Kinnigoli is a small but important town and can be reached from almost all important towns in the Dakshina Kannada district. It is about 60 minutes by road from Mangalore to where a number of buses ply in 5 minutes average. From Mulky which is about 20 minutes by road and also the nearest railway station, the bus services are once in half an hour. The Holy town of Kateel is about 4 km away and connected very well with frequent buses. The Mangalore airport (Bajpe) is 11 km away and can be reached within half an hour. From Kinnigoli busstand one can get buses to virtually just about anywhere in the Dakshina Kannada district involving just one change in between.
Kinnigoli now has all the prominent telecom companies providing their services. Weekly market held on Wednesday still retains its significance in this era of malls by offering those precious items which Kinnigolians are used to and no malls are capable of serving. For a town of its size, Kinnigoli has amazing number of banks, bakeries, bars and barbers.
There are plenty of auto rickshaws available in Kinnigoli busstandwhich will take you anywhere you wish. Fares are reasonable. There are taxis also in front of Durga Daya just before you enter the bus stand, most of them are ever-reliable Ambassador cars. If you are a big group and want to tour around Kinnigoli, you can hire mini buses or vans. For transporting goods, there are mini tempos, canters and lorries available.
The main attraction of Kinnigoli is nature. A small town surrounded by lush green scenery, gushing streams and jungles around, the eco-diversity of the place has been maintained due to the caring attitude of the local populace. For the adventurous there are trekking trails through which one can trek to Mulky, Kateel, Mangalore, Suratkal and other places. There are plenty of swaying coconut palms, toddy palms and other types of trees all the way. There are two religious places worth visiting in Kinnigoli: One is the Sri Rama Mandir, established even before independence by the small GSB community and other is the Our Lady of Immaculate conception Church of Roman Catholic community which also has a chequered history. Additionally the famous temples of Lord Venkataramana at Mulki is just 8 km away and that of Sri Durgaparameshwari temple just 3 km distant. Other temples in the vicinity include Punaroor temple (2 km) from Kinnigoli and Bappanad close to Mulky (8 km away) Every Thursday, the local market comes alive with various types of vendors trading in fish, local produce, vegetables and dry fish. A yoga kendra is located couple of kilometres from the bus stand which offers various types of courses as well as naturotherapy treatments.
In addition, there are small hamlets like Golijora, Rajaratnapuram, Padmanoor, Punarooru, Shibarooru, Kuttettor, and Kilenjur which are basically clusters of people engaged in agriculture. The morning walks in the largely undisturbed jungles of Tudam among the lap of the nature is really soothing. In winter months, usually in December–January, buffalo racing competition called "Kambala" is held in the water filled, post harvest, rice fields named "Kaantabare-Boodabare" in Aikala, just about 3 km from Kinnigol which attracts hordes of spectators including tourists. The competition attracts well fed and trained water buffaloes from round the district and gold medallions along with cash are awarded as prizes. Keen competition and fighting spirit of the buffaloes, trainers and their owners is to be seen to be felt.
Kinnigoli can be called a truly education centre. There is a primary school called St Marys Higher Primary School near the main church, which offers vernacular education up to 7th standard. Marywale convent offers English Co ed up to 8th standard whereas Little Flower High School offers Co ed up to 12th standard. Additional Pompeii Junior College in Talipady has classes from 8th to 12th with choices in Arts, Humanities, Science and Computer education. Nearby located is the Pompeii College which offers undergraduate courses of BCom and BA only. Vijaya College in Mulki (8 km) offers BSc course also in addition. There is also a Rotary English medium school in a place called Moorukaveri (where roads from Kateel, Moodabidri and Belman converge, hence "Mooru" or "Three" in local lingo)which offers education up to 10th standard. For further choices in English medium one can also try Narayanaguru English medium school in Mulky. The literacy levels in Kinnigoli is almost 100% compared to the national average of 50% or so.
