My job entails lots and lots time on the roads, which is obvious because it has to do with infrastructure development. The first week of January was such a time; I spent extensively travelling on the state highways of North Karnataka. It was the first time I was visiting Karnataka (I have been a couple of times to the capital city Bangalore but that’s about it!!).  My work travel took me specifically to north Karnataka (almost to the border of Maharashtra) and for me it was another great opportunity to see & experience my own country, like I never have before!!

We started off at Belgaum, which is a major town after capital city of Bangalore. It developed from an army garrison town during British period into a hub of industries in North Karnataka. We took the state highway which went to Nippani, all the way to Mudhol, which is on Maharashtra border.

The first thing that struck me while on the road was men wearing Gandhi caps and dhotis, even young men!! I thought this was an occurrence in really remote areas. The women wore Sarees, most of them in Maharashtrian style ( especially along the Nipaani-Mudhol road) and it was a learning experience to see them working in the fields and other jobs wearing it!! (and here I complain about managing the wearing at office!!) I was told that due to most people either being of Lingayat Brahmin or Maharashtrian community in the  Nippani-Mudhol area, people usually dress in this way, even in small towns.

The North Karnataka region is famous for black cotton soil and the cash crops it can grow to the rich nutrient properties of black cotton soil. We passed by endless fields of sugarcane and also got to see people harvesting the sugarcane crops. One of the interesting and also annoying experiences was encountering lines of decorated tractors ferrying harvested sugarcane to the warehouses.

 Spotted wind energy farms all over the North Karnataka; they looked surreal against the cloudy sky!!

It took us 2 days on the Belgaum-Nippani-Mudhol area of North Karnataka and though it was hectic, it was fun!! I was happy to have started off on the new year on a different kind of travel, taking it positively (see being positive about situations has its rewards!!)

Next up was Hubli-Dharwar region and that was another rock n roll journey!! Stay tuned!!

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