Mangaluru: On a personal invitation from Mrs Supriya C Rao and Inna Chandrakantha Rao-owners of Praakruthi Fruit Orchard, Sukanthai Cottage (a farm house in Thailand design) and Orchid Lawns, in association with their uncle, Manohar Prasad -Udayavani Chief Bureau editor, a bus full of journos from Mangalore and DK traveled all the way to Inna Village ( couple of kms from Padubidri) in Karkala Taluk. A get-together and interaction with the journalists was held at the Orchid Lawn on Wednesday 25 February from 4pm onwards.
As they say that Happiness is best when shared- so by the presence of large number of reporters and cameramen who graced the occasion, the members of Rao family, and Manohar Prasad were highly overwhelmed and appreciated the gracious presence of the bevy of journos. We all had a nice time exploring the beauty of the Fruit Orchard, the Thai style cottage, the Inna Heritage Home and Inna Mahalingeshwara Temple, also had some fun on the Orchid Lawn (where a few snap shots of the crowd were captured), and not to forget, feasting on high tea in the evening and a fellowship dinner hosted by Inna Chandrakanth Rao, who mingled with us like we were his buddies/family members. Thank you Sir, for hosting us at your unique and eco-friendly premises.
Walking for nearly an hour in Rao’s fruit farm, I felt like I was walking in our house backyard, located in Kadri-Mangaluru, because we do have most of the fruit trees featured at Rao’s farm- like mango, Jack-fruit, guava, coconut, bread-fruit, papaya, pineapple, drum-sticks, pepper, bimbli, arecanut, banana and so on. Although we have either one or two plants of each kind of fruit in our house, but Rao’s farm featured hundreds of such fruit plants- great! Rao’s farm also had litchi, Rambutan, Mangostene and other Thai varieties of fruits plants which he had brought from Thailand during his visits to that country. Not to mention, Praakurthi farm also featured Malaysian guavas, which were as big as large oranges; and also milk fruit plants from Cambodia.
A visit to Rao’s farm house, named “Sukanthai Cottage” designed completely in Thai style had marvelous interior designs crafted from wood- a work meticulously completed by a few Thai folks who had come all the way from Kanchanpuri-Thailand-they were also assisted by a dozen of local carpenters in finishing this unique Thai style farm house. The bed room was fit for a King and Queen, with all that gorgeous interior finishing, and the living room was extra-ordinary. The doors had well-crafted artistic designs, for one to say “Wow” when you look at them. Light fittings and other accessories all matched to make this unique Thai style farm house for someone to live in a perfect King’s life-style?
Interacting with yours truly, representing Mangalorean.com and also other journos, Inna Chandrakantha Rao said, ” Where to? From Inna. (Innadinda Ellige?-it surely speaks for everyone from Inna including me! This was question which used to bother me a lot. After graduation from NITK with distinction in 1983 and having more than five jobs in hand from the campus interviews, this question became really serious. I moved to work for INDAL to Bangalore instead of Joining MICO at Nasik and other companies. In the rat race for career, we moved fouryteen times all over India in the first twenty 24 years and even all over the world inlast 5 years of my career.. The question remained in my mind. Where to ?”
“What you see around Praakruti Fruit Farm today is a result of my search for that question. It is a Modern Model Farm getting developed just to show case possibilities in our Fertile land of Mangalore andUdupi or even our coastal belt or the undivided Dakshina Kannada. It started with a dream of putting our quite village Inna on the map of Dakshina Kannada(undivided) and to create a world class farm to show case Possibilities!”
“An excellent farm can not be complete without a farm house. Hence we have a Thai designed farm house with Teak(Green Teak- Grown and harvested-32 to35 year old trees) imported from Thailand. A good family friend, Mr Nattapoom raksakul from Thailand helped us in fulfilling this dream. He came with a small team from Thailand (Kanchanpuri) and also guided the local team of 12 carpenters to complete this project in less than three months. Local team lead by .Kishore Suvarna from Mangaluru finished the project so nicely that every one who visit us here marvel at the finish! “Su Kantha i “ (Sukanthai Cottage) name is derived from our names (Su-priya& Chandra-kantha) and I from Inna and sounds like Thai at the end !”
