A space dedicated to art and culture in Visakhapatnam, the Shilparamam Jatara beckons visitors through its pieces of art, open-air auditorium, stalls and much more. Jaya Siva Murty brings the story.
As you pass by the section of NH16 in Madhurawada, the sight of two bedecked elephant sculptures on either side of a grand entrance inevitably catch your attention. This is the Shilparamam Jatara, a space dedicated to art, culture and new experiences.
Done up in earthy hues, and spread over 25 acres, this creative getaway is a relatively quiet space. As you enter inside, sculptures of farmers guide you to a platform with large arches. A few children seem to be learning Kuchipudi on this make-shift stage which further leads you to the open-air village museum. Showcasing scenarios of village life through sculptures made of stone and fibre, there’s much that meets the eye as you walk around. The sculpture of a hut with women and men involved in household chores, finds its place along with a boat and its crew. The traditional jobs of a dye-maker and potter at work, and scenarios of village women and farmers engaged in their daily chores can be seen. The Alluri Seetaramaraju museum tucked to one corner, is another attraction that represents the life and story of the legend through a mix of paintings, sculptures and scenarios.
With the many sculptures made from by Visakhapatnam artists, one can see a fascinating experiment done with scrap materials too. Thus along with fibre, metals, stone and cement, sculptures from motorcycle parts, iron rods, drums and even old tyres form points of interest across the park.
With a large expanse of green, parks for children to play in, a jogging track and even a pond with life-like sculptures of deer in it, the Shilparamam is a place to explore in leisure. Traditional arts and crafts can be seen on display as well. Over ten stalls selling a range of handmade products from bead jewellery to handloom garments, terracotta and even pickles vie for attention. To add to the cultural vibe of the space, every week sees various cultural programmes of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Carnatic vocal or folk/ tribal arts being organised. Festivals are marked with special celebrations while workshops and camps on art are conducted regularly.
And that’s not all. A kalyana mandapa, Sampradaya vedika with a seating capacity of 2000 members, and an open-air amphitheatre with seating capacity for 200 people is present too. With an extension of the kalyana mandapa under construction, large halls have also been earmarked for conducting workshops and programmes.
With sculptures strategically placed across the park, a casual walk in the area comes much recommended. A food court that serves traditional snacks and cool drinks is present too, ensuring that a short picnic here can easily be enjoyed. Open from 10 AM to 8:30 PM, the later part of the day is a better time to visit. Children can have fun playing in the huge space while the adults can indulge in admiring the art, visiting stories and sampling the culture of this space.
However, this is a space with plenty of scope. The current attractions do need to be modified and a master plan that brings in elements of entertainment and fun, along with culture and arts is on the cards. Construction of additional rooms, a water fountain, game zone and betterment of the park are slated to take place. Shilparamam – Jatara will expend energies on improving facilities and infrastructure such that the entire family can enjoy. With its current tickets priced at Rs. 20 for adults and Rs. 10 for child, this destination does offer a decent getaway for a nominal budget, and hopefully the days to come will see it improve further.
With its primary focus being on preserving and promoting Indian arts and crafts, we at Yo! Vizag can only hope that this site reaches its potential. Bringing together traditional craftsmen and their stalls in greater numbers will ensure a greater footfall, making this a place that every person will surely visit, to take away from the wealth of Indian arts, crafts and culture.