Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Somlapura, Koppa

I'm currently sitting wondering how to write the best diwali experience I had. It was fun all through the way. Getting struck in the Bangalore's biggest traffic jam and being late by whooping one hour to catch the reserved bus. Catching the bus was an experience by itself. I had been to a village called Somlapura in Koppa taluk in chikamagalore (catching up with relatives). Pictures posted are captured by my cousin Goutham. Thanks to his steady hands and his interests in photography.

Somlapura is a village full of striking contrasts between old and new. Parts of it are suspended in time: The village is sparsely populated and is more of forest and less of village. To give you an idea of how dense the forests are, localities claim tigers are constantly spotted near the village ( Plz note tiger spotting is Herculean task this days).You feel transported to the old Ages, but then you’ll be yanked rapidly into the present when you notice that the roofs are peppered with antennas and satellite dishes.

Here at Western Ghats ever other plant has medicinal value. I admire the knowledge every villager has pertaining to medicinal herbs. U will find herbs right from curing snake bites to making sugar free coffee suitable for diabetes patients. And not to forget the plant (Sarva sambar) that tasted like chilies, pepper, and variety of spices all mixed together.

One minute you’ll be admiring the shades of green in a coffee and beetle nuts farm and then you’ll suddenly hear the crackly call of a peacock somewhere from a forest nearby.I saw the biggest spider I’ve seen in my lifetime (6 - 8 inches long). If you can enlarge and see the photo u will find a smaller spider sitting on top of the bigger spider.

What still fascinated me, however, were the cracker used in Diwali. Let’s call them Herbal crackers for a while. It was explosives wrapped inside dried leaves. The sound produced can surpass sounds of the best crackers available in market today. Watching crackers was fun though dangerous as trajectory for rockets was arbitrary and not defined.

The lesson I took away from this tropical forest adventuring was that humans are extraordinarily adaptable. I was no longer bothered (or even particularly amused) when I heard that there was a tree nearby when cut and inhaled induces unconsciousness. Other notable incidents were.

  • Spotted peococks
  • Visited Gnanapeth award winning poet Kuvempu’s house at Kupphalli
  • Had pleasant walk on the banks of river tunga overlooking a bridge constructed by Sir M. Vishveswarya
  • Visited a house which was the only house for the entire village of Kotikoppa