Nautica recently called on the port city of Mangalore, India, renowned as the junction of the Netravati and Gurupura rivers, which ultimately lead to the Arabian Sea. As a result, Mangalore is the staging point for major Western Indian exports such as cashews and coffee as well as various petroleum products.
Several important historical sites and spiritual centers can be found in and around Mangalore, and many Nautica guests explored the area during an excursion with Oceania Cruises. Their adventure began north of Mangalore in the holy town of Karkala, a center of pilgrimage for followers of Jainism that is nestled amidst a striking landscape dominated by black granite.
The 42-foot-tall monolithic statue of Bahubali is a prominent landmark just beyond the town center. Bahubali is believed to embody the ideal of a man who conquers selfishness, jealousy, pride, and anger. His virtue was a result of 12 years of meditation following a major conflict with his brother Bharata. Karkala has numerous places of worship devoted to a wide variety of faiths and welcomes thousands of visitors each year seeking spiritual guidance as well as a closer look at the magnificent detail of the sculptures and temples.
Just as sculptors created beautiful works out of stone in Karkala, the agriculturists at nearby Soans Farm created equal beauty from the earth. First established prior to World War II, the farm began to flourish after the war and Indian independence. Soans Farm was conceived as a coconut plantation, but because the area has shallow soil and minimal irrigation, Alfred Soans had to seek alternatives to achieve success. Pineapple was introduced along with other crop diversification. Farm machinery was employed, and irrigation improvements were made. These innovations led to year-round usage of the land, sustainable farming methods, and further agricultural developments that attracted researchers from around the world to study and observe the ground-breaking successes.
Nautica guests seeking reflection and inspiration found it at the Thousand Pillars Temple in the town of Moodabidri. The temple literally has 1,000 sculpted stone pillars, and it is believed that none are identical. The temple is also home to the oldest Jain manuscripts charting the religion’s beliefs, history and culture. Inside the temple, more ornate carvings adorn the granite pillars, and various panels decorate the interior.
Returning to Mangalore, Nautica guests visited the St. Aloysius College Chapel. The church was constructed in the early 20th century and was inspired by the Sistine Chapel in Rome. The church and school are dedicated to Aloysius Gonzaga, a saint who renounced his wealth and power to adopt an ascetic lifestyle and serve others.
The paintings in the center of the ceiling depict the life’s work of St. Aloysius and his commitment to those in need. St. Aloysius’ life ended when he contracted the plague while tending to those stricken with the disease. His legacy lives on as thousands of children continue to study at the school each year.
With the holiday season in full swing, those considering New Year’s resolutions may well have found inspiration in the spiritual precepts of the religious centers of Mangalore, Karkala and Moodabidri.