Haveri’s smiling chrysanthemums

Ranebennur in Haveri district is well-known for its many agri-seed firms. Farmers here are known to grow chilli, tomato and other vegetables in plenty, apart from other fruits and vegetables.

In the recent past, the town has become a major hub for floriculture. A lot of farmers here have taken to floriculture as it is a more lucrative option.

There are several small farmers in  many villages in and around Ranebennur who are solely dependent on chrysanthemum cultivation for their livelihood. One is greeted by fields of bright yellow chrysanthemums as one approaches the villages here.

Several farmers cultivate these flowers at least thrice a year. Typically, the crop is raised twice a year; once in May-June and again in September-October. Most farmers procure the seeds from their own fields and don’t buy them. It is possible to grow 5,000-6,000 saplings on an acre.

The crop doesn’t require a huge investment either. The flowers grown here have a huge demand across the State, and are sold in Hubli, Haveri, Davangere and Shimoga’s markets.

Come festive season, and the prices of these flowers shoot up to R 100 to Rs 120 per kilogram. In the non-festive season, the prices range between Rs 20 and 25.
The flowers are also sold in the market centres of the taluk without interference from middlemen.

Namdev Kagadagara

Pennar, now a trickle
As you travel to Chikkaballapur from Gauribidanur, you will spot a huge arch at one point. Travel a little further, and you will spot a small, neatly painted and well-maintained temple. The place, as we discovered soon, is the birthplace of North Pennar.

The Pennar is one of the several rivers which originate near the Nandi Hill range. The river, which catered to the drinking water needs of Gauribidanur, is today literally non-existent. Rampant encroachments and sand mining (which has now stopped) have posed a serious threat to its very existence.

The river is called by different names. People residing in this area call it Penneru. It is also called Pinakini.

The river runs north and east through the state of Andhra Pradesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. It is one of the larger rivers in the Southern peninsula, and is 597 km long.

The origin of the river is calm and beautiful, an ideal getaway for stressed out urbanites. The actual source of the river is believed to be a small well which can be found hidden amidst the bushes.

The area, however, is run-down and badly maintained. The temple houses the deity of Bhairaveshwara, believed to have been consecrated by the Cholas.

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