Alternating from relaxed coastal town to hectic nightmare, Mangalore has a Jekyll and Hyde thing going, but it’s a pleasant enough place to break up your trip. While there’s not a lot to do here, it has an appealing off-the-beaten-path feel, and the spicy seafood dishes are sensational.
It sits at the estuaries of the picturesque Netravathi and Gurupur Rivers on the Arabian Sea coast and has been a major pit stop on international trade routes since the 6th century AD.
These are some of the things you can do while in Mangalore:
1. St Aloysius College Chapel
Catholicism’s roots in Mangalore date back to the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 1500s, and one of the most impressive legacies is the 1880 Sistine Chapel–like St Aloysius Chapel, with its walls and ceilings painted with brilliant frescoes.
2. Ullal Beach
While it’s no Om Beach, this stretch of golden sand is a good place to escape the city heat. It’s best enjoyed from Summer Sands Beach Resort, which also has a pool for swimming (Rs 300). It’s about an hour drive south of town. An auto-rickshaw charges Rs 200 one way, or the frequent bus 44 (Rs 9) from the City bus stand will drop you right outside the gate.
3. Lalith Bar & Restaurant
First impressions can be deceiving, so ignore the divey basement decor and order the masala fish fry with a chilled beer and you’ll instantly be transported to heaven. The day’s special seafood is also a good choice.
4. Milagres Church
Catholicism’s roots in Mangalore date back to the arrival of the Portuguese in the early 1500s, and today the city is liberally dotted with churches, such as the imposing Roman-style Milagres Church in the city centre.
This high-rise restaurant has elegant and warmly lit interiors, with sweeping views all around. Try the spicy chicken uruval (a coconut coastal curry) or the yummy prawn ghee roast.
The only remnant of Tipu Sultan’s fort is this small lookout with views over scenic backwaters. It’s 4km from the city centre on the headland of the old port; bus 16 will get you there.
7. Cochin Bakery
Cochin Bakery sells delicious puffs and cakes.
8. Kadri Manjunatha Temple
This Kerala-style temple houses a 1000-year-old bronze statue of Lokeshwara.
9. Bharath Mall
For Western food, head to Bharath Mall, with branches of Pizza Hut and Café Coffee Day.