Many of the people coming from metropolitan areas and cities may be under the classic, spurious impression that Manipal is a remote and obsolete town lacking even the most basic necessities. Fret not, this town is not really situated in the wilderness – it is an educational city which caters to a large student body. Sure, you may not have the pleasure of shopping at brands such as Zara and Vero Moda. But their absence should not really be a major hindrance, as we do have our fair share of shopping outlets here, which will work well in satisfying your shopaholic needs!
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Before we get on with our section-by-section guide on what the town has to offer, we would like to mention something that most students here like to call the ‘Hot Strip’. It’s the area that starts from the Syndicate Circle (a place which has forever been remembered as the ‘Domino’s Point’), and extends down the slope – all the way till Reliance Trends. This whole strip grandly rolls out the red carpet for all shopaholics, with stores aimed at everything – from prominent clothing outlets such as Fashion Big Bazaar, Fabindia, Reliance Trends – to name just a few, all the way to stores catering to your gadget requirements such as Reliance Digital and Gizmo, as well as your favourite footwear outlets such as Puma, Nike and Woodland. Also, let’s not forget – this area also houses Inox, as well as KFC and (one of the) Pizza Hut(s), just beside it. Be sure to check it out – chances are, you’ll find everything you’re looking for right there in one place.
And it looks like Manipal now has the whole package after the opening of Canara Mall, the first shopping complex fully equipped with its own theatre called Bharat Cinemas, and a universally loved McDonald’s outlet.
Considering that this town mostly comprises of students, many of the clothing outlets have reasonably priced items with ample discounts to suit your needs. These shops are a mere 15 minutes walk from the front gate of your campus, and as we previously mentioned, the Hot Strip is where you will end up finding most of them. Here are some of the key outlets :
Fabindia – This is your one-stop destination to all things ethnic – be it clothes, footwear, handmade products, and not to forget – those traditional soaps and lotions that most people keep obsessing over! It’s almost a miracle Manipal has an outlet, and you might definitely want to visit the store during the Dandiya Nights celebrations and Ethnic days lined out by the college.
Reliance Trends—It hardly needs any introduction, it’s one of the largest clothes retailers in the country, stocking all major clothing brands endorsed by Reliance India.
Fashion Big Bazaar (FBB) – Like Reliance Trends, Big Bazaar also deals with a wide range of fashion wear right from formal wear to ethnic and casual. With a broad array of fashion items to choose from, FBB has something or the other to suit the needs of every individual.
Now, if you want to pick up a pair of denim from Levi’s, or some formals from Peter England, or simply some casual party wear from Allen Solly or Louis Phillipe, don’t worry – they’re all right there on the strip, just a little further down from KFC, under GreenView Apartments.
Looking for a new pair of Senheisers, but don’t want to wait for online delivery? Don’t worry, the area near Tiger Circle is the place for several shops which can sell you any electronics you may need, including Music House, one of the largest ones. On the strip, you’ll find Reliance Digital, which also provides a large range of electronic options, although its main branch is in Udupi. The third option is Gizmo, just below KFC which includes most of the branded items, as well as smaller shops that will sell all that you’d need. If the stores in Manipal are not sufficient then you can always take a trip down to Harsha Electronics in Udupi.
Food and Basic Room items
There are several campus stores, while the biggest one is in front of the 13th Block, there are three stores that dot the Student Plaza (SP) as well. It goes without saying that you’ll find an extensive range of packed food items such as noodles, Maggi, chips, chocolates, etc. – which is bound to come in handy during exams (we can vouch for that)! All of your late-night snacking requirements are stocked by these stores. If this is still not sufficient, you can also visit Manipal Stores in TC (Tiger Circle) which provides almost everything. For fresh picks, there is More—a supermarket which is positioned right below the Pizza Hut on the strip. Household items that you would want to keep in your rooms such as detergent, plates, spoons, and all forms of cosmetics and toiletry can be found at the campus stores.
For novels and other non-academic books, you might want to check out Bharat Bookmark at Tiger Circle, which is also your best spot to get gift items and funky wrapping paper. There is also a Hallmark store right opposite Bharat Bookmark which is excellent for gifts. Kamath Book Store, just outside the campus, provides college course material, although you may not really need it – as reference books can always be borrowed from the Library. Do keep in mind that almost all copies end up being issued during sessionals and exams, hence visiting the above-mentioned stores might come in handy.
Notebooks along with stationary items can be found in either of the Campus Stores. For a more comprehensive look at where you can get books in Manipal check out this article.
Even though each hostel is stocked a mandatory first aid kit, it’s probably a good idea to get your own and have tablets for the basic needs such as when you’re having symptoms of common cold, headaches, stomach pain, etc. For emergencies, there are about six Medical pharmacies lined out opposite KMC, on the way from MIT campus gate to Tiger Circle, next to Canara Mall. The Radha Medicals store is really hard to miss from the road!
Shoes and Bags
As mentioned above – Puma, Nike, and Woodland are the best ones in town, and they are all on the Hot Strip as well. There is a Bata store in Udupi for everyday slippers and sandals and a Reebok store on the way to Udupi for more choice in sports shoes. For bags, the most recommended place to shop would be JanSport positioned between Levi’s and Peter England.
There is I-needs at Tiger Circle which is closest to campus and most reasonably priced. There’s also Global Vision at Syndicate Circle which, to quite frank, is also fairly decent, but we do recommend the former – both in terms of the pricing, as well as the distance from the campus. Contact lens wearers, you don’t even need to travel that far. The campus store usually stocks Bosch & Laumb lens solution and Lenskart delivers to Manipal. There is also a Lenskart store in Udupi, in case you are buying something from Lenskart but also need to check out the pair you like in-person.
Even though the majority of freshers end up packing their entire room into a suitcase, we really don’t think that is even remotely necessary. You can find almost everything in the vicinity of the campus, and the Hot Strip is hardly a 15 minutes’ walk from the college. Finally to all those shopaholics who are still discontented, shopping from online platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra is something that most students do, and it’s fairly efficient. Even more esoteric online websites such as Red Wolf, Postergully or The Souled Store deliver quite quickly to Manipal. Going to the SP Gate to pick up your delivered items will become a regular fixture of college life in Manipal very quickly. Also, multiple malls in Mangalore are just a breezy bus ride away – if you have the patience to sit tight and travel for a couple of hours from campus. Have a great semester, shopaholics!
Written by Nabilah Husain for MTTN
Updated by Yatharth Sood for MTTN