Kozhikode: Government auditors from Kozhikode Subramanian and Ramdas on a tour to Gundlupet, with their families and friends, were busy collecting marigold and vadarmalli blossoms for their Onam celebrations back home.
They were excited to get fresh blooms directly from the valley of flowers in Karnataka, well known as the flowerpot of India.
"We got orange colour marigolds for Rs 15 per kilogram and Vadarmalli for Rs 60," said Ramdas while plucking the flowers himself at a farm.
Meantime, Naveen a wholesaler arrived to collect flowers from the farms in Gundlupet for the markets of north Kerala, especially Kozhikode.
"We sell marigold for Rs 65 and Vadarmalli for Rs 140 in Kerala," Naveen said.
Meanwhile, in Thamarassery, the first big town in Kozhikode district as you arrive from Gundlupet, the retailers at a newly opened makeshift flower stall in the old bus stand, sell orange and yellow marigolds for Rs 200 per kilogram. The farmer gets Rs 15 for a kilogram of marigolds while the retailer pockets Rs 200.
With the arrival of Atham on Sunday, Malayalis all over the world have begun Onam celebrations even as the farmers in Gundlupet got on with the harvest of blossoms, well timed.
"We started plucking the flowers and loading them onto vehicles on Friday," said a farmer in Maddur, Gundlupet.
During Onam, the primary market for Gundlupet flowers was in north Kerala, mainly Kozhikode city. Tonnes of blooms arrive in the neighbouring district of Wayanad too.
On Saturday, as the farmers and labourers were seen busy plucking the flowers, wholesalers made a beeline to buy and pack flowers at the farms.
Many visitors were keen to join the farmers to help pluck flowers and to make reels.
'We source vadarmalli and marigold from here. For the rest of the flowers popular during the Onam season, we have to go to Bengaluru," a visitor said.
There are hundreds of people flocking to these farms in Karnataka to behold the breathtaking view of the valley in bloom.
Farmers are charging Rs 10 per head as an entry fee to each farm. Sunflower and marigold are the primary crops, sunflower for the oil mills, and marigold for paint manufacturers, of course except during Onam.