Saalumarada Thimmakka, a peerless green champion


This beautiful canopy leading to Hulikal, Saalumarada Thimmakka's village in Magadi taluk, runs at least 4 kms. These massive banyan trees were nurtured by her many decades ago. (Pic: SH)

The road that leads to Saalumarada Thimmakka’s home in Hulikal of Magadi taluk is as much a source of wonder as the destination itself. I wonder if the incredible beauty of life and its full meaning need such an encounter to shine through!

There was a specific intent behind meeting Thimmakka. We had to officially hand over the “IGBC Green Champion” award plaque which she failed to collect at the event for personal reasons.

Saalumarada Thimmakka with the "IGBC Green Champion Award". (Pic: Supriya Kamath)

As my friend and I drove up, we realised Thimmakka was a landmark herself. Hundreds of banyan trees on either side of a surprisingly well-laid road mutely acknowledge the physical hardship Thimmkka and her husband had to put up with to nurture them. Decades ago, she walked many miles carrying pitchers of water to nurture the plants. Summers were especially hard and unnerving.

A house painted bright green has her name written on its compound wall and the epithet, “parisara premi” (lover of nature). It took little to realise that sometimes epithets fall miserably short as descriptive substitutes. Because this epithet (or any other, for that matter) does not tell us the selflessness with which she went about planting nearly 1000 trees, of which about 150 died. Nor does it tell us about the spiritual connection she continues to share with these massive trees aged 60-70 years.

Saalumarada Thimmakka's spiritual pilgrimage. (Pic: SH)

Thimmkka slowly emerged out of her house and stood in the front yard with her hands folded. Smilingly, she led us in and pointed at the showcase studded with a number of plaques and garlands and trophies and what not! She spoke candidly; giggled like a child. She explained how happiness invades her when she sees goats and cows munching on the banyan leaves and people resting by the roadside on hot summer afternoons.

We emerged out of her home and started walking down the road. Thimmakka began talking about the trees all over again—her spiritual pilgrimage.  She stood by a tree like a proud mother of 1000 children as her gnarled hands ran over the trunk.

The thick canopy that leaves a beautiful dappled effect on the road runs at least four kilometres! It seems as if the tangled and whispering shadows are in an endless conversation with each other. The experience of walking on this road arcaded by these green giants is something to be savoured at least once in a lifetime.

For it emerged out of a couple’s ability to reconcile their unfulfilled parental instincts with the importance of connecting with nature and finding a deeper meaning and purpose of life. For it is a collective history shared between an amazing woman and nearly 850 trees (going by her count) we are all so proud of. For it’s no less than a piece of art laid out for general viewing that need no critics to appreciate the truth of the matter.

We took leave of Thimmakka as she stood waving at us—a small-built but determined woman whose home is the road itself.

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25 thoughts on “Saalumarada Thimmakka, a peerless green champion

  1. She wants to build a hospital in her village and she is in need of funds, so if we wish to do our bit, it is by helping her in her great deed. If we can obtain her bank account number with its IFSC code and mobile number, and request all facebook users to donate and whichever means we can, we can help in a real way…

    Like

  2. Hi Savitha,

    Me and a few of my friends are planning to meet salu maradha thimmakka. It would be great if you could help us!!!

    Like

  3. Hello,

    Iam Parameshwar from Bangalore. Iam a Film maker. Thinking of making a Documentary film about “Salumarada Thimmakka”. Can you help me in this regard?
    My Earlier Documentary film Project link is below.
    Pls watch it…

    My contact Details:
    Parameshwar.K
    M: +91 9008099686
    email: rangaloka@gmail.com

    Like

  4. could it be possible to get a contact address of Salumarada Thimmakka?I would like to get her contact to rebuilt a lake that wil disappear soon

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  5. hello Ma’am/ Sir,

    I am conducting a research on creative individuals and would like to meet akka for the same. It would be really helpful if you could share her details so that I can contribute to the society just like she did :)

    Thank you,
    Nayantara
    nayantara.kurpad@gmail.com

    Like

  6. Hi Savitha,
    We would like to call Saalumarada Thimmakka to our School for our Jsnapatha jathre program.Kindly help me by providing her details
    Thank you

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  7. Dear All,

    Who are all asking contact details of Saalumarada Thimmakka, You are requested to giv a cal to Mr. Umesh who is adopted son of Thimmakka ji., Since from 14 years he is living and taking care of her. He was inspired by Thimmakka ji and doing same job what she tells. Till date he has planted and conserved about 30000 plants. They have been planted in public school premises, Govt office premises, hiils and bunds. He was too awarded with number of state and National awards and he has a dream of planting 1 crore plants. Pls encourage him and give your valuable suggestions.
    His contact no : 9845847962

    Like

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