There is a regular Kannada monthly called "Yugapurusha" published from Kinnigoli because of which Kinnigoli appears in the newspapers regularly. Thanks to its founder publisher and eminent scholar late Sri K A Udupa, this publication and its exploits have become household news. Various cultural activities and social welfare schemes are held regularly in the publications cultural hall. It has become the epicentre of all cultural activities in Kinnigoli and surrounding areas. The publication also conducts regular literary activities and meets in its premises, bringing in many well known faces of Kannada art, literature and known men of letters to Kinnigoli giving vent the intellectual pursuits of the average Kinnigolian. The exploits of Sri Uduapa are being continued by his son and present Editor of Yugapurusha, Sri Bhuvanabhiram Udupa, in great style and finesse.
The other facet for which Kinnigoli is known for is its "Unity and diversity". Despite the presence of various religious groups like Hindus, Catholics and Muslims and proliferations of languages from Kannada, Tulu, Konkani and Barry language (an offshoot of Malayalam), Kinnigoli has been free from any communal tension over the years. Each community supports and in some cases actively encourage the religious activities of the other without any bias.
Due to the large number of Kinnigolians working abroad particularly in the middle east, there has been a large influx of foreign remittances to the small city. With a result, one can find a large number of stylish mansions and bungalows along the roads leading in and out of kinnigoli. However, despite the building boom, the ecosystem has been carefully preserved by taking care to see that trees are not destroyed and overall green cover remains untouched. As a result, the place still retains its green cover and eco-friendly habitat. For this one has to mainly thank the enterprising Catholics who have been in the forefront of ensuring the preservation of this ecosystem in and around their lovely Mangalore tiled homes.
There are hardly any employment avenues in Kinnigoli and hence the well educated and qualified young men tend to migrate to cities like Mumbai and Bangalore or overseas looking for greener pastures.The main business activity is agriculture, trading and running shops. However, the booming real estate sector is providing opportunities to skilled workers. However it has also led to influx of immigrants from North Karnataka, Kerala and other parts of the country looking for employment since most skilled local population is abroad. This is also leading into some sort of a shift in the demographic structure of the population though in a minor scale and also some resentment about "outside" influence. This has also created a peculiar situation wherein only the very young and very old are residing in the place whereas the cream of the youth is employed elsewhere and the economy is sustained by overseas remittances. For a city of such a small size, practically every known public sector bank like Canara, Syndicate, State Bank of India, Corporation bank have a presence here with their coffers overflowing with Non Resident Indian deposits running into hundreds of millions of Rupees. In addition there are a couple of Cooperative banks and a Catholic bank branch also.
The people of Kinnigoli are fiercely proud of their small little place, so much so that Governments proposal to include whole or parts of the city in a proposed multibillion-dollar mammoth Petrochemical Industrial Region (PCPIR) is being met with stiff resistance. Protest meetings have already been organised and every possible action to prevent acquisition of the agricultural and other land by the promoters of the PCPIR is being contemplated. Due to this fact it is unlikely that this city will see any organised industrial activity in the near future. The major industry which are close to Kinnigoli is a huge 8 million ton refinery of MRPL (Mangalore Refiners and Petrochemicals Ltd) just about 5 km distant as the crow flies. There is also a small scale industry called Canara lamps which produces electric lamps, fittings and fixtures about 3 km from Kinnigoli. On the small scale, there are some rice mills which mill the local produce, mainly rice, and pack them for marketing locally or for selling in Mangalore markets. Employment in these rice mills is limited to unskilled manual labour only.Most of the population is engaged in agriculture. However, non availability of manpower, high costs of labour, lack of irrigation facilities and ageing population are ensuring that less and less of the land is being cultivated. The yields are also falling due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers. The main crop is rice which is the staple food. Semi dry or "Kumeri" irrigation is also resorted to for growing sweet potatoes and fresh vegetables.
