About Janapada Loka (ref: http://www.janapadaloka.org)
Shri Nage Gowda is the Founder of ‘Janapada Loka’, which is one of the wonders in the 20th century history of Karnataka. Janapada Loka established near Ramanagara on Bangalore-Mysore highway, on a sprawling 15 acres of land full of greenery, is the fruit of his hard work dedication and organizing ability and was inaugurated on 12th March 1994. It has grown into a very significant folk cultural centre in the country and is a hub of Folk cultural activities.
The imposing main entrance is the chief attraction of Janapada Loka. A majestic door adorned with Harige and Trumpets and tall brass Nandidwajas on either side of the pathway enhance the grandeur of the entrance. The design of the door is a perfect blend of the Shaiva and Vaishnava cult. The information Center sells cassettes, CDs, DVDs and books related to folk art forms and literature and a video show of documentaries and other folk art forms are screened in the Video Scope theatre in Janapada Loka. A big grinding stone, which used to be pulled by two bisons, is a fitting icon of Janapadaloka. “Lokamatha Mandira”is a museum displaying articles of daily use of folk people like cooking vessels, equipments used for farming and animal husbandry and other such rural activities. “Chithra Kuteera” which reflects different stages of the founder’s literary achievements and struggle during the building of Janapada Loka and also houses photographs of different folk art forms of Karnataka. “Loka Mahal” is a two-storied building where more than 5000 folk artefacts are aesthetically displayed.
A community house called “Doddamane” built in the traditional rural style with a central courtyard surrounded by pillars serves as a place for workshops and seminars and also provides lodging facility to visiting artists. “Shilpamaala”, a place for stone memorials, tell their own story. Aayagaarara Maala, Lokapriya MahaGanapathi temple where Lord Ganesha is ever ready to bless the visitors, a colossal open-air theatre in the Greek style with a capacity to seat 1000 people, boating facility and playground for children are the attractions at Janapada loka.
Artists who have great skill in handicrafts like pottery and wooden toys stay here and are engaged in making artefacts. After imparting training in Dollu kunitha, Kolata, Goravara kunitha and other allied arts, in-house performing troupes of Janapada Loka are formed. Bangalore University has recognized Janapada loka as a research centre. This Janapada University started in 1999 conducts Janapada Diploma and Janapada Certificate courses. Folk related development camp, folk research workshop, and seminars are held regularly in the campus. A fully equipped library has been established. Annual Festivals like Lokothsava in February – March, Kite Festival in July, Dassera Festival in October are celebrated without fail which attracts visitors from far and wide. In essence, Janapada loka is a treasure house of Folk museums and folk related activities and attract scholars, interested persons, and researchers. Janapada loka emerging as one of the best Folk cultural centers of the world is bubbling with activities throughout the year.
First visited the museum “LOKA MATHA MANDIRA” a rare collections of Karnataka rural folk’s tradition day today usage. This museum displays articles of daily use employed by rural people which includes huge storage bins for storing grains, pots and utensils used in cooking, articles made of wood and iron used in animal husbandry and agricultural implements. In general, the orderly display with proper informative labels gives a clear picture of the rural life to the spectators. We had the rare opportunity that the guide of this museum himself is a folk artist. When we requested he song a beautiful song narrated the usefulness of BAMBOO (Bideru).
Next Visited the Loka Mahal : This museum is a spacious two-storied building. In the ground floor there are life size dolls dressed as Mudalapaya Yakshagana artists, coorg couple, Dasayya and Goravayya – village characters, pied piper, Halakki Vokaaligas- who perform dances of nomadic tribe and harvest dances. The other rarities that find a place here are various arms and weapons, the articles used in wedding ceremony, weights and measures of yester years, ritual items used while performing pooja and lastly a few items from the kitchen. The Central courtyard in the ground floor displays large wooden idols of ‘Bootha’ or Ghost worship.
The First floor exhibits a rare collection of various folk instruments and other wooden parts of chariots and stone idols. Special dolls made of hides-Togalu Gombegalu, puppets, apparels of Badagu tittu and Tenkutittu Yakshagana artists (Forms of Folk Theatre), Ganjeefa art pieces (playing cards), children’s playthings, Soma and Harige(masks) exhibited here capture the hearts and minds of the visitors.
