Browse By

Manipal for the Traveller

To the average freshman, college life-especially at a university town-is expected to be quite monotonous. However, one of the plus points of studying in Manipal is the very location. Nestled between the towering Western Ghats and the shimmering Arabian Sea, this quaint town offers much more than meets the eye at a the first glance. Be it the scenic hills and forests or the beautiful beaches, there’s plenty to keep the humdrum of academic life at bay.

Here are a few getaways:


Located just 14 kilometers away, this suspension bridge is something every student is bound to enjoy and is a must-visit for every cycling enthusiast. Located on a backwater stream, the Hanging Bridge is the perfect spot for one to admire the scenic beauty of their surroundings and just experience the cool evening breeze, which is a soothing balm to ward off the summer heat.

Also, worth visiting is the little island on the other end of the bridge – where you get arguably the best coconut water in Manipal


Just 40 kilometers from Manipal is Karkala, a historical and religious place of pilgrimage for the Jain community. Its significant feature is the forty two feet tall statue of Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali), carved out of a single slab of rock and weighing a mammoth eighty tons. This statue was erected in 1432 by a Jain king in honour of the first Jain Tirthankara, Bahubali, who renounced the material world at the peak of his glory. Facing the statue is a Jain Basadi, called the Chaturmukha (four-facing) Basadi, exclusively constructed of granite. Another tourist attraction here is the intricately carved fifty foot tall pillar called the Manasthambha, which is one of eleven such pillars. Karkala is also home to a whopping eighteen temples, each with its own unique backstory.


Around 100 kilometers from Manipal, Murdeshwar is famous for the colossal statue of Lord Shiva which can be found here. This gargantuan statue is an astounding 123 feet tall and is the second tallest Shiva statue in the world. This temple has a pretty impressive history, dating back to a few centuries. It is also the point of origin for three major rivers, the Tunga, the Bhadra and the Nethravathi. This temple is surrounded by the sea on three sides and is located atop a hill called Kandukagiri. One cannot just shake off the feeling of awe they are beset by on visiting this place.


Kudremukh is located around 60 kilometers from Manipal. It is a hilly region located around 1900 meters above sea-level. ‘Kudremukh’, which literally translates to ‘horse-face’ in Kannada gets its name from the fact that the mountain range looks like a horse when viewed from a certain angle. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, it provides a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside and the sea.

It is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna and is the largest tropical evergreen forest in Karnataka.


Just like the Hanging Bridge, Agumbe is another must visit for cycling enthusiasts. Located at 830 meters above sea-level and overlooking the Arabian Sea, the 45-km ride to Agumbe is a feast for the eyes with lush green forests on either side for most of the journey. This route, dotted with numerous waterfalls provides a breathtaking vista of the beauty of nature. The ride is made a lot more exciting by the lion-tailed macaques which keep popping up. For the more adventurous at heart, the nearby Sita river also offers rafting facilities.


Bandaje falls (now known as Arbi Falls) are a set of waterfalls located in the Charmadi ghat section of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. The waterfalls can be reached only by undertaking a trek through thick evergreen forests and grasslands with the help of local guides and in summer the waterfalls goes dry. Formed by a tributary of the Netravathi river, the Bandaje falls almost 200 feet high. 

The path to Bandaje falls from Valambra goes through thick evergreen forest ending in grasslands. Locally these falls are called the Bandaje Arbi, where Arbi means ‘waterfall’ in Tulu. The name is shortened to Arbi Falls to promote tourism.


Located just 10 kilometers from Manipal, Malpe is famous for its scenic beach, which is popular among both locals and tourists. The beach also houses a beach resort, which caters to the culinary needs of visitors. It also has a variety of adventure sports including parasailing and jet-skiing. It is also the very first beach in India to be Wi-Fi enabled, with each visitor being given half an hour of free Wi-Fi (enough to post a new status). Just offshore is St. Mary’s Island which can be visited by a frequent ferry.


A gentle reminder of every avid Enid Blyton reader’s secret hideaway, St. Mary’s Island is an equivalent of Kirrin Island. Located right off the coast of Malpe beach, it can be accessed by ferry for Rs 200 on weekdays and Rs 300 on weekends, from 9 am to 4 pm. While one cannot visit the island during and right after monsoon (due to choppy waters), summer time here is a completely different story.  Having been declared one of India’s 26 Geological Monuments, complete with unique hexagonal volcanic rock pillars, the white sand, and clear waters, it is- literally and figuratively- one of the hottest places to visit. Additionally, transit to the island often requires wading through shallow waters, so avoiding shoes is a wonderful idea- unless, of course, squishy sneakers appeal to you.


Mannapalla (Manipal Lake) is one of Manipal’s prominent tourist attractions. The boating facilities at the lake attract the tourists flocking to the lake. The boat ride provides one with the opportunities to snap several photographs of the breathtaking vista around them and the numerous birds found there. Owing to the abundant rainfall in the area, the lake occupies nearly 55 acres of water, with plenty of water in the summer.

