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Mattur, Shimoga (Shivamogga) Overview

A tiny village in the Shimoga district of Karnataka, the quaint little Mattur, along with its twin village Hosahalli, is famous across the world for being one of the few existing locations where the ancient language of Sanskrit is used colloquially and in routine conversation. Despite the regional language of Karnataka being Kannada, the inhabitants of Mattur are fluent in Sanskrit and use it to on their signboards and in their daily life. The Vedas, one of the oldest texts in the world, are taught at the schools here. Not only are the villagers committed to maintaining their traditional way of living, they are also more than willing to impart this knowledge on anyone who is interested, a fine method of preserving India's oldest language, spoken by less than 1% of the country's population.

Apart from the unique way of life practised here, the village is also home to a small group of temples, situated at a distance of 800 metres from the main village square. This temple complex houses a temple of Lord Rama, a Shivalaya and a Someshwara temple. The premises of the complex is well decorated, with a cute garden and a small freshwater stream flowing near it.The beautiful Mattur lake, with its lovely blue waters, is located close to the village. Across the river Tunga is a bridge built to connect with the village Hosahalli.

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Mattur Lifestyle

An agrarian village on the banks of the Tunga river, rich with areca nut trees, this charming village practices the ancient Vedic lifestyle, with the entire village of Mattur constructed as a square, resembling a typical agraharam. At the centre of the village lies the central temple and a village pathshala. The Vedas are chanted at the pathshala in the traditional way, and students learn them meticulously in their five-year course, under the careful supervision of the village elders. Despite being a taste of ancient India, this village has not shied away from adopting modern technologies. Modern gadgets like computers, mobile phones and motor vehicles are used by the residents, as well as the incorporation of utilities like electricity. One can even marvel at the graffiti around the village which is written in Sanskrit. Along with preservation and continuation of the ancient Sanskrit, the villagers are also committed to practising Gamaka, a unique form of singing and storytelling native to Karnataka.

History of Mattur

The village is inhabited by the Sankethis, an ancient Brahmin community that had migrated from Kerala and settled down in Mattur about 600 years ago. The popularity of Sanskrit increased exponentially after a Sanskrit workshop was held in 1981, prompting the locals to preserve this classic language. Apart from Sanskrit, they also speak a rare dialect called Sankethi, which is a mixture of Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, and bits of Telugu.

Best Time To Visit Mattur

The best time to visit Mattur is from October to May as the temperatures in the region are kind during this time of the year, hovering around 25 to 30 degrees Celsius with evenings, slightly cooler. The monsoon period also a good time to visit the village.

Stay Near Mattur

Shimoga, situated 4 kilometres from the twin villages, should be the preferred destination for accommodation as it has many options catering to all budget sizes.

Sightseeing Around Mattur

In Mattur you can visit the Rama Mandir, Shivalaya, Someshwara Temple and Lakshmikeshava Temple.

Local Experiences At Mattur

The experience of visiting Mattur will be unique as it is the only place where Sanskrit is spoken as a daily language. Also being a countryside, it helps you understand the culture and lifestyle of rural India, their beliefs and livelihoods.

Tips For Visiting Mattur

1. Mattur is a small village that does not have any dining places or guesthouses. If guests want to stay in the village for a couple of days then they can stay in the local village school (Pathshala). The villagers in Mattur also offer homestays for guests.
2. Brahmin males have the option of learning the Vedas here.

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