May 3, 2023
This is our third visit to Mangalore. It is the home of our butler, Vishant, who ends his time with us and goes home on vacation. He introduced us to our new butler, Reice, before he left.
We are again on a private tour with Erin, Mui, Sonia and Boris, and again in a nice large air conditioned van.
Mangalore is a major port city on the west coast of India. It handles 75 percent of the country’s coffee and cashew exports. It is one of the fastest developing cities in India and houses some of the tallest buildings in South India. They get heavy monsoon rains in the June – September season.
Here is a picture of our arrival. We are often greeted by local people and this was no exception. The drummers were very active even in the heat.
We drove for over an hour out to Karkala and Moodabidri. We have a lot of admiration for all of our Indian drivers because it is often like bedlam on the roads. They drive on the opposite side of the road and it seems that cars, trucks, tuktuks and motor bikes are coming from all directions. And they drive fast. There is a lot of road construction going on all over the country but it seemed a lot more here.
Between the 14th and 16th centuries, this area became a great center of learning and pilgrimage for members of the ancient Jain faith. In Karkala, the giant statue of Gomateshwara attracts Jain pilgrims from far and wide. It is on top of a hill and provides panoramic views of the countryside. The statue is the second tallest in India and is 42 feet high. It was carved from one solid piece of stone and taken by elephants up on the hill. It was placed there in the 14th century.
This area of Mangalore is known for its pineapples and other tropical fruits. We bought mangoes in every port so far and they are delicious.We visited Soans farm, a working farm with a bamboo grove. They greated us with fresh pineapple juice and then we were taken on a walk through the farm. The farm was started by Swiss and German missionaries in 1926 as a pilot project to bring under useful cultivation, hilly areas dependent only on seasonal monsoon rains for irrigation. It has now developed into a large center of innovative horticulture, growing over 30 different fruit crops like coconut, pineapple, cashews, mango, sapota, vanilla, areca, bread fruit, banana, jack fruit, cocoa and several spices like pepper, nutmet, clove, allspice and cinnamon. Several new crops have also been introduced from other tropical areas of the world. These are rambutan, durian, langsat, macadamia nuts, mangosteen, dragon fruit, abiu and jaboticaba. Many species of bamboo from around the world and medicinal herbs are also grown here.
Here are some of the varieties we saw and heard about from our guide, the niece of the owners. One of the owners we met introduced her as the “future”! I am including some of the unusual ones. We saw so many different things.
There were some beautiful flowers too.
It is impossible to add all of the pictures and descriptions – there was so much to see and learn. Sonia did manage to buy some mangoes -right from the farm – they must be the best. She gave me two to try. Will report on that after I eat them.
After our visit to the farm, we went to Moodabidri and visited the Jain temple dedicated to Chandranatha. It is the famous 1000-pillared Jain temple. It is richly carved and no two pillars are exactly alike. It is the largest Jain temple in coastal Karanataka.
Followers of the Jain religion do not worship gods. They believe in 24 teachers. This is a replica of one of the teachers.
Our last stop was a local bazaar at Moodabidri where local people come to buy their fruits, vegetables andother products. The green beans were the largest we have ever seen!
We had a short day in port and a long drive, so we were told to bring some food with us as there would be no time to stop for lunch. It was again, an adventure in another side of India that we had not experienced on our previous visits. There are lots of rolling hills, coconut trees and farms in this area.
Tomorrow we will be in Cochin, another port we have visited several times. More to learn and experience.