Agriculture

“Sundharapandiyapuram – A Glorious Tale of Sunflowers”

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” Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same – Helen Keller “

Are you planning to have that perfect getaway from your daily routines to enjoy those refreshing weekends….??? Then, here is one such place, you should try out – Sundharapandiyapuram, a rustic Tamilnadu village located in the farm fields of  Tenkasi, Tirunelveli district, which is bordering with the Kollam district of Kerala. For those people looking for an escape from their usual millennial stuffs and those drastically evolved cities, I insist you to plan a trip to this magnificent sunflower fields of Sundarapandiapuram….

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‘Love making scene’ – The drive out to Sundharapandiyapuram is well worth it for these yellow blossoms…

It isn’t exactly, a long and tiresome journey from the city. With good roads and clear skies, one can drive to this village in Tamil Nadu from Trivandrum in three-and-a-half hours (just 115 kms). It has been on my list of must-see places ever since I saw lot of insta pics and travelogues during last year, featuring this vintage tamil village with its fields of sunflowers, an infamous location for photographers.

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With its blooming sunflower fields, expansive wind mills and lush green paddy fields extending right up to the horizon, Sundharapandiyapuram emerging as a perfect weekend getaway for city residents…

My journey to view this magnificent yellow hue started from my hometown, Attingal in the Trivandrum district of Kerala. For experiencing a serene getaway, i chose my most trusted companion, the one and only ‘Hero Hunk’ for this trip. Riding a bike, especially my Hunk, on a solo trip is sometimes inevitable for me to bring down those oncoming expenses. As i mentioned earlier, it will take 3 hours to reach this destination and it will be nice, if you start early in the morning…. because to get those perfect daylight exposures for your photographs. And one can avoid that dry hot climate of forenoon (without any shady areas ), especially occur in that parts of the region.

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‘Hero Hunk’ – The trusted companion for my solo trips during the last five long years….

The topography starts to change as one approaches the Tamil Nadu border. The crowded cityscape has been replaced with expansive windmills, lush green paddy fields, and picturesque mountain ranges. Those tree lined straight roads bordering with farm fields are so marvelous and exciting for our eyes…

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These banyan can trees provide some shady pitstops, which are helpful in refreshing our traveling minds…

After passing the Tamilnadu border, you need to travel on these straight roads up to Shenkottai (around 11kms from the famous ‘S’ bend – Kerala-Tamilnadu border). Upon reaching near the new police station of Shenkottai take a left towards Surandhai route (within 30kms)…..

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Marvelous view of straight roads lined with lush green banyan trees – An exciting experience in your journey from Shenkottai to Sundharapandiyapuram, passing Elathur and Kambley towns….

Sundharapandiapuram is an agricultural village and most of the residents own its land. While the farmers are into cultivating rice, onions, corn, coriander and the like, sunflower was added to that list 15 years ago when a sunflower seed company encouraged them to plant a few patches as a trial run. And now, they have been planting them ever since. The hot dry sunlight cant hurt these regions, because of the presence of those strong western winds and heavy rainfalls occur from the bordering western ghats of Kerala.

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Beautiful sunflower fields and the resting Hunk – This is drawing visitors in droves to soak in its scenery. The small town is a heaven for sunflower farmers who make good profit in every season…

Actually one has to search around this small village in order to find these sunflower fields, because they are cultivated along with other crops and the fields are scattered in different parts of this region. So, only by communicating with the locals, you will get to know the exact location of these perfect spots to enjoy the day….

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With sunflowers costing Rs 50 per kg in the open market, farmers say that the yield from a single plant fetches them between Rs 40 and Rs 100. Around 5,000 acres of farm land in Sundharapandiyapuram has been converted in to sunflower fields…

Initially I saw nothing except few female farmers cultivating crops. Then, I understood that I have to walk a bit further to reach the exact spot with fully bloomed sunflowers (So, i went after cultivation)….

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Water is an essential part of sunflower cultivation. After tilling up the soil, sunflower seeds are usually sown by mid-June, and in 90 to 100 days, the flowers reach full bloom. And if you think the flowers grace vases or are part of the flower carpet spread during Onam, that’s wrong. The sunflower seeds are harvested for making edible sunflower oil. So the best season to visit these fields is between August and September….

At first, I see only green, and then I spot it, flecks of golden flowers dancing in the wind….

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A slice of sunshine on earth –  The sunflowers stand tall amidst the green….

