Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nirmala akka's quilts

Nirmala akka's quilts

All handmade and painstakingly done. These quilts are just gorgeous. So vibrant and full of good energy. If you'd like to purchase or place an order please email Savita Uday at

Judy Sommerfield-Fox said...
Absolutely gorgeous. What is most gorgeous is the smiles on these women's faces.
Carol said...
It was a really happy weekend I must say. :)
Encyclopedia said...
Carol...i loveeeee the colors and the wonderful energy that is present within all of you as you happily play with fabric...smiles...I love the handpiecing aspect of it... E

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tribes and Cultural Heritage -Photography Workshop

The mountains …the sea... and the river…and the indigenous people ..who belong to this land…

Living so close to the river and the sea when I was young I like to see some water and some green… And the seasons change.. The life flows…. life keeps flowing like a river…

The wonders of Nature are for all to see

And her unrivalled beauty is all around me

Near where the river meets the sea a few miles from my town

The river is singing just after sundown.

How refreshed we feel, when we spend time by the river or the sea! And the tribes who connects you with the nature.. what a blessing it is to renew our being with these elements...

I am inviting you to my hometown Honnavar where I lived so close to the nature and the tribes who were  so unique and beautiful . Let me capture those beautiful memories with you

About Honnavar:

Honnavar, a coastal town, is about 450km from Bangalore and an overnight journey by bus from Bangalore. The landscape of Honnavar, with the Western Ghats on one side and the Sharavathi River and the Arabian Sea on the other, is unique in its location. The sea, The Sharavathi river, the moutons..Forests, islands, waterfall, back waters, estuary, mangroves …are all a part of the natural landscape and make the place so beautiful. The tribes -Halakki ,Gondas, Siddis who are so unique and beautiful strong people living so close to the nature too welcome you as if you had known each other since times unknown.

About  buDa

Buda, a Folklore Research Center, dedicated to preservation of traditional knowledge systems and sustainable development of indigenous communities is located in Honnavar in the Uttara Kannada region of Karnataka. 
Its vision is to emerge as a focal knowledge center for folk culture and heritage. Buda foundation strongly believes in experiential learning and looks to create a forum where the participants could discuss and explore for themselves folk art & craft, cultural heritage and environment of indigenous communities. 
The folklore research center over the last three decades has created an extensive database on various tribes and indigenous communities

About the workshop

As a part its experiential learning series, buDa folklore is organizing a travel and cultural photography workshop at Honnavar. This program aims to bring together participants from diverse parts of India for the documentation of folklore heritage in coastal Karnataka.
The focus of the 3 days residential program is a visual documentation and study of:
1)       Living traditions and cultural practices of tribal communities.
2)       Tribal art and craft practices and performing arts of the region.
3)       The connection between the land and the people

As a part of the study program, participants will get to interact with tribal communities and have a hands-on experience in art and craft forms and other performing arts .
Modules are designed to explore the existing   tribal life and landforms. Interactive sessions will be held at Folk lore research Centre and in the tribal villages.
The photography sessions will involve portrait and landscape flora and fauna photography related to folklore culture. 
Each photo tour is meticulously planned by choosing locations which will build a relationship with the communities that is visited. The course will provide in-the-field hands-on instruction on technique and composition coupled with classroom sessions and image critiques.
 The instruction will be tailored to meet the needs of every individual, irrespective of the skill level or camera equipment.
This workshop is open to all 

Workshop Details  

Date: 9th Sept 2011 to 11th Sept 2011  


Venue: Folklore Research Center, Honnavar, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka

Please note that:
1)       Accommodation provided would be a comfortable and basic.
2)       Food served at the study center will be simple vegetarian homemade food.
3)       Participants are requested to bring their own camera/camera equipments..Sketchbook and other stationary items.

