Their next target, the super profitable port of Mangalore.
Their only bad luck, just 14 kilometers south of Mangalore was the small settlement of Ullal - ruled then by a feisty 30 year old woman - RANI ABBAKKA CHOWTA
Initially, they took her lightly and sent a few boats and soldiers to capture and bring her back to Goa - Those boats never came back.
Shocked and enraged, they sent a huge fleet of ships this time, under the command of much celebrated Admiral Dom Álvaro da Silveira - The admiral soon returned, badly injured and empty handed.
Thereafter, another Portuguese fleet was sent - only a few injured from the crew managed to make it back.
Then the Portuguese went on to capture the Mangalore port and the fort anyways, perhaps planning to tackle Rani Abbakka Chowta from the convenient distance of the Mangalore fort.
After the successful capture of Mangalore, a huge army under João Peixoto, an experienced Portuguese General was sent to Ullal.
The Portuguese reached Ullal and found it deserted. Abbakka was nowhere in sight.
They roamed around, relaxed and thanked their stars - Just when they were about to call it a victory - Mrs Chowta attacked with 200 of her chosen men - there was chaos all around and many portuguese lost their lives even without a fight.
General João Peixoto was assassinated, 70 Portuguese were captured and the rest just ran away.
Rani Abbakka Chowta, rode with her men towards Mangalore that same night, and laid a siege of the Mangalore fort - She not just broke inside the fort successfully - but assassinated Admiral Mascarenhas the Chief of the Portuguese power there and forced the remaining Portuguese to vacate the fort.
She didn't just stop at this but went on to even capture the Portuguese settlement at Kundapura, a full 100 kms, north of Mangalore - Just to make a point.
Her piercing battle cry – "Save the motherland. Fight them on land and the sea. Fight them on the streets and the beaches. Push them back to the waters", echoed through winds as she and her soldiers fired flaming arrows at the Portuguese ships.
The main theme of my life is to take the message of Sanatana Dharma to every home and pave the way for launching, in a big way, the man-making programme preached and envisaged by great seers like Swami Vivekananda. - Mananeeya Eknathji
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