Sometime back I made a trip to the south Canara(Dakshina Kannada) district of Karnataka around the weekend of the first week of last month(April). My friend had booked two tickets for us on a A/c sleeper coach abroad Sugama travels. Typically private buses leaves Bangalore around 10.30 – 11 pm in the night reaches Mangalore by 7 am or so in the morning. However, the pick-up starts much earlier from different places in Bangalore like Jayanagar, Indiranagar etc and reaches their depot in Gandhinagar or Shivananda circle. We have picked up near the Indiranagar RTO around 9.15 pm. Good news for people who are staying in and around Indiranagar that buses like Sugama and Ideal travels do pick-up and drop to Indiranagar. Incidentaly this was my first travel in a sleeper coach bus. We got the upper birth and unfortunately the A/c was not working we were refunded Rs 130 on each ticket. It is advisable not to go for upper berths in sleeper coach buses as they may not be comfortable. Lower berths are good as you will not feel the momentum of the bus.
On reaching Mangalore, we boarded an auto and asked to drop at Punja International hotel. The driver politely asked Rs 20 against meter, being habituated in Bangalore of such – just boarded. I discovered Punja International’s price has almost doubled to Rs 972 from what I found in my research book. We made our way out and the auto driver guided us to another hotel (Hotel Hindustan) little further on the opposite side of the road at Hampankatte, according to our budget specifications. The auto driver took just Rs 20 and dint asked for more. We went for a non A/c double bed room for Rs 399+tax. Swiftly sliped into our room, slept little bit and got fresh and went on for our sourjon of Mangalore. I think the hotel is just good enough to stay and do not wish to eat anything here.
Little walk on the left side will take you to Jain Restaurant which serves tea, coffee, juice, and south Indian tiffin. There is also a Punjabi dhaba on the first floor of the same building. I found the best way to see Mangalore city is on a auto. Luckily we found a gentle auto driver who agreed to give a tour of the city which includes waiting. All these on meter. I was impressed with Mangalore roads being clean and people well behaved. Typically the coastal belt of Karnataka is very hot and least to say it was very hot there.
This is what I found written on all autos with a few exceptions or anomalies.
Minimal fare – Rs 11
There after every KM – Rs 7
Waiting for every 15 mins – Rs 2 (one auto wrote 5 min – not correct)
I also came to know that after 10.30 pm it is double fare over there.
Looks like mostly adhere to that.
We hired an Auto on meter to show us the city. Our first stop was St Alyosias Church on Lighthouse hill road. This chapel resembles the Sistine Chapel in Rome and have features magnificent piece of paintings inside. The church is located inside St Alyosias collage. St Alyosias collage is a very popular collage in Mangalore and a centre of academic excellence. Next stop was Kadri Manjunatha Temple on the foot of kadri hills. Then on the top of kadri hills there was Pandava caves and one can get a magnificient view of the Mangalore skyline. Then we left for Pilikula park which is around 15 km from Mangalore and features a biological park among others. Other spots among our sightseeing includes Sultan bathery, Panambur beach, Mangaladevi temple. Read the more descriptive and professional version of the tour. I have missed few of the spots like Tannir Bhavi beach, sunset at Pannambur beach with the promise that I will visit Mangalore again.
One very important note: Always keep in mind the food timings while you are in Mangalore. You may not get food if you visit any restaurant or eatery other the lunch or dinner time. Lunch time is typically from 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and dinner time from 7 pm to 10.30 pm. In such cases one may head for Pizza Hut at Bharath Mall opposite KSRTC bus stand.
The second day we left for Kukke Subramanya and Dharmasthala. Private transportation in Mangalore is quite costly, so better try for public buses. But do not worry, the public bus services are quite good. One can head for the KSRTC bus stand and hop on to a bus for Dharmastha or Kukke Subramanya. This is what we choosed. After the NH, as the bus entered state highway it was all green forest and side by was river Kumaradhara flowing all along. We reached Kukke Subramanya in the afternoon and we were lucky to get the darshan as the temple opened by then again. Took a small stroll in the park behind the Adi Subramanya temple in complete silence with sudden wishpering of birds. The deity here is Lord Subramanya. Remember all Men will have to open their shirts and vests while entering the inner temples. After that we had lunch in one of the nearby hotels and left for Dharmasthala on a KSRTC bus. We reached Dharmastha in the early evening and had to face the evening and weekend rush of devotees by standing in the queue. As the queue was starting to move by friend cautioned me about pickpockets. I was glad to see they were serving water to the devotees in the queue. Once inside the temple it was just lamps and no electric lights. The deity here is Lord Manjunatha. On the way out I encountered a group of Yakshagana, who were quite happy to oblize photograph request. It was night by then(almost 8 pm) and I was little worried if we will get a bus for Mangalore now. It get me a scare when one auto driver outside the temple main gate told me the last bus just left. However, god’s grace on enquring in eatery we were told that a new bus has been introduced at 8.30 pm and it will leave from inside the temple premises. Yes, the bus stand is inside the temple main gate. The bus dropped us in Mangalore around 11 pm. Now we had worrying of going empty stomach to our hotel. But God’s grace again we found a hotel Shalimar opposite KSRTC bus stand and was serving food. We had good course of non veg food. By the time we were out of the eatery cops come closing it.
Next day in the morning went for a short shightseeing in a private bus from the State bank stand to Sultan Bathery. Well, I must city private bus frequency is quite good and the buses itself were quite good. Then went on to have food at Shalimar opposite KSRTC bus stand. The next volvo Bus to Bangalore was at 1.30 pm. On inquring at the counter I was told ticket will be given on the bus. On boarding the bus I asked the conductor for ticket and he told I will come. I did not imagine what a great misunderstanding had happened then. I was sitting easy and enjoying the AC. The conductor while checking the tickets came to me and asked for my ticket and I told him give me one. But to that misunderstanding, there was no other option but to unboard the bus at B.C road as it was full. After waiting for quite some there, a KSRTC bus to Bangalore came. I inquired if seat is there, the answer was yes, but I was told the fare is Rs 432. I was desperate to get a bus and just said ok and boarded the bus.
I went and settled in my seat and took a quick nap. By the time the bus reached the ghat section in Sakleshpur, I saw the bus from which I had to get down was down and passengers were looking for other alternatives. Well, I had a mixed reaction at that moment, at the same time I did not wanted to laugh at the passenger’s misfortune. Some of those passengers boarded our bus. But then it was our bus’s turn to break down but god’s grace it was rectified by bus staffs. It took the route via Medikeri and took almost 10 hours to reach Bangalore.