Heavy rains can cause severe damages to the sunflowers. The flowers tend to decay if it remains wet for a long time. The farmers here cultivate sunflower in the same fields after paddy is harvested…

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The orange variety of sunflowers is called ‘claret‘, the dark red varieties are called ‘moulin rouge‘ and golden coloured ones are called ‘sunny‘ sunflowers. They all grow up to five feet. There are other varieties like ‘ring of fire‘ and ‘lemonade‘ that grow to four feet and have light and dark yellow petals. The sunflower seeds are used commercially to extract sunflower oil and in biodiesel industry.

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Some of those sunflower stalks tower over others to see that man, ‘who is taking their pics without their permission’…. Isn’t it wrong???

But in any way, i had to admire these beauties and the best way to do so, was by taking amazing portraits of them….

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A Cheerful face flowing with those gushing winds…. and its mesmerizing to watch…

Most farmers cordon off their sunflowers as over-enthusiastic photographers tend to damage the stalks in their quest for that perfect shot. In some areas, dogs guard their plots…

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I felt like they were smiling at me because of that much happiness seen in my face… really wanted to hold their hands and dance together to feel their emotions. But, all I could do was to stare and coddle those fascinating flowers….

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Do any other flowers look this much beautiful from behind…? That’s how marvelous they are !!!  I even felt like picking all of them to decorate my sweet home…

Sunflower fields of Sundharapandiapuram are  also famous for wedding shoots. Actually, its an amazing place to design your pre-wedding and post-wedding photo shoots….

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A professional drone trying to capture those wide-angle visuals and some stunning aerial shots from the sky….

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Even the drone came all the way down to admire and make love with these cherishing yellow faces…

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I was overflowing with happiness to see these glorious yellows. In fact, I could not stop clicking the pictures…

Sundharapandiapuram was once a popular setting for many Tamil and Malayalam films and sitcoms. The residents are so used to seeing film shoots and movie stars here that it is no longer exciting. Most of the stars have visited or dined at their homes. In fact, quite a few of them have starred as extras in various films. Movies like Roja, Anyan, Soothradharan, Kalabham and Thenkasi pattanam all have Sundarapandiapuram as background…

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Actually, you won’t need to travel all the way to Russia or Ukraine for astounding photographs amidst sunflower fields….

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Isn’t this a beguiling scene to behold? Those cheerful faces that track the sun and say cheers to him….

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Instagrammable sunflower fields – An Interesting fact is that 1 acres of these fields can produce 300 kgs of sunflowers at a time…

And a farmer will get roughly Rs.7000 from 1 acre of this field as income. So, its our responsibility to ensure no damage to these flowers during our pleasure visits….

As said earlier, Sunflowers are beautiful, and iconic for the way their giant yellow heads stand off against a bold blue sky. And of course most of us love to munch on the seeds they produce. However, have you ever stopped to look at the pattern of seeds held within the center of these special flowers? Sunflowers are more than just beautiful food — they’re also a mathematical marvel….

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The pattern of seeds within a sunflower follows the Fibonacci sequence, or 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144… If you remember back to math class, each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers. In sunflowers, the spirals you see in the center are generated from this sequence — there are two series of curves winding in opposite directions, starting at the center and stretching out to the petals, with each seed sitting at a certain angle from the neighboring seeds to create the spiral….

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Its really hard to say goodbye to these magnificent blooms… Did they want me to stay and celebrate with them till the sunset or did I want all that to happen…??? A confusing question to answer!!!

Anyway, all i was afraid of is saying goodbye to them… But these sweet short journeys can give us some good memories and new friends to our life. The same happened to me also… ‘Making new friends’….

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‘Making Friends’ – Met these two energetic youngsters with lots of passion to travel and shared our feeling about this heavenly place of blossoms….

For me, the one thing that everybody has to do after visiting these kind of places is ; Thanking those innocent farmers who made these mesmerizing and ravishing flower fields with their hard fought efforts and determination to achieve success….

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The hardworking farmers of Sundharapandiapuram…. Real architects of these blooming yellow fields… The moments that we enjoy are actually created from their hard fought efforts… I think everyone should remember to thank them, unconditionally.

While heading back, I was thinking of this little village with its smiling villagers, picturesque landscapes and golden blooms that had captured my heart and cherished my soul….

********************To Those Who work in Acres, Not in Hours**********************

 

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