Incredible Janapada Loka – A Folk Art Museum Near Bangalore

Janapada Loka
Janapada Loka is a folk arts museum in Ramanagara on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway that showcases the rich folk culture of Karnataka.
Janapada Loka

The booming drums and the rhythmic and vigorous dance steps smote the serene silence that enveloped the beautiful environs of the Janapada Loka Ramanagara. The place came alive to the pulsating Dollu Kunita which is a popular drum folk dance of Karnataka. The drummers serenaded us as we were ushered into the sprawling 15-acre campus of Karnataka. We crossed the massive main entrance, known as, Mahadwara, to enter a world that took us on an exciting and exotic journey into the vibrant world of Karnataka’s folk art.

Dollu Kunitha dance
Dollu Kunitha dance

Join us as we explore and experience the wonders of Janapada Loka, near Bangalore, a unique museum, that is located barely 52 kilometres from Bangalore, right on the BangaloreMysore Highway. 

Janapada Loka Ramanagara – A Mirror To The Folk Arts of Karnataka

Janapada Loka

India’s rich heritage comes alive in its folk arts. The traditional folk arts of Karnataka have a rare earthiness and endear themselves with their raw and simple beauty. From the famous Yakshagana to the lesser-known arts like the Togalu Gombeyaata (Shadow Puppetry), Karnataka has cradled and nurtured a wide spectrum of folk arts that overflow with the fragrance and rhythm of nature. Janapada Loka is a unique open-air museum, it is a folk arts museum that brings alive the rich, traditional folk arts of Karnataka.

Janapada Loka History And Genesis

Shri H.L.Nagegowda
Shri H.L.Nagegowda – Founder

The Janapada Loka is the brainchild of its Founder, Shri H.L.Nagegowda who was in the Indian Administrative Services. He was a man with diverse interests and talents, and was a poet, storyteller, and writer all rolled into one. He had a passion for the Folk arts and did extensive research on the Folk Arts of Karnataka. It is his labour of love and a tribute to the colourful and vibrant folk art and culture of Karnataka.

Shri H.L.Nagegowda founded the Karnataka Janapada Parishat in the year 1979. The objective of the Parishath is to promote, protect, propagate, and publicize the folk tradition of Karnataka.

Mission of Janapada Parishath
Revival and respectful preservation of Karnataka’s endangered folk cultures lies at the heart of the Janapada Loka Parishath. The mission of the Karnataka Janapada Loka Parishat to preserve and present Karnataka folk heritage through programs of research, documentation, archiving, exhibition and publication of folk traditions.

Janapada Loka Doddamannugudde Forest Karnataka

This was set up in the year 1994 on a sprawling and lush 15-acre campus in Ramanagar District, right on the Bangalore – Mysore Highway, State Highway 17. The Janapada Loka (Folk Cosmos) has over the years grown into a hub of ciltural activities and events highlighting the heritage of Karnataka’s folk traditions. Today the Janapada Loka Ramnagar makes for a short trip near Bangalore, an excellent weekend getaway from Bangalore.

The dream of Shri H.L.Nagegowda is today being nurtured by Shri Aditya Nanjaraj – grandson of Shri. H. L. Nagegowda.

Visiting The Janapada Loka Karnataka

Welcome to Janapada Loka ( ಜಾನಪದ ಲೋಕ ), says an arched board that towers over the impressive main gate that is known as Mahadwara. We entered the place, serenaded by the drumbeats of the Dollu Kunitha dancers, and step into a different world, the world of Karnataka’s folk heritage.

Dollu Kunitha dance
Dollu Kunitha dance

“Janapada is our age-old customs and traditions,” explains Shri Mallayya, who has been here since its inception in 1994. He himself is a folk singer and also works at the Museum. He is our guide who takes us on a fascinating journey of the rich folk arts that are preserved here.

Click here to watch our our Janapada Loka Video.

Impressive Mahadwara of Janapada Loka Ramanagara

The main gate that leads inside grabs our attention with its unique design. The gate is spread across twenty feet and has an insignia that consists of a huge shield (Harige in the local language) that is made in the form of a fierce face. This shield is flanked by pairs of trumpets and horns. The gate is flanked on each side by traditional flag poles called Nandi Dhwaja or Nandi Dhwaja Sthambha. The Nandidhwajas tower to a height of about 26 feet. As soon as you step inside the gates, the beautiful and verdant expanse of the Janapada Loka Campus stretches out in front of you.

