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| Last Updated:: 08/07/2021

Coastal Karnataka


Karnataka’s coast stretches across approximately 320 kilometers in the districts of Dakshina Kannada (62 km of coastline), Udupi (98 km) and Uttara Kannada (160 km). The coastline is flanked by the moderately unpolluted Arabian Sea in the west and a vast picturesque Western Ghats in the east. There are three distinct agro-climatic zones ranging from coastal flatlands in the west with undulating hills and valleys in the middle and high hills in the east. Several ridges and spurs of Western Ghats traverse this region and open into the sea. It has difficult terrains full of rivers, creeks, waterfalls, peaks and hill ranges. The coastal region consists of two broad physical units, the plains and the Western Ghats. The coastal plains comprise narrow stretches of estuarine and marine plains of a width between 50 km and 80 km. The three coastal districts have eight talukas  adjacent to the coast which has 22 urban agglomerations and 1,044 villages. The area’s average population density is 253 persons/km2 (337 in Dakshina Kannada, 290 in Udupi and 132 in Uttara Kannada). The area is predominantly agrarian engaging about 60% of the workforce. More than 70% of cultivated land is under cereals with rice as the principle crop. Fishing is one of the major sources of livelihood with about one lakh people directly engaged in it and another two lakh in associated work. In
addition, industrial activities have also recorded a rapid growth providing direct employment to nearly two lakh people. Similar to problems across the globe, the situation is no different in Karnataka. Industrialization, improper land use, unsustainable economic activities and overexploitation of natural resources have adversely affected the coastal environment. Effluents and emissions discharged by large industries and power plants, sewage discharge, unregulated tourism and intensive aquaculture have negatively impacted the coastal environment. Decline in mangroves and coastal wetlands have eroded its pollutant-filtering capacity.

Dakshina Kannada

Dakshina Kannada is sheltered by the Western Ghats on the east and bordered by the Arabian Sea on the west. 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.

Ensconced on the coast, Mangalore makes a pleasant and convenient stop between Goa and Kerala. With its narrow, winding streets fringed with coconut palms, quaint houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, beautiful beaches, temples and churches and the aroma of spicy coconut curries, it has preserved its old-world charm. Mangalore was a major seaport and ship-building centre during Hyder Ali’s time.

Today it is a business and commercial centre and Karnataka’s major port for the export of iron ore, coffee, spices and cashew.


Udupi, an important coastal town in Karnataka is located 381 kms from Bangalore and 60kms from Mangalore. Udupi is an open square surrounded by temples and mutts. Udupi is the birth place of the 12th century saint Madhava, who set up eight sanyasi mutts in the town and is one of Karnataka's most revered pilgrimage sites. The colorful Paryaya festival at Udupi beckons thousands of devotees from all over the country. Udupi is also known for its delicious cuisine

Uttara kannada

Uttar Kannada has varied geographical features such as thick forests, perennial rivers, and abundant flora and fauna along a coastline of 140 kms.  Karwar located 519 kms north-west of Bangalore is the district headquarters of Uttar Kannada. It is one of the most secluded beaches along Karnataka's 320 km long coastline. The town lies about 15 kms south of the Karnataka-Goa border. Karwar was an ancient site of sea trade visited by the Arabs, Dutch, Portuguese, French & the British. The British made this place their district headquarters in 1862.  


Sources: Coastal Master Plan – Karnataka Tourism