Please write to us before 5th Sept 2011 for your confirmation

Photos : Shailaja  Padindala and Anjali Anantharam who visited Honnavar

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Incredible -edible weeds

Noorundu Soppu – A hundred wild greens

    Puttamma with her basket of greens
Puttamma with her basket of greens
The value and potential of uncultivated plant species is ignored in today’s global world

Once upon a time human beings lived on whatever the land provided- naturally occurring greens were day to day fare. Many edible plants that grew where people lived were eaten raw or used liberally in meal preparations. Human beings lived with nourishment from shoots, fruits, berries, roots, mushrooms and medicinal herbs. Over time, knowledge and skill were developed to make the best of what the earth offered in profusion; the whole notion of ‘weed’ didn’t really exist.

Times have changed, and with it processed foods adorn household shelves, instead of herbs and vegetables. The number of people in cities who have actually eaten uncultivated or what can be called ‘volunteer’ or ‘wild’ greens is abysmally low.

When I first heard that ‘wild’ foods are both delicious and highly nutritious, I became very interested. I heard women from a nearby village talk about what they call “Noorondu Soppu” (loosely translated as a 101 varieties of greens)- I perked up 6 my ears and was keen to learn more.

And learn I did - my teachers were local villagers, for whom eating these wild greens were something that they took for granted. Sixty-year old Puttamma was my first guide: she took me around the common garden area of our housing complex in Bangalore, expertly plucking a range of plants that we wouldn’t give a second glance to. During my first tour of the field with her, she identified 18 edible plants, all with their local names! She makes a living selling the soppu or greens and lives with her daughter who works in a garment factory and her son who is a driver. Her children have neither the interest nor time to absorb from Puttamma her knowledge of identifying edible greens.

Agricultural Bio-diversity

Wild greens and fruits are available everywhere where plants are allowed to grow and in rural areas, people are deeply aware about their numerous nutritional benefits. Many women like Puttamma will tell you that this soppu is good for diabetes or that soppu is good for getting of bone pain. Such knowledge was largely transmitted from adults to children as they went into fields and forests to collect the wild greens.

During the process of modern development and the green revolution, this traditional knowledge has been completely ignored. Monocultures have pushed the biodiversity of these greens to a corner, but they have been tough survivors, continuing to pop out of the earth in the most unexpected places. Can we see in these wild greens the bounty of mother earth rather than dismiss them as weeds?

Without understanding of the complementary benefits of crop foods and uncultivated food intake, agricultural planning continues to be dominated by a few major crops- such as wheat and rice which are grown for their size alone; diverse and important resources such as wild greens are ignored. Possibly giving importance to wild greens is not possible in modern chemical agriculture which favours monoculture– it is only possible through organic and bio-dynamic farming where biodiversity is respected.

Nutritional value

Today an increasing number of nutritionists are recognizing the value of wild greens. Wild plants are endowed with the high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, fiber and they also possess more flavour than their water-bloated commercial counterparts.

Some nutritionists now believe that Nutrition in India is suffering because of excessive importance given to cereals in India’s food policy. As complements or substitutes for fruits and vegetables, wild greens provide a valuable, sustainable, low cost and local alternative for dealing with the problem of nutrition.

Changing lifestyles and taste, availability of foods in the market and development of transport systems are pushing a whole generation to not just consume but survive on ready-to-eat fast foods. The door to door sellers of vegetables and greens have almost disappeared. Just as Puttamma’s children- captivated by the compulsions of city life- have no interest in their mother’s knowledge, the knowledge of wild plant foods is in danger of getting lost- accelerated by the changes in habits, value systems and the natural environment.

In this era of science and technology, faith in traditional knowledge and folklore may not help reach the goodness of wild greens to people. We need to preserve and disseminate this knowledge by documenting systematically the diversity of uncultivated plant species, their occurrence and relationship with cultivated species, their nutritional value and most of all, popularise their use in daily life.

