Beegara Oota is an age-old tradition of the Gowdas, a community mainly from Southern Karnataka. Also known as Vokkaligas, they’re a largely agricultural community who have a healthy non-vegetarian diet. The Beegara Oota is a special tradition of the Gowdas. Two-three days after the wedding, the groom’s side invites the bride’s family for a proper non-vegetarian meal. Gowda weddings are largely vegetarian affairs, even though the community at large is largely non-vegetarian.
Like most South Indian Hindu castes, Gowdas (because of their agrarian background) would’ve initially been vegetarian. At some point of history, they’d have turned non-vegetarian. Marriages are auspicious occasions and a strong call-back to tradition. Hence the focus on vegetarianism. But as the community at large has become largely turned towards meat, especially mutton and Nati (country) chicken. Beegara Oota is a big deal for the Gowdas. The marriage ceremony is largely for outsider viewing and the Beegara Oota, a more close-knit family affair.
Custom of the Beegara Oota
I don’t know much about Gowda cooking and my four years of work in Bangalore. Early days of my career was largely wasted on partying and merriment. Poncho, a foodie friend from Bangalore mentioned to me about Gowdru Hotel. So one of these days, I made the trek to the gullies of Indiranagar and found Gowdru Hotel in a small kaccha lane opposite to the world-famous-in-Indiranagar – Aishwarya Bar.
I’ve eaten in and around Bangalore but never at a Gowda-specific joint. I was quite intrigued to see a thali by the name Beegara Oota Thali. I didn’t know what it was and had some difficulty communicating with the precisely-three-Kannada-words, that I’ve learnt till now. Thankfully, the waiter called someone from inside the kitchen, who knew Hindi and he explained the Beegara Oota concept to me.
The food at Gowdru Hotel was fantastic. It’s my life’s mission to find out places like these and share with the world and Gowdru Hotel is an excellent find. I’ve been here three-four times now and food has largely been superb, except for one occasion when it was good, but not stellar. You have the option of ordering a la carte or take different thali options. I’m always partial to the Beegara Oota thali ’cause of the sheer novelty of the concept.
The Thali had lamb chops cooked in the traditional mint-coriander-coconut-garam masala dark green gravy that’s the hallmark of Gowda cooking. The chops were superb. There was also a simple mutton curry, some extra gravy, Gowda-style mutton biryani with a boiled egg on top. Boiled rice and Mosaru bajji (onion-tomato-cucumber raita) and a small glass of rasam.
I also ordered a Thala curry on the side. Made from the skull part of the goat, sans the inside soft-gooey brain. Thala or skull is a bit of an acquired taste and not everyone likes it. For those who do, it’s quite special.
Gowdru Hotel has been open since 2014, in the same location. It’s slightly off the main areas of Indiranagar, but fairly easy to find. I believe they also now deliver food in and around Indiranagar.
Happy hunting and Chowder-on!!