Dakshina Kannada

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Dakshina Kannada
ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕನ್ನಡ
Bandaje Falls at Belthangady
Karnataka-districts-Dakshina Kannada.png
Location of Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka,India
Coordinates: 12°52′N 74°53′E / 12.87°N 74.88°E / 12.87; 74.88Coordinates: 12°52′N 74°53′E / 12.87°N 74.88°E / 12.87; 74.88
Country  India
State Karnataka
Region Tulu Nadu
Headquarters Mangalore
Talukas Mangalore, Bantwal, Puttur, Sullia, Belthangady
 • Total 4,866 km2 (1,879 sq mi)
Area rank 34
 • Total 2,089,649
 • Density 430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
 • Official Kannada
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 5750xx(Mangalore), 574xxx
Telephone code + 91 (082xx)
Vehicle registration KA 19, KA 21, KA 62
Website www.dk.nic.in

Dakshina Kannada is a coastal district in the state of Karnataka in India. Sheltered by the Western Ghats on the east and bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west, Dakshina Kannada is blessed with abundant rainfall, fertile soil and lush vegetation. Pristine beaches, picturesque mountain ranges, temple towns and a rich culture make it a sought after tourist destination.[1] It is bordered by Udupi District to the north, Chikkamagaluru district to the northeast, Hassan District to the east, Kodagu to the southeast, and Kasaragod District in Kerala to the south. Mangalore is the headquarters and chief city of the district.[2] Dakshina Kannada has an area 4,866 square kilometres, and a population density of 430 people per square kilometre. There are 354 villages in this district.[3]

Map showing the taluks of Dakshina Kannada District

The district is divided into five talukas namely Mangalore, Bantwal, Puttur, Sullia, and Belthangady.[4] It used to include three northern talukas, Udupi, Kundapur and Karkala, but these were separated in August 1997 to form Udupi district. Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod taluk are often called Tulu Nadu, as Tulu is the majority language in the region. The Alupas ruled this region between the 8th and 14th century CE as a feudatory of all the major Kannada empires of those times and it is for this reason that the Tulu speaking districts are a part of Karnataka.[5] Important towns in Dakshina Kannada include Mangalore, Bantwal, Vittal, Puttur, Sullia, Surathkal, Moodabidri, Uppinangadi, Venur, Mulki, Dharmasthala, Ujire and Subramanya. The district is famous for red clay roof tiles (Mangalore tiles), cashew nut and its products, banking, education, healthcare and exotic cuisine.[6]


Before 1860, Dakshina Kannada was part of a district called Kanara, which was under a single administration in the Madras Presidency. In 1860, the British split the area into South Kanara and North Kanara, the former being retained in the Madras Presidency, while the latter was made a part of Bombay Province in 1862.[7] Kundapura taluk was earlier included in North Kanara, but was re-included in South Kanara later.[8] During the Reorganisation of States in 1956, Kasaragod was split and transferred to the newly created Kerala state and Dakshina Kannada was transferred to Mysore state (present day Karnataka).[9]

South Canara was a district under the British empire which included the present Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Kasaragod districts and Aminidivi islands. Canara district was bifurcated in 1859 to form North Canara and South Canara.[10] Dakshina Kannada became a district of Mysore State in 1956 which later was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Kasargod became a district of Kerala during the Re-organization of States and Aminidivi islands later became a part of Lakshadweep.[11] The Udupi district was formed from the northern taluks of Dakshina Kannada in 1997.[12] Later, the Karnataka Government, for the purpose of administration, split the greater Dakshina Kannada district into Udupi and present day Dakshina Kannada districts on 15 August 1997. Three taluks of former DK district namely Udupi, Karkala and Kundapura were made into new Udupi district.[13]


According to the 2011 census Dakshina Kannada has a population of 2,089,649,[14] roughly equal to the nation of Macedonia[15] or the US state of New Mexico.[16] This gives it a ranking of 220th in India (out of a total of 640).[14] The district has a population density of 457 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,180/sq mi) .[14] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 9.8%.[14] Dakshina Kannada has a sex ratio of 1018 females for every 1000 males,[14] and a literacy rate of 88.62%. The literacy rate of Mangalore city is 94%.[14]

The people who first settled here were called Tuluvas. Billava, Mogaveera , Bunt, Koraga, Kulala, Devadiga are the major communities of the Tuluva ethnic group. Other Tuluvas, Brahmins, Holeyas, Vokkaligas, the hill-tribes (Koragas), Muslims and the Mangalorean Catholics comprise rest of the population. The Brahmins belong chiefly to the Shivalli, Saraswat, Havyaka, and Kota sub-sections. Tulu is the native language of the majority of people living in Dakshina Kannada.[17] Other languages such as Konkani, Kannada, Beary Bhashe and Are Bhashe are also spoken here.[18]