Hongone Soppu (Sessile joyweed greens)

One of the most commonly found, is the ‘Hongone soppu’ (commonly known as Sessile Joyweed or dwarf copperleaf), that’s also available in all seasons. It has a distinct aromatic flavor when cooked and has medicinal properties; the stems and leaves are used for eye ailments. The Hongone soppu is used before flowering, and is often stir-fried with a little pepper and salt to reduce weight. There are four varieties that are edible and currently scientists in Taiwan are exploring its hepato-protective (Liver Protection) properties.

Hulichikki soppu (Clover)

Anyone living near a village in India can learn about these wild greens and begin enriching their food with a delicious and nutritious addition. You can even grow them in pots in your terrace. Described here are three of these wild greens:

Also called Amlapatri in Sanskrit, this herb is good for the stomach and restores loss of appetite. Hulichikki adds a wonderful lemony flavor to any dish. It is extremely rich in medicinal properties; and is used in the treatment of influenza, fever, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, sprains and even poisonous snake bites. Hulichikki also contains anti-aging properties, can be used as an anti-septic, while its leaves are rich in vitamin C.

Kanne Soppu/Gubbaacchhi baale (Commelina communis)

These are often found between the cultivated fields and have a lot of cooling properties. They offer relief from headaches, heat boils, and constipation. In China it is used as a medicinal herb with anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects. Additionally, it is also used for treating sore throats and tonsillitis. Recent pharmacological investigations have revealed that the Asiatic dayflower contains at least five active compounds. One of these, p-hydroxycinnamic acid, shows antibacterial activity, while another, D-mannitol, has an antitussive effect. In China and India the plant is also used as a vegetable and fodder crop. Its thick leaves are used to make pakodas with besan (chick pea flour) batter.

Savita Uday is a teacher with a passionate interest in learning and documentation of folklore. She is also interested in tribal life, tribal medicine and in making foods and beverages which are tasty and healthy.

Study Tour to Honnavar

Study Tour to Honnavar

Study Trip to Honnavar India
Study Tour to Honnavar in Uttara Kannada  Voicing Cultural Memories was an environmental, cultural, and design-based lab in which the students explored the role of the indigenous knowledge systems and examined the place of folklore and alternative medicinal traditions in our society.
The field visits to exhibitions, museums, and a study tour to Honnavar in Uttara Kannada Region provided the impetus for learning and working with a strong sense of commitment, moral and ethical responsibility of a researcher and strong sensitivity towards members of the concerned communities.  This experiential learning helped the students understand people and their environment’ and how these indigenous communities create and pass on their shared sense of beauty, identity and values.  We are grateful to the contribution, effort, and time provided by Dr Naik family  from Folklore Research Center who have been researching the tribal belt in Honnavar for the last 30 years.
The lab started with discussions to understand the relationship between people and environment, cultural memory, language, identify folk traditions.  They interacted and interviewed various crafts communities from all over India at folk/ craft exhibitions to understand the cultural products, transfer of cultural products, and its future.  The students visited the museums like Janapada loka to understand the representation and dissemination of traditional knowledge systems.  They recognized the need to transmit the knowledge of traditional culture to younger generations; they reviewed the existing museums for the lack of communication, design, and use of technologies that are familiar to audiences and methodologies and technologies to create to generate new audiences.
Uttar Kannada Locator Map.
Student Authored Book (Click to Download 5MB)
The students went on a three-day study tour to the tribal belt in Honnavar in Uttara Kannada region.  The focus was to study the lifestyles, customs, festivals, their arts and craft practices, and the changes that have come with the changing times.  Some of the tribes that the students interacted were the Halakki, Gamokkalu community, Siddis and the Gondas.  The immersion that the students experienced for the three days helped them understand the value of indigenous knowledge systems and the role of culture in identity building.  Some of the main themes, which they wanted to share with their peers, were Individual and community, self-sustainable lifestyles, arts and crafts, identity of a tribal community, traditional medicinal plants, and its connection to food and everyday living.  The final presentation was a class exhibition of their learning; it included a document as a book, live demonstration, and booklet of recipes of herbal traditional drinks for their peer groups to build awareness and appreciation.  Multimedia presentations on the importance and need for sustainable lifestyles and an interrogation of faculty and students on questions like - Who is a tribal?  What is development?  What is our role as urban citizens?    This is all part of coursework at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology

Tribal wealth

Awareness of tribal culture and heritage

VARUN SHARMA, 14 JUL 2010                                                                                                                                                              

Dr. Savitha Uday has been closely associated with North Canara tribes and is working towards the preservation of their culture and tradition.

