Stepping Outside Bangalore: Topannahalli & Kalavanchi


I am happy some of my friends like me, like to drive around and go into the wilderness and think this is a better way to spend quality time together than sitting in one of the cafes in the city under energy-guzzling lights, expensive coffees, and extremely limited space. Yesterday 4 of us, including a 5-year-old, drove out of Bangalore towards Krishnagiri, through Sarjapur Road. As you drive past the inhabited limits of Bangalore, you would see a whole lot of new properties coming up, lots of schools and institutes coming up, and of course, the planned IT parks.

A proud Father at Kalavanchi
A proud Father at Kalavanchi

Stepping outside Bangalore – Topannahalli & Kalavanchi

I actually got to see the town called ‘Sarjapura’, which I was always curious about since it has been 3 years that I have been living on Sarjapur Road in Bangalore. Past Sarjapur town, there are hardly any villages. And there is a lot of green land around. There are rose plantations and huge facilities that export roses from Bangalore. Making it one of the primary exports from the region, probably the biggest after its much-celebrated cousin IT.

The road is good throughout with very few bad patches and is surrounded by lush green trees and a good percentage of them are fruit trees. We actually stopped by a few places and plucked custard apples to our heart’s content. Being totally inexperienced in doing so, I bruised myself in a lot of places, but I guess it was worth it.

Guinness world records
Guinness world records

Topannahalli Village

After we drove around 70 km, we reached a village called Topannahalli. We stopped by a place that had the board saying ‘Akshara International School’. The board was on top of a house and the house belonged to the relative of one of my friends. We stopped there to have fresh coconut water. And I surprised everyone by having water directly from the coconut without using any straw or glass. While everyone in the village thought of me as a city person who would not be able to handle coconut.

Now did someone not say that there is real happiness and joy that lies in doing things that people say you can not do? We got to see the sapling plantations of Tomatoes, Brinjals, and Chilies, which are then sold to nurseries. There were tons of saplings that the villagers sell to government departments or to other plantation agencies.

Linked chain with toothpicks at Kalavanchi
Linked chain with toothpicks
Guinness world records – Miniature Artist

I was pleasantly surprised to see a Guinness world records certificate on the walls of the house. When I asked about it, even with the huge language barrier, the parents proudly explained the achievements of their young son. He is a master of miniature art. And has been awarded an entry into Guinness world records. And Limca’s book of records for creating an unbroken chain of 21 steps using a single toothpick. They also showed us the file containing all the articles that have been written about their son.

Photographs of his various creations that have been featured in his various places and his photographs with various dignitaries. In my every exploratory trip, I come across some surprises that make all the efforts put into doing the exploration worth it. This is usually not there on your planned trips where you know what you would get to see and feel. In fact, most of the time media hype makes them turn out to be a dampener.

Kalavanchi Village

After Topannahalli, we reached a small 100-120 family village called Kalavanchi. This is the village our friend came from. And he took us around all the places in the village. The small school, the cowsheds, old houses, and small basic shops. And the small Katcha lanes where all the village kids were playing, animals were roaming and people were talking to each other.

We had a simple but amazing dinner at this friend’s parent’s house before we were ready to drive back to Bangalore. Just when we thought of leaving, it started raining heavily. With greenery all around the rain looked beautiful, and I looked around and admired it for a while.

As life demands, I am back in Bangalore. Writing this piece with a custard apple in my hand. And some fresh air in my lungs…. Look forward to some more such trips.


  1. Hi Anu,
    I am very Happy to see my birthplace Kalavanchi finding place in your blog.

    The change I would like to add is Toppanahalli is spelled as Thoppanahalli and the Guinness record is for 28 link chain from single toothpick..

    KCN Reddy

  2. Hi Anu,

    Nice to knw that there are many things that is close to us and we don’t even know about it…. keep posting more

    I am a travel photographer and a frequent visitor of your blog.


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