Mangalore is associated with several interesting legends, and one of them happens to be the legend of how Parashurama created it.
Who is Parashurama?
Parashurama, the sixth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, one of the three major deities in the Hindu pantheon, lived during the Treta and Dwapara Yugas. He is one of the immortal sages of Hindu mythology. The son of Jamadagni, one of the saptarishis (seven sages) of Hinduism, and Renuka, he is known for his ability to wield an axe given to him by Lord Shiva, the destroyer of the Hindu pantheon.
As a disciple of Lord Shiva, he learned Kalariyapattu, believed to be the mother of all martial arts, along with the scriptures and the art of warfare. As a result of having learned martial arts from Lord Shiva, he obtained several weapons such as the Bhargavastra and the Vijaya, his bow.
Mangalore was created when Parashurama forced the sea to recede from Konkan and Kerala.
After destroying the corrupt Kshatriyas (the warrior section of society), Parashurama gave away their land to Sage Kashyapa and began looking for a place to meditate on Lord Shiva. He spent some time praying to Lord Shiva on the Sahyadri mountain ranges. Legends say that Lord Shiva appeared before him and advised him to meditate at Kadalivana, the present Kadri.
But when Parashurama gazed at Kadalivana from the Sahyadri, he noticed that it was covered with sea water. He, therefore, requested the sea god to leave Kadalivana as he wanted to go meditate in that place. When the sea god arrogantly refused to do so, Parashurama was enraged and hurled his ax at the ocean. The terrified sea god hastily retreated from the lands of Kerala and Konkan, and one of the regions thus freed from the sea was Mangalore.
Now, there was nothing to stop Parashurama from heading over to Kadalivana for his meditation.
A Marine Regression?
The above is just a myth and has nothing to do with science. Scientifically and logically speaking, it is impossible for anybody to hurl an axe at the sea and force it to recede.
According to Tulu Research, a blog by Ravindra Mundkur and Hosabettu Vishwanath, marine transgression and regression is a periodic and natural phenomenon. The marine regression (a phenomenon in which the sea withdraws from the land) credited to Parashurama could have been witnessed just before the Parashurama myths were created. The history of Shri Lanka says that there was a marine regression around 300 BC, a phenomenon that must have affected the south of India and Shri Lanka.