Outdoor Exhibits

Janapada Loka Doddamannugudde Forest Karnataka

The Janapada Loka consists of indoor museums and auditoriums. However it is essentially an open-air museum that simulates a rural milieu of Karnataka. The green environs of the museum campus are dotted with life size exhibits that bring alive the tribal and rural life of different regions of Karnataka.

Folk Dances of Karnataka At The Janapada Loka Ramanagara

Folk Dances of Karnataka JPL
Folk Arts Of Karnataka

One of the treasures of Karnataka’s heritage is its rich array of folk dances.

Folk Arts Of Karnataka
Folk Arts Of Karnataka

The Janapada Loka showcases the different folk dances of Karnataka, not only in the form of live performances, but also through life-size and life-like statues of dancers of different dance forms that dot the campus.

Folk Arts Of Karnataka
Folk Arts Of Karnataka

The dances represented include the famous Yakshagana, Veeragase, Bhootada Kola, Dollu Kunitha, Rangada Kunitha, and many others.

Rustic Setting At Aayagararamala

Aayagararamala
Aayagararamala

We got to experience a slice of rural Karnataka at the Janapada Loka. The rural ethos comes alive in the various outdoor exhibits in the museum.

Aayagararamala
Aayagararamala

Village scenes have been recreated complete with typical village houses, huts, and Ragi Grindstones.

Aayagararamala
Aayagararamala

A tableaux depicts a scene of a rural Oil Mill,  while another brings alive a typical scene at the village well. Another delightful tableaux is that of the village Aralikatte, or Peepal Tree, under which are shown five village elders or Panchayat engaged in animated discussion.

Pottery
Pottery making

Pottery at Janapada Loka can be experienced live, you can get your hands into the clay and learn to mould it at the Potter’s wheel. We were treated to a live demonstration of pottery by Anasuya Bai, who is a skilled veteran and shapes exquisite items at the wheel.

Stones Speak At Shilpamala

Shilpamala
Shilpamala

Beautiful stone sculptures tell stories from the past at the open-air display called Shilpamala. The exhibits are placed amidst the green environs of a village-styled temple dedicated to Ganesha. These stone sculptures sourced from the nearby region include Hero Stones called Veeragallu that are sculpted in honour of the valiant heroes of war. Unique stones that honour a faithful wife, called Sati Kallu, can also be seen at Shilpamala.

Shilpamala
Shilpamala

Stone sculptures salvaged from different sites across Karnataka of various Hindu Gods and Godesses, like Anjaneya or Hanuman, Kali, Vishwakarma, Janardhana, etc., are also displayed in the Shilpamala section of the Janapada Loka.

Temple Chariot
Temple Chariot

One of the attractions of the Shilpamala is a massive temple chariot which is said to have been built in 1902 for the temple of Someshwara in Halasuru, Bangalore.

Indoor Museums

The heart of Janapada Loka, probably lies in its outdoor exhibits, however, a wealth of information is stored in its indoor museums. Each one of these museums gives new insights and enlightens visitors about the different dimensions of Karnataka’s tribal communities and folk arts.

Lokamatha Mandira

Lokamatha Mandira
Lokamatha Mandira

The statue of Janapada Loka’s founder, Shri H.L. Nagegowda greets visitors before the entrance to the Lokamatha Mandira. Shri Mallaya explains the etymology of the place. He says, “There used to be a big Grinding stone here, and as the grinding stone gives us food and is considered to be a mother, this place has been named Lokamatha Mandira.”

At Lokamatha Mandira
At Lokamatha Mandira

The Lokamatha Mandira is an indoor museum within the Janapada Loka campus that displays different items used in rural Karnataka. These range from household and kitchen items to granaries for storing grains, cradles, baskets, cooking utensils, and much more.

At Lokamatha Mandira
At Lokamatha Mandira

A model of a component of the old method of irrigation that one can still find in remote rural areas, known as Rahat irrigation, is kept outside the Lokamatha Mandira.

Down Memory Lane At Chitra Kuteera

Chitra Kuteera
Chitra Kuteera

If you are interested in anthropology and love to learn more about the tribes of Karnataka, then the Chitra Kuteers is sure to fascinate you. It is a gallery that houses pictures of different tribes of Karnataka.

