Agumbe….Dodda Mane

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…

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 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:

Upstairs was this lovely dressing table:

Like most large and old houses, Dodda Mane has two staircases, the back one

and the front one

In the dark area at the centre of the house is the puja room:

There was someone very artistic in residence, because the kOlam in front of the puja room was beautiful:

Here’s the inside of the 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:

The old barrels for storage stood cheek-by-jowl with the new plastic buckets– and the idli batter grinding machine on the left:

The bathing room area itself is a period piece…here’s a clothes hook, so artistic!

The water is pumped up from the well…

Then heated up in these large copper boilers, set into concrete:

The dining hall is another large room; just look at those beams above!

It leads into the tiny kitchen and the very large pantry…I used the flash to get these beautiful old storage jars:

You can see the variety of items stored in the dark pantry!

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:

Even the door to the cowshed was looking lovely as a result!

Here are the kine (I decided to use an old English word for the cattle, as it’s an old house!) in the cowshed:

The house has, of course, the central courtyard, with a sacred thulasi (basil)plant in its centre:

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?

However, some things, like these solid window shutters, were in their old condition:

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…

An idol of Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, was also being created:

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

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:



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18 Responses to “Agumbe….Dodda Mane”

  1. Archana Rao Says:

    This is my Mausi’s house.The old lady who you see in the photograph is my grandmother & all the decorations which you have been admiring are most likely her work. She is now 86 years old.

  2. Harini Says:

    Your post captures the spirit ofthe place so beautifully..I just got back from there today…nothing has changed. It’s like time forgot to touch this little treasure tucked away in far off Agumbe…

  3. Sunil Shenoy Says:


    I am from the same family and would appreciate your help in making better …. do drop me a mail when U get a chance.


  4. ashok r ahuja Says:

    you have revived our excellent memories of the great hospitality of kasturi akka. though i hv personally been there twice, i must say, your eye for detail and description put a new perspective to the experience. keep the good job going… ashok r ahuja

  5. Says:

    The Hospitality is simply superb!!!
    The Catle, and the traditional Food serving in
    We had good time with the kids, ಅಭಿಷೇಕ್ [9th STD], ರಂಜಿತ್[9th STD], ಅರುಂಧತಿ[6th STD] at the house.

    The had served us the Breakfast and also packed two kinds of rice for the lunch during trek. Again in the night, the dining hall was busy with some sisitors [ temple priests came for dinner], we had to wait 5-10 minutes. The dinner was excellent again.

    The did not charge us anything, but we made some token payment as we can not afford to take at free of cost for so many of us 🙂

    Best place to Stay if you are heading towards Agumbe / Sringeri etc.

  6. dr sandeep shrotri Says:

    superb hospitalty by kasturi akka , no she is AMMA! WE SPENT THREE DAYS THERE , JUST LAST WEEK jUNE 10.

  7. neeta nitin samel Says:

    I had visited the place at the time of fair, beautiful place, rising sun spot was very beautiful, I have told my son n dauhter-in-law staying at US .to visit the place ,just, like, ur maio, n to meet the chairperson ,the most beautiful,lovable,hospitable,n my vasantpacchi”s siserinlaw,THE DEAREST VASANT AKKA,who gave us, spll, to my husband ,a warm welcome in MARATHI, wow.thanks to sudhakar bappa

  8. Ivy Says:

    Would you like to share a couple of these pictures on ?. It is a website that deals with movies and locations. These pictures would fit in well in the Malgudi Days segment.

  9. Kiran Kumar M Says:

    Superb place… A stranger never gets such a hospitality.. Don’t miss it, if u r der @ Agumbe for a trip.

  10. Chitra Says:

    We were on a vacation to Agumbe to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful experience during our 3 days (28 – 30th April 2012) stay at Doddamane…. We felt at home. We felt like we never missed home…. hospitality at its very best ….. delicious and authentic vegetarian food … not to forget about AMMA’s (Kastur Akka) kashaya, pathrode and undi.

    This was the BEST EVER anniversary we celebrated. We shall visit soon.

    We also wish to thank Siddarth & Katya at the Agumbe Rain Forest Research Station for spending half a day explaining to us about the various research and also sharing their adventures and experiences with us.

    Narayanan, Chitra, Nehaa & Ridhi

  11. Dr Mohan M S Says:

    I went to Doddamane in dec 2003 as part of a trekking group. The food was excellent with a very homely atmosphere, good memories to hold on. We stayed for a night, would like to visit again.

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