Me and three of my colleagues started with a common vision a few days back and we have been trying to identify villages. Where we can use tourism as a vehicle to enable them and help them stay where they are. And not look at cities as the only option to find a sustainable living. Yesterday our search took us to Halenijagal which is a place located around 55 km’s from Bangalore on Tumkur Road. We had a known contact person in the village, who helped us move around and planned the whole day for us.
Halenijagal Village – Rural Tourism
We started from Bangalore around 7:30 AM in the morning. Though we thought we started early, we did have to surf through a lot of traffic to get out of Bangalore. Once we hit NH-4, it was a smooth and enjoyable drive. Halenijagal is not too far from the main road, and there was a railway crossing to be crossed. It’s a small village with about 1000 people living there. The only profession they have is agriculture. Surrounded around the cluster of houses are the fields of various crops and vegetables and interspersed with fruit trees. We had a sumptuous breakfast at our host’s place.
Then we moved on to see the ancient village temple. We walked along the fields which had Paddy, Ragi, various pulses planted. There were various vegetable fields like Capsicum, various varieties of beans, tomatoes, baby corns etc. There were trees of Sitaphal and Tamarind. It was fun to walk in the field, in the small space between two fields and putting your face in front of the gush of water from the tube well. Across the fields is a man-made tank which is used to collect rainwater. Besides the tank, there is a small temple that belongs to the rain deity. Villagers come and pray here when they do not get enough rains. It is said that with prayers the rain gods do oblige.
Trek to Hill
From the water tank, we trekked to the small hill. Half way through the top there is an ancient cave temple devoted to Lord Shiva. The day being Sunday, there were quite a few devotees who were present there. There was a community kitchen. Where families seemed to cook and serve food to everyone in the temple premises. We had our lunch here in the temple compound which was arranged by our hosts again. But we also got to taste the fruit salad kind of Prasad from the temple. There were very sweet requests to have food at the temple, but we were too full to give it a try. Our lunch was absolutely local, Ragi balls with Sambar and a dessert made out of rice noodles and a concoction of milk and sugar.
What was interesting was the fact that you can not eat Ragi balls like you eat other things. They have to be swallowed and not chewed, and believe me it can be quite some task to learn ‘How to eat Ragi balls?’
What is amazing is that the moment you take the turn from the National Highway, you get awestruck by what you see. There is absolute greenery. Suddenly you would feel as if you have been ported into another world. You may actually have doubts if this world is real or are you living some dream of yours. And reality actually hits you back once you drive back and re-mingle with Bangalore traffic. And you are back to your mechanical lifestyle…
Recommend you read following travel blog on places to visit near Bangalore.