At Chitra Kuteera
At Chitra Kuteera

Shri H.L.Nagegowda and his team did extensive research prior to establishing the Janapada Loka. Their efforts in the form of pictures, audio and video recordings, and artefacts are exhibited here.

Shri H.L.Nagegowda
Shri H.L.Nagegowda

The Chitra Kuteera also celebrates pictorially, the life and times of its founder in the form of manuscripts of his writings, awards received by him, and other personal articles

Loka Mahal – Celebrating Karnataka’s Folk Culture

Loka Mahal
Loka Mahal

The Loka Mahal is an indoor museum with some of the most colourful and fascinating exhibits you will find at Janapada Loka.

At Loka Mahal
At Loka Mahal

As soon as you step into the two-storeyed museum, you are greeted by the sight of life-size dolls of villagers in traditional attire, Yakshagana artists, and village deities. The ground floor is known as Bhootada Gallery or Gallery of Ghosts, and also has exhibits of dolls of ghosts or Bhootas.

At Loka Mahal
At Loka Mahal

On the first floor, there is a rich collection of traditional musical instruments. These include drums of various sizes including a giant drum of massive proportions called Ranabheri. There is also a collection of puppets including leather puppets, string puppets, etc. Many traditional rural games including the ancient game of Ganjifa Cards can be seen here. The Loka Mahal is sure to be one of the important highlights of your Janapada Loka visit.

Auditoriums And Theatres At Janapada Loka Doddamannugudde Forest Karnataka

Folk Dance - Dollu Kunitha Performance
Folk Dance – Dollu Kunitha Performance

The Janapada Loka is not a static museum. It is a place where one can actually experience live, the folk heritage of Karnataka. There are programmes organized regularly in the different viewing facilities that exist within the campus.

There is a Greek amphitheatre-styled open-air theatre that has a capacity to accommodate 800 people. The theatre has the facility of a well-equipped green room and pulsates with vibrant cultural programmes on every Sunday.

A modern and well-equipped auditorium called Videoscope Theatre facilitates the viewing of Janapada Videos and documentary films of Karnataka’s folk arts and culture.

The Janapada Mandapa is a building with a large hall and stage, that is used for seminars, lectures, and other programmes. There are two smaller buildings adjacent to the Janapada Mandapa that are also used for smaller events.

The Saraswati Mandira is a building that houses a library and reading room that is open to the public. It also has classrooms where classes are conducted for the students who are doing various courses in the folk arts of Karnataka. The Saraswati Mandira is also used for conducting seminars and workshops.

The Doddamane is a large residential building that has a central courtyard surrounded by rooms and dormitories. These are used by visiting folk artists, and have full residential facilities.

Within the lush green environs of the Janapada Loka is located a waterbody in the form of an artificial lake. The serene lake, known as Loka Sarovara, adds to the enchanting beauty of the place. It also has facilities for pedal boating.

Janapada Loka Cultural Events | Festivals at Janapada Loka | Activities Related To Folk Arts Of Karnataka

Janapada Loka Karnataka

This place is a hub of culture and folk arts. It organizes many events and cultural festivals that are popular and offer glimpses of the folk art and culture of Karnataka.

  • Every Sunday a cultural programme is presented here
  • An annual cultural festival called Lokothsava is held in the month of February, which showcases live performances of folk arts from across Karnataka, the festival commemorates the birth anniversary of its founder, H.L.Nagegowda
  • Festivals like Dassara, Kite festival, and others are celebrated grandly here
  • The Janapada Loka also conducts short term and diploma courses in different forms of Karnataka’s folk arts including different folk dance and folk music forms

Janapada Loka Hotel |Restaurant |Food 

There is a restaurant within the premises with a rustic setting. As Janapada Loka is next to Kamat Lokaruchi, food in the restaurant is served from the Kamat Lokaruchi restaurant.

