Situated 50 Kms from Bangalore on Bangalore-Mysore Highway stands Janapada Loka, dedicated to promote various folk forms of Karnataka, Janapada Loka or Karnataka Janapada trust was established in 1979 A.D by Late Shri Nanje Gowda. Shri Nanje Gowda had a Brobdingnagian vision of bringing various, rich Folk culture of Karnataka into limelight by providing them a platform to showcase their hidden talents. Spanning over 15 acres Janapada Loka or “Folk-Culture World” is a world of simplicity and art.
Established in the year 1994, Janapada Loka has 3 museums along with “Sculpture yard”, “Pottery section”, “Doddamane”, “An open air theatre”, “Lokasarovara lake” and “Saraswathi Mandir”. Spread over a vast area and designed to perfection the there museums are the centre of attraction; the “Lokamata Mandira” is first among the three museums which houses some of the rare collections of utensils and house hold articles amassed from different parts of Karnataka. Soon as you enter the “Lokamata Mandira” one can get a bird views of famous “Ravi Verma” Paintings which are designed using “chimki’s” and “Nakki’s” (beads) , these type of paintings were given as a part of dowry during olden days, as one continues their journey, the next section is filled by some of the common house hold articles such as “Vibhuthi Box” “Rangoli box”, “Old style Hangers of coastal Karnataka” Rural Karnataka’s “Deepa Stambagalu” (Lamp stand), “Deepa Chakegalu”, “Folk style Walking sticks” “Hangings made up of beads” which acted as playing toy for kids and not to forget the howling Jewellary box made up leather.
As you move towards the next section you can find some invaluable collections from the parts of Shimoga, especially Shimoga’s Dhivra tribes who are known for their unique tradition of performing “Bhoomi pooje” (Worship of goddess earth) using handmade baskets.
The museum also houses household utensils like “Thombe”, “Vades” and “Arvi” (Huge storage vessels) made out of Jute, they were collected from interior parts of rural Karnataka, apart from utensils the museum also has some rare collections of “Measuring Jars” garnered from Coastal and North Rural Karnataka.
Situated next to “Loka Mandira” is “Chitra Koota” a museum dedicated to photographs of various Tribal people all over Karnataka. The museum depicts the life style of people from over 220 tribes spread across Karnataka captured brilliantly through lens. The museum also includes pictures of various Folk dance and folk music, their culture, tradition and heritage. The most interesting part of the museum was the pictures of “Hallakki lady” who originate from interior parts of rural Karnataka. Other than that there are pictures of “Siddis” who originate from North Karnataka, they are black in race are very rare tribal’s in Karnataka. There are pictures showcasing the talents of “Hallak Vokkaliga” singers who have been awarded “Janapada Rastra Prashasthi” in 2000 and the prestigious “Naadajja” in 2007 December. The famous “Nandi koolu Kunitha” and “Dollu kunitha” pictures depict the rich tradition of Karnataka’s folklore here. In total the museum hosts some where around 220 folk artists.
“Loka Mahal” is the 3rd museum situated which covers different ornaments from various cultural backgrounds. The museum also stores few rare coins of pre-independence era and few Pottery and earthen collections hand made by tribal people. The museum also gives us an insight into various cultural backgrounds of people from “Kodava” and “Uttara Kannada” region; it also exhibits few artifacts which depict the sheer creativity hidden behind the rural bushes of Karnataka.
“Janapada Loka” also has few special sections such as “Pottery section which is known for some of the beautiful, mind blowing pots, “Sculpture section” known for its extraordinary sculptures. Amidst all these Janapada Loka also has a lake named,” LokaSarovara” which enthralls any visitor with its calmness and beauty. “Education through art”, “Janapada Loka” also runs diploma courses in arts.
With lives getting more hectic and the economic situation getting worse, “Janapada Loka” is something which takes you completely out of your mundane affairs. The place takes you back to your roots, your culture and rich heritage, “JanaPada Loka” is a noble venture started out of one man’s passion to encourage the Folk Culture in his ever developing society. What is more encouraging is the “Open air Theatre” which hosts performances by various Folk group of Karnataka on last Sunday of every month which is witnessed by huge number of audience and folk enthusiasts coming from all over the world.
“Janapada Loka” also has their own magazine called “Janapada Jagattu” circulated all over world, they have invaluable audio collections of folk songs sung by folk artists all over Karnataka. They also organize “Janapada Festival” where folk artists from all over Karnataka are invited to perform.
“Indira Balakrishna” is the current managing trustee of “Karnataka Janapada Trust” managing “Janapada Loka”. Professor Shiv Nanjaiah is the Administrative officer managing things at “Janpada Loka” Dr. Kurva Basavaraj takes care of all the three Museums present. The working staffs at “Janapada Loka” are as noble as the place; Narashimya works as a guide and also maintains the museums. With very few supporting staffs, “janapada Loka” needs lot of helping hand from the public, “we want to develop this into a better tourist spot” says Dr Kurve Basavaraj. To improve anything of this sort needs lot of encouragement from people, ventures like this are not started every day and its our moral responsibility to make sure that such ventures are not diminished.
Visit Janapada Loka once, because it has everything in store for you to understand your own roots.