Home to around 25,000 students, Manipal is a suburb, and has come to be known as a campus town. This place has left an indelible mark in the hearts of each and every student that has come and gone. Most specifically, it has left 26 words for the lot to never forget– one for every letter of the alphabet.
Welcome to Karnataka. Here, bhaiyya, didi, uncle or aunty will simply not do. From autowaalas to fruit vendors, and room cleaners to hostel caretakers, all the locals are referred to as either akka or anna, (depending on whether it is a woman or a man respectively). Unless of course, it’s the fruit uncle at TC; it’s utterly blasphemous to call him anna. Give it a semester, and you’ll find yourself using these appellatives back in your hometown too.
Manipal boasts some of the most blissfully beautiful beaches along the western coastline of India. Hop on a bus or rent a scooter, and head to either Malpe, Kaup (pronounced Kapu), Hoode or Delta, all of which aren’t further than a quarter hour’s drive away. Word of advice: avoid wading through the waters in the odd semesters- the rough tides can get terribly dangerous.
C: Campus Stores
Need stationary, toiletries, storage items or munchies? This is the go-to place for all your supplies. Though there are other shops within campus, Campus Stores is by far the most conveniently located (outside 13th block) and the most popular one, and is a one-stop shop for everything (except fruits, which you can buy from the fruit anna below FC).
The holy temple of all distilled spirits, DeeTee has been a part of the Manipal legacy for several generations. Something about it is eerily attractive, though it’s hard to place what exactly. At least once in the years you spend studying here, DeeTee is bound to give you unforgettable (rather, hard to remember) memories with the wise Old Monk.
E: End Point
One of the best parts about being in a university amidst the Western Ghats is the complimentary scenic beauty that comes along with it. End Point provides a panoramic view of the Suvarna River that flows through here (you can even trek down to it), and is a blissful place to go for a walk/jog, or even an unconventionally romantic date.
As a fresher, Food Court (or FC, as it is commonly called) is most likely to be the place where you spend the majority of your meal time, simultaneously complaining about the food served. The air conditioning, its co-ed nature, the additionally payable “better” food options upstairs, and its central location with respect to the hostel and the academic blocks tend to give it an edge over the respective hostel messes. Also, if you observe you’ll realize FC is built to resemble the shape of a spiral-bound notebook.
Dr. Gopalakrishna Prabhu, the coolest former director at MIT ever. His student-friendly ways made him an instantly popular figure with the college crowd, and you’re sure to spot him (at times, with his wife) somewhere around the campus.
H: Haveli, aka Hostel
Staying in a hostel is mandatory in the first year, and if you don’t intend to shift out soon after, hostel will shape a major part of who you are at the end of your four years of college. You’ll eventually realize that all you need to get through college is your roommate, hostel mates and good plate of maggi.
Even though it’ll leave you when you need it the most (exam time? See you later, Ion) and you’ll curse it forever, you can’t live without it, for it’s your only hope for Wi-Fi. Also the only thing that’ll help you remember your application number.
J: Just Bake
This little shop at End Point road will end up being your go-to place before every birthday, successful placement or any celebrate-worthy event as for that matter— they have deliciously affordable cakes after all.
K: KMC Greens
Lying at the heart of Manipal at Tiger Circle, KMC Greens is host to some of the biggest college events – Utsav, Proshow, and multiple others. Its enormous size is to be attributed for its affluent use. Over the years, Greens has also become a hotspot for students to kick-back and relax, and get good pictures while they’re at it.
L: Lime Juice
A perfect solution for someone who is on the verge of dying of dehydration and short on cash is lime juice. For a price as low as ₹15, this juice is the ultimate savior. It’s not only refreshing, but also loaded with health benefits– so you can go ahead, and have it more than just a few times a day.
An endorphin-filled indoor sports complex in Manipal, Marena includes a gym, a basketball court, a squash court and much more. It has 6 levels, is centrally cooled and comes with a membership fee (₹1500/month, ₹9000/9 months and ₹12000/1 year). The architects of the complex left out a pool, but the MIT swimming pool makes up for that.
