Agumbe....Dodda Mane

December 5, 2008

I just realized that I have not, so far (two months have elapsed!) posted about the heritage house at Agumbe, Dodda Mane (Big House), which still stands proudly, and is used as a family residence, too, by the very hospitable Kasturi Akka and her family. That’s Kasturi Akka on the left, and her mother on the right…

kasturi akka and her mother

On the last day of our visit to the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station , Gowri asked us if we would like to visit Dodda Mane, where Malgudi Days , the beloved series of short stories written by R K Narayanan was shot. Would we not! We set off immediately, and at the front of the house, it seemed as if Swami and friends were still there.... the children of Agumbe The house was just incredible; all I was able to do was to carry away some vignettes... Here's detail from the massive front door frame: detail from front doorframe Upstairs was this lovely dressing table: old dressing table Like most large and old houses, Dodda Mane has two staircases, the back one staircase woodwork and the front one stair case In the dark area at the centre of the house is the puja room: puja room dodda mane agumbe 041008 There was someone very artistic in residence, because the kOlam in front of the puja room was beautiful: kolam at puja room Here's the inside of the puja room: puja room In the dining room, I saw the puja vessels after they had been washed and polished; obviously, the puja room is constantly in use: puja items dodda mane The old barrels for storage stood cheek-by-jowl with the new plastic buckets-- and the idli batter grinding machine on the left: old barrels dodda mane The bathing room area itself is a period's a clothes hook, so artistic! clothes hook dodda mane The water is pumped up from the well... well and water storage dodda mane Then heated up in these large copper boilers, set into concrete: copper water boiler arrangement dodda mane The dining hall is another large room; just look at those beams above! dining hall area It leads into the tiny kitchen and the very large pantry...I used the flash to get these beautiful old storage jars: old storage jars dodda mane You can see the variety of items stored in the dark pantry! pantry/store dodda mane The same artistic person (I never got to finding out exactly who it was, if it was one person or more) had decorated other doors, too: decoration on door Even the door to the cowshed was looking lovely as a result! decoration on door of cowshed Here are the kine (I decided to use an old English word for the cattle, as it's an old house!) in the cowshed: cowshed dodda mane The house has, of course, the central courtyard, with a sacred thulasi (basil)plant in its centre: tulasi courtyard Alas, the courtyard was not very well-kept; in fact, everywhere, the less-than-artistic modern materials (such as fibreglass sheets here, or plastic buckets,or pots elsewhere) co-existed with the ancient ones. I was just a visitor; how could I assess how difficult it is to maintain the house, and where compromises have to be made? courtyard dodde mane However, some things, like these solid window shutters, were in their old condition: window shutters Another example of artistic activity that I found was that some images were being fashioned, for the upcoming Navaratri. Here's the mould for the face of Durga. It was very intruiging to see the Bengali idiom here, in the middle of the Western ghats... mould for bengali durga face dodda mane An idol of Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, was also being created: idol of saraswathi being created

The hands for another idol had been crafted, and set out to dry:

hands for the idol

The images of Dodda Mane are still very fresh in my mind, and I do hope these pictures give you some idea of the beauty of that old house,which is still a home!

Here’s my post about the kashAyA that we were offered, there: