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Kamat's Potpourri India Trip of 2006

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Kamats in India 2006

by Vikas Kamat
First Online: April 09, 2006
Page Last Updated: January 10, 2018

By popular request, I am compiling this page of photographs and stories from our recent (February 2006) trip to India. You might feel that it is a repetition of February 2005 trip -- the season and the festivals all being same....

Rediscovering Lost Cultures

Sometime ago I wrote about the mysterious cult of "Durg-Murg" while describing a toy. This time I got to see a couple of members of the community at a village festival. The photograph is not clear, but a careful inspection shows the woman with drums, the gigantic whip (on right) and the traveling temple, just like the toy depicts.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Members of Durga-Murga Occult
Members of Durga-Murga Occult
Village of Idagunji

We self-invited (it is an Indian expression referring to visiting without an invitation) to the home of a young historian and collector Mandarke Nithyanand Pai in the town of Karkala and enjoyed the warm hospitality of his family and his mind boggling antique collection.

We also visited Vikas's family temple (Devaki-Krishna Ravalnath) in Goa. Vikas's ancestors ran away from that region from Portuguese persecution some three hundred years ago, and it was quite inspiring to visit a place of personal history, and reconnect with ancestors.

Trip to the Spice Farm

One of the least publicized, and yet one of the most enjoyable trips you can have in India is a trip to a spice farm.  All my years in India, I had never gotten an opportunity, but this time I visited two. One was in the town of Karkala and another in Manikkara.

The trip to the spice farm, is really a trip back in time and makes one understand why the Europeans and the Arabs wanted to trade with India. The aroma of the plants, herbs, and the leaves is truly exotic. Imagine you bump in to a tree and your shoulder starts smelling of the sweet cinnamon! 

The trip was as much  a lesson in botany as it was a  treat to the senses. I really didn't know vanilla was a bean or that the nature indeed gave us a soap (in the form of  soap nut) ready to be used as a cleaning agent. My wife had always thought the chocolate was a chemical made in a factory and she enjoyed learning the economics of the cocoa fruit.

Vikas Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
"I collected all kinds of exotic fruits"
"I collected all kinds of exotic fruits"
From left to right: the tamarind fruit, the banana bud, and the soap nut

There are so many spices in India, each with its own delicate or strong property. There are spices that appeal to the tip of the tongue, the back of the tongue, the gums, the throat, the nostrils, and of course, the taste buds. No wonder Indian food is so spicy! 

Content Compilation and Gathering

We spent considerable time in acquiring contents for Kamat's Potpourri website. This included identifying old pictures, cataloging people, portraits, stamps, and coins and gathering aspects of India hitherto not documented on our website. We visited museums, monasteries, private collectors, scholars, and researchers looking for content, lots of which you will see on the website in the coming months.

More Pictures

Example of National Highway
Indian Governments seem to believe that by naming any road as a "National Highway" it becomes one.
Indian Highway
Gomateswara of Karkala
Gomateswara Statue of Karkal

"I collected all kinds of exotic fruits"
From left to right: the tamarind fruit, the banana bud, and the soap nut
The Exotic Farm of Manikkara
At the Manikkara Farm
Inside of the Cocoa Fruit

Members of Durga-Murga Occult
Village of Idagunji
Durga-Muruga Community
The Kinetic-Honda
Scooter Riding in India
For old times' sake, I always make it a point to ride the scooter in India. It reminds me of my youth.

Traditional Household of Manikkara Village
Traditional Mangalore Style House
Indian Antiques
Vessels of a Bygone Era
Collection of Nithyanand Pai, Karkala

See Also:

Pictures of India Trip
Members of Durga-Murga OccultScooter Riding in IndiaVessels of a Bygone Era
Gomateswara Statue of KarkalExample of National HighwayTraditional Household of Manikkara Village
I collected all kinds of exotic fruitsInside of the Cocoa Fruit




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