Surathkal is typically a suburban region of the city of Mangalore and is located on the National highway 17—which is now renamed as NH-66. It flanks the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka state and its municipality is merged with that of Mangalore City Corporation.
As per legends, Surathkal is attributed to word "shiratakal" that means headstone" in Tulu. It is believed that a Rakshasa known as Kharasura had carried a lingam on his head to this place. The popular Sadashiva temple is believed to have been erected around the same lingam. Once a grama panchayat, Surathkal went on to become a town panchayat and is now merged with Mangalore City’s Corporation.