A significant advantage of studying in Manipal is its prime location. Situated in the hilly hinterlands of the Malabar coast of India, Manipal has easy access to both the sea and the mountains–and the scores of holiday destinations that lie within them. Additionally, being a tropical region, Manipal itself is home to some of the most picturesque sites.
One of the most frequented spots in Manipal, the lake is an ideal place to visit for those just looking to spend a few hours in relative quiet. It is also regularly visited by runners and fitness enthusiasts as it provides the ideal atmosphere. It is open to all as early as 5 am and closes well after dark. Located 2km from the MIT campus, it is the perfect place to unwind after a long day.
Another regularly frequented location; end point is home to the best football and cricket fields in Manipal. Practice sessions are held daily, and there is space for amateurs to enjoy as well. According to lore, the name End point is derived from the fact that the spot was very literally the end of the Manipal University campus back in the 60’s, and has now been converted into a beautifully manicured garden, with a cliff overlooking the Swarna river. If you’re looking to catch a sunset or two–End Point is your spot.
Being just 5km from Tiger Circle, the railway bridge is the ideal getaway when one has a free couple of hours. Along the train tracks, there are four viewing platforms. Here one can capture some aesthetically pleasing photographs along the symmetrical railway lines. One of the major attractions of this spot is to climb onto the supporting pillars via the fixed ladder and feel the adrenaline rush as the train passes overhead
One of the older bridges in Udupi, the Suspension bridge is strung out over the river supported only by rope and thick wires. It is a 15-minute bus ride followed by a 20 minutes’ walk from the bus stop on a scenic pathway cutting through a jungle of palm trees. The path is dotted with brightly painted local houses which are fascinating to observe. The bridge itself is one of the most beautiful sights near Manipal. One can also enjoy the thrill of the bridge swaying as they walk over it. The lesser-known attraction is the jellyfish present in the river which is a first-time sight for many.
Coming to the beaches near Manipal, Malpe beach is by far the most popular beach for students and locals alike. 6kms from Udupi. One of the cleanest beaches with beautiful sunset vistas. This is the only beach in Udupi which has water sports. Also, there is an abundance of eateries here, especially for seafood lovers. Visitors can also secure a short ferry ride to St Mary’s isle from 9.30am-5.30 pm from the beach. However, the availability of this service is subject to the weather.
St Mary’s island
A must visit when you are in Manipal or Udupi. The island is made up of shell beaches and crystal rocks. One can easily spend about 3 hours and not realise it. St Mary’s Isles are comparable to the islands of Andaman regarding scenery. The origin of the name comes from Vasco de Gama; when he landed here, he named it in tribute to mother Mary. The island is also famous for its basalt rock formations which were the product of volcanic activity some 88 million years ago. This location has numerous attractions, all packed into a small cute island.
A mere 13 km from Udupi, the beach is famous for the numerous film scenes shot here. It boasts of a lighthouse built in the year 1901 by the British. Visitors are allowed to go up the lighthouse and stand along the balcony at the top and get a panoramic view of the land and sea for many kilometres. If you go later in the evening, you can even see the lighthouse functioning from the inside which is fascinating for many.
Another popular beach is Delta beach. About 4km along the coastline is Delta point also known as Kodi Bengre. This location is a shingle lagoon which is far more secluded than the rest of the beach. The area is uncontaminated and is the perfect location to relax for a couple of hours or have a game of football with your friends. A cool, steady breeze passes over moss covered rocks from the backwaters setting the atmosphere for the perfect getaway from all the commotion.
Located 42 km from Udupi, Kudlu falls is slightly arduous to reach as it is found deep in the Hebri forest of the Western Ghats. However, the scenery that greets you once you arrive there is well worth the effort. You are greeted with a 150-foot waterfall cascading into a pool surrounded by hills. You could also feed the fishes which are abundant in surrounding waterways. A word of caution though: there are leeches present in the thick undergrowth and it is advisable to carry some salt for the leech bites.
A remote coastal town in Karnataka Gokarna is for the most part known for its temples and beaches. For the religious, it is a place of pilgrimage as it is home to the revered Mahabaleshwar temple, and for the leisurely tourists, it is the ideal weekend getaway owing to its pristine beaches. A direct train ride from Udupi, Gokarna has become a regular haunt for students wishing for a change of scenery during the long weekends.
Agumbe is a bijou village situated on a hill at an elevation of 643 meters in the Someshwara wildlife sanctuary. It’s another beautiful getaway requiring just a holiday and a vehicle, being only 60km from Udupi. Another reason to visit is the fact that Agumbe receives the highest amount of rainfall in South India, allowing it to have an abundance of flora and fauna. The famous sunset point is a treat for photographers as it overlooks arboraceous valleys and numerous streams.
Ever wanted to visit a serene, lush and secluded hilltop? Well, then Kundadri is the place for you. It also boasts of a temple from the 17th century for the more historically inclined. Situated at a distance of 70 km from Udupi with an elevation of 826 meters, Kundadri, is still a relatively unknown location. This has worked to its advantage as there are fewer visitors than the other beaches and hence you can enjoy the landscapes without any disturbance.
Being one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, not a lot needs to be said about Goa. It is a favourite for adventurous students who are willing to pack for an overnight stay. Goa offers a wide range of choices when it comes to beaches; from the secluded, tranquil ones to the bustling, populated ones. Located 350km from Udupi, the preferred mode of travel is a 5 hour direct train journey; however private vehicles can be driven all the way as well.
Another favourite holiday destination in the country, Coorg is a hill station located 210 km from Manipal. Perpetually wrapped in a blanket of mist it is one of the most tranquil places to visit. The entire landscape is covered in forest, and the coffee and spice plantations only add to the vistas. Furthermore, Coorg is also home to the historically significant Madikeri Fort and is worth visiting for its library and museum.
Located 206 km from Manipal, the Yana caves are home to an unusual geological phenomenon. They are the only place nearby where one could gape at humongous limestone rocks towering over you; in the middle of a jungle! It is also a trekkers paradise, with a 16km trek being held there.
There are a lot more holiday destinations around Manipal such as Kundremukh, Murdeshwar, Kodachadri, and more being found every semester by intrepid students. As a student, this is the best juncture of our lives to explore the sights around us and go on daring escapades. So the next time you plan an excursion keep these places in mind.