Surathkal is a serene suburb of Mangalore in the Dakshina Kannada district. It was once a separate town but now holds the status of being a beach suburb of Mangalore. It is situated on the shore of the Arabian Sea and is at a distance of 6 km to the north of the New Mangalore sea port. It is famous for its educational institutes and industries. The place also boasts of lovely beaches and other tourist attractions.
History of Surathkal
Surathkal, being part of Karnataka, was under the rule of many dynasties. The prominent dynasties to rule over Surathkal were the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Surathkal was also ruled by Aurangzeb who leased the place to the rulers of the Wodeyar dynasty. It was also a part of Tipu Sultan’s territory till his death at the hands of the British rulers of India.
The origin of the name ‘Surathkal’
The name Surathkal is believed to be derived from the word “Shiradakal” which means headstone in Kannada and Tulu languages.
According to Hindu mythology, once Lord Ganesha had kept a Shivalinga that belonged to Ravana on the ground. When Ravana tried to pick it up from the ground it could not be moved. Upon applying force to move it, the linga broke into pieces. The head piece of the linga is said to have fallen in present day Surathkal and hence the name of the place.
Legend has it that the famous Sadashiva Temple is built around that piece of the Shivalinga.
NITK – National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal
The National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) in Surathkal is an institute of national importance. Formerly known as Karnataka Regional Engineering College (KREC), it was founded in 1960. The institution started with offering basic courses like mechanical, civil, electrical engineering. Over the years it has grown to a full-fledged institution that offers advanced and post graduate courses in various disciplines of engineering stream.
Industries in Surathkal
Surathkal takes pride in being an industrial area. Some of the major industries in and around Surathkal are Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Limited (MCF), BASF, etc. The Baikampady Industrial Estate is situated at a distance of about 6 kilometres from Surathkal. It is the hub of many small and medium sized industries.
Tourism in and around Surathkal
Sandy shores like NITK campus beach, Panambur beach, Kapu beach, Murudeshwara beach and St. Mary’s Island, near Malpe beach, Udupi are situated close by. Nearby Sashihitulu village about 5 kms from Surathkal is an estuary formed by the joining of Pavanje river to the Arabian sea.
It is also known for its unspoilt sandy beaches. Some of the main tourist attractions in and around Surathkal are:
Surathkal beach is a picturesque beach of unspoilt natural beauty. The place is ideal for enjoying the beauty of sunrises and the charming glow of the setting sun spreading its light over the vast Arabian Sea.
Surathkal Lighthouse is located along the Surathkal beach. The lighthouse was constructed in 1972. Since then it has been a major landmark of Surathkal.
St. Mary’s Islands
St. Mary’s Islands (also known as Coconut Island or Thonsepar) are a group of four small islands off the coast of Malpe in the Arabian Sea. These islands are famous for their unique geological formation of columnar basaltic lava.
Panambur Beach is located at a distance of about 10 km from Surathkal. The beach is known for its sand shores and high tidal waves. There are various kinds of water sports that can be enjoyed at this beach.
Tannirubhavi Beach is situated at a distance of 21 km from Surathkal. The beach can be reached through a ferry ride from the Gurupura River.
Kapu Beach is located at a distance of 30 km from here. One of the main attractions of the Kapu beach is the light house that offers panoramic view of the sea and the surrounding coastal area.
Kadri Temple is located at the base of the Kadri hills, at a distance of 19 km from Surathkal. It is an ancient temple that was built in the 17th century. The temple has a lovely bronze statue of Buddha.
Krishnapura Matha is one of the eight mathas founded by Dvaita philosopher Shri Madhvacharya. The matha is at a distance of about 3 km from Surathkal and is a famous pilgrimage site in this region. An idol of Kalinga Mardhana Krishna is worshipped at this matha.
Best time to visit Surathkal
The best time to visit Surathkal is between the months of December and February when the weather remains pleasant.
How to reach Surathkal
Surathkal is easily accessible by several means of transport.
The nearest airport to reach Surathkal is the Mangalore International Airport that is located at a distance of 15 km from the suburb. Cabs can be hired to reach Surathkal from the airport.
Surathkal is well connected by the rail network. The Surathkal Railway Station connects it to various cities and towns of Karnataka and beyond.
Frequent buses connect Surathkal to major towns and cities in its vicinity. There are local buses as well as express buses that ply between Surathkal and the nearby places. Suratkal is 40 kms to the North of Udupi along the NH – 17.