Karavali in Kannada language or Canara or Kanara in English is the coastal region on the west shore of Arabian Sea at Karnataka state of India. Sometimes it is called Tulunadu or Tulunad as the Tulu is local language spoken in this region. Mengaluru, Udupi and Karwar are the important towns of Karavali.
This coastal strip of Karnataka lies between the Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats) and the Arabian sea. It was named Canara (also Kanara) by European traders. There are many theories among historians as to how the name Canara came about, but the commonly accepted one is that it was a corruption of Kannada, which in turn came from the Kannada dynasty that was ruling the place when the Portuguese stopped by. The British took over the region in 1799, split the region into North Canara and South Canara, and made the former a part of the Bombay Presidency while the latter was made part of the Madras Presidency. After independence in 1947, the two districts were reorganized into the Mysore state which later became Karnataka. They now got the indegenous names of Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada. (Uttara and Dakshina mean North and South respectively in Kannada) In 1997, Udupi district was hived off from Dakshina Kannada.
In common with Kerala, this region has a mythology about its origin. Parasurama, an avatar of Vishnu, flung his axe into the sea, asking it to recede. There is some controversy over why exactly he flung said axe; the version accepted in this region says that he wanted land that was not created by Brahma for his penance.
National Highway NH66 (formerly NH17) connecting Cochin with Mumbai is the main mode of entry. The scenery along the drive is beautiful. You can see lush coastal greenery and the occasional beach. Unfortunately, much of this highway is undivided, and in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, speeding private buses make it hazardous to drive on. Worsening the problem is that the project to turn this highway into a 4-lane divided highway has been in progress for ages and is likely to take years more, which means that you are apt to run into road diversions due to construction activity at random intervals.
Road connectivity with the rest of Karnataka is provided through four ghats, or mountain passes. These are the Subrahmanya or Bisle, Charmadi, Shiradi,Hulikal or Balebare and Agumbe ghats. The National Highway 75 ( previously NH-48 ) connects Bangalore to Mangalore through the Shiradi ghat. The ghat roads are in a perpetual state of disrepair, and monsoons make the problem worse. They are dangerous to drive on because of rash driving. On the plus side, the view is absolutely stunning.
Other national highways like NH-13, NH-234 (both old highway numbers) connect Dakshina Kannada district to upper parts or places above western ghats in Karnataka. Similarly NH-63 and NH-206 connect Uttara Kannada district with other regions of Karnataka.
The revenue districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada are connected by railway or railroad through Konkan railway route. The Konkan railway route runs from Mumbai( Bombay ) to Mangaluru (Mangalore). Construction of Konkan railway line was completed in the year 1998.
Mangaluru which is important city of coastal Karnataka has international airport. Earlier Mangalore airport was known as Bajpe airport. The name has been changed after expansion of airport and shifting of passenger terminal from Bajpe to Kenjar village.
There is all weather sea port at Panambur known by the name of New Mangalore port. The New Mangalore port is situated 12 kilometre from centre of Mangalooru city. There are other sea ports also in Karavali region of Karnataka state major one are at Malpe and Karwar.
There are many state highways in the Karavali (coastal) region (pradesh) which connect towns within the district as well as the other regions of the Karnatak state. Also there are district roads which connect towns and villages of particular district. These state highways and district roads are narrow and mostly are single lane as compared to national highways. Usually state highways and district roads are looked after by state public works department popularly known as PWD. Within town and villages there are roads connecting different localities maintained by respective municipalities or Grama Panchayath (Village panchayath). The roads in Karavali are not so good especially in rainy season. Konkan railway system has been supplementing the road transport in Karavali region to small extent. Even though there is the Arabian sea and many rivers which join this sea, transportation by water is not happening due to various reasons in this coastal area of Karavali. Common modes of transport in this region are buses, cars, motorcycles, scooters,vans,auto rickshaws and sometimes lorry. Bullock carts and bicycles are seen less today which were once popular.
Karavali is famous for beaches, rivers, temples and forests. Famous beaches are Ullala,Panambur, Taneerbhavi, Suratkal, Kapu, Malpe, Maravante,Kumta, Murdeshwara, Karawara and Gokarna. Hindu Temples at Mangaladevi ( Mangalore ), Krishnapura ( Surathkal ),Dharmasthala, Kukke Subramanya, Udupi (Udipi), Anegudde ( Kumbashi), Shankarnarayana, Polali, Kateelu, Kaup (Kapu),Kamalashile, Hattiangadi, Kolluru, Kumta, Gokarna, Dhareshwara, Murdeshwara, Sirsi, Idagunji attract devotees from other parts of Karnataka state as well other states of India. There are various wild life sanctuaries in Karavali like Someshwara, Kollur, Anshi Tiger reserve. There are historical places like Barkur which was once capital of Tulunadu, Moodabidre for Jain basidi. Banavasi is near Sirsi town.
Some of suggested itineraries in Karavali are as follows
Visit beaches on shores of Arabian sea and enjoy the sunset. Take boat ride on rivers like Netravathi, Phalguni, Shambhavi, Suvarna, Seetha, Panchagangavali, Sharavathi, Aghnashini, Kali to enjoy beautiful scenes of nature. If your are spiritual go to Hindu temples which are revered by thousands of people. Visit wild life sanctuaries of Karavali not only for wild animals, but also diversified and rare flora found there. Forest areas of Karavali region has presence of many wild animals like fox, leopard, tiger, wild boar, porcupine, wild buffalo and elephants, to name a few. The forests of this region host many deadly reptiles like cobra, vipers, etc. Lush green canopy of these forests along with pristine rivers, waterfalls and streams will make you happy.
