Manipal University has been consistently ranked as one of the top schools in India but a few people know that it has been voted for the 'best student life' in India for the past 8 years.
There is no end to the number of places you can visit from Manipal. Goa, Gokarna, Murudeshwar, Coorg, Kudremukh, Jog falls, Wayanad, Kerela, Dandeli, Ooty etc. are all there around but they usually take up 3 to 5 days .
Here are some places you can visit by not being away for too long ...these trips won't take more than 4-6 hours.
Agumbe: About 45 kms from Manipal lies a paradise. A hill Station, reaching a height of 830 meters from the sea level overlooking the Arabian sea. A number of waterfalls can be seen on entry into the forest area. OnakiAbbi, Barkana falls, and Jogigundi falls are the more popular ones. Trekking on NishaGundi & Barkana falls is a thrilling experience. Agumbe receives the highest rainfall in the Karnataka state making it one of the most beautiful places around. The famous 'Malgudi days' shooting was set up around this area. If you have no concerns about the money, rafting in the Sita river is another wonderful experience.
St. Lawrence Church: Located in Attur-Karkala, this church has an extraordinary history. We learn that the Attur- Karkala parish seems to have been in existence even before 1759 A.D.
History tells us that the Christians of this place too were among those who suffered captivity of Tippu Sultan from 1784-1799 A.D The parish church in those days was situated at a place about 7 kilometres away from the present church. Tippu destroyed it and took the Christians to Shrirangapatna as captives. Those Christians who returned after freedom from captivity built a church with thatched roof on the way to Nakre in the year 1801 A.D. under the leadership of a Goan priest. In the year 1839 it was replaced by another building. It was about 4 kilometres away from the previous one. This new building happened to be on the backside of the present church and was facing west. Later in they ear 1900 Rev. Fr. Frank Pereira had the church built facing the north. (Source: Udupipages.com)
Lord Bahubali's Statue: Karkala is a historical town and for the Jains, a famous pilgrim centre. The famous single stone 42-foot (13 m) statue of Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali) is located here. The town is only about 40 kilometres from Manipal. The 45-feet tall statue weighs about 80 tons. The size of the statue makes it imposing as it is 300 feet and rests on granite rock. A Jainking erected the statue in 1432 in memory of Bahubali (the first Tirthankara) who renounced the world at his most victorious moment. Across this image is a Jain 'Basadi' known as 'ChaturmukhaBasadi' which is built out of granite.
Shri Krishna Mutt: Sri Karishna Temple is a popular name in religious world. Udupi acquired nation-wide fame, when it was turned into a unique seat of Vedantic learning in the 13th century under the leadership of Sri Madhvacharya. Apart from his contributions to Vedantic philosophy, Sri Madhva founded the famous Krishna Temple of Udupi and made it the fountain-head of a new devotional movement, which eventually spread all over the country.
Turtle Bay: Turtle Bay is a beach resort. A short distance away from the resort, on the Highway, lies a beautiful stretch of road with the sea on one side and backwaters on the other. This stretch measures a few kilometres and is a rare sight. The scenic beauty of the Arabian Sea, the calm backwaters of the River 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! Turtle Bay Beach Resort offers you the luxury of lounging on pristine golden sands, amidst swaying coconut palms. The resort gets its name from the sea turtles that inhabit the beach during the nesting season from October to December every year.
Kaup Beach: The lighthouse at this beach is famous and is not very crowded. At a distance of 15 kilometres from Manipal, it is a very popular destination for the students of Manipal University to spend weekends. The light house, built by British in 1901, is located on the shores of Arabian Sea. This light house has guided thousands of ships for years. Since the light house is constructed on a rock it gives added visibility across the sea. The tower’s height is 89 ft with three white flashes every 20 seconds and the range is 24 nautical miles.
Malpe Beach: It is around 10 km from Manipal. The beach is clean, peaceful and beautiful. There is a famous beach resort, which serves delicious food. The resort hosts some spectacular beach dance parties and provides excellent accommodation to visitors. It is from here that you can take a ferry to St. Mary's islands.
St. Mary's Island: Clean sparkling waters, a beach full of shells and great big basaltic rocks to soak in the sun. Be it for fun, inner peace or just to grow your personal shell collection, these isles give you all you want! 13 kms from Manipal, these isles were first called “El Padron de Santa Maria”, back when Vasco da Gama first landed on one of the islands here in 1498. The best part of getting here is the journey itself, because you take a ferry to the islands ;and if you are lucky, you might even spot dolphins on your way to the isles! (Source: Manipalthetalk.net)
Kodi Beach: 42 kms from Manipal is a secluded beach. It is great for camp fires at night. The Moon over the sea gives an extraordinary reflection on the sand and illuminates the place. Carry some snacks, drinks and music with you and you are sure to have an unforgettable experience.
End Point: At one end of Manipal is End Point, which is a cliff overlooking the Swarna river. From this point, one can see the Arabian sea in the western horizon and the Western Ghats in the eastern horizon. It is one of the most beautiful places in Manipal.
Hanging Bridge: The Hanging/Suspension Bridge is famous among Manipal students and worth a small trip. A twenty-minute ride with the rickshaw brings you in a jungle-like scenery with typical backwaters mood, where the suspension bridge connects a small island with the mainland. Ask your fellow students or the rickshaw driver about how to reach the island (of mangroves). Typically, the rickshaw driver has to wait (increased price) until you come back, as there is no possibility to catch a new rickshaw for the way back.
Sources: Wikipedia, Udupipages.com, Manipalthetalk.net.