Karnataka · Travel

Janapada Loka folk arts museum: insight into Karantaka’s rural culture

If there is one place that showcases the folk and rural culture of Karnataka in its entirety, it is the Janapada Loka folk art museum in Ramnagar. At a distance of just about 50 km from Bangalore, this museum has over 5000 artifacts on display.  It was founded by H L Nage Gowda whose dedication to the cause of preservation of rural arts and crafts is truly commendable.

Located on the Bangalore Mysore highway, you are greeted by the imposing yet colorfully decorated blue gates of the complex. With murals of trumpets and parrots and an expressive mask in the centre, the door truly serves as a fitting preview to the treasures inside.

doorThe sprawling 15 acre complex is divided into sections namely the Lokamatha Mandira, Chithra Kuteera and Loka Mahal among others.

The Lokamatha Mandira is a great revelation into the tools of the yesteryears including those used for cooking, trade and agriculture. The gallery has been divided into sub sections according to the purpose and utility of the objects displayed.


The kitchen section is devoted to various kinds of utensils, rangoli and vibuthi trays, plates and grinders used during the days of the yore.  The jars, ladles and measures used during the good old days are also on display.



I loved the stoves, vermicelli board and noodle press below!

The household utilitarian objects include furniture, lamps, cradles and boxes.  The section dedicated to agriculture and animal husbandry has several kinds of weighing balances, feeding tubes and harvesting tools.


I enjoyed seeing the various kind of traps used to catch animals like bandicoots and boar as the bells that were hung around cattle. Each bell is different and make a unique sound so that identification of the individual animals was easy!

Feeding tubes
Bells hung around the neck of cattle

The Chitra Kuteera is an insight into the life and times of Nage Gowda.  The gallery is decked with innumerable pictures of his literary achievements as well as several cultural activities native to the state.  The rare photographs depicting the tribals of the state, their dances and traditions is one of its kind.  There are several pictures related to folklore including the fisherwomen folk dance, ‘tharle barle‘, gondas dance and harvest dance of the Halakki vokkaligas.


My favorite segment was the Loka Mahal which has an exclusive collection of artifacts related to folklore.  The life size puppets, dolls, masks are just stunning.


There are displays of swords, spears, mythical animals and matrimonial items.  The section dedicated to puppets including leather puppetry and the way it works which is truly fascinating.  South Karnataka’s Yakshagana and its varied forms are depicted wonderfully.

Our guide Malliah, an extremely talented folk artist himself explained the exhibits in detail and also treated us to a wonderful folk song performance.  His knowledge and passion towards folk art is nothing short of incredible.

Our guide

All in all, a great place for a half day visit.  Museum Location: Bangalore – Mysore Highway, State Highway 17, Ramanagar District, Doddamannugudde Forest, Karnataka 562159

23 thoughts on “Janapada Loka folk arts museum: insight into Karantaka’s rural culture

  1. Museums like these had played an important role for preserving the almost lost cutures of our country..Its nice that you have superbly covered the museum..Hope that it would attract tourist attention and more support from the Govt. authorities….excellent coverage and writeup..Congrats!!… : )

    1. Thanks Indranil; you are absolutely right. As you said it is an educative experience for children and kids alike.
      Appreciate your kind words:)

  2. Thank you for giving us a walk through one of finest folklore museums in India and perhaps the world! Interesting to see the tools that people worked with to produce such great artifacts! Is there any reason why I need to fill out the form below over and over again? Just wondering.

    1. Thanks so much Peter; it is a wonderful place.
      I am not sure about why it is asking you to fill out the form; normally I am asked if I use any other account like email instead of WP.

  3. Such lovely pictures Rashmi..I always wanted to drive down to Mysore from Bangalore..and now that I know about this place, I will definitely visit it as and when I get the first opportunity 🙂

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