Mangalore Knowledge Guide


Early and medieval history

Mangalore's historical importance is highlighted by the many references to the city by foreign travellers. During the first century CE, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder made references to a place called "Nitrias" as an undesirable place for disembarkation because of the pirates who frequented its vicinity, while Greek second-century historian Ptolemy referred to a place called "Nitra". Ptolemy's and Pliny the Elder's remarks were probably referring to the Netravati River that flows through Mangalore. In his sixth-century work Christian Topography, Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Greek monk, mentions Malabar as the chief seat of the pepper trade and Mangarouth (port of Mangalore) as one of the five pepper markets that exported pepper.Mangalore is considered the heart of a distinct multi-linguistic cultural region known as Tulunadu, the homeland of the Tulu-speaking people. In the third century BCE, the town formed part of the Maurya Empire, which was ruled by the Buddhist emperor Ashoka of Magadha. From the third to the sixth century CE, the Kadamba dynasty, whose capital was based in Banavasi in North Canara, ruled over the entire Canara region as independent rulers. From the middle of the seventh century to the end of the 14th century, the South Canara region was ruled by its native Alupa rulers, who ruled over the region as feudatories of major regional dynasties like the Chalukyas of Badami, Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, Chalukyas of Kalyani and Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra. During the 1130s and 1140s, during the reign of the Alupa king Kavi Alupendra (1110–1160), the city was home to the Tunisian Jewish merchant Abraham Ben Yiju. The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta, who visited Mangalore in 1342, referred to it as Manjarur and stated the town was situated on a large estuary called the Estuary of the wolf, which was the greatest estuary in the country of Malabar. By 1345, the Vijayanagara rulers brought the region under their control.During the Vijayanagara period (1345–1550), South Canara was divided into Mangalore and Barkur rajyas (provinces), and two governors were appointed to look after each of them from Mangalore and Barkur. Often a single governor ruled over both Mangalore and Barkur rajyas, and when the authority passed to the Keladi rulers (1550–1763), they had a governor at Barkur only. In 1448, Abdur Razzaq, the Persian ambassador of Sultan Shah Rukh of Samarkand, visited Mangalore en route to the Vijayanagara court. The Italian traveller Ludovico di Varthema, who visited India in 1506, said he saw nearly sixty ships laden with rice ready to sail from the port of Mangalore.

Foundation and early modern history

In 1498, European influence in Mangalore began when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at the nearby St Mary's Islands. The Portuguese acquired many commercial interests in Canara in the 16th century. Krishnadevaraya (1509–1529), the ruler of the Vijaynagara empire, maintained a friendly relationship with the Portuguese, whose trade slowly grew and they strove to destroy the coastal Arab and Moplah trade. In 1524, Vasco da Gama ordered the blockading of rivers after he heard the Muslim merchants of Calicut had agents at Mangalore and Basrur. In 1526, the Portuguese under the viceroyship of Lopo Vaz de Sampaio took possession of Mangalore. The coastal trade passed into Portuguese hands. In 1550, the Vijayanagara ruler Sadashiva Raya entrusted to Sadashiv Nayaka of Keladi with administering the coastal region of Canara. By 1554, he established political authority over South Canara.After the disintegration of the Vijaynagara Empire in 1565, the rulers of Keladi attained greater power in dealing with the coastal Canara region. They continued the Vijayanagara administrative system and the provinces of Mangalore and Barkur continued to exist. The governor of Mangalore also acted as the governor of the Keladi army in his province. The Italian traveller Pietro Della Valle visited here in 1623-1624. In 1695, Arabs burnt the town in retaliation to Portuguese restrictions on Arab trade. In 1763, Hyder Ali, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, conquered Mangalore, which was brought under his administration until 1767. Mangalore was ruled by the British East India Company from 1767 to 1783, but Hyder Ali's son Tipu Sultan subsequently took it from their control in 1783 and renamed it "Jalalabad". The Second Anglo–Mysore War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Mangalore by Tipu Sultan and the British East India Company on 11 March 1784. After the defeat of Tipu at the Fourth Anglo–Mysore War, the city remained under British control, headquartering South Canara district under the Madras Presidency. Francis Buchanan, a Scottish physician who visited Mangalore in 1801, said the city was a prosperous port with plentiful trade. The main commodity of export was rice; it went to Muscat, Bombay, Goa and Malabar. Supari (Betel-nut) was exported to Bombay, Surat and Kutch. Sandalwood and black pepper were exported to Bombay. Cassia cinnamon, sugar, iron, saltpeter, ginger, coir, wood and turmeric was exported to Muscat, Bombay, Kutch and Surat.Local capital was mainly invested in land and money lending, leading to the regional development of banking because the British colonial government did not support industrialisation there. After European missionaries arrived in the early 19th century, educational institutions and modern industries modelled on European ones were developed in the region. The opening of the Lutheran Swiss Basel Mission in 1834 was an important step towards industrialisation. Missionaries set up printing presses, textile mills and factories that made Mangalore tiles. When Canara (part of the Madras Presidency until this time) was split into North Canara and South Canara in 1859, Mangalore became the headquarters of South Canara, which remained under Madras Presidency while 1n 1862, North Canara was transferred to the Bombay Presidency.

