Shridhar Bhat with black pepper garland. PHOTO BY AUTHOR
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the widely used spices across the world. In Karnataka, it is one of the major agricultural crops. Black pepper is used as a spice as well as medicine.
There are two types of pepper - black and white. The black type is the one with the outer cover. The outer layer is removed when it is ripe to make it look white. Recently, progressive farmer Shridhar Bhat of Chavati Hosmane in Yellapur taluk of Uttara Kannada district made beautiful garlands using black and white pepper.
In fact, cardamom, another popular spice crop, is widely used for making garlands. Artisans in Haveri are experts in making attractive cardamom garlands. Some areca nut growers have also tried their hands at preparing areca garlands. Shridhar tried making pepper garlands along these lines.
The idea is well-received by people, and some of the garlands made by him and his team have been bought to be used on special occasions. "Making these garlands is a work of art and requires attention to detail. As a result, it becomes elaborate and time-consuming. It generally takes three days to make a garland. Black pepper is expensive as well. Hence, a garland costs around Rs 2,000 at present and may seem to be a bit costly," says Shridhar.