Surathkal is a town located in the Dakshina Kannada District, in the state of Karnataka, 20 km from Mangalore City. It is situated at a height of 24 metres along the Arabian Sea. Though a separate city in the past, currently it holds the status of being a beach suburb of Mangalore. The name Surathkal originates from the term Shiratkal or Shiradakal, which literally means 'headstone' in Kannada and Tulu languages.
As a part of Karnataka, Surathkal has been ruled by many dynasties, such as Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Western Chalukyas, Hoysalas, Western Gangas and Vijayanagaras. It has also been a part of the reigns of the Wodeyars, who leased it from Aurangzeb. Before the British Raj, this town was also a part of Tipu Sultan's territory, till he died at the hands of the British.
As per Hindu scriptures, Lord Ganesha kept a Shiva Linga belonging to Ravana on the ground. When Ravana tried to pick up the Shiva Linga forcefully, it broke into pieces, with one of the pieces falling in present-day Surathkal.
It is believed that the famous Sadashiva Temple stands around that piece of Ravana's Shiva Linga. Apart from the temple, tourists can visit the holy sites located at Mangalore, Udupi, Dharmasthala and Manipal near this town.
There are various tourist attractions in Surathkal, such as St. Mary's Island and Light House located on a solid black rock on a nearby hill. It is also home to many beautiful beaches, including Panampur Beach, Kapu Beach and Murudheshwara Beach. Apart from that, there is an estuary located 5 km from Surathkal, which is formed when Pavanje River meets the Arabian Sea. Krishnapura Matha, which is considered as one of the Astha Mathas, is located just 3 km from Surathkal.
Mangalore International Airport, located 15 km away, is the nearest airport and connects Surathkal to all major cities. Surathkal Railway Station, which is located 3 km away from the National Institute of Technology, is the closest railway station; it falls on the famed Konkan railway route.
Local buses as well as Mangalore-Udupi express buses connect this town to major cities in its vicinity. The Mangalore Sea Port is situated 6 km away from this town on the Arabian Sea and primarily used for exporting goods.
Surathkal is known for its hot summers that last from March to May and are followed by monsoons in the months of June, July, August and September. The best time to visit Surathkal is from December to February, especially January, when Pongal and the Kite Festival are celebrated.