Our first stop in India is Mangalore. Named after the local Hindu deity Mangaladevi, Mangalore lies squarely between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghat mountain ranges. Today is hot and humid so a haze hides the mountains. We are warmly welcomed by Indian musicians and dancers on the pier.
Tourism is a new industry to Mangalore since it has only been a cruise ship port since 2009. Our tour guide is super cautious and prefers to tell us about the city instead of allowing us to get off the bus to take pictures or explore any site. First, our tour bus heads to the nearby suburb of Ullal to see the Ullal Jamma Masjid, a renowned place of Muslim pilgrimage. Next we drive through Mangalore viewing temples, churches, schools and hospitals from the bus. Sadly, we don’t even stop at St. Aloysisu Church, the Roman Catholic church built in 1899, to see interior paintings and garden views of the city. Produce, clothing and flower markets line streets that are full of local buses, tuk-tuks and cars.
We stop at the Sultan’s Battery. This watchtower was constructed by Sultan Tippu on the Gurpur River to prevent warships from entering the harbor. It is made of black stones and looks like a miniature fortress with its arrangements for mounting cannons all around. We cross over the Gurpur River and wander through a fishing village of small, tile roof houses. With limited access, the bus is forced to turn around on the narrow road. It was quite entertaining for the local residences to watch the large tour bus move back and forth until it got turned around.