Monday, February 12, 2018

The Tamarind Trees of Koongal Betta

Tamarind fruits
Tangy and Tasty Tamarind Fruits

Koongal hill
Koongal Hill 
One night while having my dinner, I experienced an unusually refreshing flavor and taste of sambhar  and with much compliments being generated, my wife revealed the secret of the tasty tongue-tickling sambar saying, the tamarind used for cooking/preparing the sambhar was that brought from Koongal Hills. They were the best of tamarinds used by us till now and the taste of its tanginess remained with me ever since. Though we generally use the tamarind grown locally, the tamarind this time tasted different. Whatever efforts we put in collecting the fallen tamarinds, carrying them back home, drying, dehusking and deseeding them to get the prefect fruit, ready to cook, were definitely worthwhile. Though majority of the tamarinds we get is naturally grown, the process of drying, cleaning and selection of the fruits itself makes all the difference. We thouroughly enjoyed the refreshing sourness of the tamarind courtesy of Koongal hill and savoured every drop of sambhar that day!! It was surely a tasty tangy treat for my taste buds!
Tamarind Tree of Koongal Betta
Traditional way of dehusking tamarind fruits
Traditional Way of dehusking Tamarind Fruits
That Sunday, we wanted to trek the small hill of 'Achalu Betta' located somewhere between the towns of Kanakapura and Ramanagara. However, on our way from Kanakapura to Ramanagara, a big hill with a small temple atop attracted us. We immediately decided to trek this hill and inquired the route to the hill. We parked our car under a tree near the Koongal hill. As we walked, we realized that the road has been laid up to half way to the hill. We were greeted by a beautiful murti of Lord Ganesha  installed in the recent years. Walking further we reached an open terrain full of Tamarind trees.
Lord Ganesha
Lord Ganesha
Road Way Up
Life! Finds Its Way
A Lovely Walkway
Tamarind Tree Groove
Entering The Tamarind Tree Groove
The real climb starts from here as the route turns a bit steep and narrow. In a short while we reached  a place where there was a big murti of Lord Nandi/Basavanna. We rested under its shade for sometime after offering prayers. Continuing our trek hereon, we entered a cave at the exit of which were rock cut steps leading to a small temple dedicated to Lord Anjaneya Swamy (Maruti). The murti seemed to belong to around 18th century. The forest department has built a small view point where we spent some time. During our descent we sighted some ruins of the fort remains, though not much. We reached the area dedicated to the tamarinds trees and were tempted to collect the fallen tamarind. We collected the the fallen tamarind fruits as much as possible and carried it safely till we reached our vehicle.
The Hike
Nandi Murti
Inside the Cave
Maruti Temple, Koongal Betta
Lord Maruti
Panoramic View
Maruti Temple, Koongal Betta
Nandi Murti, Rock cut steps and Maruti Temple
How to reach Koongal Betta: From Bangalore travel till Ramanagara on Mysuru highway, enter Ramanagara town and take the Muduwadi road till Koongal. Koongal is about 60 km from Bangalore and 8 Km from Ramanagara.
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  1. Nice place. The walk way looks very clean.
    Seeing flowering tamarind tree for first time.

  2. Seems like an interesting place. I did not know about the tamarind. Will talk to my wife about it and perhaps look for some to taste. We normally use the one grown in my house in Suratkal and they are made with traditional process by my mother.

  3. Well described and well written 🙂