Kumta: Main Street


The Vegetable market sits on one end of main street also called “paent” in Kumta. The stores are tiny and carry whatever you would need. Nothing fancy here, just life's essentials. Several temples are on this street, thus flower sellers everywhere.

Notice the reddish tinged road. That comes from the red Laterite rock this entire Konkan region sits atop. In the konkan, everything is made from laterite: buildings, fence walls, bus-stop shelters, stores and even road side gutters. Crushed laterite gravel is used on the shoulders of all roads. Even the dust has a reddish tinge and so does the normally black asphalt road. After a few days here white clothes include a tinge of red.

A stroll down Main Street
The Venkateshwara Devasthan/Muth is in the center of town. I love exploring the inside of this beautiful, old temple. Piles of sand and gravel outside point to imminent construction; pray nothing gaudy.

Nearby is the Shanteri Kamakshi Temple. A thread-ceremony was going on inside and these girls, dressed in new clothes, were welcoming guests. Women received flower strands for their hair, men (and women) got sprinkled with perfumed water. Note the girl in red reaching for the chrome sprinkler.

After walking in the hot sun, my cousin and I decided to gate-crash this ceremony for some cool lemonade and mithai. We smiled at the girls, got doused in perfumed water and smiled our way to the back of the temple where the lemonade was still being mixed. There as we waited, the assistant picked up a block of ice sitting on the bare floor and tossed it in the giant pot” I had no intention of getting an upset stomach at the start of my holidays. Mithai too was nowhere to be seen. After bowing my head at the shrine, we departed.

Right outside the temple I tried taking a pic of the squatting flower-seller, and this women walked right into my field. Her expression suggests she was carrying a huge burden on her already drooping shoulders.

Parched throats had us dash to the corner shop with the red and white awning (Nayak's Cold drinks). Note the women selling an assortment of flowers, vegetables or fruits. Generally whatever grows on their plot.

On the back table as we waited to order Limbu-soda, a local person still sitting there was sipping, what looked like a glass of cold-coffee. Raagi Neeru (Nanchane udak) he noted. I remembered my grandmother making Raagi Neeru for us kids playing in the hot summer sun. Apparently the owner's wife makes it at home – delicious. They also served Teela Udak (white sesame water). Had to try that as well. After a few glasses of each, we were well prepared to brave the midday sun. Note empty glasses on table.

Apparently a very simple recipe for these cool-drinks. Roasted Nanchane or white sesame seeds are ground with some coconut gratings, jaggery and water. Thats it. Ayurveda experts would swear at how it would 'cool' the body from the inside. Amen!


Other Kumta Related Posts:

Vegetable Stall Crawford Market, Mumbai

Vegetable Stall at the Jyotiba Phule Mandi, Crawford Market Mumbai

No visit to Mumbai is complete without a soul-pleasing trip to the Jyotiba Phule Mandi, previously Crawford Market.


My Related posts on Vegetable and Fruit Markets:

Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay

Flowers sellers in Dadar Mumbai during Ganapati by Arun Shanbhag
In our home in Colaba, the five day Ganapati utsav (festival) is the biggest family event of the year. Our entire joint family comes together making it very festive. For our daily flower decorations, one of us goes to the Dadar Flower Market every morning to buy flowers. After bringing them home, the women gather together and weave them into spectacular garlands and various other decorations. September 2002 was the last time I was home for Ganapati and one morning, I volunteered to go with my sister-in-law to the flower market. We took the train from Churchgate to Dadar and the flowers sellers are camped right outside the station under the bridge and packed into the nearby alleys. I mean, jam- packed – you move sideways leading with your shoulder, smile and squeeze your way forward.

Please read this newer post on the Flower Sellers at Dadar, from a recent visit

There are flowers everywhere. Marigolds heaped on tarpaulins on the ground and sold by weight, champae in tiny baskets and sold by the number and delicately wrapped in broad leaves, the dazzling array of long streamers, as well as the colour co-ordinated gajras of mesmerizing blooms, the cacophony of the sellers and buyers screaming and jostling all contributed to a spectacular audio visual symphony. It was an exquisitely delightful experience, one that I am sure to revisit in the near future.

More than the colorful flowers, the smiles on the flower sellers stayed in my mind. From the woman sitting cross-legged on the ground weaving busily, to the young men weighing the flowers, the older gentleman convincing you to buy the garlands, to the young lady with matted hair selling fragrant lotuses – they all had beaming smiles on their faces.
Continue reading “Dadar Flower Market – A Photo Essay”

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