My village is in the western part of old Myore. Just before entering into Coorg district we take a deviation towards Krishnarajanagara popularly known as K R Nagara. A drive of few more kilometers leads us to the famous “Chunchunkatte” village. This place is famous for the ancient temple where Lord Sri Rama, Devi Sita and Lord Lakshmana are ardently worshipped. This is one such rare temples where idol of “Hanumanji” is not found in the sanctum santorum. It is believed that Sri Rama hadn’t met “Hanumanji” when he visited this place thousands of years ago.
Adjacent to the temple is a beautiful waterfall. The story goes that during exile of Sri Rama, the trio stopped in this beautiful place. Devi Sita wanted to take a holy dip in the river Kaveri. Lakshmana then shot an arrow between the rocks and created a safe place for her to bath. Thus, was formed beautiful “Chunchunkatte” waterfalls where Kaveri water flows in different colors. It is believed that the colors were created because of “Oil, soap-nut powder and Turmeric” used by Devi Sita during her bath.
This village is also famous for “Danada Jaatre” or “Cattle fair”. This is a unique annual event which is organized during the festival of “Makarasankranti” in the month of January. This cattle fair has been held since many years and has earned its unique reputation as Hundreds of cows, buffolows, bullocks, sheep, goat and all other related products are sold here. Thousands of visitors from far and near visit this place to buy the best breeds from this shandy. Important tools, manure, seeds, plants etc required for farming are bought and sold here during this occasion.
During the same period a “Car festival” is held for Lord Rama in Chunchunkatte. The piligrims rush with their families to take a dip in the holy waters of Kaveri and also seek blessing of the Lord. This is their annual picnic where the families enjoy the outing with tasty food and savouries sold in the makeshift shops around the area.
Nature is at its best in this area. Lush green paddy fields. Patches of lovely tall trees. Stretches of swaying Coconut and Arcenut trees. Well connected irrigation canals. White cranes perching on top of the trees edging near the river banks. Happy people grazing cattle and working in the fields.
During my childhood days we visited our village “Haleyur” during holidays and the memoirs of those days are totally different from what I see now. Though all the above description remained the same even those days, yet, there was a great sense of innocent happiness. Our house is the first house in the village street. Almost everyone has to pass through our road before entering into our village. Every single inhabitant of that village knew each other almost like the back of their hands.
On seeing visitors, the curious onlookers would always peep into our house to enquire about the occasion or who we were. I just can’t forget the times we spent with our cousins. We cuddled ourselves in the verandah after breakfast and kept chitchatting for hours till we were called for lunch. We used to draw water from a huge well which was located just in front of our house. Most of the families were connected to each other as relations. Our pastime was to run into all such houses and drink either coffee or sherbet. We played all sorts of rustic village games.
Ladies of the house would gather near the kitchen area. They would be busy almost everytime we passed by that place. Each one would be working either scraping coconut, grinding masala, preparing buttermilk, cutting vegetables or cooking. They would just shoo us away if we entered that area without having bath.
Men folk would be busy in preparing for the days celebration. Mango leaves, flowers would be decorated on each door. The doorstep adorned with huge red and white rangoli. Home diety was worshipped amidst loud vedic chants. Once “Maha mangalaarathi” was done prasadam was distributed. Lunch would be served on Plantain leaves.
Evening was a time when as elders of the family would relax, sit together and discuss family matters in serious fervor. We were out of bar for the discussions. One senior most cousin of the family who would summon us to display all our newly acquired talents. Sing songs, read poems or tell stories turn by turn.
On the days that we had to return back to Bangalore, there would be tears in our eyes. We longed to meet our cousins once again.
Though our village has now changed leaps and bounds in terms of “progress”, for me childhood days are green in my memory. Till date whenever or wherever, I meet my cousins, these lovely memories are evoked. We still catch from from the same conversation that we last left. We don’t feel grown.