Picture-postcard perfect

Picture-postcard perfect

Picture-postcard perfect

The little township that nestles in a green valley is also home to the famous Durga Parameshwari temple. File photo

All the same, many poets, philosophers  and common men prefer to think that they are addressing the public from the “centre of the earth.” In fact, Karnataka has been touted as the centre of the earth in a very famous Kannada ballad which goes, Dharani mandala madhyadholage, merayuthiha karnata deshadhol, which when translated reads as, the region of Karnataka flourishes from the centre of the earth.

It is interesting to note that the state actually has a place called Kateel which literally translates into the centre of the earth. Kati means centre in Tulu and Ile means earth. Kateel rests in the scenic land of Dakshina Kannada which is cushioned between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. The little township that nestles in  the green valley looks like a perfect picture postcard representing green hills and dales and river Nandini gushing forth through the region.

Kateel is about 29 kilometers away from Mangalore and can be reached by public buses, vans or private transport. Paddy fields, coconut and arecanut farms that mark the road to Kateel will prompt you to get out of your vehicle and walk at least a part of the way to savour the beauty of the land. The tiled Mangalorean homes with their traditional appearance will transport you to a pastoral world.

If you happen to cover the distance on foot, do not forget to carry your cameras and also do not hesitate to avail help or hospitality from the genial local people. Kateel is famous for its Durga Parameshwari temple which forms an islet in the river Nandini. The temple has a hoary past and has a story mentioned in the Puranas. Having been to Kateel, it will be a mighty shame not to visit the goddess. The temple authorities encourage  indigenous folk and classical art of the region.

There are performances of Yakshagana, Bhutha kola (a mystical masked dance) and Hari Katha based on themes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which are worth watching for they will prove to be an exotic experience of a lifetime.  Kateel is also known as the flower garden of Dakshina Kannada. Most varieties of flowers bloom in the valley and the chart is topped by the fragrant Mangalore Jasmine locally known as Mangaluru mallige.

The flowers are exported and local florists cater to the needs of tourists by helping them send flowers to their loved ones at a reasonable price.

The locals firmly believe that the presence of Bhramarambha (Bhramara is the bee) in their midst is the cause for their floral bounty.