Posted by egovindia on April 22, 2007
|Visit the birthplace of the Rashtrakavi|
HERITAGE Kuvempu’s renovated ancestral home The verdant settings at Malnad are any visitor’s dream. This feeling of oneness with nature can well and truly be experienced when one visits Thirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district where the gentle Tunga seems to add an extra tinge of green to everything growing around her. Kuppali in the taluk, the birthplace of Rashtrakavi Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa, or Kuvempu as we know him, is no exception to this rule.
While every Kannadiga worth his salt knows about the writings of the colossus, what probably has gone unnoticed is the fact that efforts are on to perpetuate his memory for posterity in his place of birth. Taking the lead in this direction is the Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Prathisthan, Kuppali, which has converted his house into a trip down memory lane for his fans.
Located 18 km from Thirthahalli on the Thirthahalli-Koppa road, you get down at Gadikal if you’re taking the bus and go a further two km to reach the place. The authorities have taken care to asphalt the road leading to Kuvempu’s house, so if you’re driving down, there’s no problem. Incidentally, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operates a Rajahamsa ultra-deluxe bus service from Bangalore to Kuppali.
Open year round
Kavimane is open to visitors all year round from 9.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. Once you pay the entry fee of Rs. 5, you’re transported to a world where the great poet grew up and probably made his first foray into language and literature. It is a veritable storehouse of everything big and small connected with the life of Kuvempu, giving one an insight into the poet’s life.
Some of the many interesting things are the kalbi (a wooden store box for grains), a dandige (palanquin), and Kuvempu’s wedding invitation and the mantapa in which he tied the knot to Hemavathi in the late hours of April 30, 1937. This is just the beginning of a trip for ardent lovers of the man and his works. As one goes round this house, renovated at a cost of Rs. 75 lakh, it reveals more about the poet.
The house is typical of the Malnad area, complete with a birthing room with its small wooden cradle suspended from the ceiling beside a bed and a separate room adjacent to it where women were confined during menstruation, with a door leading to the courtyard behind the house. A slit ventilator above the kitchen oven, which allowed the smoke to fill the attic (where firewood would be spread out for drying), is today a rare sight.
Even as the Jnanpith-winner’s poems resound through strategically placed speakers transport you to another realm, you’re greeted by a section that houses the various honours heaped on during his lifetime. Some rare handwritten manuscripts of Kuvempu, including that of Sri Ramayana Darshanam, are on display here.
The Prathisthan has also built a few cottages nearby for those who would like to spend a few days at the place and carry out research on the poet. Kavishayla — a rocky place where Kuvempu used to frequent to commune — with his muse is nearby and worth visiting.