Hurali: To recharge our spirits in the lush, cool, rustic village life and gape at the magical rains, we headed to Hurali- a non descript village where Megha spent her summer vacations, her ancestral home. Circa 1955, people at Bangladi were displaced due to Linganamakki dam construction and moved to Hurali and other villages. The geography and lives of many changed forever. Megha's grandfather was one among them. In 1960 he bought a house from Kollapppa Gowdaru who has a merit certificate for leading improvement in Hurali village as Chairman of Kudarur panchayat in 1933. Wood and laterite stone built house with Mangalore tile roof and six ft high attic looks huge. Admire the carvings on the pillars and door frame. Bend your head while stepping in, the door is just five feet high - a custom to pay respect while entering a home. Hande - the bronze vessel in the bathroom to heat and store water with firewood is a luxury. The cattle shed is adjacent, housing more than20 cows. A cow is what is a yak to Tibetans, in malenadu.
From Sagara (35km, two hour) ride takes you to Holebaagilu (Ambaragodlu) through scenic ghats route. A ferry (locally called launch) carries your four wheeler for Rs.10 across 2km wide catchment area of Linganamakki to Kalasavalli. Once you cross, everyone knows everyone. Postal address doesn't include house names, just the person's name and village name! The roads get worse as you go more interior. Singandoor temple is a favourite among pilgrims in this region. The nearest petrol pump is at Tumari 14km away from Hurali. For any major facilities Sagara is the nearest option.
At Hurali most of the tasks are DIY, so your life skills matter a lot. A transformer fuse blows out, you get a thick aluminium wire and ties the fuse. If the rains in the city is about inconvenience and diseases, the rains here bring more crops and water for the lean period. While men handle agriculture activities, women are busy with daily chores and cattle farm. A thick jute sack protects men from rain and cold winds while on the fields. Tiller is used to plough the paddy fields. Major crop is arecanut and pepper that creep on the arecanut trees. Rice fields are managed through terrace farming though not large scale. Cooking is done using gober gas and firewood. The impeccable house keeping is commendable. Everyone follows the circadian rhythm, cattle return at dusk after grazing.
The staple diet is rice and dosa. The absence of a fridge talks about the freshness of food. Fresh butter, liquid jaggery (joni bella), chutney powder mixed in curd, coconut chutney ground in a stone grinder and aunts' love will not make you say 'No' to those crispy, brown dosas even when your tummy is full. Everyone sits on the floor in the kitchen to dine. Indulging in Malenadu cuisine and our agenda of 'doing nothing' was perfectly executed with torrential rains 24/7. A short hike up the nearby hill drenched us.
Seven year old Sunay plays in the rain with mud. None to scold him and worry about virus and bacteria. He goes to a nearby two-room school with two teachers and 21 students. He played chess with me for hours. He is fond of all animals in the nature, most excited about fireflies and leeches.
Kollur Mookambika temple - a favourite among Kerala Hindus- is just 35km away and this route takes you to Shimoga (125km) via Nittur. We did a half day tour to the temple driving through Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary. Many torrents were roaring down en route and this is one of the scenic routes in Western Ghats. The temple premises were near empty due to rains and Ashada month. Near the temple, you get jeeps to go for a hike to the top of Kodachadri hills, not during heavy rains.
To find this place on maps- N 13° 59.07780', E 74° 50.24400'
For accommodation: Haalkare Homes