In Partnership with Tamil Nadu Tourism

Weekend Getaway: Rippling Enchantment of Manapad

Legends and lore-strewn waves that relieve surfers and their pockets from making a trip to Australia, this quaint shore-side village is one of Tamil Nadu’s best kept secrets.

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If stretches of beaches and surfs on teal blue waves blend the perfect shot of dopamine for you, Manapad is the place to be. Photo Courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

If stretches of beaches and surfs on teal blue waves blend the perfect shot of dopamine for you, Manapad is the place to be. Traversing down 60 kilometres on the East Coast Road from Thoothukudi makes for a   serene road trip. Frothy waves race down the shoreline and sun worshippers are delicately lured. However, Manapad also marks a significant spot on the map of Christian pilgrims. Fascinating tales coupled with postcard-pretty sceneries are the building blocks of Manapad’s allure.

A surfer’s haven, the quaint village boasts a distinctive coastline that was formed as the result of fiery lava accumulating over centuries to develop layers extending to the Indian Ocean’s crystal-clear waters. Manapad’s consistent record of best wave formations year-round is attributed to this phenomenon. Adventure seekers find themselves at Manapad Point, where a minimum of 400-metre rides are promised to those who dare balance on their sizable swells accompanied by light/ offshore winds. Proficient surfers can attempt at taking on the gigantic monsoon waves that frequent the Manapad coast in July, while first-timers can begin by tackling mellow ones between November and March. Surfing, however, is not the coastal village’s only offering. Scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing are also some of Manapad’s bewitching proposals to water-sport enthusiasts. Whizzing winds at this Blue Lagoon also make it a beloved spot for kayaking and kite surfing.

 

Weekend Getaway: Rippling Enchantment Of Manapad

Manapad marks a significant spot on the map of Christian pilgrims. Photo Courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism

 

Delving deeper from the shores unfurls a cauldron of culture and heritage bubbling with tales of yore in the Manapad village. With a skyline woven out of steeples towering amidst clusters of whitewashed lodgings, the village is a sacred Christian pilgrimage stop, even earned it the title of ‘India’s little Jerusalem’. Legends have it that a Portuguese ship sailing around the Cape of Good Hope in 1540 was met with a tumultuous storm that left the ship on the brink of collapsing. Humbled by nature’s wrath, the captain had surrendered the safety of the vessel in the hands of Jesus Christ and vowed to build a Cross from a portion of the fractured mast on whichever land washed the sailors in the arms of safety. After days of drifting on violent waters, the ship alighted on the shores of Manapad. When the Cross was still in the form of a rugged log, a villager is believed to have cleansed his feet on it. An instantaneous splitting pain and swelling gripped his limbs, leaving him exasperated. On the same night, he was informed in his dreams that his pain was rooted in the vandalism of the log that was meant to be used for a sacred purpose. He was also instructed to cleanse the mast, slather it in oil and medicate his legs with the same oil. To his bewilderment, the prescription worked and he was relieved of any pain immediately after. The captain installed a Cross on a hillock as pledged and later, the Holy Cross Church was established in the same spot to encase it in 1581. The church is the most visited among no less than 14 churches dotting the village as this is also where the Relic of True Cross—a fragment believed to be from the True Cross of Jerusalem—rests.

Weekend Getaway: Rippling Enchantment Of Manapad

Manapad’s consistent record of best wave formations year-round make it a surfer’s haven. Photo Courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism

Around the 1530s, a Christian community known as the Paravas inhabited Manapad. However, with the lack of missionaries to guide them, their belief system remained novice until the arrival of St. Francis Xavier, who was on a sojourn across the Pearl Fishery Coast in pursuit of conducting missionary activities. When he disinterred a grotto — known as the Valli’s cave today— for an abode, and the Captain’s Cross, he established the site as his interim residence in 1542. Flocked by visitors, the Valli’s cave houses a well that is believed to hold healing water.

By toiling and preaching Gospels to village folks, the saint ministered the community before returning to Goa in 1543. Sauntering on village tours amidst the clustered Chettinad-style cottages sandwiched between the oceanfront and main road unveils such tales in every nook and cranny of the Manapad. After a church hopping that revitalises your body, mind and soul, dip your feet in the soft ripples of the ocean as the sun sinks into the horizon, not before painting the sky hues of oranges and pink while the ocean responds with its gleaming reflection.

 

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
  • Sudrisha Goswami hopes to connect people with engaging stories from spectrums of art, culture, design and communities. She can be spotted sipping a cup of hot chocolate on any given day with a book in her hand and her eyes scanning crowds for different journeys.

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