Mattur or Matturu is a tiny little village located on the banks of River Tunga in the state of Karnataka. It is one of the few villages in India, where the residents still converse in ‘Sanskrit’, the ancient Indian language and most people still lead a Vedic lifestyle, keeping alive the dying art form of ‘Gamaka’.
This is one place where the Hindu Brahmins’ can enroll themselves and learn Hindu rituals. The community teaches them Sanskrit as their first language, reads the Devanagari Script and practice the ancient Hindu Vedic traditions. With times though, the 500 year old language too has adapted and has been modified. You will now be greeted with “Bhavatha Naam Kim? (What is your name?) or asked your preference with“Coffee va Chaayam kim ichchhathi bhavan? (What will you have, coffee or tea?). “Hari Om” instead of ‘hello’ will also sound so unique. Even the graffiti on the walls are written in Sanskrit!
Children attend paathshala’s till they turn 10 and learn the Veda’s, traditional rituals and other art forms.
Although for higher education, the village children have to attend school/college by travelling to Shimoga, Mangalore or Bangalore; surprisingly every home also has a proud IT professional working in India or elsewhere. But no matter where they are, these people are making both the village and India proud and are close to their traditional roots and attend the yearly festivities and rituals without fail.
For a traveler, the Vedic chants that resonate the air and the beautiful temples located on the river bank is an attraction.
Many villagers now offer classes online (Skype) as well as welcome guests from all across the world to learn the Sanskrit language.
Mattur’s twin village, Hosahalli, shares almost all the qualities of Mattur and is located on the other side of the River Tunga.
Both the villages transport travelers back to the times of ‘Malgudi’. Most speak in Sanketi – a dialect form of Sanskrit that has adapted a mix of Kannada and Malayalam language to it and the villagers still perform age-old rituals that seem to have almost vanished from other parts of India.
What to Expect/Places to See at Mattur
Mattur is a scenic place and a day here is sure to refresh you. The entire village is flanked by tall trees, coconut grove and lush green paddy fields.
The village temple complex is located by the River Tunga and is about 800 metres away from the main village square. It has the Someshwara Temple, Rama Mandira and Lakshmikeshava Temple, all situated amidst a beautifully laid out garden.
The Shiva Temple has a flowing freshwater stream nearby, that is an ideal picnic spot for the locals and tourists. Someshwara temple and Lakshmikeshava temple are both located along the River Tunga and the drive takes you through tall Arica Nut trees.
Visit the ‘Big Rock’ located in the middle of the Tunga River at Village Hosahalli.
Mattur is today gaining popularity for being the only village in India that talks in Sanskrit. Exclusive to Karnataka, the ‘Gamaka’ or Kaavya Vaachana – a singing and storytelling art, where the main language is Sanskrit is also kept alive here.
(As legend goes, ‘Gamaka’ existed since the times of Ramayana and was narrated by Valmiki when he wrote about Lord Ram’s twin sons Lava and Kusha singing in his court and singing the story. They were often invited to sing at temples, weddings and village gatherings thus popularising it among the people. This form of storytelling slowly faded away until it was revived during the 1900’s by eminent Kannada-literature personalities) As mentioned in Google.com
As legends go, the land was donated to the Brahmin Community some 7oo years ago as ‘charity’ by King Krishnadevraya. This attracted the Brahmins from other parts of India, who now call it their home.
Shimoga is known for its attractive Jog Falls, lanscapes, green forests and beautiful river valleys. So you must plan a trip to Shimoga and visit Mattur too. Shimago is also globally known as the home to the Nilakanteshwara Natyaseva Samgha, a world famous culture institute better known as Ninasam.
Learn More on Shimago HERE
Stay Options at Mattur
Visiting Mattur is a Day tour option, until unless you wish to spend a few days here. Some villagers open up their homes and offer you stay with meals, else there are no hotels here. The nearest option would be to book your stay at Shimoga, which is well connected with all transportation as well.
Distance Chart for Mattur
There are regular state buses, private cabs and shared taxis available to reach Mattur from Shimoga or from nearby towns.
- From Shimoga: 8 Kms via NH206 and Mattur Rd
- From Bangalore: 304 Kms via Bangalore – Shimoga Rd
Another place where Sanskrit Language is prevalent and significantly used is at Jhiri. Located in Madhya Pradesh, Jhiri is 150 kms from Indore and the religious hymns and Vedic ceremonies are still conducted the same way they were done centuries ago. You may read more on Jhiri HERE