This farmer is glad about his choice!

Glads or gladioli have a special place in ceremonies or special occasions. The flower invariably finds a place in any decoration done on a festive day. Lakshminarayana, a farmer from Vijayapura in Devanahalli taluk (Bangalore Rural district), has now experimented with these plants and has been able to come up with over 20 different varieties of this flower, which is found in parts of Mediterranean Europe, Africa and Asia.

Lakshminarayana is no scientist in the lab; he has studied only up to the tenth standard. He has used cross pollination to create new varieties of gladioli.

Also, the credit of holding the first gladioli festival in the whole State and country must go to Lakshminarayana. He tends to his gladioli in a scientific manner. He ensures that the bulbs are fed with warm water. He explains that warm water is the best way to ensure that the bulbs are not infected, and that the plants spring to life. It’s 21 days after the seeds are sown that they sprout. For the seedling to turn into a plant takes at least six months. Flowering takes at least a couple of years.

A bunch of glads fetches Rs 30 to 40 in the market. But Lakshminarayana’s flowers are priced higher, because of the colour combinations that he has managed to achieve. Lakshminarayana won the Marigowda award for 2010-11 instituted by the Horticulture Department. He has also won several other laurels including the National Meet of Innovative Horticultural Farmers’ award. He was also recently honoured by Indian Agriculture Research Institute in Delhi.

The Hesaraghatta-based Indian Institute of Horticultural Research has also recognised his attempts. “At present, I have been able to create over 20 varieties, and have named them too. I earn an income of Rs 50,000 to 60,000 every year. The demand increases during the wedding season,” he explains.

Vaddanahalli Bhojyanaik

Pilgrim centre in need of maintenance

Over the years, the pilgrim centre of Devarayanadurga near Tumkur, has witnessed some improvements. For instance, maintenance of the temples started by a private collaborator has produced good results in the upkeep of the temples and their premises at the lower hill as well the upper hill.

Another notable improvement is the construction of steps all the way to the upper hill through donation by private persons. This centre attracts pilgrims and tourists from all the over the State and the neighbouring States too.

The hill has lovely views and balmy weather.  

One of the main problems faced by pilgrims is the menace of the monkey brigade.  Another long-standing demand of pilgrims and tourists is a bus shelter.  

The pushkarani, at the back of the temple, has turned green and is slowly decaying with algae. The tank is in urgent need of rejuvenation.

D B N Murthy