Spending half a day at Agumbe and cutting short our visit as it was pouring non-stop, we returned to Thirthahalli, the greenland of Malnad landscape in Karnataka. Here, we decided to take a peek at the town that is located on the banks of River Tunga amid dense forests. Continuous rains had literally battered the river bank and we could hardly see the ancient Rama Mantap which was gradually submerging in the rising waters. Relaxing on the banks of the river for sometime, we were forced to retreat back as it poured non stop.
After a sumptuous traditional meal on a plantain leaf, we made our way towards Hosanagara which too receives the maximum amount of rainfall during the monsoons. The route to Hosanagara is beyond description as the virgin landscape unfolds like a picture postcard as you go across from one arecanut plantation to another.
The undisturbed, verdant mountainous locale where you hardly see another vehicle or person leaves you so happy as in these regions, your neighbours are more than 10 kilometers away. A lot of bird life can be spotted here even as we could see hectic activity in the paddy fields. This was an incredible sight for a city bred person who has to live amidst pollution and the chaos of Bengaluru city.
We decided to stop en-route to Hosanagara after travelling for 32 kilometers and halted for two days at a farm house. Reaching Bomagadde, the beautiful farm house of the Bhatt family, we were welcomed and treated to the best Malnad cuisine where every food item is prepared from locally available vegetables and fruits that are exclusively grown here.
Eating jackfruit idlis (sweet and masala), sambhar, chips, papads, and a dessert was the ultimate joy. The seeds of this fruit are dried and sauted on coal and tasted very delicious. Drinking hot coffee and munching on these salted seeds, we relaxed the entire rainy afternoon on the lounge of this palatial farmhouse.
The Bhatt farm is completely self sufficient as it generates its own energy, is off the water grid too and recycles all the waste, producing both fuel and manure and growing everything from lemons to chillies to coconuts. Nothing is wasted on this farm which is surrounded by mountainous ranges with two big wells and a lake in their midst. However, it is not such an easy life with sudden landslides. The Bhatt family sustained huge losses that year with the destruction of their paddy crops. But for them, this was a routine affair as the hilly area around Hosanagar usually receives heavy rainfall bringing relief and sometimes havoc in these regions.
A memorable experience was to see how plantation farmers lived, sustained and survived in the face of adversities year after year. But for us city dwellers, who hardly know or are even aware of such happenings in remote rural locations, it was a lesson to be learned for ever and treasured. However, travelling and driving around the Malnad belt especially around Thirthalli and Hosanagar taluks can be an experience of a lifetime.