Where the poet once lived

Where the poet once lived

When it comes to the doyens of Kannada literature, the name of Kuvempu, the wellknown poet, invariably stands out. As a litterateur who has made an indelible mark in the field of  Kannada literatThe three-storeyed ancestral house Kavimane (poet’s house), a typical thotti mane with an open courtyard in the middle where he lived, has been converted into a museum.ure, Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa, shortened sweetly as Kuvempu, has made a remarkable contribution through his works and poems.

The poet won some of the greatest honours such as Padma Vibhushana, Pampa Award, Karnataka Rathna and   honorary doctorates from many universities.
His epic Sri Ramayana Darshanam received the Jnanapeeth award and he has also been honoured as the Rashtrakavi after Govinda Pai, another luminary.

All his poetry talks about the pristine beauty of Kuppalli where he spent his childhood. The hills and dales of Malnad, the dense forests with varied plant and tree species, the denizens of the jungle, birds and butterflies have all found reference in his creations in some way or the other.
Thanks to Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Pratishthana at Kuppalli, the place has been turned into a virtual museum that has preserved the life and times of the great poet for posterity.

The three-storeyed ancestral house Kavimane (poet’s house), a typical thotti mane with an open courtyard in the middle where he lived, has been converted into a museum. The house itself with pure white walls and a green lawn in the foreground and high rising hills and a blue sky behind looks picturesque.

Inside the house, the brown wooden pillars have a heavily carved ornamentation and still retain their shine.

The huge wooden granaries, doors and mantapas are placed around the courtyard.
The small grey coloured mantapa where Kuvempu was married stands in the left corner. The rooms and kitchen are kept as they were with the utensils, the cooking stoves and various implements .

The Bananti Mane, the place for post-natal care and the old bathing room outside the house truly reflect rural lifestyles of yesteryears.

The numerous awards and honours he received are displayed on the first floor as also the various other things he used in his daily life. The second floor houses the works and poems of Kuvempu. In the ground floor, the walls of the corridor are decorated with a huge display of photographs, mostly black and white collected by his son, Poornachandra Tejaswi. The many important moments of his life are well-depicted in these pictures.

The backyard of the house leads to a small tank surrounded by bushes and bamboos. The garden with arecanut trees and flowering plants are home to a variety of  birds and butterflies. Incidentally, a butterfly park is also being developed here. The frontyard has many stone slabs etched with snippets about the poet.

The gradually rising hill south of the house is named Kavishaila and the stone path takes about 10 minutes to reach. Those who cannot walk up can take the road for vehicles.  
At Kavishaila is an artistic array of huge stone slabs  placed in a circle similar to the Stonehenge of England. Beyond these structures is a flat rocky plateau which was the favourite place of Kuvempu. The extensive view of the light blue hills in the distance with thick forest cover and many shades of green is truly enchanting.

In the west, the setting sun plays with colours before disappearing into the night. It was here that Kuvempu used to spend the evenings for long durations drowning himself in the beauty of creation.

It was also here that his poetic genius got the inspiration to pen many a poem. The small bench like rocky outcrop was where he used to sit alone or with his good friends. You can even see the initials of Kuvempu, BM Sreekantiah and TS Venkannachar etched on the rocks. Behind the rocky bed  to the east leads a narrow trail to the hill Sanjegiri.
The solitude that prevails here makes one reluctant to leave the place. It is truly fitting that his mortal remains were placed at Kavishaila.

The Prathishtana at Kuppalli has constructed a sprawling complex on the eve of the birth centenary of Kuvempu.

The complex houses a stage called Hemangana for cultural events. The building has a few rooms with good facilities for visitors to stay.

A library and Kuvempu Kannada Adhyayana Kendra of Hampi Kannada University have also been accommodated. The wide stone steps in the front make it an open air amphitheatre.

Behind this building, a ten-acre forest land has been earmarked as Sandesha Vana with a rich flora  and a check dam to harvest rainwater. There are  three forest rest houses too.
Getting there: Driving 15 kms from Thirthahalli towards Koppa, a junction is reached  where a 1 km road to the left  leads to Kavimane. From Bangalore, the Rajahamsa bus leaves at 10.30 pm and leaves Kuppalli at 9.00 pm for Bangalore. Nearest railway station is Shimoga 80 kms away. The airport at Mangalore is 140 kms away.

Accommodation: Can be booked in advance (08265230166). The only canteen here can serve food made to order.

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