Monday, March 2, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part II - Mangalore, blessed by Gods and Rivers

Mangalore is a major city and seaport in Karnataka. Located between Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, this city serves as administrative head-quarters of Dakshina Kannada (formerly South Canara) district as well. Blessed with two rivers - Netravati and Gurupura - Mangaluru handles a major portion of India's coffee and cashew exports. It is believed that the city is named after Hindu goddess Mangaladevi.
Before annexed by British in 1799, this city was ruled by Kadambas, Vijayanagar, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Portuguese, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan at various time in history.

Recently ‘Mangalore’ became ‘Mangaluru’ as part of a renaming exercise. Politicians do this exercise in frequent intervals. After independence, many Indian cities were subjected to this ritual (including three out of four metros). I think more are in pipeline.

I reached ‘Mangalore Junction’ at five in the evening. This station is located somewhat far from city centre (Mangalore Central station is in city itself). As I didn't see any bus there, I hired an auto to reach the city. By the way don’t fall in to this temptation; if you can wait for some time or ready to walk a bit you will get a bus to reach the city.
A passenger standing at the door

As I reached late in the city; I had to drop my plan to visit Panambur beach for watching sunset. As sun went to see India’s western sisters I booked a room at TajMahal Lodge in Hampanakatta ('Hampanakatte' in Tulu). After shower, I started my night walk.
There was no particular destination or time limit. So I walked aimlessly through the city. University College, Clock Tower Circle, Gandhi Park, Town Hall, Corporation Bank Head Office and then reached Forum Fiza Mall.
Isn’t it a bigger, but younger brother, of Bangalore Forum Mall? I spent close to one hour there, simply walking through brightly lit but relatively vacant corridors. After having some quick food from ground floor I left Forum and started walking towards the lodge.

This time I took a different route and it proved to be a longer one. This road went through neat and clean residential areas, but I saw hardly any human being till I reach Old Kent road. Finally back to the hotel for a good sleep.
Thannirbhavi Beach

I am not a big fan of waking up early. But as a traveller, every time I sleep unnecessarily I would be forced to remove one entry from my wishlist. Why to take the risk? So after getting ready, I boarded a bus to Kaloor (R45) from Hampanakatta circle. After a while I got down at Kuloor and crossed the bridge across Gurupura River on foot.
Kudremukh Iron Ore Company’s plants, Mangalore Seaport, Indian Oil’s Facilities and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers are located nearby. Kudremukh Iron ore Company(KIOCL) was running one of the largest Iron mines in the world at Kudremukh in Western Ghats. They used this facility at Mangalore to pelletise the ore for exporting. Expiry of the lease and ecological concerns forced the company to stop operations in 2005.

Beach was around 4 kms away. Bus frequency is very low in this route - no more than some one in two hours or so. Hence, I joined with a couple of people standing there to catch a bike or tanker for a ride. After talking to a local guy for some time about KIOCL finally got a tanker lorry. This would drop me near Silver Jubilee gate. During my journeys I travelled through different types of vehicles but this is the first time I am in a tanker lorry!!! through the side of Gurupura river I walked rest of the way to Tannirbhavi.
After a while I am again at the shores of Arabian Sea. Apart from the voice made by sea waves there were hardly any voice at that deserted beach. At a distance a group of fishermen were pushing their boat to a side. On the other side a couple was walking towards the road.

I spend close to one hour there by walking up and down through the shores and clicking photos. Waves slowly came, touched my feet and went back. Sometimes they come very fast and drenched me in seawater. Finally its time to go; this time in a bus.
After checking out from hotel, I got a direct bus(R11) to Mangalore Jn railway station. This bus journey remembered me my daily commute to school. When we board the bus at 4 in the evening there may hardly an inch left in the floor; still we someway got inside. Inside it was like a pressure cooker. Here also it was the same, only difference was this time I got a seat!!!

Mumbai Express was already waiting there for me to get in.

From one tunnel to another one


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