A narrow road lazily that slopes up a low grassy hill at Mudipu in Bantwal taluk leads to a shrine that people of all faiths visit. For atheists, it could serve as a weekend getaway.

The Blessed Joseph Vaz Shrine was built in memory of Joseph Vaz of Goa in 2004, and attracts people for its calm and peaceful atmosphere. The rain drenched hills in the distance only add to the serenity of the place.

To reach the shrine, one can take a bus from the city bus stand in Mangalore to Mudipu and then walk up the hill or hire an autorickshaw. Atop, one can get a view of the surrounding hills and villages dotted with small houses.

A large gateway leads to the premises of the shrine which include a spacious prayer hall with a statue of Jesus and a cave-like room built for those who would like to pray in isolation. A narrow path running along the side of the prayer hall leads to the room which has been made to look like a cave. There is a statue of Jesus in a corner with lights focussed on it.

According to Vinod Lobo, priest at the Blessed Joseph Vaz Church, Vaz lived in South Canara between 1681 and 1684 and was popular among the people for social work. He is also believed to have performed miracles during his stay.

The shrine is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and special prayers are held on Fridays. Meals are served to visitors.

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