Sitting at the estuary of the picturesque Netravathi and Gurupur Rivers on the Arabian Sea, Mangalore, officially known as Mangaluru, is the second-largest city and major port in Karnataka for international trade since the 6th century. Located at a distance of 352 km west of Bangalore, there are many places to visit in Mangalore. Named after the goddess Mangaladevi, Mangalore is Karnataka’s only city to have all four modes of transport—road, rail, air, and sea.
The administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district, Mangalore is also a commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare and start-up hub. It has virtually become a ‘melting pot’ of cultures with an increasing influx of students from various states of India and different parts of the world. The city’s landscape is characterised by coconut palms, rivers, hard laterite soil, and rolling hills. It has a tropical monsoon climate and is best visited from the months of September to April as summers can get very hot and humid and the monsoon season gets heavy rainfall.
It is best known for its laidback lifestyle, sun-kissed beaches, lush green gardens, age-old temples, and vast public parks. There are also many places to visit near Mangalore such as Udupi, Manipal, Dharmastala etc. Mangalore makes a perfect choice for those who wish to spend a relaxing and peaceful vacation.
# Mangaladevi Temple
Established in the 19th century by the king of the Ahepa dynasty, the temple is dedicated to Mangaladevi who is considered to be a form of the goddess Durga, also known by the name Shakti. The grand temple is visited by devotees in large numbers and is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore. It is believed that the fierce goddess fulfils all your wishes and helps you overcome obstacles if you wish with an honest heart. The spacious temple complex allows devotees to offer prayers or sit and meditate to feel rejuvenated and at peace. The best time to visit the temple is during Dussehra when the festivities at the temple are at their peak. It is open from 6-10 AM, 12-1 PM, and 4-8 PM, and has no entry fee.
# Panambur Beach
Situated at a distance of 13 kms from Mangalore, to the south of Mangalore port, Panambur Beach has been awarded the cleanest and best-maintained beaches in India owing to its excellent maintenance. Best known for the stunning sunset view, photography and thrilling water sports, Panambur beach is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore. You can enjoy sunbathing and going for beach strolls, while those who are fond of adventure sports can indulge in water scooter rides, jet-skiing, horse and buggy rides, camel rides, and banana boat rides. Every year in January, Panambur beach hosts the International Kite Festival. Along with kite flying ceremonies, sand sculpture and boat race competitions are also a part of this festival. The beach is open from 10 AM to 5.30 PM and has no entry fee.
# Kudroli Gokarnath Temple
The Kudroli Gokarnath temple or Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built by Sri Narayana Guru, a spiritual guru and social reformer from Kerala. The temple is dedicated to ‘Gokarnanatha’, another name for the Hindu deity Shiva. The temple’s architecture, however, is more akin to a Dravidian style and features a 60 ft high golden Gopuram. This temple is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore during the major Hindu festivals and features some exquisite works of sculpting and rock carving. Visiting this temple during Dussehra and Navratri celebrations is particularly fascinating. Celebration of these festivals in the Gokarnath temple is popularly called ‘Mangalore Dasara’. Lifesize idols of ‘Nava Durga’ —the nine forms of goddess Durga—are on display at this time along with other life-size idols of Sharada Matha and Maha Ganapathi. If you’re into architecture, this temple can be one of the best tourist places in Mangalore for you to visit. The temple timings are from 6 AM to 9 PM and has no entry fee.
# Surathkal Beach
Surathkal Beach is another pristine beach in Mangalore and is located further down the Konkan coast, south of the tourist trap of Goa, about 13 kms from the port city of Mangalore. The beach is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore, known for its unique powdery sand which is comforting to walk barefoot on. A charming lighthouse is present here which completes the scene of coastal beauty and provides a picturesque view of the countryside. The sunsets here are definitely worth the drive from Mangalore. This beach has few options for those wanting to engage in water sports. If you are a beach baby, then Surathkal Beach should definitely be one of the places to visit on your itinerary. The beach is open from 6 AM to 6 PM and has no entry fee.
# Pilikula Nisargadhama
Located in the picturesque hamlet of Vamanjoor, Pilikula is one of the best tourist places in Mangalore with a famous Infotainment Park created amidst nature to provide a rejuvenating experience for nature and wildlife lovers. The name Pilikula means ‘a pool of Tigers’ in Tulu. One can find several wildlife species inside the park including tigers, bears, leopards, and a variety of reptiles. They also have a botanical garden, a zoo, a golf course, a science centre, a water park, and an artisan village within its premises. You can even spot a few migratory birds if you visit between October and February. It is open from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM with an entry fee of INR 20 and INR 50 for Indian children and adults respectively whereas for foreigners it is INR 100. It is one of the popular places to visit in Mangalore for nature lovers.
# St Aloysius Chapel
Known for astounding architecture and interior, St Aloysius Chapel or the Chapel of St Aloysius College was built in 1800 and offers unobstructed views of the Arabian Sea. It is located within the premises of one of most well known educational institutions, St Aloysius College in Mangalore. The St Aloysius chapel houses many beautiful sculptures, frescos, and paintings. These paintings were painted in 1899 by Antonio Moscheni, an Italian Jesuit when he visited Mangalore on a mission in 1878. Being Mangalore’s very own Sistine Chapel, the St Aloysius chapel a visual treat for art lovers and is a must-visit tourist place in Mangalore not only for its art but for the peaceful atmosphere it offers to calm a troubled mind. It is open from 7 AM to 7 PM and has no entry fee.