Lighthouse alongside Surathkal Beach

The district geography consists of sea shore in the west and Western Ghats in the east. The major rivers are Netravathi, Kumaradhara, Phalguni, Shambhavi, Nandini or Pavanje and Payaswini which all join the Arabian sea.[2] At Uppinangadi, the Netravathi and Kumaradhara rivers rise during the monsoon and meet, this event is called "Sangam", which in Sanskrit means confluence.[19] The topography of the district is plain up to 30 km (18.64 mi) inside the coast and changes to undulating hilly terrain sharply towards the east in Western Ghats.[20] Vast areas of evergreen forests which once covered this district, have been destroyed due to rapid and unplanned urbanisation and hectic commercial activities. Teak, Karmara (Ebony), Wild Jack, Bhogi and many other native trees have disappeared from many areas of Dakshina Kannada. Unlike other villages of India, where cluster of houses surrounded by farm fields make a village.[21] In Dakshina Kannada, houses are in the midst of farm field or garden or plantations of coconut or arecanut, many times houses in a village are separated by a few hundred metres or yards. The typical scenario of a house in the midst of farm fields or garden or forest has been disappearing. The rapid increase in population,income and also breakup of joint family system has led to a construction boom from the 1990's.

Mangalore skyline from Kadri

Education and research[edit]

Dakshina Kannada is in the forefront of education in India. Primary and secondary education have reached every section of the society.[22] The district's literacy rate is far above national average. In the higher education (Degree and above), this district has made tremendous progress.[6] The professional education has made a mark in the country. Students from different parts of India flock to Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts because of high standards of education. A host of educational institutes offering courses in Medicine, Engineering, Pharmacy, Nursing, Hotel and Catering, Law and Management are located in this district. Dakshina Kannada is home to the prestigious National Institute Of Technology Karnataka (NITK) Surathkal, one of India's top Engineering colleges. The college of fisheries is located at Yekkur near Kankanady.[23][24] Mangalore University is a public university in Konaje near Mangalore. It has jurisdiction over the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu.[25] The district is home to many research institutes such as the Directorate of Cashew Research at Puttur.[26] The Central Plantation Crops Research Institute is situated at Vitla in the Bantwal taluk.[27]

Several Engineering colleges are present in Dakshina Kannada, and over 6 of them have been designated as Research Centres for Ph.D. The various Engineering colleges in the district include St. Joseph Engineering College, KVG College of Engineering, Mangalore Institute of Technology & Engineering, Canara Engineering College, P A College of Engineering, Srinivas Institute of Technology, Srinivas School of Engineering, Vivekananda College of Engineering & Technology, Shree Devi Institute of Technology, Alvas Institute of Engineering & Technology, Karavali Institute of Technology, Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management, M.V.Shetty Institute of Technology, SDM Institute of Technology, Bearys Institute of Technology and Prasanna College of Engineering & Technology.[28]

The various Medical colleges in the district include A J Institute of Medical Science, Father Muller Medical College, KS Hegde Medical Academy, Kasturba Medical College, Srinivas Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Yenepoya Medical College & Research Institute and KVG Medical College. Manipal College of Dental Sciences Mangalore, A B Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, A J Institute of Dental Sciences, Yenepoya Dental College & Research Institute and Srinivas Institute of Dental Sciences are some of the Dental colleges.

Cultures, traditions and rituals[edit]

Yakshagana stage
Traditional House in Dakshina Kannada

Dakshina Kannada can be described as a land of culture, tradition and rituals. Even today, most people of the district follow the traditions, customs and rituals.[29] The district has many temples of Hindu gods and goddesses, which are ancient and have deep spiritualism attached to them. The people of Dakshina Kannada worship the serpent god (Subramanya). According to legend, the district was reclaimed by Parashurama from the sea.[30] Hence worship of serpent is done to original inhabitants. Nagaradhane or Snake worship is practiced according to the popular belief of the Naga Devatha to go underground and guard the species on the top.[31] Worship of spirits is prevalent in these areas. Rituals like Bhuta Kola are done to satisfy the spirits.[18] Kambla, a form of buffalo race on muddy track in the paddy field, is organised. On a religious and cultural level, Theyyam deities are propitiated through blood sacrifice or cock-sacrifice which does also include the cockfight[32] and is a prime example of "cultural synthesis of 'little' and 'great' cultures". Cock fight (Kori Katta in Tulu) is another past time of rural agrarian people, but unfortunately has turned into gambling.[33]

Yakshagana is the popular folk art of this district. The Yakshagana is a night-long dance and drama performance practiced in Tulu Nadu with great fanfare.[34][35] Pilivesha (Tiger dance) is a unique form of folk dance in the region fascinating the young and the old alike, which is performed during Dasara and Krishna Janmashtami.[36] Karadi Vesha (Bear Dance) is another popular dance performed during Dasara.[37][38] Kambala or buffalo race is conducted in water filled paddy fields.

