Dakshina Kannada is a coastal district in the state of Karnataka in India. Sheltered by the Western Ghats on the east and surrounded by the Arabian Sea on the west, Dakshina Kannada receives abundant rainfall during the monsoon.It is bordered by Udupi District to the north, Chikkamagaluru district to the northeast, Hassan District to the east, Kodagu to the southeast, and Kasaragod District in Kerala to the south.Mangalore city is the district headquarters of Dakshina Kannada.

The district is divided into five talukas namely Mangalore, Bantwal, Puttur, Sullia, and Belthangady.It used to include 4 northern talukas, Udupi, Kundapur, Karkala and Byndoor, but these were separated in August 1997 to form Udupi district.Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasaragod are often called Tulu Nadu, as Tulu is the majority language in the region.The Alupas ruled this region between the 8th and 14th century CE as a feudatory of all the major Kannada empires of those times and it is for this reason that the Tulu speaking districts are a part of Karnataka.

Important towns in Dakshina Kannada include Mangalore, Bantwal, Vittal, Puttur, Sullia, Surathkal, Moodabidri, Uppinangady, Venur, Mulki, Dharmasthala, Ujire, Belthangady and Subramanya.The district is known for pristine beaches, red clay roof tiles (Mangalore tiles), cashew nut and its products, banking, education, healthcare and exotic cuisine.

Before 1860, Dakshina Kannada was part of a district called Kanara, which was under a single administration in the Madras Presidency. In 1860, the British split the area into South Kanara and North Kanara, the former being retained in the Madras Presidency, while the latter was made a part of Bombay Province in 1862. Kundapura taluk was earlier included in North Kanara, but was re-included in South Kanara later.During the Reorganisation of States in 1956, Kasaragod was split and transferred to the newly created Kerala state and Dakshina Kannada was transferred to Mysore state (present day Karnataka).

South Canara was a district under the British empire which included the present Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Kasaragod districts and Aminidivi islands.Canara district was bifurcated in 1859 to form North Canara and South Canara.Dakshina Kannada became a district of Mysore State in 1956 which later was renamed Karnataka in 1973. Kasaragod became a district of Kerala during the Re-organization of States and Aminidivi islands later became a part of Lakshadweep.The Udupi district was formed from the northern taluks of Dakshina Kannada in 1997.Later, the Karnataka Government, for the purpose of administration, split the greater Dakshina Kannada district into Udupi and present day Dakshina Kannada districts on 15 August 1997.Three taluks of the former district namely Udupi, Karkala and Kundapura formed the new Udupi district.

According to the 2011 census Dakshina Kannada has a population of 2,089,649,roughly equal to the nation of Macedonia or the US state of New Mexico.This gives it a ranking of 220th in India (out of a total of 640).The district has a population density of 457 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,180/sq mi).Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 9.8%.Dakshina Kannada has a sex ratio of 1018 females for every 1000 males and a literacy rate of 88.62%. The literacy rate of Mangalore city is 94%.