Monday, November 29, 2010

Gersoppa- Nagar Basti

A village in Honnavar ,Gersoppa is 24 KM from Honnavar The place is mentioned in several inscriptions as Naggarbastikeri,or just Nagare. It is on the other side of the river Sharavathi.On the bamk is the present village and on the other the old town with its historical remains.This was the capital town of the Salwa kings of Gersoppa from the early 14th century and continued to be so till 1606

There is a small boat taking people across from the river bank. My mother and i waited this side of the river bank thinking about how to reach Nagar basthi.We enquired people about the duration of time to reach basthi They are not sure ..It is varied 30 min to one hour .I was not in a mood to trek that far as i was tired due to my previous days beach trekking

It was Deepavali time early morning we reached the river bank.Boat men are not ready to take us until they performed Puja to their boat.We waited almost 1 hour to get this ritual get over

We negotiated for 150 rupees to reach Nagarbasthi in a boat. A journey along the river Sharavathi ill Nagar basti by moter launch is an enchanting experience

.Sharavathi river made her way in the middle of thick forest. My mother told me that Sharavthi is called Gersoppe Hole from the local people.

 I was there to just to find out what is left in nagar basthi. I still have the faint memories of my trip to Nagarbasti during my school days.. Thick forest..   Ruins… carpet of dry leaves,, no traces human habitat and a story  of robbers unseating of  one of the thirathankaras idol in the hope of finding treasure. . 

With all these memories I am visiting this place again with my mother  after 28years  !!

we walked on a path in the thick forest.. Nobody was there.. My mother ,boatman and me.. 

We  reached a place where we could see the ruins of jain establishments and beautiful Chaturmuhkha basadi in the middle of the forest.

 The quietness …the ruins …and the forest  took me into different  era …I could feel in  the air …..that historical moments….!!!!!  

……I felt like   I am Chennabhairadevi, the Queen of Gersoppa.!!!!
and I opened the front door of historical 
jain basadi!!! It was a great feeling ….( actually watchman went behind and unlatched the front door from inside )

      I could hear the voice in that silent forest.....I could hear the voice in that silent forest….
…….We must deal with her, most carefully and diplomatically. We must be courteous, polite and diplomatic to win her to our side”

Chennabhairadevi, the Queen of Gersoppa
Chennabhairadevi -Raina- Da-Pimenta or "Pepper Queen"
• Chennabhairadevi belonged to Tuluva-Salva lineage wherein the ruler or
a noble was succeeded by his sister's son or "aliyasantana“

• Chennabhairadevi, who had the longest rule for fifty four years, showed
rare statesmanship, bravery and shone as patron of all religions and sects.
• Akalanka, the Jain scholar and Bhattakalaka, the renowned grammarian
were protégés of Gersoppa queen.
• Inscriptions call Chennabhairadevi, as ruler of Haiva, Tuluva and Konkan
areas. These roughly comprised of North and South Kanaras, southern
region of Goa and Malbar
• This entire belt was known as pepper country, where the spices grew
abundantly in the virgin forests, which were in great demand in Europe.
Actually Chennabhairadevi was known as Raina- Da-Pimenta or "Pepper

• Though the Vijayanagara empire was on the decline, the queen called
herself a subordinate of Vijayanagar rulers. She was always busy checking
the advances of Portuguese. At the same time she had to be ever alert
with the rulers of the adjoining Keladi kingdom and Bilgi chiefs,. They
always tried to grab the harbors and trade.
• The efforts of Keladi Nayaka and Bilgi chiefs continued to pull her down.
They jointly attacked Gersoppa, completely defeating the brave queen.
Gersoppa thus became part of Keladi kingdom. The ageing queen was
taken a prisoner and died in a prison in Keladi.
• Thus ended the rule of a brave, kind, tolerant and benevolent queen who
perhaps had the longest reign as a woman ruler in Indian history.

         Chaturmukha Basadi is the chief one, a beautiful structure built in the Vijaynagar style with four 
            entrances from four directions which lead to the garbhagriha, which has four separate sets of
                            idols facing the four entrances. The temple is built in grey granite. 

The four idols in the
garbhagriha are of the Tirthankaras seated in the padmasana posture.