The people of Dakshina Kannada district also celebrate traditional Hindu festivals like Yugadi (Ugadi), Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navaratri (Dasara), Deepavali, Ati Hunime etc.[18]


In Dakshina Kannada bus services are run by both private players & the state run KSRTC. The district had public limited (public listed) companies running transport business even before the independence of India in 1947.[39][40] The district has four national highways connecting different parts of Karnataka and India. NH-17 (now NH-66) connects the district with Udupi, Karwar, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi. NH-13 connects Sholapur in Maharashtra with Dakshina Kannada. NH-48 (now NH-75) connects the district with Bengaluru, Kunigal, Hassan and Sakleshpura.[41] Recently the state highway connecting Mangalore to Mudigere has been declared as National Highway-234. The NH-234 connects Mangalore to Viluppuram in Tamil Nadu via Charmadi, Mudigere, Belur, Halebeedu, Chintamani and Vellore. Major ghat sections in Dakshina Kannada include Shiradi Ghat (Nelyadi to Sakleshpura), Charmadi Ghat (Charmadi to Kottigehara), Sampaje Ghat (Sampaje to Madikeri) and Bisle Ghat (Subramanya to Sakleshpura, popularly known as Green Route by trekkers).[42] State Highway 88 (SH-88) connects Dakshina Kannada to Mysore. It starts at Mani and passes through the towns of Puttur, Sullia, Madikeri, Kushalnagar and Hunsur.[43] It ends at Mysore spanning a total length of 220 kilometres (140 mi).[44]

Highways passing through Dakshina Kannada


Starting Point

Ending Point

National Highway 66 (previously NH 17) Panvel, Maharashtra Edapally, Kerala
National Highway 75 (previously NH 48) Mangalore Bangalore
National Highway 169 (previously NH 13) Mangalore Sholapur, Maharashtra
National Highway 234 Mangalore Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu
State Highway 88 Mani Mysore

In the year 1907, the Southern Railway connected Mangalore with Calicut (Kozhikode) along the coastline. This railway line helped in connecting the district with other places of the Madras presidency during the colonial rule.[45] The Konkan Railway (1998) connects Dakshina Kannada with Maharastra, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala by train. There are direct trains from Mangalore to Mumbai, Thane, Chennai, Goa and Trivandrum. Many trains starting from Kerala to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi pass through this district. Recently train services have started to Bangalore via Hassan and Kukke Subramanya after conversion from metre gauge to broad gauge track. The Dakshina Kannada district has a seaport at Panambur. The sea port managed by New Mangalore Port Trust handles cargo, timber and petroleum crude among others. It is one of the major sea ports on the western coast of India. The district is connected by air through the Mangalore International Airport at Bajpe. Various Airlines such as Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet offer daily flights to national and international destinations near the Persian Gulf.[46] It is the only district in Karnataka state to be connected by road, rail, air and sea.

Historic sites[edit]

The following are the historic places to visit in Dakshina Kannada:[47][2]

Sri Manjunatha Temple at Dharmasthala
Masjid Thaqwa Pumpwell at Mangaluru


Dakshina Kannada features a Tropical Monsoon climate (Am) according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification.[49] The average annual rainfall in Dakshina Kannada is 4,030 millimetres (159 in).[2] The rainfall varies from 3,796.9 millimetres (149 in) at the Mangalore coast, 4,530 millimetres (178 in) at Moodabidri and 4,329 millimetres (170 in) at Puttur near the Western Ghats. The average humidity is 75% and peaks in July at 89%.

Climate data for Mangalore, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.6
Average high °C (°F) 32.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
Average low °C (°F) 20.8
Record low °C (°F) 16.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 1.1
Avg. rainy days 0.2 0 0.3 1.6 7 23.5 27.4 24.9 13.7 9.1 3.6 0.6 111.9
Average relative humidity (%) 62 66 68 71 71 87 89 88 85 79 73 65 75.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 313 296 299 292 276 119 94 133 178 226 271 292 2,789
Source #1: India Meteorological Department - Monthly mean maximum & minimum temperature and total rainfall[50][51]
Source #2: Weather-And-Climate (Humidity and Sunshine hours)[52][53]
Climate data for 1994 rainfall in Mangalore, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average rainfall mm (inches) 2.5
Source #1: India Meteorological Department - Mangalore climate summary from 1957-2000
Source #2: TuTiempo - Mangalore climate from 1973-2014

Climate data for Puttur, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 26
Average low °C (°F) 20.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0
Source: Climate-Data.org - Climate Table of Puttur, Karnataka, India[56]

