The sunflowers are in full bloom and have sown seeds of happiness at Gundulpet in Karnataka. It is a sea of gold as vast swathes of fields, which seem to be touching the horizon, are teeming with resplendent sunflowers. Spring time sets in just before rains lash Gundulpet and initially sunflowers start to blossom giving a magical touch to the whole region. The sight of sun rays caressing the bright sunflowers is soothing to the eyes. As there are no big trees around, the sunflowers are fully exposed to the glory of sun and it is an awesome view to see the flowers gleaming in sunshine.
Presently, those travelling from Mysuru to Bengaluru can’t help but stop at Gundulpet to enjoy the beauty of sunflowers. Hundreds of people from Wayanad, Kozhikode and Kannur districts in Kerala come to Gundulpet just to soak in the charm of sunflowers.
One can reach Gundulpet through the Sultan Bathery-Muthanga route in Wayanad. You will be in the midst of wilderness as it will be verdant forest all around after reaching Muthanga. Slow driving should be the order of day as the road through Muthanga is dotted with humps to protect the lives of wild animals. You are also not allowed to stop vehicles on the way. There were many incidents of speeding trucks hitting and killing wild elephants. En route you will be able to see deer, peacock and elephants on the road side.
Expansive farmlands will greet you as you cross Kerala border to enter Karnataka and the landscape changes drastically. It seems that the dense forest had hidden the mountains and hills of Wayanad district. After entering Karnataka, there will be a broad road with sunflowers and vegetable farming on both sides of the thoroughfare. The dried sunflower seeds are used to make oil.
There are many floral gardens near the main road and the travellers take a break to enjoy the beauty of flowers and click Insta-worthy photos. If you want to enter the floral gardens, you will have to pay a nominal fee to the farmers. The practice of collecting fees and farmers standing guard to the floral gardens was started quite recently. Earlier anyone could enter the garden for free but people started to pluck flowers and destroy them and that forced farmers to protect the fields. There is no fee to enter the floral gardens in the interior parts of the region.
After a month the sunflower season will be over and flowers such as ‘chendumalli’ (marigold) and ‘vadamalli’ (globe amaranth) will start blooming. ‘Chendumalli’ flowers are mainly cultivated in the region and a major share of these flowers is procured by paint-manufacturing companies. And rest of the flowers are used for decoration and making garlands.
The price of flowers will skyrocket during Onam season and the flowers from Gundulpet provide the requisite sheen to the Onam celebrations in north Kerala.
Currently, Gundulpet is celebrating the festival of yellow with radiant sunflowers lighting up the entire region. The cool breeze, the light drizzle, the sunflower fields and the vegetable farms can create a surreal atmosphere for the visitors.