Karnataka’s coastal heritage can be witnessed in full glory in the historic temples that dot the landscape. Mangalore is an important hub and a gateway to the Dakshina Kannada district. Get a car for rent in Mangalore and explore the countryside and surrounding villages and towns – home to iconic spiritual landmarks and cultural nerve centres. Here are some important temple towns worth a visit.
Kollur is a town nestled at the foot of the Western Ghats and its claim to fame is the Mookambika temple, a prominent landmark for Hindu pilgrims from all over the country. The temple celebrates Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mookasura and is home to many shrines. The temple is believed to be more than 1,000 years old, based on its being mentioned in ancient texts discovered in the region. Another attraction near the temple is the holy river spot of Souparnika, where one can take a ritualistic dip. You can hire Mangalore to Kollur cabs and enjoy a picturesque 129-km journey along the coast.
A visit to Udupi is a cultural treat – the town is most famous for its temples and its distinctive cuisine. Located just 60 kms from Mangalore, Udupi is home to some of the most vibrant temple festivals of South India. The Sri Krishna Temple is the most important landmark of this coastal town, a complex that was established almost 800 years ago. Other temples to visit in this pilgrimage centre include the Ambalapady Mahakali Temple, the Ananteshvara temple and the Chandramaulishvara temples.
Kateel is considered by many to be one of the holiest cities for practitioners of the Hindu religion. The Nandini river defines the landscape of this town and located on one of its islets is the Durga Parameshwari temple. The temple is also noted for its surroundings, the verdant backdrop and serene atmosphere providing a perfect stage for a spiritual experience. Kateel is well-connected by road, rail and air – you can book a Mangalore Airport taxi for a short 16-km trip to the town.
The best time to visit Dharmasthala temple is around November and December, when the festival of lights, Lakshadeepa is celebrated with much pomp and splendour. This temple is a unique example of the multi-religion harmony of India, the administration is run by members of the Jain religion and the rituals are conducted by Hindu priests. The town of Dharmasthala has other attractions too. You can wander into Manjusha Museum and marvel at some of the vintage vehicles. Other exhibits of the Manjusha Museum include ancient coins, stone and metal works of sculpture from various periods of history and other artefacts that represent life across the ages in the coastal areas.
Bantwal is only 25 kms from Mangalore and it is most famous for the Thirumala Venkataramana Swamy Temple, close to the Nethravathi River which flows through the region. Bantwal is an important temple town and some of the other popular spiritual landmarks here include the Mahalingeshwara Temple, one of the oldest in town, and the Vinayaka Shankaranarayana Durgamba temple, another place of worship on the scenic riverside. The hill-top Narahari Parvatha is another old temple that also offers good views of the surrounding areas.
The lush vegetation, the dynamic coastline scenery and the misty mountain peaks provide a dramatic backdrop to the many temple towns on Karnataka’s coast. Enjoy some soothing introspective moments and witness South Indian temple architecture at its pinnacle. Start planning your trip now.