How to reach Janapada Loka from Bangalore

Janapada Loka Karnataka

  • Janapada Loka Museum, Ramanagara is located on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway
  • Janapada Loka distance From Bangalore is about 52 kilometres
  • Janapada Loka Doddamannugudde Forest कर्नाटक distance from Mysore is about 93 kilometers
  • The nearest airport is at Bangalore at a distance of about 93 kilometres
  • One can reach easily by road from Bangalore or Mysore

Janapada Loka Bangalore – Quick Facts

  • Janapada Loka Address is:
    Bangalore-Mysore Highway, State Highway 17,
    Ramanagar District, Doddamannugudde Forest,
    Karnataka – 562159
  • Janapada Loka entry fee is Rs.50 per person for adults and Rs 25 for children
  • There is a camera fee of Rs 100 which is charged in case you want to photograph inside the indoor museums
  • Janapada Loka Bangalore Timings are from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM on all days except Tuesdays when the Museum is closed
  • Janapada Loka Bangalore Contact Number is +91 7795632294

Janapada Loka Ramanagara – FAQ

  • Who Established The Folklore Museum Janapada Loka
    It was established by Shri. H.L.Nagegowda.
  • Can one listen to Janapada Geeta at the Janapada Loka Ramanagara
    There are live performances of folk dances and folk songs here.
  • Does the Janapada Loka have a collection of Janapada Video and Janapada Audio
    Yes, the museum has a rich collection of Audio Video, The video and audio were collected and curated by the founder Shri. H.L Nagegowda and his team over many years.

This place stands as a unique endeavour to save and nurture the fading folk arts of Karnataka. It is a commendable effort to preserve and showcase our rich heritage which is on the brink of extinction. A visit to this place is sure to connect you with the heritage and legacy of the past.

The Janapada Loka Images are sure to stay with you long after your visit. The least one can do to support the endeavour of organizations like the Janapada Loka is to visit it and imbibe a part of the folk arts and culture.

Have you visited the Janapada Loka? If not, we suggest you do so at the earliest and enjoy the vibrant folk arts of Karnataka.

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Our visit to Janapada Loka in Ramanagara was part of a familiarization trip organized by India Tourism Bangalore – Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are our own.  

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Janapada Loka, Ramanagara

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Incredible Janapada Loka - A Folk Art Museum Near Bangalore

23 thoughts on “Incredible Janapada Loka – A Folk Art Museum Near Bangalore”

  1. Wow!! What a beautiful folk art from the different regions of Karnataka. The costumes of Janapada Loka look fascinating. Local craft sounds like a great opportunity to know more about the ignored heritages. This is a great initiative by the Tourism Board to educate our rich heritage.

  2. Wow this is so amazing post. I really liked it. I didn’t visit it. I saw your post. I am glad you shared that Visiting Janapada Loka – A Folk Art Museum Near Bangalore. Thanks for sharing

  3. I have done my graduation abd post graduation from Bangalore and this is really sad that I never visited this place. But, not anymore. I will visit this place for sure and thanks for providing complete details. This Makes travelling a lot more easier.

  4. I love travelling and exploring new places,when life gets back to normal my first target will be to visit this place for sure. I love colors , I love culture and I love vibrancy and I love Photography too. So all my desires can be fulfilled by this place.

  5. Appreciate you posting your experience. I felt like travelling from the comfort of my home in Singapore. With the Pandemic still around, travelling nowadays has been a luxury.

  6. This looks fascinating. I’ve travelled quite a bit around India in the past but never been around Bangalore. I love watching dance performances and the Dollu Kunitha dance looks so much fun. I love the expression on their faces.

  7. Karnataka’s heritage folk dances are something I’m adding to our bucket list. True cultural immersion experiences like these are awesome!! We haven’t been to India, but this post puts Bangalore high on our list!

  8. So great to be able to see a local folk ceremony on your visit to Janapada Loka. The serenading drums and colourful costumes would have drawn us in for sure. So interesting to learn about the variety in the folk dances. And to see the history carved into the stones.

  9. Wow, an incredible amount of work went into the folk art, such attention to detail. It must have been amazing to listen to the drums and see the costumes- so vibrant. It’s great to see they are preserving the stories and legends through this museum.

  10. Wow! Such a lovely and knowledgeable experience this must have been. Going back to our roots. Such a green and clean place this is. I am going to include this in my trip with kids. Will come back to this article when I go there.

  11. Protecting the history of a country’s culture accuracy is so important for the future generations. It teaches the foundation upon which the country was built, and lessons to things that aren’t to be repeated. Great post!

  12. We are such a culturally rich country. The museum is a great effort and all of us should visit such places from our childhood. The pottery is amazing. Hope to see it someday when visiting Bengaluru.

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