As I opened the car gates and took my first step at Udipi, the first encounter of air — unlike from dusty air of the National Capital Delhi where I come from — refreshed me and rebooted my energy level.
The air filled with light moisture though was bit troubling but the smooth flow of the wind when touched my skin was having a magical effect on my body, mind and soul.
I never felt so energetic and enthusiastic before as I was feeling with every step I took to discover the town in Southern India. The best part of the town was sight of young mini India.
My journey started around 9am with boarding on the JetAirway plane from Indra Gandhi National Airport terminal-3 to Bangalore. I hopped to the connecting flight to Mangalore.
A SUV was waiting for me there which made me encounter with the “LIFE IN MANIPAL”.
My first guide was the SUV driver, who was acquainted with Hindi, did his best to make us — fellow bloggers and me — feel comfortable throughout the one and a half hour journey from Mangalore airport to Udipi.
The view was majestic – it seemed the rows of coconut tree on both side of the road were standing there just to welcome me. The passing rural markets also seemed exotic.
It took around an hour from Manglore airport to reach the hotel (Fortune in Valley), which was my abode for two days of my trip.
Though the hotel service and the bed was soft, I could not keep myself locked in the rooms because I wanted to move out explore Manipal as the first taste of air of the suburb was doing magic on me.
My walk around the suburb started with the Udupi Sri Krishna Matha. According to locals the temple is dedicated to Hindu lord Krishna and it was built around 13th century. The main temple is surrounded by several small temples and in the center there is a bathing place which is exclusively for temple priests.
I was unlucky to miss the famous Prayaya Festival by a day. A priest of the temple narrated me that the festival is celebrated with splendor and it attracts huge devotee from across the country.
After taking blessing… We moved towards the Kapu Beach on the shores of Arabian Sea. As we were nearing the sea, the sound of waves could be clearly heard. Every second seemed equivalent to an hour as I just wanted to part of the Arabian Sea.
I was praying till the time I got first glimpse of the Arabian water. On my prayers I was just asking the waters to quite as our guide had warned us that the beach would be rough.
As the car stopped I pushed myself out of the vehicle and ran towards the water. I had a gala time along with my fellow bloggers — Rajeesh, Utpal, Nikhil, Manpreet and Shweta — whom I had met for the first time but in a short while we got well acquainted with each other.
Being in Udupi and not visiting the Manipal University campus is a crime. Our car from Kapu beach moved toward the Manipal. I would explain Manipal as mini-India and a city within a city.
I am stating Manipal as mini-India because as we were entering the core area of the city I could see people (majorly students) of all creed, caste, culture and colour.
On the first day I got the opportunity to visit the engineering college and student workshop. Visiting the workshop reminded me of the car manufacturing unit few meters away from my residence in Delhi.
Even for a moment I could not make out if I was talking to a student or a professional engineer of an automotive company. If their i-cards hanging from their neck were removed it would be difficult to segregate these asipiring auto-makers/designers from professionals.
I had a childhood dream of being on the wheels of an F-1 car which was fulfilled here. The budding engineers of the college have also come up with an alternative for fossil fuel with their solar car. The car made by the students has also won international claims.
After a day engaged with power pack entertainment and meet with future engineers we turned towards our hotel room.
While moving through the roads of Manipal towards the hotel, I felt, the serenity of Manipal makes the place perfect for development of a young mind. Wherever you turn your head you can see youths engaged in various activities.
You will finds youths everywhere — park, road corners and coffee points — engaged on a hot discussion over politics or helping their classmate junior with a difficult equation or a theory.
On the second day I woke up early and decided to have a brisk walk alone in the Manipal. An early wake made my day… I was feeling as I was in haven. With every breath I was feeling if my mind, lungs and heart were thanking me for coming down to a place with no kind of pollution.
After breakfast, along with fellow bloggers we decided to visit the campus. We got a chance to see the grooming of upcoming chefs and media professionals.
I always thought ‘How come media professionals are so fast and accurate in giving exact information”. I got to learn the basics from the professors and the media students a bit of secret of the industry. The mass communication college of the university has produced several famous media faces acclaimed both nationally and internationally.
A final year student of the course told me that a success in the industry is all about being calm and patient.
After a healthy two hours interaction with the budding media personals I visited the college of hotel management of the university. As I was nearing the campus of the hotel management institute the aroma of various dishes — regular course meals, snacks, cakes, deserts — were taking over my mind.
Here again we got the opportunity to see the huge training kitchen. On first sight it was difficult to make out if it was a kitchen lab or a kitchen of a five star hotel.
In white chef uniforms the students were either busy in chopping, garnishing or mixing. The bouquet was taking the nose, hundreds of dishes but aroma of each were significant.
We got an opportunity to taste the food cooked by the students in the laboratory kitchen. Since it was around 2pm I could not say no to the offer made by us. The mind was more hungry then the stomach.
The food was served to us as in a multi-cuisine restaurant of a five-star hotel. With the first bite I got confused thinking —are these boys and girls in uniforms really students or chefs. After a lunch we were served with a desert. It is very difficult to explain how it tasted. I would only use the word WOW till infinity for it.
I wished to be in the campus for few more days but had to return as my flight back to Delhi was on next day early morning.
I am planning a trip again to Manipal and this time I am persuading my friends and family members.