News Karnataka
Monday, December 11 2023

Mattur: A Sanskrit-speaking village in Shivamogga District

Photo Credit : Wikimedia

India, the biggest democracy in the world is formed of many villages. There are many religions with varied cultures. As there are many religions, there are many languages too. One of the oldest languages is Sanskrit. Most of the Hindu literature is in the Sanskrit language. There are thousands of shlokas are in Sanskrit. It is revered for being the sacred language of Hinduism.

It is not easy to speak the Sanskrit language on daily basis like other languages. To speak so requires more practice. But do you know there is a village which speaks Sanskrit in its day-to-day activity?

Yes, Mattur (or Mathur) village in Shivamogga District is one of the rarest places in India known for the usage of Sanskrit for daily communication.

About 40 years ago, in 1981, Sanskrita Bharati, an organisation formed for promoting Sanskrit, organised a 10-day workshop in Mattur. It was attended by a lot of prominent personalities including the seer of Pejawar Matha. When the seer witnessed the enthusiasm of the villagers at Mattur to preserve Sanskrit, he immediately offered the idea of a Sanskrit village which the locals heartily accepted.

The residents of Mattur comprise an ancient Brahmin community that migrated from Kerala about 600 years ago. Built as a square, with a temple at the centre, Mattur has a village Paathshala (traditional school). The students are put under rigorous training by their Sanskrit masters and learn Vedas from the age of 10. Mattur is an agrarian village that cultivates paddy and areca nuts. Everyone in the village you come across speaks Sanskrit. Mattur being a small village has no such tourist sites, except a shrine of Rama, a mini temple of Lord Shiva and his family, Someshwara temple and Lakshmikeshava Temple.

The villagers don simple clothes, have walls with Sanskrit slogans and have 6-day weddings drawing from the age-old customs and traditions. Along with Sanskrit the ancient Gamaka art form of storytelling and singing in Karnataka is also preserved here in Mattur. This is truly a village that eats, breathes, speaks and lives Sanskrit.

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Thilak T. Shetty

The author is a BA Sociology  graduate. He is into poetry and literature. His varied interests include Literature, Music, Culture, Politics, Philosophy And Nationalism studies.

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