Mangaluru, May 25, 2015: Scores of nature and fruit lovers thronged the ’Pilikula Nisargadhama’ to witness the grand Vasanthotsava on May 24, Sunday. While the display of a wide variety of fruits stole the show, it was a giant guava, weighing about 1kg - something you wouldn’t get normally wowed visitors. This guava comes from the plantation of Ravishankar from Manjeshwar who said that this variety of guava takes at least six months to get its shape and size and is difficult to be grown commercially.
Most had come with children to witness this exotic display of fruits. A class 1 student, who was excited to see the stunning display of her favourite fruits - bananas and papayas. A tiny tot who came with his father was wide eyed with joy to handle a huge jackfruit with his tiny hands.
A tapioca weighing 5.3 kg was a big attraction. Grown on the terrace garden of a resident of Maroli, it was nearly a year to grow this root tuber. The crowd also gathered around certain rare varieties. There was ginger that tasted like mango. Several types of rare leaves were sold to make health promoting chutneys. The more exotic varieties comprised bamboo rice gathered from bamboo shoots that flower once every 60 years.
Byproducts of jackfruits sold like hot cakes. There were jackfruit gatti, payasam, and chips, and connoisseurs had a hard time figuring out what to eat. D C Chowta, member of the governing council of Pilikula Nisargadhama and a progressive farmer, was also present. He stated it is a unique opportunity to identify the rare forest produce that is on the verge of extinction, the presence of farmers, especially those who practice organic farming, is a positive sign for the agriculture sector. Even the city residents have responded to the event, he said.
Karnataka Fisheries Development Corporation too was a participant. They sold variety of fish, prawns, and crabs. V K Shetty, managing director, KFDC, said the corporation had netted sales worth Rs 1.2 lakh at the Mathsyotava held at Pilikula May 17, last Sunday. Soothing music and song highlighting the virtues of spring season, songs by students urging people to favour the tender coconut over aerated drinks too added to the spirit of the fruit fest.
For Mangaluru City South MLA J R Lobo, the first executive director of Pilikula Nisargadhama, the fact that his ’baby’ had grown up and is now the beehive of activity made him glad; he said he was feeling like a proud father. More than 25000 people visited Pilikula Vasanthotsava May 24. People also demanded similar programmes such as this in future too.