What Manipal Offers

Udupi railway station
Udupi railway station by Anil

The lesser known Manipal for the ones who are well aware of the Pais, the Hospitals, University, all about the International Town, is the suburbs nestled or coupled with the tiny town.  Most importantly you must know it is my hometown. And jokes apart, Manipal offers you a captivating country side, I vouch for. A serene nature lover’s paradise is no exaggeration at all.

There is an entire world in a small world. There is so much life away from your life. A gist of it is all I can extract here. But mark it, it is a place worth dropping by when you tour around with your spiritual best to most beautiful ancient temples around Manipal. With power packed programs you definitely need a place like Manipal to chill!

The hilly areas, the tiny forests, leopards haunting the local dwellers, was what I grew up witnessing, at least three decades ago.

For today, we are unfortunately left with fewer greens, more hoardings about “make manipal green” with the “again” missing.  Once you travel away a kilometer or two from the center of the town you will still get to witness what is called the country side. Narrow two-way roads completely designed with potholes; enormous sized, 30 plus years old brick roofed houses; shops  hanging packets of peanuts and coloured candies in the exterior; traditional vendor with his wooden benches lined up with vegetables and fruits. Manipal is named after the lake (mud filled lake). But another water body that envelopes the town and makes the suburbs a heavenly place is the river Swarna. Dotted by coconut trees mostly, banana plantations, paddy fields, serpentine single roads; the landscape is just another master art on nature’s canvas.
Summers here are hot brooding. Sweaty long days and warmer windless nights. The Swarna river too offers not much wind and shrinks down in shame. Most peacocks vanish from the paddy fields and then the crows are seen taking over the coconut trees as the sparrows too almost seem like extinct. Hot afternoons are when there are two prominent sounds in the air. The constant honks of the road running local busses or the street dogs barking. Only by the local tea time you hear the sounds of boys running after the muddy soccer ball in the grounds of the children making random noises on the roads of residential areas. Pickles and papads, the signs of rural women empowerment,  are produced by most homes here, dried in the open under strict vigilance of the saree clad woman with sticks in their hands. Birds or brats, the stick is the threaten.


Come the monsoons and we realize the river flows too, channeling out in its gushing full, moving like fat beer filled bellies. Even the brawny local coconut trees sway in utter glory and most look quite sexy when then twist and twirl.  Tiny forests make pathways filled with little rivulets and streams of muddy water giving life to aquatic fauna.  As for the rainy nights, the nightmare is the thunder and the lightening. Many a raining morning sees, some concrete walls of houses tumbled down or dead crows lined up on the roads due to thunder. However, these rains glorified by konkan coastal winds allure you with its seductiveness, and doesn’t withhold you from stepping out for your work knowing you will get drenched to skin.

There is always something about the rains. And the Manipal rains have a magnetism. The town in whole seems like a bowl of soup with humans walking in it. And the country side turns into lush green mode, most bricks and stone walls turning mossy hosting creepy greasy insects. Children in suburbs find it thrilling to curl the centipedes with their toes, or jumping on a bed of “Dormilones (touch me not plant). Our childhood did not have the trampoline in our vocabulary too, forget our lives. We loved jumping in muddy water puddles, or bed of touch me not plants, or peddling tiny pebbles in little water streams gushing down the sides of the roads. Young Paddy fields start brightening up and prepared like bride to be. The peacocks and peahens are back in the fields like the cheer girls and boys.

 

Monsoons offer much more than merrier nature. This is the time popular festivals and celebrations are hosted. The auspicious weddings and other ceremonies are scheduled. Besides, the festivals bring in enormous thronging activity in the society. The Lord Ganesha festival, the Krishna Janmashtami are the prevalent ones of the season and are celebrated with pomp. We get to witness temples decorated, the pandals all well-lit and with Ganesha idols, cultural programs being hosted, art display, the popular tiger dance or the unique masquers portray culture of the south Karnataka.

Air filled balloons in form of Lord Ganesha displayed outside a mall
Demon faced masque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a one liner I would recommend portraying town coupled with suburbs as “Manipal means greens”.  Somehow, becomes tough to digest how the tiny forest collapsed in the giant hands of human population growing. All in all,  it may not be a travel destination specifically, however definitely a stop by like I mentioned earlier. There are a handful of five and three star hotels for stay too. Also, this virtual tour with me must be a thrilling “one rainy day in Manipal suburbs” for you all.

About Sushma Harish 15 Articles
Manipal Girl. Engineer by profession (from Manipal Institute Of Technology). Residing in Doha for past decade. Blogging just happens.