To be frank, there is nothing much to do in Kinnigoli except laze around and watch the life pass by unless you are a nature lover who likes to live the life on the wild side. There are plenty of trails leading into the jungles for the backpackers and for the advenurous. One can finish roaming around the town in about 2 hours. However, the main street and the busstand where most of the shops are located are beehives of activity. On Thursdays, the weekly market day, the market is filled with vendors who sell a variety of local produce. The betel leaf or "paan" sold in kinnigoli is quite famous around the place and in great demand. The vegetables grown locally and sold in the market are also much sought after for their freshness. As a form of entertainment earlier, regular "cockfights" used to be organised which I think have stopped now. One can also try the famous Prabhu snuff (flavoured tobacco powder which is snorted in small quantities). The jaggery made by hard boiling of the toddy (fermented secretion from toddy palm) is known for its nutritional values.
Betel leaf, local vegetables, jaggery made from fermeted secretions from the toddy palm, snuff, etc.
Since the local population has sizeable number of Roman Catholics and Hindus, one can try both vegetarian and Non vegetarian food in Kinnigoli though the choice of eateries is fairly restricted. Only a couple places serve north Indian dishes, otherwise all eateries and restaurants serve typically south Indian food. For authentic Goan food one has to look for a Catholic friend for pork and other dishes. Bithul Bar & Restaurant serves Christian delicacies. Rakthi & Dukra maas also is available in Bithul. Sri Ganesh Bhavan is a well known place with a long-standing reputation. In the bus stand there are few more hotels. Hotel Abhinandan offers Air conditioned comfort and good choice of food. Hotel Durgadaya in the busstand offers ice cream and cold drinks in addition. In the last decade a new breed of eateries called "Bar and Restaurants" have sprouted everywhere. Here you can find choices of Indian brand beers and IMFL (Indian made foreign liquor) which consist of whiskey, rum, vodka, brandy etc. along with food. Among non vegetarian stuff, fish is very popular followed by chicken with the Bunt community specialising in some mouth licking delicacies like "Kori Roti". Shilpa Shetty who is a member of this community, was a winner of the Big Brother competition in UK last year, which made her an International celebrity overnight. She hails from a village close to Kinnigoli. The Catholics however prefer pork and beef in addition to the fish and Muslims sticking to beef and mutton (goat meat). Other notables from Bunt community like Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, a renowned heart surgeon of international repute also was born and brought up in Kinnigoli.
The staple food here is rice, particularly what is known as "parboiled rice". This is prepared by parboiling the paddy in huge containers in the rice mills and then drying in the open sun. Once dried, the rice is dehusked and then packed into straw bundles which weigh up to 30 kg, called as "Mudi" and stored. Such rice is usually stored for longer time in rice silos made again of straw and cemented with cow dung (yes cow dung) from outside. Aged rice is favored for its taste and flavor compared to the fresh produce. In olden days the milling and dehusking of the rice used to be done manually usually by ladies by pounding the rice on stone containers with wooden sticks. Such milling used to preserve the nutritious content of the rice and considered a healthy practice. These days mechanisation has taken over and most rice is milled in the rice mills by machines. However, it is rare to find "Mudi" these days (which is one of most eco friendly was of storing and transporting rice) since gunny bags made of plastic or jute have replaced since they are cheap, easy to fill and transport. Rice dishes like Dosa (pancake made with a batter of powdered rice and lentils fermented overnight allowing it to rise, idli (steam cooked rice cakes) and vegetable curries are usually consumed for breakfast like in rest of South India. However, each community have their own signature dishes for the special occasions, festivals and Church feasts. Tea is the favoured drink mixed with cream and liberally sweetened with sugar. Coffee made in the similar manner is another favourite.
Arrack or government liquor is sold through selected outlets. Handful of Bars and a Wine shop near busstand serve the demands of not only Kinnigolians, but people all around. Toddy about which mention has been made elsewhere is banned by the government and no more served. Among non alcoholic drinks there is majjige, a cool milk drink, sherbet, local made sodas and juices are also available.
- Hotel Durgadaya in the bus stand. No a/c rooms. Decent accommodation, linen and clean bathrooms, room service.