Sultan Battery, Mangalore – A Picture Of Neglect
We recently transited through Mangalore on our way to Calicut, and since this was a city we had never visited before, we opted to for a stopover in Mangalore on our outward as well as return journey. On the day of our arrival, having reached Mangalore by air at about noon, we checked into our hotel, and then decided to explore the city. Since we only had the afternoon available, we hired a cab and set out to visit the places in the vicinity that the hotel staff had suggested to us. Mangalore has some very famous temples, but unfortunately, most of them were closed in the afternoon. Our driver, Shiva, suggested that we visit the Sultan Battery located just a short distance away, to which we agreed, and within a few minutes, we were there.
The Sultan Battery is a structure believed to have been built by Tipu Sultan as a watch tower overlooking the Gurpur River (which resembles serene backwaters at this point), it is like a mini-fortress capable of being mounted with canons in every direction in order to provide a solid defence. It is not a very tall structure – some 20 odd steps and you are on the top, which is an open, circular platform with some concrete benches laid around. There is nothing else there except the structure itself, which is interesting on its own, though it doesn’t appear to be well-maintained. The views of the water and coastline, though, are fantastic.
The place was not too crowded – perhaps because it was afternoon and the sun was a bit strong. There were some couples there taking selfies by the fort wall with the background of the waters. Some people were posing sitting within the cannon gaps on the fort wall, while a majority was just admiring the view of the water and the distant shores.
With a little bit of effort, this place could have been done up beautifully and the surroundings could have been improved to create a world class tourist spot. However, as is the case with most historical places whose upkeep is entrusted with governmental organisations, the Sultan Battery in Mangalore is a sad picture of neglect. We could see litter strewn around the structure as well as over the surroundings. We could not spot any guard at the premises, nor could we find any form of official presence, which makes one wonder about the security of the place.
However, there is a ferry-boat service that operates from the adjoining jetty – known as the boat club – that takes people across to the Tannir Bhavi beach – a ride that we ourselves did not avail. Also close-by is a fishing village where one can see beached fishing boats all around. A bit of imagination, planning and upkeep of the surroundings could have made the whole atmosphere magical. Cleanliness of the surrounding areas is poor, and very little is available nearby in terms of infrastructure – just a couple of small shops selling snacks, water and soft drinks etc.
The structure of the watch tower, however, is definitely worth a one-time visit. Here are some pictures of the Sultan Battery and its surrounding areas.
Rajiv Bajaj asserts his right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author. All copyright and pictures are the property of the author.