A proud supervisor displaying the National Flag before it is folded and treated as a State property

Some of the most memorable experiences in my travel have emerged from on-the-spot decisions and conversations with strangers who alert you about hidden gems not covered in flashy tourist broc

Here’s one such experience

I was on a week long tour of Goa and Dudhsagar Falls and had landed in Hubli where I’d spent a part of my childhood.

Hubli or Hubballi is a city that serves as a gateway to northern Karnataka.

After going on a rewind tour I was relaxing in my hotel room and planning to check out later in the evening to board my train to Bangalore. A chance conversation with the waiter while having coffee made me jump and bundle myself into an auto rickshaw to a village on the outskirts of Hubli.

The village of BENGERI which houses the Karnatka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha (KKGSS), India’s ONLY AUTHORISED UNIT to manufacture the National Flag.

I couldn’t contain my excitement but with subdued expectation approached the production head to allow me to visit and click some pics not to monetise but to write and let the world about this unit.

He readily agreed and I trooped in with my compact NOKIA 808 PureView mobile phone camera tucked in.

I walked into a large hall with mostly women workers at various stages of flag making from cutting,stitching,pressing and formatting.

You notice the tricolour cloth scattered like any other material but once it is ready to the exacting standards of BIS( Bureau of Indian Standards)specification,the ‘cloth’ attains sanctity and is folded and treated with the same respect accorded to a national hero. Any careless handling of the finished product attracts stringent punishment.

The workers are a dedicated lot and take pride in showing you around.

I left Bengeri in an elevated mood.

How to reach: Hubli is well connected by rail and road being the headquarters of South Western Railways.
Most of the autowalas are familiar with BENGERI – the National Flag village. You need to mention the flag part as apparently there seem to be other Bengeris as well!

Here are some pics

BIS Spec sheet
Parting touch! She’s been at it for ages driven by passion and love for her task

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