Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adventure, wildlife and fun!

Planning a quick getaway from Manipal? Take your pick from these choices.
Manipal in Karnataka is located in the rocky hinterland of the West Coast of South India, a few kilometres from the Arabian Sea. From its location on a plateau, it commands a view of the Arabian Sea to the west and the Western Ghats to the east. There are plenty of interesting places nearby, some popular and some not quite...but all worth a visit.

Jog falls
India's highest falls are not too far from Manipal. The best time to visit is from August to September as the flow is restricted by the dam during the rest of the year. The Sharavati jumps from a height of 875 ft forming a glorious waterfall, splitting into four different tracks. In summer when the water level is low, one can actually walk down to the bottom of the falls. One must also visit the Linganamakki Dam; about six km away from Jog Falls has a major hydro electric power plant in Karnataka. The height of the dam is 1819 ft above sea level. The dam is constructed across the Sharavathi river.

Info: About 175km from Udupi. Many package tours are available from Udupi.

Honnemaradu is for the adventure seekers. Situated on the backwaters of the Sharavathi, it is famous for kayaking, surfing and other watersport.

Note: alcohol, gutka and non-vegetarian food are banned.

Info: About 125 km from Manipal

Murudeshwar can be visited on the way to Gokarna or Goa and is famous for the huge statue of Shiva. The sea surrounds the temple on three sides. Two life-size elephants stand guard at the steps leading to the temple. The Murudeshwar temple dates back to a few centuries.

Info: About 100 km from Manipal

St. Mary's Island
The group of islands are accessible by ferry from Malpe. The islands are just a few scattered projections of rock rising out of the Arabian Sea around Malpe. It's a place to relax with facilities for swimming, boating or fishing.

Info: Malpe is about six km from Udupi

Kaup Beach
Not very far from Manipal, this is not a very crowded beach. The lighthouse is the main attraction here. Built by the British in 1901, it is constructed on a rock with an 89 ft tower.

Info: About 15 km from Manipal; 10 km from Udupi

Some 30 km from Karkala is Kudremukh. The name, meaning “horse face”, is derived from the mountain ranges that resemble a horse's face. This is the largest tropical evergreen forest in Karnataka. A hilly region situated 1894 m above sea level, it overlooks the Arabian Sea. The drive through the forest can be both intriguing and exhilarating.

Info: About 160 km from Manipal

Agumbe is a hill station and is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats and can be reached by road. The best part of the trip is the beautiful scenery enroute. Plenty of waterfalls — the more popular being Onaki Abbi, Barkana , and Jogigundi — can be seen once you enter the forests. If you enjoy driving, then the drive can be exhilarating as you need to negotiate 18 hairpin curves. You can also spot lion tailed black macaque. The more adventurous can try river rafting on the Sita, a 30-minute drive from Agumbe.

Info: About 45 km from Manipal and 60 km from Udupi

Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay is just a beach resort but if you go a little ahead on the highway, there is a beautiful stretch of road with the sea on one side and backwaters on the other. The scenic beauty of the Arabian Sea, the calm backwaters of the Sowparnika, breathtaking nature walks, treks along the scenic coast, clean water for snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming; that about sums up what Turtle Bay is all about! The resort gets its name from the sea turtles that inhabit the beach during the nesting season from October to December every year.

Info: 150 km from Manipal

Gokarna Falls
Located on the way to Goa just a few kilometres off the highway is the beautiful ‘OM' beach. The name comes from its shape. With narrow streets, traditional houses and temples, Gokarna is the favourite haunt of Hindu pilgrims, Sanskrit scholars and beach buffs. Literally meaning “cow's ear”, this village is formed by the ear-shaped confluence of two rivers. Four other beaches lie towards the south of Gokarna. Kudle and Omam and are around six km from Gokarna along a muddy hill. They are accessible by rickshaw or by foot. Half Moon and Paradise are beyond Om beach and are accessible only by foot or boat.

Info: 170 km Manipal.

Karkala is a famous Jain pilgrim centre. The single stone 42-foot statue Gomateshwara is located close to the centre of the town. Located atop a huge 300-feet high granite rock, the statue overlooks a picturesque little lake. Just opposite is a Jain ‘Basadi' known as Chaturmukha Basadi. It is also built of granite. The monolith formed the nucleus around which Jain maths and basadis developed. They draw three kinds of visitors: devotees, students of history and art lovers. 

 Info: About 40 km from Manipal.

The photo courtesy goes to the THE HINDU photographers K.Murali Kumar, Sampath Kumar and Nagesh Prabhu