Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Monsoon Walk: Heritage Village In Manipal

"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us"

Rushing through the women and children ward at the hospital, I stopped in my tracks as my eye caught something interesting stuck on the notice board. It read "The Monsoon Walk". My colleagues stared at me as we were getting late for morning ward rounds so I quickly captured the details on my phone and continued with my morning duties. There was a heritage village somewhere in the neighborhood of university town and it sounded exactly my kind of thing. I counted days, waiting to get done with my exams and seminars so I could happily visit this new interesting place and obviously tell you guys about it!

Hasta Shilpa Heritage Village in Manipal recently opened its gates and has started with a Southern tour but has a full plan of expansion for Northern and Eastern tours as well as aiming to be a center for historical research. I announced on my Instagram that I was planning to check out the heritage village and found a friend who I had never met before and who was visiting Manipal for the weekend to accompany me! It was meant to be :) We went for the 10am tour (Link to their website at the bottom for further details). They had hiked the price from 200 rupees to 300 rupees and had also started charging a 250 rupee fee for DSLR cameras so, on a student budget, I decided to make do with the Pro Mode on my phone.

You can see the Manipal Lake in the background!
 The Heritage village project has brought in structures from all the South Indian states as they were all linked to the once great Vijayanagara Empire (The one in my Hampi Blog). In the one and half hour tour, our guide showed us the Nawab Mahal, Kamal Mahal, Harkur Olaginamane, Harihar Mandir, a classic Mangalorean House and many such interesting structures and elaborated on their details giving us a unique insight into the lifestyle of people who lived a generation ago. Many of the structures were around 700-800 years old! And some parts which had been recreated were to be the exact replica in size, shape, and material as per the original structure.

These structures have been transported from hundreds of kilometers away to be a part of the heritage village project. The Kamal Mahal can actually be dismantled within half an hour as it has been all fit together in that way! The Mangalorean house displayed some of the old cameras of the time and hunting gear, as well as a classic kitchen setting. The famous Mangalore tiles were used in the structures and the floor tiles were also a part of the Mangalorean house.

Christian Mangalorean House

Lets Play? 

Old Architectural Beauty

Heritage Village Tour Exclusive Video

Kamal Mahal Ceiling Details

Coloured Glass WIndow Details

There was a good crowd of around ten people in our group and very curious souls, they asked detailed questions too! The walk through the Bazaar Street told us about how charcoal was used in olden day water heaters as there was no electricity. The pots and pans also told a story. The one with a ridge was used for oil so that spilled oil would not reach the floor and instead, collect on the ridge later to be cleaned. All this was really fascinating to me and made perfect sense. Our ancestors were smart in a pre-smartphone generation.It had been a cloudy day but the tour did not disappoint us as it did drizzle halfway through but it was not brutal either as it quickly stopped and we did not get drenched. The last part was the Harihar mandir which did not have the deity as it was restored in another temple but everything else from the temple which got flooded was brought here and restored. To restore wood with layers of paint and waterlogged needs next level skill and the heritage village workmen have all of the necessary methods for restoring and preserving these beautiful old structures of historical significance.

Inside The Mangalorean House

Contrast Stories

It was a wonderful 'time travel' as the guide mentions in the video. Be sure to check it out to see much more of this beautiful place and all the structures they have restored. Manipal has been an excellent place as there are a dozen of places around it to explore and as someone who loves to explore, I definitely see this becoming a major attraction and successful story. I do think however that there should be some concession for students (seriously, a student cannot afford 550 rupees for entry plus camera). Other than that, everything else was fantastic and I cannot wait for the North and East tours to start as well as to see the art galleries from the famous painter Ravi Verma whose paintings I have previously seen in the Laxmi Villas Palace in Baroda. 


1. When to go? 

If you are a student then it would be convenient to go on Sunday Morning 10am or 4pm tour. Yes, they are open on Sundays!

2. What to take?

Take your camera/phone. Be sure to charge it. You can also carry a power bank just in case. Also, clear up your storage in advance! Carry a water bottle and an umbrella (#Manipal). DO NOT wear shoes (please). You will have to remove and put them on a dozen times at least, at every entrance!

3. What to expect?

If you are a history, architecture, photography or travel lover this is the place to spend on. If you do not fall into that category but still want to check it out, go ahead. After all one must always try new things ;)

On that positive note, feeling very happy for such a wonderful project in my university town I will end this blog post wishing the heritage village a lot of success in its future plans. Check out their website. I will be posting more photos on my social media in the coming days so keep an eye out for that. 

As always, your suggestion, feedback, and comments are very welcome. Be sure to leave them down below or message me on my social media handles. I hope you enjoyed this blog post, photos, and video as much as I did. Please share it with your friends so you can make your own plans to check out this beautiful place. Thank you for reading. 

Another article on the Heritage Village: Between desire and empire

You might also like Wanderlust: Agumbe, Kundadri Hills, and Hanuman Gundi

Signing off,
Nishma Khetia.

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