The Halakki tribe of North Canara district.
The Halakki Tribe. Pic: Dr Savitha Uday

The North Canara district in Karnataka is home to a number of tribes like the Gondas, Gawlis, Siddhis and Halakkis. Dr. Savitha Uday has done extensive research on the tribes and her PhD thesis was based on “Prasadhna Kale” (study of the ornaments and costumes of tribes). She says, “I was inspired to work in this field because of my parents. They have published 70 books in Kannada about uttara kannada tribes’, their lives, food, culture, medicinal plants etc.
 I realized that to create awareness about the tribes, I needed to translate the books written by my parents to English. I also intend build bridge between urban and the rural through various study programmes. and revive the art and craft skill set that they are now in the verge of dying . I, in no way, wish to commercialize the activity by creating a factory-like model but would create value for their products and help these people preserve their tradition”.
The folklore museum, Folklore Kannaja
The folklore museum@ Honnavar Pic: Dr Savitha Uday
She  organizes study tour  programs for schools and colleges at Honnavar  to educate young students. Students have also done some documentation for her. She is ready to provide resources (stay at Honnavar) for professional researchers interested in translating the books. At Honnavar, she has set up her Center called buDa Folklore  that includes a Museum and a Library. The museum contains the work of the artisans and craftsmen of the tribe. “Apart from preserving and documenting I would like to revive the art and craft tradition. I need to develop an Artisan Centre for the people and then of course, my dream is to set up a cultural centre in Bangalore. 
She has organized awareness programmes for schools and colleges to acquaint them with the different cultures that are present so close to Bangalore, and yet, are unknown to many. “To live there is an experience in itself. Their way of living ..the meaningful rituals and festivals their food and folk medicine, that can easily be adopted by us and could also benefit us”, she says emphatically.
The challenge  she faces is to bring awerness among the tribes to value their rich culture. She brings in  a little money by hosting study tour programs at Honnavar.  she believes that the Learning centre is the answer to the continuation of the rich culture of this region   . Hope, as they say, is the biggest solution to any insurmountable difficulty.
Dr. Savita Uday

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From Shilo's blog ..

Sukri Bommu Gouda visited  The Vally School in 2006. Shilo Suleman was a student at that time in the Valley School 


Shes from the Haalaki Tribe near Honnavar
her name?
Whilst working with her over a span of four days
discovering her art, her life and her being
Many myths were broken
many moments shared
She too, like me, loved shells above all things as a child.
She played with soil and simplicity.
When I asked her what she thought of me sitting in my jeans infront of her
she said in her native tongue:
"Won't it be difficult crossing the river in those?"

I had to agree.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Honnavar -weekend trip

 Buda Folklore and Gaia Wilderness Learning  Center  offering a 2 day programme  at Honnavar, a coastal town in the Uttara Kannada district.

Two days in Honnavar gives an opportunity to experience the essence of  environment and culture in the Coastal Belt region.

What makes thisprogramme special is that the participants get an opportunity to interact with tribal families, understand their living traditions, learn about their environment, food, art and craft, eco - friendly waysof living, biodiversity, etc. Also interesting are the study of the islands, river and sea through treks and beach camps.

The trip will also be a great community living experience


This programme has been designed with care to suit children / adults to have an experience of the rich heritage and folk culture of the coastal belt. There will be activities for both children and adults. As a community of people from diverse backgrounds, we expect a rich shared experience of learning and earth reverence at Honnavar..

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...