The trip to Manipal came unexpectedly; Vaishali made us apply for some finance competition at TAPMI and it so happened that we qualified for the final round to be held at the college campus. Since it was an all expenses paid trip, naturally we were more than willing to go. Moreover, we had heard a lot about the natural beauty of Manipal and hence decided to have a look at the place ourselves.
Manipal and TAPMI
Manipal is a built on a hill near Udupi, a university town boasting of some of the best colleges in India. Owing to the demography of this town, it looks very vibrant and has a rocking night life with lots of pubs and hang outs. During our brief stay we were happy to experience some part of that. Our host, TAMPI, has shifted into a new swanky campus recently over another hillock and was a great place to be in, the only concern being every visit to the canteen from the hostel requiring a 5 minutes uphill trek.
In the evening we decided to have a look at the town, we started with the big library and then went to a place called end point. It was basically a park developed at the top of the hill overlooking the valley, with a jogging trek and a largely unused trail going down to a river flowing by. Needless to say, we went down till a boat house at the bottom of the hillock, an area which looked kindda spooky but provided a great view of the sunset beyond the mountains.
When we came back, the festival in TAPMI was in full swing, there was a quiz followed by a Yakshhgana (a classical dance form of Karnataka) dance-drama. Although it was our first encounter with Yakshagana, we were able to understand after some time that that it was about the marriage of Bheem to Hidimba, a tale from Mahabharata. What attracted my attention was the colorful dresses and masks of the artists and the way they expressed themselves.
The next day at TAPMI was a busy one with the competitions happening which resulted in us getting away with the first prize including some cash awards. In the evening we decided to visit the ancient temple town of Udupi. Udupi is the elder twin of Manipal famous for its Krishna temples and Hindu monasteries. It is said that the Krishna temple in Udupi was established by great saint Madhavacharya and the surrounding eight monasteries were each established by eight of his best disciples. Incidentally, the Krishna temple in Udupi is the only one in which the idol faces away from the entrance, towards a hole in the wall at the back.
By the time we arrived in Udupi by bus, it was already 7:00 PM. After going through by lanes of the old town, we reached the temple street. The crowd had started thinning up and there were fewer people in the queue for the darshan at the temple. The temple was an impressive building with a high gate and intricate stone engravings. A big attraction was the huge chariots of Lord Krishna and Balram on the street, almost 30 feet high! The chariots were made of wood and were adorned with colorful engravings. There was a pond adjacent to the temple which had lotus in it.
A local gentleman told me that this street was centuries old and there were many more temples and monasteries to be seen. Alas, we were running short of time and had to leave! We were not able to taste the famous Udupi cuisine too. Next time may be… However I was able to catch some pictures of the place, seemingly stuck in a time warp somewhere between the ancient and the modern…