Flavour of Devanahalli

Miscellany

Flavour of Devanahalli

Chakkota, a juicy fruit which was once famous for its special taste, is now on the verge of extinction. Thanks to the real estate boom, farmers are losing farmlands Thousands of pomelo trees, which dotted Devanahalli region of the State, have now all but vanished. Much like Kodagu’s orange, Mysore’s mallige (jasmine) and Nanjanagud banana, Devanahalli in Bangalore rural district is known for its pomelo.

A little distance from Devanahalli, a few pomelo trees still stand. One such farm of pomelo belongs to Ramesh Shivanapur, an organic farmer and owner of a nursery. On his farm, he carries out grafting and sells pomelo plants. Some of the trees still stand in and around Devanahalli, but many of them have lost their original flavour because of poor seed selection. But Ramesh is conserving the plants and is generating saplings from these trees. Belonging to the citrus family, this fruit is rich in Vitamin-C and beta carotene. Pomelo grows more than 20 feet tall and yields more than 2,000 fruits in a year. The grafting process takes three months, and Ramesh generates 400 saplings a year. “

Efforts to conserve

Recognising the unique taste of pomelo, the Department of Horticulture searched and found five plants on Ramesh’s farm. The credit of conserving these rare original plants must go to his father S R Channappa. Additional Director of Horticulture S V Hittalamani took a lot of interest and prepared grafted plants in this farm and supplied these to farmers under various government schemes. Most farmers sell these fruits along the roadside.

A fruit of an average quality is priced at Rs 50 each. But Devanahalli chakkota fetches a good price. Starting from Rs 50, this special variety may cost up to Rs 200 per fruit. “People who taste Devanahalli chakkota once invariably come back to my farm and buy it. I have 11 trees,” says Ramesh. Some traders purchase fruits from here and sell it in the Bangalore market.

The Gandhi connection

Mahatma Gandhi, who came to stay at Nandi Hills, is said to have tasted Devanahalli chakkota! When he reached Nandi Hills, farmer S R Channappa of Devanahalli met him and offered him a chakkota. “My father often recalled his meeting with the Mahatma. Gandhiji ate half of the chakkota and appreciated its flavour. Thereafter, he advised my father to conserve this traditional fruit variety,” remembers Ramesh Shivanapur.

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