Avarebele Mela, a 12-day festival celebrating the val bean, is now one of the city’s major attractions.
The mela began on December 27 and is on till January 8. It is held at food street in VV Puram in southern Bengaluru.
Metrolife visited the mela on Wednesday and spoke to customers and vendors.
Many old Bengalurenans coming to the mela for 20 years are nostalgic about how it evolved. Sundara Kanti Sampath, retired manager, Bharat Electronics Ltd, has never missed a mela.
“Over the years, the crowds have increased and the food has become more diverse,” she says. “I like avarekai ambode the best,” she says.
Ambode is what some restaurants call masala vada; it is a deep-fried snack with lentils, onion and chilli as the main ingredients.
Jayanti, retired office superintendent, makes it a point to take guests from abroad to the mela, and when it is not on, to VV Puram’s food street . “Avarekal rotti is my favourite here,” she says. Some young Bengalureans are only now discovering the mela. Varun V S, visiting for the first time, had never seen so many avarekai dishes at one place. “I love the atmosphere,” he says.
Woman who started it all...
The Avarebele Mela, inspired by Bengaluru’s famous peanut fair Kadlekai Parishe, was first held 20 years ago. Shopkeepers in the area credit the idea to K S Geetha Shivakumar, proprietor of Shree Vasavi Condiments, one of the bigger shops located diagonally opposite VB Bakery. Initially, the mela featured just 10 families.
“The objective of the mela is to promote the avare crop among farmers,” says Geetha Shivakumar. Farmers come all the way from Magadi, Baraguru, and Kanakapura. The mela usually takes place in December or January.
Coming up in RT Nagar from Jan 11
The Avarebele Mela is going to HMT Grounds, RT Nagar, on Jan 11. It is on till Jan 13.
Metrolife spotted Kannada actor Ramesh Bhat in the crowd on Wednesday. He has been visiting the mela for 20 years and is a fan of Vaasavi Condiments. “The taste stays for a long time. Many buy these snacks and send them to people abroad. The place has made it very convenient for people who can’t make these snacks at home. I personally like their avarebele usli and sagu dosa,” he says.
Among those selling avarekai are two elderly ones. Ramanna from Magadi has been coming to the circle to sell his bean crop for 40 years.
“This got the name of avarebele mela only 20 years ago. The crowds have increased since the early years. Our business has also grown over the years,” he says. Jayamma from Anekal, a town on the southern outskirts of the city, finds happiness looking at the people coming to the mela. “For 19 years, I have been sitting in the same place selling kadle puri and avallakki puri. The young crowd loves it here.” she says.
» Avarebele Mela is on till January 8 at Food Street, VV Puram.