Coming out of Lokamahal and on your right side few meters further you will find“SHILPA MALA” (above Photo)A large collection of stones arranged in Shilpamala are not just ordinary stones of the present day but special stones dating back to a period more than one thousand two hundred years. These are all inscribed stones, which were being planted in honour of brave people for their achievements. These are identified as Veeragallu- in honour of a war hero, Satikalllu- in honour of a faithful wife and Gokallu- in honour of a beloved cow. Besides these, there are many idols of worship, which had been abandoned and lying in ruin in different parts of Karnataka. These have been collected preserved and displayed here with serenity. Behind the Shilpamala is a Temple of Ganesh-built in a typical village style.
The whole atmosphere makes the visitors feel one with the nature around.
Come out of Shilpamala and put your legs forward enjoying the cool breeze u will stand in front of the artificial lake named as LOKA SAROVARA. One beautiful white Swan has placed here and it roams within the corner of this lake, Retuned in the same path next to shilpa mala an wooden Chariot is placed under the shed. This is HALSASURU CHARIOT : Halasuru chariot was a part of Someshwara Temple in Bangalore , which has significant historical importance. As the chariot was slightly damaged due to a fire accident and was considered inauspicious for puja it was abandoned. The chariot thus discarded was brought here in its full form, restored and preserved for its beautiful and delicate carvings.
Further down next to Loka Mahal we visited HERITAGE VILLAGE. Inside this we entered the first hut where two rural couples were busy making the clay pot, and articles.
This is an open-air exhibition of/; tools of rural vocations like pottery and smithy, sugarcane juice extractor made of wood, oil extractor, Kottana- rice pounding equipment, tools used in agriculture, nets and boats used in fishery and such rural activities. The other exhibits are weapons used in hunting, a bullock cart, special cart – sarotu, a chariot and a palanquin decorated with beads. To complete the scene a model of a beautiful village house is built in Aayagararamala.
Coming out of Aayagara Maala near maingate reenter again and u will reach OPEN AIR THEATER and PUPPET THEATER.
An impressive and big open-air theatre built in Greek style with a capacity to hold 1000 persons at a time. The theatre comes alive with programmes of Folk art forms on the last sunday of every month. Adjacent to it is a well-equipped green room. The theatre has received applause from none other than Late Sri B.V Karantha, one of the best directors of theatre arts that India has produced.
In Puppet Theater we couldn’t se the show as there was no current. They had exhibited the Dasara Dolls collection and beautifully arranged and very much impressed.
Coming out from there just passed few huts and thought they were of local residents.
Passing by we met the first folk artist, who told that they are the artists who stay here and exhibits there rural art. I was about to miss this chance. We went inside and in front of the hut an old lady was decorating the entrance of the door. They were called DEEVARU Community.
The hut also built according to there natural hut in there native. Inside the house walls were beautifully sketched with art which were in final and draft stage, on request they gave the phose to lens. In Bangalore an organization called Center for Revival of Indigenous Art (CFRIA) will conduct workshop on CHITTARA ART.
About DEEVARU Community.
Chittara is an autochthonous art practice of an indigenous community called “Deevaru” residing at Sagar, Shimoga Dist, Karnataka State, INDIA. Chittara drawings are intricate patterns that represents the auspicious ceremonies and rituals of life symbolized in geometric patterns. Its is a socio cultural art practice of women passed on from generation, using eco friendly materials.
Here we got a chance to meet Dr.Kuruva Basavaraj, Litterateur, Folklorist and curator of Janapada Loka. Actually they saw us taking the photograph of this community hence asked me about the reason to documenting. We got very good information from them about Deevaru community and the programmes conducted in Janapada Loka regularly. I t was our pleasure to have few minutes along with Dr.KB.
With this our half day off the city life come to end. Yes I forgot to tell u how Janapada Loka visit ends without visiting the Kamath Loka Ruchi next to it. Had a cup of strong coffee and Bhajji and returned back by night.
Route : From Bangalore on Bangalore Mysore National Highway 53rd KM. Located between Ramanagara and Channapatna.
The campus is interspersed with many resting places of different structures, some is brick and others with thatched roofs.
It looked old and I think is was burnt so it was covered with plastic, may be some restoration will be done. The carvings were intricate and had various avatars of Gods depicted.
Behind the amphi theatre is a small place that displays the Dasara Gombe dolls and some paintings on cloth.