Climate data for Moodabidri, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.8
Average low °C (°F) 20.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 1
Source: Climate-Data.org - Climate Table of Moodabidri, Karnataka, India[57]


Paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada
Arecanut plantation of rural Dakshina Kannada

Agriculture which was once a major occupation of the people of Dakshina Kannada, has now taken a back seat because of the influx of money from natives settled in other cities, states and countries. Significant number of people from this district work in the Gulf (Middle East) countries and other states of India. Farms and fields are converted into residential plots and commercial (shopping) complexes. Horticulture though made some strides, but has not prospered because of high labour cost and non availability of labour. Automation is not possible because of small holding of lands by farmers and the undulating geography of land. The main crops of Dakshina Kannada are Paddy, Coconut, Arecanut, Black Pepper, Cashew and Cocoa. Rubber, Banana and Vanilla crops are also cultivated in the Sullia taluk. Rice is generally cultivated three seasons in a year, Karthika or Yenel (May–October), Suggi (October to January) and Kolake (January to April).[58] This is subjected to availability of water for the rice or paddy crop. Urad or Black gram is grown in some areas during season of Suggi.[59] Cultivation of vegetables and fruits in fields and gardens for own consumption and selling has declined substantially. The district has APMC market in various taluks for the procurement of agriculture produce. The Karnataka Milk Federation has a milk processing plant at Kulshekar in Mangalore. This plant processes milk procured from the cattle owned by farmers of the district.[60]


Main article: Mangalorean cuisine
Mangalorean Parfait Ice cream
Malpuri, a popular sweet from Dakshina Kannada

Some of the well known dishes in this district include Kori Rotti (dry rice flakes dipped in gravy), Bangude Pulimunchi (spicy sour silver-grey mackerels), Beeja-Manoli Upkari, Neer dosa, Boothai Gasi, Kadubu, Malpuri and Patrode.[61] In coastal Karnataka, the Mangalorean Fish Curry is a popular dish. The Konkani community's specialities include Daali thoy, bibbe-upkari (cashew based), val val, avnas ambe sasam, Kadgi chakko, paagila podi, and chane gashi. Mangalore bajji, also known as Golibaje is a popular snack made from maida, curd, rice flour, chopped onion, coriander leaves, coconut, jeera, green chillies, and salt. Thouthe Kodel (Mangalore Cucumber) recipe is a vegetarian curry relished throughout Karnataka. Vegetarian cuisine in Mangalore, also known as Udupi cuisine, is known and liked throughout the state and region. Being a coastal district, fish forms the staple diet of most people.[62] Mangalorean Catholics' Sanna-Dukra Maas (Sanna – idli fluffed with toddy or yeast; Dukra Maas – Pork), Pork Bafat, Sorpotel and the Mutton Biryani of the Muslims are well-known dishes. Pickles such as happala, sandige and puli munchi are unique to Mangalore. [37]

Commerce and industry[edit]

Forum Fiza Mall

The district along with Udupi district is known as "The Cradle of Indian banking".[63] Major nationalised banks of India such as Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Syndicate Bank, Vijaya Bank and private sector Karnataka Bank evolved from these two districts.[64]

Houses with Mangalore Tiles

Red clay tile (Mangalore Tiles), Cashew processing factories and Beedi industry once flourished in this district. Service sector is booming with setting up of professional education institutes and information technology related services (IT & ITES).

As the district is on the shore of the Arabian sea, fishing is one of the major occupation of many people. The major fishing places are Bunder (Old harbour), Panambur, Surathkal, Kotekar and Sasihitlu.

The major industries in Dakshina Kannada are concentrated around Mangalore viz. Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Ltd. (MCF), Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd. (KIOCL), The Canara Workshops Limited (manufacturers of Canara Springs) Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL),[65] BASF, TOTAL GAZ,Bharati shipyard limited(BSL) etc. There is a chocolate manufacturing plant at Puttur run by co-operative CAMPCO.[66]

Major information technology and outsourcing companies have started locating their facilities in Mangalore. viz. Infosys, Lasersoft infosystems Ltd., Mphasis BPO, etc. Wipro also plans to set up its development facility soon in Mangalore. Three dedicated IT parks are currently under construction. Two such parks are under construction, one Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) at Ganjimutt and a second IT SEZ near Mangalore University. A third IT SEZ is being proposed at Ganjimutt. The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation ONGC plans to set up a multiproduct SEZ (Special economic Zone) with an investment of over Rs. 35,000 crore.[67] Another IT SEZ of 2 million square feet (180,000 m2) is under construction at Thumbe by the BA group. This will include a business centre, convention centre, mall and helipad facility.[68][69][70]

See also[edit]


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