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Poetry on the hills : KAVI SHAILA :

Posted by egovindia on April 22, 2007

Poetry on the hills


It’s a lyrical experience atop Kavishaila, especially when you have cold wind and mild rain




AURA Kavishaila has the palpable presence of the towering personality of Kannada literature, Kuvempu

Kuppalli’s hill Kavishaila is all about a certain aura. It hits you even as you climb it. It is exceptionally quiet and very, very green. It seems to imperiously gaze upon the vast spread of Malnad. Atop the hill is a very simple, and yet somehow dramatic, architecture — stunning stone structures resembling those at Stonehenge in South England, believed to have been built in the megalithic period. What also adds to the quiet drama of Kavishaila is the palpable presence of the towering personality of Kannada literature, the late Kuvempu. It was on this hill that the poet played as a child, sat endlessly looking at the vast green splendour, thought about life and wrote some of his best poems.

Anyone travelling to Kuppali village to get a glimpse of Kuvempu’s house, Kavimane, must make a detour to Kavishaila, a hill away literally. The stone structures greet us all along the trek. Once on top, there are more of those structures in a circular fashion, which seem to shield Kuvempu’s memorial. The stones stare out into the sky, much like Roman relics. They look terrific, particularly when it rains.

A few metres away from the memorial is the rock on which Kuvempu and his friends would sit and talk about life, the beauty of Kavishaila and Navilukallu, the sister hill, the rain, the rainbow, flowers, the changing colours of the day… and, of course, literature. The rock has the names of Kuvempu, T. Venkannayya and B.M. Sri etched on it, all of who spent time here.

As you sit on this hill, you can’t but remember Kuvempu’s collection of essays and poems which vividly describe the Malnad. In fact, it would be a great idea to read some of it before getting to Kavishaila. Kuvempu’s house, Kavimane, just below the hill, has the entire collection of Kuvempu’s works and several other things related to his life — from his wedding invitation to the pen he used and the awards he won.

In his collection of essays, Malenadina Chitragalu, Kuvempu says the longer he stayed in Mysore the more he thought of Kavishaila and Navilukallu. He writes: “Kavishaila and Navilukallu heal us of the noise and dirt of Santepete in Mysore… Their beauty is so strongly etched in my mind that I can have a darshana of them in my mind’s eye at my will. The darshana in a temple built by humans is but only trivial before this breathtaking darshana… Every time I think of Kavishaila and Navilukallu, I am electrified. I am lost. I do not know if there is a feeling more sacred, more pure, more pristine…”

Kuvempu’s collection of poems, Kruththike, has six sonnets on Kavishaila alone. They describe the many shades of Kavishaila. One is particularly telling:

Quiet! It’s a sin to speak here…

The hill is meditating…

Joy is worship and silence is prayer

In this temple of Nature.

Ah! Nothing like being up there with just a mild drizzle for company.


Kuppalli is 350 km from Bangalore, 80 km from Shimoga, 18 from Thirthahalli. Travel via Shimoga and Thirthahalli or take the direct bus from Bangalore. Visit Kavimane, but don’t miss Kavishaila and Navilukallu in rain. There are a few cottages at Kuppali and Thirthahalli. You get puliyogre with pickle at a small canteen in Kuppali at noon.








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