Most city dwellers, especially the younger generation, hardly have any knowledge about the day-to-day lifestyle, cultural, or traditional occupations of people in villages.
A model village, spread across 4 acres on the campus of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development (MGIRED) at Jakkur in Bangalore, aims to highlight the sustainable way of life and encourage people to emulate a lifestyle that leaves less carbon footprint. As Gandhi ji once said “India lives in it’s Villages”, this endeavour is a fitting tribute to him.
Through the village set-up, covering every region of Karnataka, we are introduced to the rural setup that inspires us to adopt the age-old practices of sustainable living still followed in our villages. Once you enter the model village it seems as if you are facing real people and animals and not once you will feel they are made of cement and limestone.
It took about 2 years to setup the village and was inaugurated in November 2020. Though entry is free for Government school students, a nominal amount of Rs 50 per head is charged to help maintain the facility.
The idea was to go beyond rural cliches and help visitors to have a closer look at life in a village. So, the village doesn’t limit itself to farming or other agriculture activities. More than 1,000 life-size exhibits bring alive the way of life of people, their architecture, traditional practices in various fields from education to medicine, art and craft.
Also included in the model village are the real-life imitation of a rural vegetable market (‘santhe’), various types of cattle, wrestling arena, children playing traditional games unknown to the modern generation and the world famous Kambala competition with crowds cheering.
The Janapada Rangamandira depicts the varied song and dance forms of the state, giving the viewers a glimpse into the popular folklore, their instruments and traditional attires. The indoor auditorium has space dedicated to showcase Kannada folk movies, theatre and plays.
MGIRED has spent close to Rs 13 crores on the project, the construction of which began in early 2018. All the models and the architectural aspects here are the brainchild of senior artist, art teacher and folklore scholar Dr T B Solabakkanavar.
With everything handmade, including the wooden pillars, more than 150 of his artisans, sculptures and fine arts graduates have worked relentlessly from the past 3 years from a workshop in Gotagodi village of Shiggavi taluk in Haveri.
The security staff at the premises mentioned that they get good amount of visitors on weekends and holidays. Hence it is better to plan a trip to the model village on weekdays so that you can spend a good 1.5 to 2 hours admiring the sculptures that almost looks real. There is no canteen within the premises and the toilets are well maintained.
For those who have left their villages to earn a living in Bangalore, the set up will be a reminder of their roots. For the urban folk, it is a familiarisation trip. Enjoy the photos from the model village, at leisure and appreciate the wonderful work of art