You may also hear untold stories in the air........!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Winter Beach Trek from Honnavar to Gokarna

This is a warm invitation to students and friends familiar with the work happening at Honnavar to join me on a winter beach trek and to spend a few days at Honnavar in the month of October and January. I would like to have a mixed group of students and friends, do feel free to invite your friends. Let us limit this to age 15 up.

Dates are slightly flexible and can depend partly on the participants' convenience. The tentative dates are 23rd Oct to 30th Oct  and 14 th Jan  to 17th Jan. If moving the dates a little bit this way or that enables you to join us, please let me know.

I am thinking of a beach trek of four days followerd by four days at Honnavar, involved with activities here, interacting with tribals and making day trips. The beach trek will start at Honnavar and end @ Gokarna

You are welcome to participate only in the beach trek, only for the days at Honnavar, or for the whole trip. in the month of January.

Please let me know if you are interested by 15th Oct and 5th Jan. You can either contact me directly on Facebook or email me at Do also use the RSVP feature on facebook. And invite your friends. 

Educational tours at Honnavar

Buda folklore -a center for folklore research and documentation located in Honnavar -Uttara kannada region. is conducting educational tours on environment and culture in the Western Ghat region.

Buda Folklore Center dedicated to the understanding of local cultures and traditional knowledge backed by over 45 years of field research and documentation. The organization has established folklore Center as a predominant area of study and research with a vast database on various tribes and indigenous communities of uttara kannda region , thereby creating public access and awareness about folklore

The folklore center has designed study modules based on the topic of interest. The expertise , who are pioneers in folklore research will guide, provide assistance with local liaison and also host the students on such a programme.

Study of Tribes

The organization works primarily in rural settlements. It takes students and culture travelers to the field to gain hands on work experience and thereby understand the complexities that the native population deal with on a daily basis.

Currently focused on four tribes (Gammokkalu, Kare okkalu, Halakki, Gonda) whose settlements are located around Honnavar.

Buda believes that one of the most exciting aspects of heritage education is experiencing our folk culture first hand and understands the interrelationship between land and people and their way of life.

Forest Folklore (environment group)..

Food and health

Study of medicinal plants, meeting folk healers, , eco friendly way of living ,indigenous knowledge etc.

Forest food

Study of underutilized, uncultivated edible leaves, roots, barriers from the forest

Eco system-
mangroves, estuaries, threats from various human activities.

Bio diversity, study of islands, river and the sea

The 3 routes- 

Buda-has initiated a study tour programme for schools and colleges along the sea route, forest route and the river route in order to bring awareness and education in the folklore culture for the past few years in Honnavar.

o The river route.

o The sea route

o The forest route

This helps the students to connect the particular place, people and the life, as they are always been interconnected. In addition, they can study how the environment influences the life of the people and visa versa.

A study programme:

There is immense scope to use this knowledge to build and explore new avenues, revisit documented knowledge at field level, understand prevailing stresses or simply showcase the volume of work into modules that are eye-catching.

The foundation would like to encourage students to study folklore. The purpose is entirely academic and community centric. The effort is to understand folk culture and heritage. Hence the foundation would like to initiate diversified studies ranging from a week to a year. It invites students and other interested individuals who would like to explore first hand field research, learn and document.

Focus can be on….

Community Development

Preservation and continuity of traditions

Sustainable Community

Spirit of Innovation


Interacting with families- understanding their lives, their context in which they live and understanding living traditions, study of environment, study of individual families

Study of tribes in the village

Demographic survey- environment, resources, population etc



understanding of culture, modernity and identity

Traditional knowledge systems of the tribes

Exploring each aspect of culture

Research and Documentation-In collaboration with Buda


Product Development

Design intervention

Working with artisans
Food, art and craft


Buda hopes to initiate a strong study and research assistantship programme that brings together students and people from diverse parts of India and the world, for the preservation and continuation of Folklore heritage.

Buda provides opportunities to interested individuals who may participate in a wide variety of capacities and projects, depending on their skills and interests. Various options of fieldwork and documentation work are available. Internship FF is involved in various projects and programs in the field of conservation, documentation and preservation of folk culture.

