Yellow and green fields make for an ideal background for those hard-to-find ‘perfect’ profile photos
Sunflower fields along National Highway 766 at Begur near Gundlupet are turning out to be a major photographic and selfie point and people driving on the Highway are stopping their vehicles for special moments in the lush field full of bright yellow sunflowers.
Gundlupet is known as the ‘Flower Pot’ of Karnataka and this gorgeous destination is known for its expansive sunflower and marigold fields. Here, one can witness a sea of yellow sunflowers blossoming on either side of the road with picturesque green hills as the backdrop.
The flowers have bloomed amidst the slight drizzle and have brought cheer to the farmers who are hoping for a good yield if the rains continue at this pace. Fortunately for them, there is no dry spell this year lest the flowers wilt and die.
There are many farmers in and around Begur who regularly cultivate sunflower as the crop suits the weather. June-July is when the flowers bloom and the fields turn bright yellow with giant flowers and it becomes a sight to behold. The fields pull the commuters like a magnet who do not want to miss beautiful photographic and selfie moments under the flowers.
The National Highway sees tourists heading for Tamil Nadu, Kerala on one side and Mysuru on the other side on a daily basis. And many would drop by the sunflower farms to click pictures. Also, many visitors heading towards the Bandipur Tiger Reserve stop by the sunflower fields to click photos.
There are sunflower fields at villages like Hangala, Putthanapura, Kalligowdanahalli and surrounding villages on the way to Himavad Gopalaswamy Temple, a famous tourist spot and a pilgrimage centre.
Taking advantage of hundreds of people visiting the fields, some enterprising farmers are collecting Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 per photo op, lest they damage the crop.
Sunflower farming is a recent phenomenon in these villages. It started with a couple of farmers and now, the cultivation is widespread as it is a short-term crop and once the plants start growing, there is not much work in the fields. Work is when the flowers are harvested to be sent to extract oil. Now, sunflower is grown on over 13,000 hectares in the region.
This less-labour-intensive crop has many takers now though the major crops of the region is turmeric, ragi and sugarcane. Also, there is a high demand for sunflower due to its oil content and popularity of sunflower oil.
The number of tourists visiting Bandipur, Kerala and Tamil Nadu swells and so does the number of visitors to the sunflower fields. Not only tourists but people, especially college students, from Mysuru too head to the fields for selfie moments.
While the tourists are happy to see themselves amidst yellow and green fields, farmers gain a little extra income by charging for the time tourists spend in their fields. In one acre of land, a farmer gets around six quintals of sunflower. The sunflowers grown here are plucked and taken to Mysuru, where sunflower oil is extracted from it.
Eye-catching marigold fields
There is a huge demand for marigold flowers during the festival season both in Karnataka and Kerala. SOM reader Vimla sent this photo that was clicked at Hunaganahalli between Manandavadi Road and Hullahalli, on the way to Chikkadevammana Betta. Similar sight is seen all over H.D. Kote where there is intensive marigold farming. While sunflowers are sent for oil extraction, marigolds are sent all over South India for use in temples and other religious purposes.