Karnataka Janapada loka

Karnataka has a rich tradition of folk arts – crafts and music, dance and drama forms which are facing near extinction due to lack of patronage. How many people today know about Dollu Kunitha, Karagada Kunitha, Rangada Kunitha, Karapala, Kolata, Guravayya Singing etc.? Yet, just a hundred years these were rich forms of folk tradition practiced in Karnataka.

One man passionately felt the need to preserve tradition and struggled to set up a center for preservation of folk art forms and for creation of a museum showcasing traditional ways of life in Karnataka. He was H.L.Nage Gowda Who set up the Karnataka Janapada Academy in 1979. It is situated 53 km from Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore highway, 3 Km from Ramanagaram. The initial capital for the project came from the funds that he garnered from friends and what he got as retirement benefits.
With the money he bought 15 acres of land on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and started Janapada Loka.

He collected ancient and contemporary objects from different cultures and put them on display here. To create interest and curiosity among the people, he organized exhibitions, and made it come alive like a village, vibrant with all its arts and crafts. The Janapada Loka was supposed to replicate the spirit of the village and not just be a static display of antique artifacts. There is a dynamic display of folk literature, arts and the festivals. There is an annual festival of performances , the Lokotsava . Children love their kite flying contests. During Dasara there are performances which attract people from the neighbouring villages. It has initiated many workshops on folksongs, seminars and many others activities involving folk art and music. Practitioners of colorful native folk arts like Dollu Kunitha, Karagada Kunitha, Rangada Kunitha, Burrakatha, Karapala, Kolaata can always be reached at the centre or by contacting them..
Janapada Loka is situated in the green belt, in an area covered with trees which makes th long walk around the museums and amphitheatre quite a pleasant one..
The artifacts are housed in three little buildings called Lokamahal, Lokamatha Mandira and Chitrakuteera
The Lokamahal houses folk puppets, traditional utensils, instruments, weapons and masks.
The Lokamatha Mandira showcases the household articles from the older way of village life such as a variety of utensils, baskets, earthen jars used to store grain and pickles
Chitrakuteera has a number of photographs covering different aspects of folk life.
The 5000 artifacts are drawn from the life and arts of the large number of tribal and folk people throughout Karnataka. The collection includes models of mythical animals, costumes, Soma masks, weapons, life size figures, antique articles of worship, earthenware units, articles of everyday use such as mouse and pig traps, utensils, wooden kitchen artifacts and traditional musical instruments.

There is also a display of traditional dresses like – Koduva-Traditional dress, Dasaiah Traditional dress, Kinnari Jogi Traditional dress, Doddata Costumes, Yakshagana Costumes, Lambani Costumes
The crafts section includes decorated Baskets, Basinga-Head Dress of Bride & Bridegroom, Wooden lamp stand, Wooden Kitchen ware, idols of chelur, Dasara Dolls, Leather puppets, String puppets, and terracotta items..

One of the highlights is a huge exquisitely carved temple chariot, which was extensively damaged in a fire. Besides this there are ancient carvings made from different types of stone. The museum also has an amphitheatre and a recording studio.There is a small lake at the rear end of the museum where there is a pedal boat.

Another attraction around the area is the restaurant, Kamat Lokaruchi. The restaurant is modeled on a village house complete with a cow shed and cows. The waiters sport traditional dress and the food served consists of typical home food like Ragi dosa, Mudde Idli and meals served on banana leaf.

Check out some pictures here.
Better still check out the place itself here:
Janapada Loka
Bangalore-Mysore Road, Ramnagara, Bangalore – 571 511, Tel: 080-7271555
Timings: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.

5 Comments so far

  1. Shruthi (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

    Good write-up. I had been to Janapada Loka just when it started. When I went again a few years later, I learnt that it is running short of funds, and the Government, which had promised to allocate some money, had failed to do so. By your write-up, I gather that it has picked up again.(??)

    Now, of course, the popularity of Kamat Lokaruchi has ensured that Janapada Loka is now secondary. I hear various comments like:
    “Janapada Loka? What is that? Oh, is there a museum near Lokaruchi? Did not know.”
    “I believe they have started a museum near Lokaruchi”.
    “What? Museum? No, no, there is nothing near Lokaruchi, I have been there many times.”


  2. deepak (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

    Well written!
    – I remember taking our Jappu clients there and they too seem to be appreciate the things displayed there
    – One important thing which I cant forget is that the “enthu” in which the guide took us around and explained things!.. all for some really paltry sum!

  3. PSU (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

    You know. I see this place both ways. Going into Mysore which is really early in the morning and back on my way to Bangalore airport. By which time we want to make sure that we are in Bangalore before the evening rush :-) So we are one of the people who see it twice a year but have never visit. Maybe after reading all this visit will take my and my boys there. Thank you very much for all these wonderful pictures and vignettes of life around Bangalore/Mysore

  4. BangaloreGuy (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

    Maybe its changed since I’ve been there, but it wasnt all that impressive some time back – sure there’s a display of the clothing worn by different folks across karntaka, plus the tools used, apart from various artecraft and such stuff – with just labelling most of the time.

    No guide, and little input into the history – almost sort of like an exhibition without demarcation into the stalls.

    Something on the lines of whats there in ‘Indian Museum’ in Kolkota – with a animated play chronicling Kolkota, and enough documentation would be great!

    And Kamat Lokaruchi IMO is not upto the Kamat standards. The Yatrinivases set a higher standard

  5. when tournament steal pair fetch (unregistered) on May 8th, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

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