Manapad, Tamil Nadu’s little known surf paradise

Manapad is a secret too good to keep away from tourists. But Arun and Francina Miranda are ensuring the place retains its beauty and culture


There are two kinds of secrets – one that is not worth keeping and the other, which is too good to keep. Manapad, a fishing hamlet near Tuticorin, belongs to the latter.

Manapad. Pic: J’Ram DJ

Manapad is a place of unmatched natural beauty. You can take leisurely strolls down the pristine stretch of beach or bask in the bliss of solitude here. If you wish to add a dose of adventure to your otherwise serene experience at Manapad, you could go surfing for Manapad happens to be one of the best surfing spots in the country. It has a unique coastline that was formed by multiple layers of lava accumulated over a vast period of time. This gives Manapad the rare distinction of witnessing the best wave formations all through the year.

Chennai-based couple Arun Miranda and Francina, whose forefathers hailed from Manapad, have recently launched an initiative to promote tourism in the waters here.

Arun Miranda says “My wife and I decided that we have to embark on a mission to bring about social and economic change to this pristine coastal hamlet.”

Arun Miranda and his wife have been training local boys from Manapad at a surfing club in Chennai with an endeavour to promote Manapad as a water sport destination.

Their strategy was two pronged. One, was to unlock the great natural beauty and tourism potential of Manapad, which they refer to as ‘Magnificent Manapad’. Secondly, they wanted to empower the uneducated and unemployed youth of Manapad to recognize their potential and provide them training in alternative skills which would in turn provide them better economic and social conditions. Towards this end, they have been training local boys from Manapad at a surfing club in Chennai with an endeavour to promote Manapad as a water sport destination.

Arun adds “We are very certain that we would not compromise on protecting the local environment, culture and traditions while we embark on our mission. Ever since our property has been functioing, all our guests are advised prior to their confirmationon all important aspects pertaining to these sensitive issues. Though we had suggestions from many quarters, we have ensured that we do not encourage any motorized water sport that would turn this place into a mass commercial tourist destination. Manapad has a rich cultural and historical significance and we want to always maintain it that way.”

Since the launch of their tourism initiative in Manapad, Arun and Francina have hosted discerning tourists from across the globe at their boutique homestay in Manapad.

A stone’s throw from the homestay is the Manapad Palm Leaf Weavers Cooperative Society. Established in 1957 to promote the manufacture of products out of the leaves of the palmyra tree, the co-operative today has over 250 artisans from Manapad (all women), engaged in making a wide range of eco-friendly products like hats, bags, trays, baskets and bins.

The earliest documented visitor to Manapad perhaps was St. Francis Xavier who came here in 1542. He lived in a small cave near the seashore, which is still intact.

The feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is celebrated in Manapad every year in the month of September, attracts a large number of pilgrims from across the country. Incidentally, the 16th century Holy Cross Church houses a relic of the True Cross – the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, which gets displayed during the 10-day festival.

Brass Tacks

  • Manapad lies along the State Highway (SH 49), popularly known as the East Coast Road (ECR) in Tamil Nadu. It is situated about 58 kilometers from Tuticorin, also known as Thoothukudi. There are direct flights from Chennai to Tuticorin, twice in a day. There are trains departing and arriving from Chennai and Bangalore to the Tuticorin Railway Station; one of the oldest railway stations in the country.

  • There is a luxury bus that plys between Bangalore and Tiruchendur. The latter is about 18 kilometers from Manapad.

  • For more details on Manapad, check out http://manapad.in

Featured image: Flickr CC Attribution license


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is a travel writer based in Bangalore. He has written for publications like The Hindu & more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is a travel writer based in Bangalore. He has written for publications like The Hindu & more

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