“As far as the farm is concerned, the effort was far more. I had personally visited several progressive farms at Cochin, Karkala, Naravi, Heriyadka, Belthangadi, Puttur, Kundapur etc. We took the help of Amit Soans (and His father) of West Coast Nursery at Uchila in designing the Farm. Amit took the personal responsibility of planting the required plants and designing the lawn and irrigation systems. We have allocated approximately an acre each for cultivation of Mango, Chikkoo(Sapota), Rambutan,Guava, Mangostene and Coconut. We have added extra space for Mango and Chikkoo subsequently”.
” About 2 acres are reserved for mixed fruits and experiments! You will see more than 15 varieties of fruit plants and they will keep growing.After reading an article in TOI recently, we are planning to add some apple plants to our experimental area by May with the help of Mr Krishna Shetty from Uppinanagadi. We have Litchi from India, Thailand and China. We are not sure whether Litchi will yield. Hence we have litchi of Semitropical climate i.e. Rambutaan. The plants are only about four to five year old. Hopefully in a year or two they will start yielding.”
“We have Guava fruit from Thailand and Malaysia (from seeds) as well as three local varieties from Lucknow and Bengaluru. Yielding has started in some plants and progress is satisfactory. We have milk fruit plants from Cambodia. Very nice fruits with a milky look for the juice. In case of Rambutan we have received lot of help and guidance from farms in Heriyadka and Karkala (Mr.ShivanandaShenoy). It will take about 5-8 years to see if the trees give fruits or not! Some trees have started yielding from last year.”
“We have three varieties of Chikkoo and two of them are yielding well and they are really very tasty! We have more than ten varieties of Mango including 40 plants of Devgad Alphonso. In addition, on the periphery, we have planted over 1200 Pycus plants which will give an ever green look to this modern farm. We have also planted more than 15 varieties of Jack fruit.In the shady areas we have planted Nutmeg (Jaai Kai) plants. You will also see teak plants all round particularly by the rad side. Hopefully, they will yield long term value if nurtured well”
“We have many varieties plants in between our fruit plants based on our assessment of long term return on Investments made in the farm. In addition to the Fruit Orchard, we have developed a nice Lawn ( NamedOrchid Lawn)in the center of the orchard meant for hosting mini functions in open air (Like the farm house functions in Delhi). Lawn is of about 8000 Sqft – a nice function space (Gazebo)in the middle. This ideally would be suitable for holding functions with a capacity of 250 to 350 persons. 40 to 60 cars can be parked inside the farm under the trees! We have qualified caterers and Shamiyana suppliers..We have full Auto Power back-up up to 15 KVA. We have already tested this idea with a music concert where more than 250 persons attended and had dinner in May 2014. If someone wants to rent this lawn they can call me at 7829011977 or Manager at 7829044977”
“We are planning to donate the income from this Lawn directly to our Philanthropic Trust -Advaitha Bharathiya Community Development & Education (ABCD&E) Trust (Regd). ABCD&E trust conducts Free English Speaking course in four Kannada Medium High Schools (Inna, Palimar, Belman and Kedinje) apart from providing support for Free Science and Mathematics Tuition, Computers & teacher at Inna Elementary School, providing support to Grama Swachtha Yojana of Inna Village.This trust also supported the Publication of book “Kannada Da Moolaka English” ( by Dr. Janardhan Bhat-Belman) a text book for the English speaking course”.
“Over 600-700 students take benefit from these courses annually. Trust also assists in distribution of free writing book to over 600 needy students annually. We are grateful to Belman Jaycees for executing many of our Trust’s Philanthropic activities with perfection for all these years and we plan to continue our association in the years to come.We have made “Giving Back to the Society” a part of our DNA. Hopefully, we will have more functions here like Birthday celebrations, Namakarana, Engagement Ceremony, etc for people who want a difference (Cozy and clean Environment to celebrate) and who want to make a difference to the society through support to Philanthropy! We seek your suggestions and guidance” concluded Rao.
So, if you are planning to get out of the hustle and bustle of a congested, polluted and noisy life of a city, head on to Inna Chandrakantha Rao’s “Praakruthi Fruit Orchard, Sukanthai Cottage, and Orchid Lawns- you will surely explore the beauty of nature and the goodness that greenery has to offer. And also don’t forget to pamper with the pet animals the farm has, like dogs, hens, chicks, goats and cows! Feel and experience the happiness, this Orchard has to offer.