The route to Subramanya

areca nut farm near subramanya

Subramanya bound, and fresh air.

Having been kept awake all night by the hostel’s party animals going out nightclubbing and noisily returning at all hours between 03:00 and 05:00 without any consideration for the other hostel guests, PK and I arose at 06:00 and headed for the Majesty bus station in Bangalore for the journey to Subramanya.

We had dosa with curry and chutney for breakfast at the bus station. I love dosa. The portions were so big it defeated both of us, but it did set us up for the seven hour journey to Subramanya. The morning was cold and I needed my sweater on. By eight o’clock the sun is up properly and the sweater was relegated to the rucksack.

The bus journey to Subramanya takes about 7 hours. Initially across the relatively flat-lands of the central portion of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Then it takes a downward route with hairpin bends and spectacular views as it descends the Western Ghats towards the coast and the Arabian Sea. The roads aren’t bad, no worse than some of the country roads in Eire or Wales. The same can’t be said of Indian drivers. Overtaking on the worst possible bends, driving three abreast, the journey can be nerve wracking. I just relax and work on the principle that if my time is up, it’s up.

After a couple of rest stops to get the rectangles out of the backside we reached Subramanya, home to the famous temple of Kartikeya, the son of Shiva.

[quote from Wikipedia] In this temple Kartikeya is worshipped as Subramanya, lord of all serpents. The epics relate that the divine serpent Vasuki and other serpents found refuge under Subramanya when threatened by the Garuda.

Kartikeya is also know as Murugan, Skanda or Kumara. He is the brother of Ganesha (known as Ganapati in the south of India).

Now it’s time for a local bus and then a short trip in an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk) to PK’s parent’s farm down by the river Kumaradara. The Kumaradara flows through Subramanya too, and the religious pilgrims bathe in the holy water. I just swim in it.

Down on the farm

areca nut trees near subramanya
areca nut trees

PK’s parent’s were delighted to see me again. They frequently ask after me when PK is home and on the messenger to me. “When is Q coming over again?” I would love to be able to speak to them without needing PK or his brother Rathan to translate. I have to learn the Kannada language, or at least enough to have basic communication.

rubber milk collection
rubber milk collection
PK’s father farms. Principally areca nuts that are used as a stimulant that they chew in much the same way that western people used to chew tobacco. He also collects pepper from the vines on various trees and taps rubber. You can see the areca nuts drying in the main picture. In the photos there is a picture of PK’s dad at the rubber trees and the milk collection bowl. It’s hot an humid here; probably in the high 20s or low 30s celsius (USA friends do the math 😉 )

After a couple of cups of tea we, PK, Rathan and I, head for the river for a swim. The water is beautiful and warm. Warmer than the air temperature in the UK at this time of year. I hate cold water but this is lovely and refreshing. PK’s dad is going to go fishing tomorrow and I’ll head along with him to take some photos. I had assumed that they’d be fishing with rods and poles but I was wrong, they’ll net the river.

Supper is of curry and boiled rice of a type that I’ve never seen or tried. The grains are huge and fat with little black flecks. It’s surprisingly light. PK’s mum seems to want me to get fatter – she fed me way too much. So we had a giggle as I stopped her from mounding my portions daily. Out here in the countryside the food is served on a banana leaf instead of plates. I would have liked to have taken a photo or two but I felt that maybe they would have been a bit embarrassed. I’ll try and rectify this later in a roadside café.

The milk in the tea is straight from the cow. It’s lovely tea but as I have a slight lactose intolerance I requested milk-less tea. The tea is strong, so strong you could tar the road with it. A little sugar is needed.

The nights are quiet with only the sound of the odd night bird and night-time insects. No traffic noise whatsoever. The sky is crystal and the stars are so bright away from the light pollution. I can see Orion and Taurus easily and much higher in the sky than they would be in Wales. Gemini is over head and Leo is just fading into the trees and the horizon. To the south are stars that I don’t know. They’d be below the horizon in the UK and invisible. Ursa Major and the Pole star aren’t visible because they are so low on the northern horizon here. I don’t even know if they would be visible from this latitude. I have seen them in Uttar Pradesh but U.P. is about 2000 km north of here.

In this little valley near the village of Yedamangala 4G connection isn’t really available. A climb up the hill soon rectifies that but it does mean that communication and writing this is impossible. In a couple of days I’ll be back in Perlampady where the connection is permanent(-ish) albeit a bit slow.

Rubber tapping in Karnataka

A few pictures from down on the farm