Celebrating folk culture

Miscellany

RURAL RETREAT : The model of a traditional home at Janapada Loka. Photo by the Aravind V S

The retreat, located near Ramanagara on Bangalore-Mysore highway, is today a 15-acre sprawling campus that attracts a lot of visitors. A traditional gate which has beautiful brass trumpets and pillars, with huge Nandi Dhwajas welcomes the visitor.

The folk art retreat has three different museums called Lokamatha Mandira with a good collection of household items and farming equipment etc; Loka Mahal with a huge collection of folk artefacts neatly maintained and well arranged and Chitra Kuteera that displays founder late H L Nage Gowda’s work and also the work of other folk artistes.

Lokamatha Mandira is a museum that displays traditional utensils used in cooking and storage such as pickle jars, salt containers and serving bowls made of stone, wood and mud. Agricultural tools are also on display. Lok Mahal is a multi-storeyed museum building.

Here you will find life-size dolls dressed in folk style displaying Moodalapaya Yakshagana, Garudi dolls used in processions where persons carrying them dance to the tunes of drums; Kodava couples in their traditional attire; Soma dolls, Dasara dolls, weapons, cane chests used to safeguard documents, palmyra manuscripts, ancient coins, caps made of pearls, velvet, silk; Chau masks of eastern India; different types of folk musical instruments, leather puppets of Nagamangala; handloom fabrics like kaudi, du patti; articles used for worship like brass lamps, sandal paste cups, wooden lamp
pedestals, kumkum boxes etc.

Chitra Kuteera has photographs of various tribes and folk artistes shot when Nage Gowda was gathering information for establishing Janapada Loka. Doddamane is a place built in a rural design useful for conducting seminars, workshops etc. Artistes involved in making handicrafts like pottery and wooden toys are encouraged here by providing necessary facilities. Training in folk arts like Dollu Kunitha, Kolata, Goravara Kunitha is given to those interested.

There is also a Janapada Library with an ample collection of books, which is very useful for research scholars. This institute is recognised by Bangalore University and has a Janapada Diploma and Janapada Certificate Course. Apart from these routine activities, Janapada Loka also hosts festivals like Lokothsava in February - March, Kite Festival in July, Dasara festival in October, attracting thousands of people from various parts of Karnataka.

A place known as Shilamala, has a large collection of stones sculptures like veera-kallu, masti kallu, idols of worship which are hundreds of years old, all arranged in front of a beautiful Ganesha temple.

Ayagaramala is a open space which displays pottery, a sugarcane crusher, oil extractor, bullock cart and a model village house. There is a huge wooden chariot made of wood.
There are other facilities like a puppet theatre which can accommodate 50 people and a large open air theatre which can accommodate one thousand people.  A Loka Sarovara or lake has a boating facility for children.

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