Mangalore Dasara or Navaratri is one of the biggest festivities in the coastal district of Mangalore. This renowned Dasara celebration is popular for its sparkling procession of idols, tableaux, and folk dance performances. Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara temple is the center of attraction during the Navarathri events. The celebrations at the temple during Dasara is commonly called as Mangalore Dasara. During the Dasara celebration, the century old Gokarnanatheshwara Temple wears a grand bridal look, as the entire premises shimmers with golden glow.
Celebrations of this festival are unique and different as it is the only Dasara where the nine idols of Goddess Durga are worshipped on a very grand scale. The idols of goddess durga in nine avatars i.e., Shail Putri (Parvathi), Brahmacharini, Chandra Ghanta, Kushmaandinim, Skandaputhri, Katyayini, Kaalaratri, Maha Gauri and Sidhidaathri are invoked to sanctify the devotees of Mangalore as well as other parts of Mangalore. The citizens of Mangalore and thousands of devotees flock to view the colourful idols of Navadurga displayed at the temple. The navarathri celebration ultimately ends with the immersion of idols in the pond at the premises of Gokarnanatheshwara temple.
Apart from the procession of ‘Navadurgas’ Idols, the tiger dance (pilivesha), bear dance (karadivesha) troupes, the Kalladka dolls, tableaus, bands, decorative umbrellas, chende and traditional dances, folk dances, music’s, Yakshagana characters, dollu kunitha, and other traditional art forms make the procession more colorful and attractive. Also, the roads through which the procession passes would be exquisitely illuminated with electrical bulbs. Tiger Dance is a unique form of dance performed the devotees on the occasion of Dasara. Through the Tiger dance, the devotees show their reverence towards Goddess Sharada. Also, the Tiger Dance celebrates the splendor of Devi Durga.
Mangalore Dasara, a rechristened name for the erstwhile Kudhroli Dasara, is now world famous. Besides, it is the second biggest Dasara celebration of Karnataka, after Mysore Dasara. The Mangalore Dasara has gained worldwide popularity because of the participation of people, irrespective of caste, creed and religions.