Thursday, November 11, 2021

BIOME team visit to Tumkur

I always wanted our BIOME team to visit Tumkur. I had mentioned this to Shubha ma'am and she was equally excited and said it gonna be BIOME's day trip:) 

Everyone wanted to visit Tumkur and see the existing water management practices. It was difficult to finalize the suitable date considering everyone's feasibility, the plan had to be postponed multiple times. Finally the BIOME's visit to Tumkur was made on October 4th 2021 and Shubha, Suma and Nikita were part of it. 

The key place to visit in Tumkur was of course Baje fields - Everyone's favorite! Suma ma'am was excited to visit Mydala lake as I had told her stories about Mydala lake, its bird diversity, rocky catchment and most importantly she could try and climb all the rocks available! Nikita would always say yes for Mydala lake as she fell in love with everything about the lake in her last visit. Shubha ma'am was interested to take a look at the public wells to be taken up for rejuvenation. We removed Devarayanadurga hill from the itinerary as it would consume more time. 

Let me tell you what all did we see, ate and chat during our visit:

The first stop: 

We visited Mydala lake from Mandhanagiri hills. What could be better than climbing a hill early in the morning! We took a took at the inscription stone which dates back to 1000 A.D. Eeshwara Dandanayaka, military official of Hoysala dynasty renovated Mandanagiri temple and Padmavati his wife built Mydala kere and a wetland and donated to the people. 

We sat on the rock and had wide variety of chat starting from copy pasting in the blog is difficult, plucking the water lily, birds, next trip, well diggers, the still water in the lake,its color and so on... I must tell the company for all of us was the hot black tea that Suma ma'am got (served in steel glass) which tasted heaven.

The rocks that Suma ma'am wants to climb
The lake from Mandhangiri hill 
Suma m'am enjoying her black tea
We realized we should speed up as we had many places lined up. We visited my house in Mydala which is just couple of minutes away and took a took at my recharge well. 

After breakfast, we saw "Gundlammanakere lake" which is receiving untreated wastewater. The lake was full of macrophytes like Hyacinth, Aligater weed and Water Cabbage. We saw two wells next to the lake and decided these wells cannot be rejuvenated as the same water seeps into the wells. 

Hyacinth in Gundlamanakere lake
The well next to the Gundlammanakere lake

One and only: Baje

Baje is a medicinal crop (wetland plant) called as Sweet Falg (Acorus Calamus), is grown in 200 acres in the command area of Bheemansadnra and Melekote lakes. It is grown largely only in Tumkur city as there is availability of treated wastewater. Baje's root is used to cure various diseases and very much part of traditional medicines. It is exported  to pharmaceutical industries in the West.

Baje looks like an endless green carpet reaching the horizon
We got down to smell the Baje (It smells great).
 Baje is used as a spice too and also to make perfumes
This charming old man is a shepherd who will tell us everything about the lakes, Baje, 
roamers and realities about the wastewater. His smile and energy won our hearts
Farmer Narayanappa has 30 acres of Baje (contract farmer). 

The bund is very small a car and a two wheeler could pass at a time. Narayanappa's Scorpio car came from the other side of the bund when we were almost reaching the end. What if he came when we were at the center of the bund? Never mind, he would easily got himself on the reverse gear ;)

The Sewage Treatment Plant of 24.75 MLD capacity following Aerated Oxidation Pond technology

The public wells:
After lunch we visited the well in Upparahalli. It is on the road and was extensively used by the community there. It has been contaminated with sewage for two years and it is not put into use. We decided to take this well for rejuvenation as soon as we get the funding. 

 Upparahalli well
 Kyathsandra well
Crystal clear water

The last stop was at this well. There were four parallel roads and I was confused about the well location. We ended up passing on all the roads ;) The well was painted with the left over paint from the neighboring painter :) The well is well maintained and put into use occasionally when there is scarcity. 

The food: Last but not the least 
We had our breakfast at very famous Pavitra hotel. What else will we have when we are in Tumkur? Of course the thatte idly was too yumm. Dosa was oily and Maddur vada was too tasty. The lunch at Vilasi Delight was too good. Sitting in a very crowded and noisy yet immersed in our conversations and enjoying the food was something :)

"A tumkur trip is Totally recommended. With breakfast at Pavithra and lunch at Vilasi" - Shubha

The biodiversity: The uniqueness about the visit was that the BIOME team was interested in birds and wetlands. It was fun to identify the birds and wetland species. Suma ma'am binocular was best used. Seeing the line of Stilts on the binocular was something awesome (they stand by their name). The discussion on how lakes can go beyond water by considering creating spaces for birds to inhabit and bringing in the Puttenahalli (North) model was something. 

- Rakshitha 

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