History of Food leads me to a MIRACLE FRUIT which is indigenous to the Western Ghats of INDIA. There are records of the fruit being consumed as far back as 6000 BC.
It is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world and can weigh upto 45 kgs.
The “Kathal” or Jack fruit literally grows all over a very large tree which can grow upto 80 feet ( 26 m) . The large trees made perfect perches for Vultures ( Gyps Indicus) which once ruled the skies of Delhi.
I still recall my grandmother telling the Gardner to scare away the Vultures as their poop smeared the Jackfruits. ( this was on a now infamous road in the heart of Lutyens Delhi)
New Delhi has changed dramatically in the last 4 decades , the Vultures and Kathal Trees have disappeared from Delhi bearing the brunt of the change.
Kathal ( Hindi): Jack Fruit (English) : Artocarpus heterophyllus (Scientific or botanical name)
The Jack Fruit packs a punch of Potassium, antioxidants and Beta Carotene. You can check more details on Google/ Wikipedia etc. I am simply fueling your interest in FOOD.
The featured image is that of the seeds of Kathal which i have seen for the first time in a vegetable market.( not that i go to vegetable markets daily) My hopes for a fright future were rekindled.
The “seeds of the Kathal” are particularly dear to the Jain community as it replaces Taro and potatoes ( do read EXOTIC ANCIENT ROOTS ) in their diet.
Labelled as the Miracle Fruit it can replace many staple diets in a world where Land for agricultural use is rapidly shrinking .
As mentioned in several earlier posts, India is a treasure trove. All you need to do is LOOK.
While hunting for THE ROOTS OF INDIA ( do see my earlier post titled EXOTIC ANCIENT ROOTS) in the local vegetable market , I discovered a fruit which used to grow in my grandfathers estate called “CHAMPA” . I was overwhelmed as I was transported back in time to the 1960s.
The “Karonda” is a sour fruit when raw and grows on bushes with sharp-pointed thorns ( hence the name CHRIST’S THORN) . It turns into a beautiful plum coloured fruit when ripe..
It is loaded with Iron and Vitamin C and has many medicinal applications. Please check out on Google.
Unfortunately the Karonda or as i call them SOUR CHERRIES are now an exotic fruit and rarely seen or heard of. They are used to make jams and pickles at home.
A drive on Indian Roads/ Highways is equivalent or similar to the joy of a treasure hunt .
There are beautiful treasure boxes waiting to be opened and discovered all along the way . All you need to do is to look and watch the package dramatically open. The titles of each post/blog are teasers which you need to discover and unravel yourselves as you read on.
Having taken you to a vast number of destinations , it is now time for Shinrin-yoku.( a lovely Japanese term for Forest bathing ) . I loved the expression from the first day i heard it.
We are off on a drive from Bhopal ( do see the blog:http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com) to the unknown forests of Satpura National Park , both located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the Heart of India.
It is usually a 180 km drive but we are on a treasure hunt, ( and we do not want to do the usual) so we stretched it to 220 kms. Now the adventure begins.
A mere 28 kms from Bhopal and on a slight detour we discover the ancient capital of Raja Bhoj ( 1010-1053) , BHOJPUR.
We unravel the” first package”, a strategically located temple on a hillock . The Bholeshwar temple has the largest single stone Shivling but was left mysteriously left INCOMPLETE.
I will write on this architectural marvel and mysterious area in a separate blog, as we move onto package two of our treasure hunt.I thus give you only a glimpse.
Do not sleep whilst you are on the highways (Indian roads are not endless runners of emptiness) , a blink and you will miss the unusual.Lord Shiva and the egrets chill out under a Banyan tree.
The drive to this unknown forest in the heart of India is undertaken by crossing the vast River Narmada.
The River Narmada is the center of numerous myths and stories that knit this land. Do unravel these stories and tell us about what you found on your trip.
“Narmada, is the river which cleanses the Holiest of Indian rivers The Ganges.” ( more on this story in another blog)
The red fruits placed near the potatoes are called “Ber” in Hindi and are a treasure trove of Vitamin C . My camera turned to her and I got this gorgeous smile. Can there be a bigger treasure than bringing Happiness to another human ? Observe her lovely silver anklets.
Do keep looking out of the windows and you will be richly rewarded. I spotted His Highness the King Fisher on his Perch.
It is often that you will need to wait at Railway Crossings in India . So did we and discovered yet another treasure.
A Spotted OWL carefully observes all our movements from a roadside tree near the Railway Crossing.
The final package we discover before we reached our destination was this family: The Black Buck and his Harem. They had decided to pay this farm a visit from their homes in the forest.
This charming blue cottage and a well were located at the edge of the forest and close to our accommodation.
Jingles welcomes us at THE FORSYTH LODGE at Satpura National Park. We are now ready for the ultimate treasure and our only planned aim of FOREST BATHING ( Shinrin-yoku).
A process of cleansing the mind by visiting the forests. But for that you must wait for another day.