It aimed to create a forum where the students could discuss and explore themselves such as cultural heritage, environment, sustainable development, craft and folk art and the state of indigenous communities. It was an attempt to make connections between people and environment cultural memory, and language, identity in expression of art/craft /other performances, sustainability and biodiversity.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The art of Quilt making

Quilts and other cloth-based narrative art are part of many cultures. Made by hand -- often collaboratively -- using familiar materials such as scraps of clothing, quilts are both personal and communal objects. Quilting continues to be largely a home-based form of women's artistic expression.

They also tell a story about their creators and about the historical and cultural context of their creation through the choices made in design, material, and content. The stories that reflect the lives of the people who create them and that record the cultural history of a particular place and time.

In Uttara Karnataka  region in each house you find women making quilts for the monsoon season. After the day’s work, sitting on the verandah, the women settle down to work on their quilts. The sari will serve as a backing for the pattern created from pieces of used clothing, lovingly gathered from family and friends.

These utilitarian efforts have a visual strength one sees in the most sophisticated works of art. Bold and complex, the quilts present a geometry that transcends the decorative. These quilts show that the extraordinary can be found in the simplest of domestic endeavors.

To gift a quilt, sewn with old clothes of the family, for the daughter who gets married, often carries fond memories of the maternal home.

3 days Workshop on: The Art of Quilt making

Nirmalkka from BuDa folklore stitches quilts. Her needlecraft shows a remarkable expertise and originality. She will be sharing the techniques and patterns involved in the process of stitching a quilt. It is an opportunity to work under the guidance of a traditional quilt maker.

The details are given below. Do come if you are interested and do pass it around as well.

Date: April 2nd , 2011 to April 4th , 2011.
Time: 10-00 am - 5-00pm (Lunch break: 12-30 to 1-30)

Venue:  Vakil Gardens, Kanakpura Road, Bangalore
Last date to enroll :  30th March 2011

Pl Note: Participants will learn the traditional patch making stitches. Please bring old cotton cloths and (preferably bright colors). Kindly bring your lunch pack.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Innovation for Living- Samhitha Somayaji: Honnavar

Innovation for Living- Samhitha Somayaji: Honnavar: "¨Four day trip to Honnavar a North Canara district in Karnataka is a home to many tribes. We had no idea what we would be working on over th..."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Folk art- shedi kale

Shedi Kale: Folk art from the river bank


Shedi Kale is a folk art practiced by the Gamokkalu/patgararu community in Uttara kannada district of Karnataka. Gamokkalu from coastal Karnataka, who lives in the bank of the Sharavati river uses naturally/locally available wet clay paste (sheadi-the thin paste of white clay) to draw the strokes. Shedi is available in nature in the local areas. Sankrati is the ideal time to collect the clay. They also prepare natural black colour by using raagi and burnt dry coconut.

The lines and patterns on these paintings each symbolize an aspect of nature or depict the religious, social agricultural practices of the community. The drawing has been seen on the walls, floors, doorframes, doorsteps and in front of tulsi katte .

Natures brush

The main feature of shedi’s motif is 3, 4, or 5 strokes with a special hand made natural brush called gerke or jaali sippe. It has got 3 or 4 teeth made from betel nut’s outer husk.(see picture).It would help to draw 2 or 5 lines /strokes or curves at a time.


This art takes place in marriages and festivals.

In the marriage ceremony kalasada shedi, petge shedi, hasagara have got the symbolic aspects of rituals . “hasgara”is drawn on the wall where the bridegroom seated

,Kalasada shedi is drawn in the place where the kalasada gindi is kept. Thus Shedi has got symbolic and ritualistic values.It communicated through art expression!!

Their motifs are mainly of lines strokes and curves. They rarely use human motifs.

 The motifs has name according to the occasion and events. Singara represents the betel nuts flower which is the integral part of their life.

 Mat weaving is interlingual part of  gamokklu community . It represented in kadki shedi which shows the weaving pattern.

Hanmakka -our master artisan and resource person has been sharing her indigenous knowledge  with  more than 1000 students /participants every year.Her creativity expands from folk art to mat weaving to folk literature.She she could sing  tribal Ramayana and Mahabharata songs throughout the day.We have been  35 years long relationship with her.

Traditional Baskets and other weaving crafts with natural fibers in Uttara Kannada-western Ghat region

  While  weaving craft with natural fibers  is one of the widest spread crafts in the history of any human civilization, it is hard to say j...