Celebrating the seasons of nature

Celebrating the seasons of nature

People milled around, relishing rare wild fruits and exotic tropical fruits, at Dr K Shivarama Karantha Pilikula Nisargadhama in Mangaluru, on a May Sunday. Scores of city dwellers thronged the biological park to participate in the spring festival or Vasanthotsava.

Numerous mango and jackfruit varieties in different size, shape and flavour caught the attention of participants. Star apple, guava, jamun, kokum, wild jackfruit, langsat, egg fruit and other fruits that ripen in the spring season were displayed at the exhibition, making it a fruit extravaganza. In all, it was a collection of nature’s bounty.

The festival that featured latest food processing techniques and new experiments offered an opportunity for growers to explore the market potential of local produces particularly organic crops. ‘Rely upon organic’ was the bottom line of this year’s Vasanthotsava. As many as 50 per cent of the stalls was put up by the members of Savayava Krishika Grahaka Balaga, an organic initiative in the city. It is a collective of organic enthusiasts working towards creating awareness about safe food. It has successfully linked growers and consumers by organising organic markets on a regular basis.

Vasanthotsava is one of the many events organised in Pilikula to showcase the tradition of Tulunadu (comprising of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts). Like any other region, each season is associated with specific traditions and rituals in Tulunadu. Bisukani (on Ugadi), Vasanthotsava, rain fest, Matsyotsava, and Aatidonji Dina (a day of aati month) are other festivals organised at Pilikula Nisargadhama to revive the customs and the traditions of the region.

“Every programme holds mirror to the changes in nature and corresponding shift in the lifestyle particularly, food habits. It provides an opportunity for people to come together and participate in activities that are reminiscent of time-tested practices. Such programmes also help to boost tourism,” said Dakshina Kannada DC A B Ibrahim.

Take Aatidonji dina, for instance. It is  celebrated on a day in the Tulu month of Aati. This month is known for a variety of special delicacies that meets nutritional and medicinal requirements of the season. The food usually consists of locally available vegetables and herbs, most of which are grown naturally. Pilikula matsyotsava, the fish carnival, is yet another endeavour by the district administration. The programme has become popular and  more than a hundred people participated this year with their angling sticks, at the boating centre in Pilikula, where sweetwater fish are being cultured.

The rain fest
On the second Sunday of this June, people set out for yet another splendour: the rain fest. Coastal food which included roasted tamarind seeds and salted jackfruit seeds gave a feel of the season to the participants. Events such as umbrella decorating competition and rural games like jibili and lagori, monsoon photography exhibition and planting of saplings added to the celebration. Bisu or Vishu festival is celebrated with great reverence on the first day of the solar new year at the Nisargadhama. Bisukani, the traditional decorative arrangement of newly harvested crops, displayed at the traditional house Guthina Mane becomes the centre of attraction. The fest symbolises the predominant role of agriculture in the lives of people here.
Ibrahim said that such attempts are necessary to get a better understanding of age-old practices. The district administration intends to organise programmes at regular intervals to showcase the essence of various seasons and traditions that are connected with it.

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