Rice-ing above the Ordinary: A home-cum-rice museum in Shivalli Village, Mandya District with 210 indigenous varieties
Gowda cultivates about 30 quintals of native paddy each year on his four-acre farm with the objective of distributing the seeds to 250 farmers each year.
The road to Shivalli village in Mandya taluk of Karnataka is desolate. We stop by several shops and ask for Bhattada Bore Gowda. The name does not ring a bell. Finally, a shopkeeper says, “Are you asking for the museum man? Nobody knows him by his name. We all know him by his rice museum. It has put this tiny village on the map,” he says smiling and pointing towards the house. In a few seconds, we arrive at Gowda’s home eager to see this rare museum for ourselves.
It is located on the first floor and has 210 varieties of indigenous rice on display. All of them have been preserved by the agriculturist. “I have been farming since 1989 and took up organic farming in 2004. I have always been mindful of indigenous varieties and my association with Sahaja Samrudha (an NGO and organic farmers collective) strengthened my resolve in preserving indigenous varieties. It is also the sustainable way forward,” says Gowda.