The lake also has a two- kilometer jogging track surrounding it, where one can breathe in the cool air when jogging in the morning. Besides, these the lake also has numerous amenities near the jogging track like stainless steel garbage bins, solar-powered streetlights, benches for the elderly, etc.


For a more spiritual experience, Udupi’s famous Sri Krishna Matha is a must-visit. The temple is unique in that the idol of Lord Krishna is worshipped and viewed through a silver-plated window with nine windows, called Navagraha Kindi.  The temple is open from 5:30 AM to 9 PM, however, most pujas are held between 6 AM and 10 PM, with another puja at 7 PMwhich is worth witnessing. After your time in the temple, do try to have food at Anna Brahma Bhojana Shale – which, despite being crowded, is the perfect conclusion to a visit to the temple.


Located on the Udupi-Manipal road, better known as Central Cinemas, the movies here are released in sync with the rest of the country.


Located on the road adjacent to AB5 back gate, is this (literally) underground gaming paradise. Armed with PS3s and Xbox 360s, it costs 80 rupees to rent a controller for an hour. Ever populated with an array of college students, seated on beanbags that several posteriors have been acquainted with over the years, burnout is any video game aficionado’s place to be.

Timings: 9:30 AM – 11 PM


Completely similar to Burnout, except that it is also equipped with pool tables and a foosball table. Also, the not-very-beany beanbags that are the norm at Burnout are substituted by far more superior couches. It is also slightly pricier- with the rent being 100 rupees per controller per hour- but justifiably so, since the controllers and the general ambiance are in brand new condition. It is located on End Point road, near Crumbs Café, on a lane to the left.


Touted to be one of the largest of its kind in Asia, the Museum of Anatomy and Pathology (MAP) is the brainchild of Dr. SS Godbole, the very first Anatomy Professor of Kasturba Medical College. From a modest collection of 650 specimens during its inception, the Museum has burgeoned to include over 3000 specimens and samples including the skulls of an elephant, a whale and even a King Cobra.

Located directly opposite the main administrative complex (also called the EDU building), the Anatomy section houses well-preserved specimens of the human body from head to toe. The Pathology museum also houses a section dedicated to the human body including displays of well-preserved organs of the body, both diseased and normal (not for the faint-hearted). It also has a section dedicated to inculcate awareness among the general public, regarding various lifestyle related diseases and their impact on the body.

The museum is open from 8 AM to 6 PM on all days, except public holidays to all members of the public.  While the entrance for Manipal university staff, students and guests is free, a nominal fee is collected from the public. A visit to this enthralling museum can be aptly expressed by the words of Dr. RJ Last, former Anatomical Curator of the Royal College of Surgeons, London- “It’s one of the best.”


Located just a few minutes away from the campus, the Heritage Village is a collection of heritage homes, traditional artworks and a repository of cultural wealth. This project was undertaken by a retired bank employee, the late Dr. Vijayanath Shenoy, who was deeply troubled by the razing of ancestral homes and heritage buildings by people. This led to his conviction that the preservation of our art, craft and architectural traditions is of utmost significance.

The Heritage Village comprising 26 buildings, restored at the cost of much money, time and effort stand a mute testimony to the hard work and meticulous effort which went into this noble undertaking. The Hastashilpa Heritage Village is open to the public with tours being conducted in two sessions from 10 AM to 12:30 PM and from 2:30 PM to 5 PM.


Covered by lush forests and with a commanding view of the Western Ghats, Kodachadri is not just a tourist spot but is also an area of considerable historical and religious significance. Several monolithic structures or menhirs were built here in prehistoric times, some of these built using rocks greater than 12 feet in height. A temple dedicated to the Ancient Mother Goddess Mookambika is located near the top of the peak. The temple is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims and it is said to stand where thousands of years ago Mookambika fought and killed the demon Mookasura. Kodachadri, which is the 10th highest peak in the state, is also a Natural Heritage site, as declared by the Government of Karnataka.

Apart from its aesthetic and historical significance, Kodachadri is also a destination for trekking enthusiasts with most expeditions starting from the village of Nagodi, located at the base of the mountain. However as of January 2015, tented overnight camping is prohibited on the mountain. However, in case one does wish to spend the night on the summit, there is a bungalow maintained by the state Government, which has to be booked in advance.


A tranquil getaway that has become increasingly popular over the years, End Point has the added advantage of a well-maintained, manicured garden. It also boasts wonderful views of the sunrise and sunset in the valley, as well as the river Tunga, with a conveniently placed gazebo along the path.

However, entry closes at 6:30, after which visitors are ushered out by the omnipresent security guards.

Picture Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal

Cover Image: Vipul Mone