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Wanted to end the year with one last post about our recent drive to Mangalore, the coastal capital of Karnataka.

Mangalore is located about 360kms from Bangalore and is well connected by road and rail to Kerala and Goa and has an international airport as well. This destination makes for a wonderful drive from Bangalore with two distinct route options. The first and shortest is via Hasan, Shakleshur via Shiradi Ghat (360kms – 7.5 hrs) and the second is via Mysore and Madikeri, Coorg (400kms – 8.5 hrs).

Unfortunately, about 20 – 30kms on both these routes are in terrible condition due to heavy rains and low quality of tarring. The only positive on the second route via Madikeri is that, there is road widening underway and we should expect top quality drive by the mid of 2014. Both these route are equally scenic as we go over the western ghats to get to the coastline.

Majestic Western Ghats

Mangalore being a quieter city as compared to Bangalore is growing rapidly. This is partly due to the student population making this city their temporary home. The city boasts a large number of educational institutions including popular medical and dental colleges. The city has seen a spurt of malls and multiplexes and the breaking down of old traditional residences to make way for newer apartment complexes. Regardless, this city is worth a visit for it mouthwatering seafood and pristine beaches.

Here is a quick list of things to do while you are in Mangalore:

Beaches: Someshwar and Ullal are the two popular beaches towards the south of Mangalore. Someshwar beach which is further away has a lot of character with rocks all around while Ullal is best enjoyed from Summer Sands beach resort or at the confluence of the river and the sea. (Note: Ullal beach is dangerous to venture into due to strong waves and undercurrents)Mangalore beaches

Towards the north of the city lies Tannirbavi beach which is again slightly unsafe for deep sea swimming but the adjacent Panambur beach is ideal for water sports. Further ahead is the less crowded Surathkal beach right opposite the NIT campus on the main Mangalore – Udupi highway. Continue driving on this route and you will hit another popular beach called Kapu close to Udupi. This beach is very popular among the youngsters and for its light house which makes for a good photo opportunity. The best time to visit Kapu is during sunset. Close by is the popular uninhabited St Mary’s Island which can be visited on government manned boats for a nominal fee during the day.

Back in Mangalore, you can do a bit of shopping at the many new malls such as City Centre or Bharat Mall or the local Hampankatta Market. But the best part of this city is its local cuisines and its Ice Cream parlors.Ideal Ice Cream Parlor

One must visit Ideals Ice Cream parlor to try out popular varieties such as Gudbad, Parfait, Banana Split, Tiramisu, Royal Falooda and many more. They have quite a few branches across the city and are priced between Rs 20 – Rs 75. We highly recommended this joint. Popular restaurants such as Maharaja, Goldfinch and Amanthran serve the best mangalorean cuisines. Kane Masala Fry, Crab Sukka, Prawn Chilli, Chicken Ghee Roast, Kori Roti and sannas (soft idlis) are popular among the locals and are priced between Rs 80 to Rs 350 for Kane fish. So the next time you happen to visit this sultry city, don’t forget to visit one of the local restaurants.

Pomfret Masala Fry

Pomfret Masala Fry

Cashews are very common in this region and are used liberally in many preparations. Sweets such as Cashew Macrons, Banana Halwa, Sweet Potato Sticks (Sonte), Rice laddoos and Plum cakes are popular in the region.Kanthi Church lit up for Christmas

The city is connected by private bus service which is clean, fast and cheap followed by Autorikshaws. The best time to visit is between October – February and don’t forget to carry your sunscreen lotion or an umbrella. If you do not wish to drive down, you can opt for the reliable KSRTC Volvo bus service or take the train from Bangalore which offers splendid views of the western ghats early in the morning. Mangalore offers many accommodation options from service apartments to hotels and are very decently priced.

If we have missed anything interesting in Mangalore, do comment below.

Greatescapes score for beach towns: 8/10

Your escapist,

Brian

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