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Festivals and Fairs in Mangalore

Kudla, Mangaluru, Kodiyal, Mangalapuram, and Maikala these are the various names of India’s one of the most beautiful city in the southern part of the country under the state government of Karnataka, Mangalore. Just like its variety of names the city has lots of hidden goodness and colors in it that will be unfolded to you once you visit the place.

Mangalore is a city that celebrates all festivals in a vibrant manner that tourism in Mangalore is at the optimum during the festive seasons.  As the city is attached with the Mangalore port, it has become a stop spot for the tourists who are regular visitors of all the fairs. This has made the Mangalore tourism to experience a good amount of revenue during the peak festival seasons. Mangalore has many things to offer to its tourists, right from its authentic folk culture to its vibrant handicrafts, colorful dances to delicious cuisine and action packed events when visiting the fairs in Mangalore.

Festivals and Fairs in Mangalore

Mangalore is very vibrant and colorful place when it comes to its heritage and culture and one of the important parts of its culture is festivals and fairs. Festivals are an integral part of all castes and creeds as they keep the spark of heritage and culture shining. Fairs at the same time are hosted to let the people of the city and outsiders enjoy the goodness of the cities heritage and culture. Mangalore being a tourist’s spot fairs and festivals are celebrated in a very enthusiastic way.

Festivals celebrated in Mangalore

Aati Festival

People in Mangalore are quite religious and along with religion they also believe and give importance to different superstition. Many of their festivals are based on these superstitions among which Aati Festival is there. Aati festival is celebrated in the month of Aashadha from Lunar calendar. According to the people of a community called Nalke the month is considered unfavorable and many evil spirits set free to cause harm to the community hence they worship a divine spirit Kalanja to protect themselves from any wrong. The festival is celebrated more in religious way.

Tiger Dance

Next is a Tiger Dance festival where people take part in this super energhetic dance form to celebrate Dussera and Janmashtami. It is a folk form of dance where people disguise as tigers by applying layers of yellow, brown white colors as strips on their bodies. The people there consider this dance form as holy and powerful as they consider tiger as the pet of Goddess Durga, the supreme source of power for the Hindus. The dance festival goes on for a good 10 days and locals call it Pili Vesha or Huli Vesha. Vesha stands for Tiger.

Performers of tiger dance
Dancers in Pili Vesha (attire of tiger) at the tiger dance festival in Mangalore


One of the major festivals in Mangalore is Yakshayagna, it is the traditional form of folk dance which starts at night and goes on till dawn. The dance is basically performed on some ballad or drama where there is a strong storyline depicted through the dance form. These stories are divine stories of demi-gods from Hindu mythologies. Yakshayagna is very colorful and enthusiastic festival of Mangalore and people celebrate it with full energy, spirit and gaiety.


Dussehra is another very popular festival in Mangalore. It celebrates the victory of Hindu goddess Durga over evil. The festival is celebrated all over the nation but people in Mangalore have immense respect for the festival. The festival is celebrated in a very grand and extravagant manner.

Car Festival at Venkatrama Temple

Known as Mangalore Rathotsava, the car festival at venkatarama temple is extremely famous for the people in Mangalore and also for the tourists there. It is a major festival for the city where thousands of car lovers from different places come and participate. It is one week long festival celebrated in the month of January. The main point of attraction in the festival is the gigantic wooden car usually called “Theru” or “ Kodial Theru”.

Car festival or Rathotsava in Mangalore
Thousands of devotees gather to witness the Rathotsava at Sri Venkatramana Temple


Janmashtami is celebrated all over India; the day is of extreme importance as it marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. The festival is celebrated in very energetic and vibrant way. People of Mangalore are very religious and pious hence they observe this festival with grandeur. The festival has a custom of breaking an earthen pot kept at a certain height. Few people makes a human pyramid by climbing upon each other and the one at the top breaks the pot which has butter in it.

Ganesh Puja

Lord Ganesha’s birthday is celebrated as Ganesh Puja, the festival is also called Ganesh Chaturthi. Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are worshiped with much gaiety and grandeur. People sing devotional songs and dance in joy.

Fairs in Mangalore

These festivals witnesses huge fairs as well, apparels, show pieces, utility items etc. are displayed in these fairs. As these fairs are collaborated with big festivals of the city hence huge turnover is seen. People enjoy themselves completely; shopping, eating, sightseeing etc are done. Apart from these cultural fairs Mangalore also hosts fairs on Auto Mobile, trade stuffs, and books.

Trade Fair

Mangalore though not a metropolitan but people here are very polished, educated and stylish. Economically the place is quite healthy as it is one of the major port cities of South India. The city is home to many trades like handicrafts, spices, wooden furniture etc. These items are exported to different countries and as the people love these things, imports are also done to quench the demand of local market. Many trade fairs are hosted here in Mangalore to let the people get aware of new products. These days people are more interested in shopping for products that are made out of jute, which are sold at many stalls in the trade fairs as it is recyclable and fashionable.

Consumers at the Trade Fair
Ladies checking out the jute products on display at Trade Fair stalls

Auto Exhibition

Mangalore is very famous for hosting auto exhibition in South India. Udayavani is the major Auto Expo held in Mangalore. The Auto Expo gives the auto manufactures of all over India to showcase their products and Mangalore being a trading hub and famous tourist spot the turnover at the exhibition is quite a lot. These exhibitions do not only displays cars and bikes but they also offer services related to the cars, insurances, accessories, tyres and other spare parts, lubricants and bank finances.

Book Fairs

People in Mangalore are more bent towards art and culture hence book fairs are not much entertained. But this year after a long period of 13 years the national book trust is taking the responsibility of financing a book fair which will go on for 5 to 7 days at a stretch. Books from all over the world will be showcased and huge turnover of book lovers are expected. The fair will be held at the Nehru Maidan from January 4 to January 12.

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