At one time, Bangalore was famous for its many traffic circles. Some of them were beautiful. Sadly most of them have vanished over time to make more space for the huge increase in traffic on the roads. One that still remains is the Sajjan Rao Circle, a popular landmark for those in South Bangalore. It is in VVPuram and has a host of small eateries which serve local delicacies to customers, some of whom have been frequenting popular haunts like the VB Bakery for decades. Almost opposite VB Bakery, is a nondescript shop called Shree Vasavi Condiments which has its own band of faithful clients. This small firm takes on renewed significance around Sankaranthi every year when it hosts the annual “Averebele Mela”. “Averebele” is the word used in Kannada, the local language for hyacinth beans.
This is usually available only during the winter months. I found a wonderful blog post by Chinmayie, which you might enjoy which has beautiful pictures too of this wonder bean!
What makes this food festival unique is that all the dishes served, without exception, have averebele in them. There are more than 50 different varieties of food items which range from the mundane to the exotic. This food festival was celebrated for the 11th year recently. Here’s an article in The Hindu about the 2004 version of the festival.
Sure the place is crowded. The different eats are set out and people jostle each other as they herd children and other family members from one spot to another to eat to their heart’s content. The latest version of the mela was held from January 3-13, 2013. To give you some feel for the food festival, I have a few pictures of the Averebele Mela here.
It’s heartening to see that entrepreneurs like Ms. Shivakumar of Vasavi are doing all they can to propagate our traditional snacks and dishes at a time when everyone, especially the kids, seem to only want pizzas and burgers.