Academic Block-3, or NLH as it is more popularly known, is the only one with a Wi-Fi connection (apart from the Innovation Centre). All MIT freshmen have classes here, something you will miss terribly if you have to walk till AB-5 next year onward.
O: Oreo Shake
Hungry, thirsty and don’t have the time? Have an Oreo Shake– you can grab it on the go. It’s priced at a minimum fee of ₹40 and is available at every cafe, restaurant and even mess. This thick drink is almost every student’s staple beverage, and definitely a delightful one to have.
Payohima is an ice cream parlor, among the few that provide ice cream that’s worth its price. It’s one of the best places to enjoy with friends, especially since you can have a pizza or pasta to go with it as well. Branded alongside Egg Factory, Payohima has made a name for itself with its unique taste and cozy ambience.
This quadrangle-shaped ground in the middle of AB-1 is the prime hub of various major events hosted by MIT, including the ProShow events (during Revels), Battle of the Bands, the Annual Day, and several others.
Revels is the four-day cultural fest of MIT, and definitely one of the most happening times of the year. You’re bound to make some of the best memories during this time (with artists like Farhan Akhtar and Benny Dayal performing), and also end up spending a lot more than you’d be able to explain to your parents.
A travesty of a classic South Indian preparation, served in the Food Court and serves as an integral part of your staple Manipal diet. It’s nothing more than spices, and large chunks of random veggies in a medley that will make you cry for home food.
T: Tiger Circle
The central area for shopping, eating or even specifying directions, Tiger Circle (referred to as TC) is an unforgettable landmark for all Manipalites. Here, you can find everything (no exaggeration) — from repair shops, eye care stores, and flower and gift shops to paan shops, Pangala (your pocket-friendly stop for the best South Indian food) and the more popular eating joints like Dollops, Snack Shack and Egg Factory.
If there is one thing you simply cannot forget to carry as you get out of your hostel— it’s your umbrella. Manipal is known for its utterly unexpected rain (we’re talking about heavy downpour, mind you, and not a mere drizzle) in the odd semester months, and your umbrella is the messiah you can’t afford to forget/misplace. In the even semesters, it works well to deflect the terrible heat too.
Venugopal Temple, or VGT (we Manipalites tend to find acronyms for everything), is located near the rear end of the campus (close to blocks 11 and 12), and is the only temple within campus confines (you now know where to go when praying is your only hope to pass). It even has a beautiful park in front of it, perfect for an evening stroll.
W: The Wall (of Fests)
Each year, the walls outside block 13 (in front of Campus Stores) are painted twice in accordance with the theme of each of MIT’s two fests, TechTatva and Revels (held in the odd and even semester respectively). An absolute delight to look at, these walls are painted by the Printing and Publicity (PnP) team of the college.
X: Xerox, Om
Om Xerox is an immensely important shop located in the academic area. It has stationary, study material related to all years and all braches (photocopies of previous year notes, important tables, and everything else you need to pass), and the place you land up in when you need a last-minute printout or Xerox.
For those who don’t know, “Mighty, mighty M-I-T” is a slogan MITians have been chanting from time immemorial (slight exaggeration there). It’s a catchy phrase we love deeply, but what makes it special is the South Indian accent that creeps in when the faculty members repeat it, making the “M-I-T” sound like “Yum-I-T”. Taking pride in the Kannada culture prevalent here, the latter phrase stuck with the students. So now when you hear the director yell “Mighty, mighty”, you’ll know what to yell back.
Manipal’s very own rooftop bar is a one-of-a-kind destination for Manipalites. With a compelling ambience, friendly staff and great music out of an unusual blue car, Zeal is a popular hang-out place for those who enjoy spending their Saturday nights partying. Wednesday Ladies night and Sunday Bollywood nights should help fill up your schedules as well.
These 26 words are only a pocket-size version of the Manipal that the students have come to know and love. Every word in the list is linked to a different memory that every Manipalite has had. New experiences are waiting to happen every day here, and no one is ever left out. Manipal is home; a place where your feet may leave, but your heart will always remain.
–Aishwarya Sanjay and Tejal Khullar for MTTN