Sumana Sangama the kaadu thotta


This article is about a barren land turned into haven named as Sumana Sangama which is a kaadu thotta (forest farm) by the vision and love for nature and foresight by a Doctor of Gynecology. The place is near to the city of the cultural confluence of Kannada and Marathi – the City of Dharwad. Let us have a look at the features of the place.

Sumana Sangama a unique farm land

Sumana Sangama
Sumana Sangama is a unique farm of 19 acres of land on a hill valley. This farm is near to the Daddi Kamalapur village in the Dharwad District. This was a dry land with not a single drop of water retained due to its position at the edge of the Western Ghats. That was the position 15 years ago – a barren land. The rain waters of the area pass through the area but not a drop was saved. But now it is a model farm for many things about farming and rain water harvesting to be learnt. More than a farm it can be called as a social forest with so much of bushes, creepers, plants and trees. These include several types of fruits bearing ones. How this transformation from the barren land to the land of plenty?

Gynecologist and rain water harvester


The barren land was bought by a gynecologist Dr Sanjeev Kulkarni. He is a very famous doctor of his subject, gynecology with a bend of mind for farming. He bought the land and immediately dug five ponds or tanks as they are called in such a way that the rainwater which used to flow out was gathered in these ponds like mini reservoirs. The doctor even named as Maina honda, Raghu Teertha, Sampige honda, Kavali kola, and Bodhi kere. These 5 ponds between them stores or conserves 28 lakh liters of rain water With each of them holding lakhs of liters of water the ground water level of the farm area and the nearby lands too with the water which was being wasted till the gynecologist took control of the land. The land was named as Suman Sangama. The meaning of the name is Sumana means flowers, and Sangama means confluence meaning a confluence of flowers or of minds.

A nature's university of diversity


The owner of the Sumana Sangama farm Dr Sanjeev Kulkarni prefers to call it as forest farm. The barren land that was about 25 years back is a lush green due to the vision and effort by him and his team who are all nature lovers. The land is not plain but consists of slopes. It has flowering plants (jasmine, hibiscus, bakula commonly known as Indian Medlar, calliandra etc are only few of the flower varieties among others mentioned here), fruit bearing plants and trees (mango, jackfruit, jamun, chikku, custard apple, wood apple and papaya, varieties of lemons, pineapple, cashew, star fruit, butter fruit, bread fruit, eggfruit, ramphal, laxman phal and hanuman phal are few of them), varieties of birds and butterflies The Suman Sangama farm land has separate portions for horticulture, forest tree area where one can see casuarinas, silver oaks, giant bamboo and teak trees , area for cultivating paddy, vegetables (such as 8 types of brinjals, green chilli, green vegetables) and sugar cane crops.

The area is fenced using Bamboo, agave, acacia, cactus and other plants. One can also find rare trees which cannot be seen around this area.

Some of the other trees to be specially mentioned are the Gloriosa superba, found in the Western Ghats, rakta chandana (Pterocarpus santalinus - whose wood is used to make toys and red sandal paste used in some temples), litchi, beggars' bowl (double coconut) and baobab trees (Adansonia digitata), one of the longest living trees. The Palas tree or the orange – red flowers when in bloom will make the area radiate with brilliance.

This farm has some 5 grown up trees of 20 years old and 5 coconut trees transplanted from the city of Dharwad

The entrance lane to the farm has 2 neam trees on either side or the wood rose creeper in the season greeting the visitors with plenty wood roses.

Suman Sangama as a learning camp


Suman Sangama as is named is developed into a fertile farm land. Dr Kulkarni cultivates around 20 varieties of rice (paddy) and 8 types of brinjal. Dr Sanjeev Kulkarni arranges camps every year in his Suman Sangama farm land for those who want to have a change, quiet place along with learning about farming or experimenting in farming, exchange ideas. People attending these camps come with their saplings or seeds and plant them. Workshops were conducted during the camps about grating between plants for better yield of fruits. Various implements or instruments used in farming, information about the various plants growing in the farm and on preparation of local cuisine and on music. The caretakers here teach also as how to make vegetable beds.

There will be basic type cottage accommodation made of mud walls with only mats for sitting and sleeping. Facilities for open air bathing or bathroom facility also, toilets are available. Food will be provided here. The campers can come with their tent materials and make tent and stay. There is also accommodation with star facility and A/c available.

Other facilities for campers

Sugama Sangama shrine
Places for worship.

There is a arrangement for trek in the Dandeli wildlife sanctuary which is nearby to this Sumana Sangama.

Visit to Kalkeri Music class where Hindustani music is taught.

Lecture by the famous bird watcher Mr Ashok on bird watching and photographing of birds.

Lectures on Kannada Bhakti movement through reading vachanas.

There is a nature care center.

There are some structures with walls of fluid filled glasses (a byproduct of the dispensary of the doctor.

There are varieties of butterflies to qualify this farm as Butterfly Park.

A coracle (round or oval shaped light weight boats) are available in the ponds.

The Bodhi kere pond gets its name from the Bodhi tree. The tree is on an island in the center of the pond. The facility of boating, fishing and meditation can be done here.

There is a small slope where a small sitting area is made where discussions on various topics are held. The sitting area is leveled for comfort and is actually a squatting area in the village style on the ground. The place is plastered with wet cow dung which when dries is clean aesthetic.


Location and reaching


As mentioned it is near to Dharwad the cultural sangam city of Kannada and Marathi at the north end of Karnataka. Railway lines and bus routes connect Dharwad with all parts of the State and other major centers of the Country. Hubli City is nearby with air port. For camps pick up points are Railway Station and Bus Stand. From here the Suman Sangama farm is about 15 minutes drive by car. It is about 10 km from the railway station.

Restrictions


Smoking, drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicants are not allowed. Respect for nature and tolerance for others are prerequisite.

People interested in attending camps can contact


Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni: 9448143100, sankulajeev@gmail.com
Shaheen: 9341258123, shaheen.shasa@gmail.com
Kaushik: 9833401792, kaushik.ramu@gmail.com


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