Later modern and contemporary history

On 23 May 1866, a municipal council for Mangalore with responsibility for civic amenities and urban planning was mandated by the Madras Town Improvement Act (1865). The Italian Jesuits who arrived in the city in 1878, played an important role in the city's education, economy, health and social welfare. Mangalore was linked to the Southern Railway in 1907and the subsequent proliferation of motor vehicles in India further increased trade and communication between the city and the rest of the country. Mangalore was a major source of educated workers to Bombay, Bangalore and the Middle East by the early 20th century.The States Reorganisation Act (1956) led to Mangalore being incorporated into the newly created Mysore State, which was later renamed Karnataka. Mangalore is the fourth-largest city of Karnataka in terms of population and the ninth-largest port of India, giving the state access to the Arabian Sea coastline. Between 1970 and 1980, Mangalore experienced significant growth with the opening of New Mangalore Port in 1974 and commissioning of Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited in 1976.



Mangalorean cuisine is largely influenced by South Indian cuisine, with several cuisines being unique to the diverse communities of the region. Coconut and curry leaves are common ingredients to most Mangalorean curries, as are ginger, garlic and chili. Well-known Mangalorean dishes include Kori Rotti, Neer dosa, Pundi (rice ball), Patrode, Golibaje, Mangalore Buns, Macaroon, etc. Mangalorean cuisine is also known for fish and chicken dishes like Bangude Pulimunchi (spicy sour silver-grey mackerels), Boothai Gasi (Sardine Semi-Gravy), Anjal fry, Mangalorean Chicken Sukka, Kori rotti, Chicken Ghee Roast, etc. Since Mangalore is a coastal city, fish forms the staple diet of most people. The Konkani Hindu community's specialties include Daali thoy (lentils curry), Bibbe-upkari (tender cashew nut curry), Val val (coconut milk based curry), Ambat (vegetable based coconut curry), Avnas ambe sasam (mango-pineapple fruit salad), Kadgi chakko (jackfruit-coconut curry), Paagila podi (spine gourd fries) and Chane gashi (chickpeas curry). Mangalorean Catholics' Sanna-Dukra Maas (Sanna—idli fluffed with toddy or yeast; Dukra Maas—Pork), Pork Bafat, Sorpotel and the Mutton Biryani of the Beary Muslims are well-known dishes. Pickles such as Happala, Sandige and Puli munchi are unique to Mangalore. Shendi (toddy), a country liquor prepared from coconut flower sap, is popular. Vegetarian cuisine in Mangalore, also known as Udupi cuisine, is known throughout the state and region.


The city lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. The various temples and buildings in Mangalore include the Mangaladevi Temple, Kadri Manjunatha temple, St Aloysius Chapel, the Rosario Cathedral, Milagres Church, Dargah of Hazrat Shareef ul Madni at Ullal and the Zeenath Baksh Jumma Masjid in Bunder. The city is also known for beaches such as Panambur, Tannirbhavi, NITK beach, Sasihithlu beach, Someshwara beach, Ullal beach, Kotekar beach and Batapady beach. Panambur and Thannirbhavi beaches attract tourists from across the country. Panambur beach has many facilities including food stalls, jet ski rides, boating and dolphin viewing, besides trained beach lifeguards and patrol vehicles to ensure the safety of the visitors. Saavira Kambada Basadi is situated 34 km (21 mi) northeast of Mangalore in the town of Moodabidri. The Sultan Battery watch tower, built by Tipu Sultan, situated in Boloor, is on the banks of Gurupura River where one can take the ferry ride by paying small amount across the river and reach Tannirbhavi Beach. Adyar waterfalls is at the outskirts at about 12 km (7.5 mi) from the city.The city has developed and maintains public parks such as Pilikula Nisargadhama, Kadri Park at Kadri, Tagore Park at Light House Hill, Mahatma Gandhi Park at Gandhinagar in Mannagudda, Tannirbavi Tree Park, Arise Awake Park at Karangalpady and Corporation Bank Park at Nehru Maidan. Pilikula, having a total area of 370 acres comprises the zoo, botanical garden, lake, water park (Manasa), planetarium (Swami Vivekananda Planetarium), science centre and an 18-hole golf course (Pilikula Golf Course) which is set in an area of 50 acres. The Swami Vivekananda Planetarium is the first 3D planetarium in India, having 8K resolution display.Mangalore Dasara, a ten-day festival at Sri Gokarnatheswara temple attracts devotees from various states of India who visit Mangalore to witness Dasara. Mangaladevi Temple is another temple which attracts devotees from all over India during Navaratri.