So this vacation has been amazing. Soon after getting back from Mumbai, we planned yet another weekend trip to my father’s native place, Kumta (In Karnataka). Before I share the details, I’ve a confession to make. In my childhood, we used to frequently visit Kumta, and I hated going there. Okay, hated being there, the 4 hour drive was always a pleasure (because I LOVE long drives). Well, why did I hate it? Because it’s a village (actually a town, I realised that recently), I suppose.
But as they say, likes change with time. This time around, I realised how lovely this place is! There’s something charming about it’s quaintness, the narrow roads, the bullock carts and lots and lots of greenery. The people here are hard-working, most having their own shops selling everyday essentials, or producing the healthiest of fruits and vegetables.
We stayed at my paternal aunt’s house, in which I have a bagful of childhood memories. It felt like I was a child all over again. And my aunt and uncle are one of the most wonderful people I’ve met. My uncle has a passion for farming. Believe it or not, he has four farms, within Kumta. We visited each of them and wow, the produce there made my jaws drop. Whichever corner I looked at, all I could see were mangoes and more mangoes! Not at all exaggerating, but I feel each farm has many mango trees in it. My father, being a mango enthusiast, showed happiness and excitement, that of a small kid taken to a toy shop :D.
What’s more is, the fences were lined with rows and rows of pineapples, luscious and a bright orange, emanating a sweet fragrance I’ve grown to love. There were also coconut trees, hog plum trees (what we call in Konkani, “god ambado”), jackfruit trees, kokum trees, banana plantations, breadfruit trees, cocoa trees, pepper creepers, spice crops, and all sorts of beautiful flowers. All the farms are well equipped with modern farming techniques like drip irrigation. The smell of wet mud from the downpour of the previous night, made the experience lovelier.
[Images clicked from the farm. Clockwise from left to right: Pineapple, Cocoa, Banana, Mango, Jackfruit, Coconut]
My uncle is a person whom I look up to. He is managing his business and his farms in full gusto, well beyond his retirement age. Armed with a good number of trustworthy associates, he has managed to keep his farms in great condition. I realised that pursuing one’s passion in life is more satisfying and rewarding than merely pursuing economic goals.
At present, more and more people are taking breaks from their busy work schedules, and planning vacations to laid-back places like Kumta. My uncle, finding an opportunity, turned one of his farms into a 4 bedroom guest house, complete with all the comforts required to make anyone’s stay blissful. Nestled amidst lush greenery and, not surprisingly, mango trees, the guest house named “Damodar”, is the perfect place for anyone who wants to explore Kumta and its surrounding areas. The rooms are even equipped with a refrigerator, air conditioner and kitchen, for those who want to cook their own food. Little restaurants providing homely food are located quite close by, for those who don’t want to prepare their own food.
The guest house, located around 13 km from Kumta, is most suited for the adventurous people who like trekking and exploring the places around. In fact, there is a hill right opposite the farm, climbing down leads you to a river. This place is a total delight for nature lovers. Still in its inception, the guest house looks promising and has a bright future.
[The scenic beauty overlooking the farm house]
In our 3 day trip, we managed to visit The Hanging Bridge in a place called Devalli, about 20 km from Kumta. The bridge was constructed to connect two villages, for easy transportation. The bridge is right above a beautiful, gurgling river, the shore lined with the most gorgeous looking stones. Initially I did feel scared while walking on the bridge, as it shakes a bit, but then looking at villagers walking from one side to another, I was put at ease. We walked the whole stretch of around half a kilometre, and were treated to a sight of clear water, on the other side. My mother and I fulfilled our wish to sit with our feet in flowing water. Cool and relaxing experience, that was! Imagine how it would be in monsoon if the river looks like the pictures below during summer. It would definitely be a feast to the eyes!
[The Hanging Bridge at Devalli]
I also happened to meet an 80-ish year old lady from Halakki Gowda community, and according to my father, her frame and energy has not diminished a bit since from when he has seen her in his childhood. She still has the energy to climb trees, to pluck jackfruit leaves, and do most of the household chores. Totally astonishing to see such a person!
And so, in the blink of an eye, came our totally fulfilling trip, to an end. While going to Kumta, we were carrying modern electronic gadgets and while returning, our car was loaded with organically grown mangoes, jackfruit, bananas and pineapples, and so a part of nature accompanied us back. A place like this is something one needs to visit and then, revisit, to get a break from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. Now, back home, I’m fully refreshed and ready to continue with my routine life.