While the cuisine of the Karavali region might seem at first glance to be similar to South Indian cuisine, and specifically Karnataka cuisine, it has some distinctive features of its own. The cuisine of Karavali is dominated by coconut and fish, as you might expect from the fact that the region is on the coast. Coconut is added to virtually every dish here, and coconut oil is the primary medium of cooking. Coconut adds a distinct taste and thickness to most of the dishes.
The staple food of Karavali, in common with most of South India, is rice. Apart from white rice, parboiled rice is popular here. The poor family's meal is the Ganji, which is a rice gruel, made with parboiled rice or polished rice, with only salt for taste, usually consumed with pickles on the side. If this sounds similar to the Kanji or Tamil Nadu or the Congee of East Asia, that's because it is the same thing. In earlier times, it used to be consumed for for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But now, it has been relegated to a dish to be had only when sick . A special variety of Ganji is made with addition of coconut milk squeezed fresh from the coconut.
One distinctive feature of Karavali cooking that it shares with Kerala is the great use of steaming that it makes. There is a theory that this is because this region had close links with China and southeast Asia and the technique was imported from there.
Like the rest of South India, you will find that this region eats idlis and dosas for breakfast. But skip those and try out some breakfast dishes found here rarely found elsewhere. Among them is the the version of idli called moode or Kadubu in Tulu (other languages in the region have other names) It is best made in moulds of kedige leaves that give it a distinct flavor. If you've been to Kerala, it may remind you of the puttu, but the taste and texture are different. Another steamed breakfast option is the pundi gatti - a rice based spin on the idli that is called kadubu elsewhere in Karnataka.
Try the Neer Dose or Bajjere ( Bajji ari ) Dosa, the counterpart of the dosa, prepared with rice only. Thinner and crispier, it is usually eaten for lunch along with chicken curry - it is one half of the famous Kori rotti, but for vegetarians, it is a good breakfast option when eaten with chutney or mixture made up of jaggery and coconut as well. Other variations of the rice pancake are also common such as with red chili added, often with lots of vegetables.
The Shevige, or rice noodles, is another dish that must not be missed. The South Indian upma is called uppittu here, and is naturally made with a lot more coconut than you will be used to. Finally, avalakki or flattened rice, prepared with a masala that is unique in this region, is a light, but tasty breakfast choice.
Lunch and dinner in this region usually comprises of rice with wet and dry curries. The South Indian sambhar is called huli in Kannada or koddelu or kodel in Tulu. The thing that will strike you when trying out the huli in Karavali is that it is thicker. Needless to say, this is because of the coconuts.
Other spins on the sambhar that you must try here are the Menaskai and Majjige Huli, also called Kodakyana in Tulu. In the former, conflicting flavors - sour, sweet, hot and sometimes bitter - are mixed to make it a tasty concoction. Can be made with any sour or bitter vegetable or fruit, most often with bitter gourd, mango or pineapple. The Majjige Huli or Kodakyana is a dish where the sambhar is overloaded with butter milk to give it a nice sour taste.
Karavali cuisine makes excellent use of leafy vegetables. They are used as the main ingredient for curries, they are used to wrap around the main ingredients to add flavour while steaming, they are added to flour and made into pancakes, and banana leaves are also used as plates to serve food on! Among them, special mention must be made of the Basale or Malabar Spinach, which is found in very few regions, among them Karavali. Basale huli is a delicacy you must try when you are here.
Other vegetables characteristically used in Karavali cooking are raw bananas. The banana tree is in fact a source of many other ingredients - the banana flower and the stem also make their appearance. Pumpkins, especially the variety that is ash-colored and native to the region are also a delicacy here. This region is also known for a variety of eggplant (known locally as "brinjal") that is green in colour. It has a milder taste than the purple colored one. The "Matti gulla" variety found only in Udupi should not be missed.
During summer you must try the mango, both raw (February/March) and ripe (April/May). The number of varieties is large, and the number of preparations that can be made out of mangoes is even larger. Try the rasayana, a squash made from ripe mangoes or banana and jaggery, Also the mambala, dried mango pulp made into sheets, for distinctively Karavali versions.
The jackfruit is another awesome fruit that has its origins in this region. It ripens during the summer. Its raw form is used as a vegetable. The ripe fruit can be eaten uncooked (preferably mixed with honey) or made into a wide variety of preparations, including a steamed sweet dumpling and a fried snack. A cousin of the jackfruit is the breadfruit which is even less known, but is arguably tastier when cooked as a vegetable - only the raw version of the fruit is consumed.
The variety of banana that is available in this region is probably unequaled anywhere else. Once you're done with sampling the elakki bale (literally, cardamom banana, so called because it tastes like the banana has been flavored with cardamom) or the pachhe bale, (literally, green banana, but it is not actually green) you will find the normal Cavendish banana boring. Also make sure that you try the Nendra bale - it is quite difficult to digest uncooked, so it is eaten after being heated for a bit on a pan, but it is delicious.
Tender coconut is main source of liquid required to get rid of heat and humidity. Soda sharabat and ragi water are equally famous.
Use public transport as far as possible. Important towns of Karavali region of Karnataka are connected by bus services provided by Karnataka state road transport corporation (KSRTC) as well as private operators. Ask local people's guidance when you are traveling single and to destinations which are less populated. Many times road conditions many not be suitable for journey due to bad weather and other causes especially in rainy season. Road signs may be absent many times so drive carefully. Auto or rickshaws (three wheelers) drivers may not ply to your destinations or may ask for exorbitant fares or rates. Do not enter into any bodies of water like sea, river, streams, ponds or lakes as they may be deep and filled with dirt and mud. Special care must be taken while venturing into jungle areas of Karavali as it host wild animals and poisonous snakes.