marianne Mangalore - A travel report by Marianne
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Mangalore,  India - flag India -  Karnåtaka
7749 readers

marianne's travel reports

Mangalore: Just a City

  18 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4
Mangalore, a middle-large town on India’s west coast in the state of Karnataka, provides a pleasant break when travelling from Goa to Kerala (or the other way round).

autorickshaw: a godsend
autorickshaw: a godsend
Mangalore has no real sights and only two monuments: St Aloysius College Chapel and Majunatha Temple.

However, the city is worth a visit because this is what an average Indian city is like: a cacophony of sound and colour. It is a hilly city with winding streets and frenetic main roads, clogged with traffic and festooned with bill boards advertising mobile phones, apartments, jewellery and everything in between.

The tourist office is in Hotel Indraprashta on Lighthouse Road, extremely friendly, very good at information about local buses, but no map of the city.

The map in the Rough Guides is too sketchy to be of any help, only main roads are indicated often without a name. But that’s no wonder because the streets seem to have no names, at least there were no street-name plates.

That’s why autorickshaws are a godsend. The skilled drivers zigzag through the traffic and don’t overcharge as long as they have turned on their metre.

The KSRTC bus station is 2 km north of the city centre. The private bus stand is near the Town Hall, just south of the centre. The railway station is 1 km south of the centre.

These two websites will help you planning:

(When you copy and paste the address, leave out the dash. It is:
... railway...
not rai-lway)

Favourite spots:
St Aloysius Chapel
St Aloysius Chapel
St Aloysius College Chapel on Lighthouse Road is worth a peek. Its walls and ceilings are covered with 19th century frescoes and are fascinating.

The chapel is part of a complex that houses a hostel, a High School and the Jesuites Quarters.

When my eyes had adjusted to the dim light inside, I did not know where to look first. The chapel is dedicated to Saint Aloysius of Gonzaga. His life is shown on the wall panels: his first communion, his seeking admission to the Jesuit order.

The central picture above the altar depicts him helping and caring for the plague-stricken in Rome. He contracted the disease and died at 23 years of age.

On other panels are the apostles and two life-size angels with flower garlands, beautifully painted not two flowers are the same.

There is St Peter and the cock, St Thomas, apostle of India. You can recognise him because he has a spear in his hand. There are many more details and it took us more than a peep to see all.

What's really great:
Ullal Beach
Ullal Beach
Mangaladevi Temple is 3 km from the city centre to the north-east. Its main attraction is a 1.5 m high statue of the Goddess Mangaladevi. Darshan, or viewing, is from 6 am–1 pm & 4-8 pm.

Buses # 30, 3, 3a, 14 and 46 will take you to this temple.

We gave it a miss and went to Ullal instead. Ullal is 10 km to the south, on the sea with a long sandy beach. We thought this would be a better way to spend our afternoon.

Fishermen in Ullal
Fishermen in Ullal
Buses # 44, 44a, 44c and 44d all go to Ullal. We had to ask several people before we found the bus stop. The bus that arrived had no number, it stopped only for a very short time. While people were still climbing on board it moved on again.

The conductor collected fares from people in front, next to and behind us. He avoided eye contact with us, when we stopped at Summer Sands Resort Hotel (see tips) he expected us to get off, which we did, although it was another kilometer to Ullal itself.

Ullal is a fishing village and a very pleasant place after dusty, crowded, noisy Mangalore. The bus back was easy to find, but it took a different route and since all roads and buildings in Mangalore look the same, we did not know where we were when we got off. Nobody could direct us to our hotel. So we took an autorickshaw.

Hotel Navaratna Palace
Hotel Navaratna Palace
We stayed in Hotel Navaratna Palace, next to Hotel Navaratna so confusion is easy. It is on K.S. Rao Road. We took an autorickshaw from the bus station.

Hotel Navaratna Palace is the newer of the two. It is on the 6th to 10th floor of an appartment building. We had a room room at the back which was very quiet and looked out over palm trees. The bathroom had really hot water and was also spacious.

The room has the usual hotel furnishing and is big. In the morning a newspaper was shoved under the door, in our case in English.

Across the road internet access, and various shops, although crossing the road was at our own peril. Motorists behaved like Formula I drivers in training.

The photo shows the hotel: Reception is in the dark red part and the rooms are in the pink parts. There was no break in the traffic so I simply took the photo, as I did not want to wait any longer.

Just a street
Just a street

Mangalore is close to Udupi, a pilgim town and more interesting than Mangalore. (read my report: Udupi: Elephants and Chariots). It can be visited on a day trip, but it is more interesting to stay one or two days in Udupi.

Yet I quite liked Mangalore, in spite of the fact that we got lost a few times, that it was crowded, polluted and noisy. It was a great opportunity to see everyday life in a middle large city.

Beedies, very small cigar-type cigarettes
Beedies, very small cigar-type cigarettes
Mangalore is the place to buy beedies.

Beedies are handrolled cigar-type Indian cigarettes. The tobacco dust is rolled in a tobacco leaf and tied with a thin thread and a miniscule knot.

It is a cottage industry and the workers are paid on piece-rate basis: Rs 2.50 (0.04 euro cent) to Rs 4.30 (0.07 euro cent) per thousand beedies.

small bowls containing curried vegetables
small bowls containing curried vegetables
Across the road from Navaratna Palace is Manorama Vegetarian Restaurant. We went there several times because there were always lots of people, which means that the food is good.

We took what is called 'meal'. In other parts of India this is known as thali.

A meal, or thali, is served either on a round tray with several small metal bowls, containing most delicous curried vegetables and raiti (yogurt with cucumber) or it is served on a plantain (banana) leaf. In this case the rice and curries are put on the leaf in small mounds.

Other recommendations:
Student restaurant on St Aloysius campus
Student restaurant on St Aloysius campus
The locals were eating with their fingers but I am not so skillful, so I cheated and used the spoon which was meant to be used for the raiti.

We finished my meal with 'chai', tea. I must admit it's an acquired taste, tea prepared the Indian way. Tea, cold water, milk and sugar, or sweetened condensed milk are brought to the boil and stewed for a long time. Actually, it's quite tasty

If you find your food too spicy and your mouth is on fire DON'T reach for water or beer. Raita, fruit or in fact anything sweet, a spoonful of sugar, will do the trick.

There is no such thing as curry or prepacked curry powder. This is a British invention. Spices are blended in certain combinations. They are freshly ground in mortar and pestle. The well-known garam masala is in fact a combination of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, and peppercorns. That's why home made curry or masala never tastes the same.

Published on Tuesday June 27th, 2006

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Thu, Feb 22 2007 - 09:34 PM rating by travler

The autorickshaw looks like one of the new fuel saving cars in America.

I'll never try and make curry again.

Mon, Aug 14 2006 - 07:43 PM rating by eirekay

Wonderfully descriptive! I wish we had time to go here too!

Sun, Jul 09 2006 - 02:23 AM rating by mistybleu

Interesting report; a nice snippet of everyday life. Amanda

Sun, Jul 02 2006 - 04:40 AM rating by st.vincent

Good information and, as usual, a wonderfully descriptive report. I like the phrase " a cacophony of sound and colour".

Sun, Jul 02 2006 - 01:53 AM rating by gloriajames

nice report and pics! did u enjoy the 'thali'?

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