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Kuppalli Days
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ತುಂಗಾ ನದಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಿಂದು
ಮಲೆನಾಡ ತಾಯ ಮಡಿಲಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತು
ಪಕ್ಷಿಗಾನವನು ಕೇಳುತ ಮೈಮರೆತು ಬರೆವವ
ಕವಿಯಾಗದೆ ಇನ್ನೇನಾದಾನು?

– ಬಾಲಚಂದ್ರ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ

Forewords:
I was almost worked-out of my 12 hour a day work schedule, until the end of the month of march. I felt that I’ve completed most of the responsibilities of my project then. And planned to go out for a small vacation. My leave from April 30, 2007 – May 08, 2007 got approved. I had to meet up all of my relatives spread all over malnad (Part of Western Ghats of Karnataka) and decided to start from Sringeri.

On May 04, 2007 I was at Basavani 17KM from Thirthahalli, Shimoga District. Basavani is a small village where my mother born and brought up. On May 05, 2007 me, my cousin Bharatheesh and his friend Sethu made a sudden turn to visit Kuppalli which is just 5km from Basavani.

Kuppalli is another small village which gave birth to the legendary poet named Puttappa. Puttappa is familiar by his kannada kavyanaama “Kuvempu” through all his works where the abbreviated name stands for Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa.

We are three die-hard boys in one TVS Victor bike making bumpy ride all over malnad roads. On the way to Kuppalli, it seemed like we are going to enter an heaven which is welcoming by waving its hands towards every art-lovers to its temple. At end point with the same feel turn your head to the right, you’ll get see a bright mansion of Kuvempu. This mansion is now made as “Museum on Life & Works of Kuvempu”.

Exterior:
The poet’s home is a vintage three floor structure, malnad styled, tile roofed(Henchina mane), white washed wall, stone paved entry way and green lawns in front of the house. The whole house looks like one bright castle between lush green arecanut, coconut plantations and fully covered with other trees. The house consists of two buildings, one building at the entrance has a hall and a Upparige(small room at first floor usually kept for reading). The second building is adjoining to the first consists of rooms for family, kitchen & store.

The house was built almost 120 years ago, now renovated brick by brick by Kadidal Ramappa a well known civil contractor in Thirthahalli.

Interior:
Inside, one can witness old styled “Ankana Mane” interior architecture. White washed walls, carved pillars, wooden roof supports, heavy doors, etc; all are well polished & preserved.

Ground Floor:
This floor is one place to know the life & culture of people at malenadu. Entry hall has collection of all household items used by family members like Hooji, Beesugallu, Rubbukallu, Akki Marase, Bhattada Gundi, Onake, Jaadi etc;. Ground floor has rooms consisting of a Kitchen(Aduge mane), Store Room(Saamaanu Kone), Post-Parturition Room(Bananthi Kone) and Bedrooms (Malagu Kone) for family members.

In store room you can also see weapons used during hunting like Rifles, Shotguns, etc;. In Kitchen(Aduge mane) one can see Obbattina Mane, Shavige Mane, Chakkuli Mane, Mosaru Kadiyuva Gundi, Aduge Ole, Tumblers, Platters, and Spoons. Post-Parturition Room(Bananthi Kone) has a normal cot covered with Kambali(Woolen blanket) over it, and a thottilu(cradle). There is one bedroom for children and rest for married family members.

One can see Kuvempu’s poems engraved over the stone and are mounted all over the walls of entry hall alongwith a beautiful combination of listening to Kuvempu’s poem’s sung by C. Ashwath under low volume in background takes you to another world itself.

In another room you can see photographs & paintings on Kuvempu’s life & work. The photographs starts from Puttappa at the age of 5 with his father Venkatappa, in high school, as a graduate, during his days in Mysore as lecturer, as married man with children, as Vice-chancellor, with grandchildren, post retirement days and even few days before his death.

Another interesting part in the entry hall is a “Scientific” wall clock which always shows a time of approx 01:03. It is the time when Kuvempu passed away on 11 November 1994 at 01:00 am at his Mysore house “Udaya Ravi”. It is Kuvempu’s daughter who stopped the clock that time when she knew that her father is no longer any more.

First Floor:
In the room of first building you can see Kuvempu’s reading room (Upparige) where the morning sunlight directly falls over his reading table and can see portraits of his parents too.

The first floor of second building is a place to see the collectibles on life of Kuvempu. The spectacles, pens, umbrella with wooden case, sandals of Bata brand, plate & spoons used, comb, panche(white dhoti), and even his hair is well preserved inside a glass case.

Another part of the same room is the Hall of Fame of Kuvempu’s achievements. This consists of Medals, awards, Certificate of Degrees, Certificate of Doctor of Letters from Kanpur University and also Certificates from many foreign universities like University of California, Cambridge University etc;.

Second Floor:
The second floor of second building is dedicated for works of Kuvempu. You will get to see all the books written by this great poet. Some memorable paintings does decorates this tiny room.

Kavishaila:
Kavishaila is a small mountain less than 0.5km from poet’s home. It is believed that Kuvempu in his childhood started penning his first literature whilst sitting on the rocks of Kavishaila. Kavishaila is surrounded by small to big mountains and gives a spellbinding panoramic view of greeneries around it.

A resembling structure to “Stonehenge of England” has been made at atop of the mountain and same can be seen on the way to Kavishaila through pathway & asphalted road. At the top, the stones are laid in a circular/ring pattern. In the middle of ring lays the vault of this great poet buried under heavy stones.

How to get there?
Kuppalli is about 20km from Thirthahalli, Shimoga District. Nearest airport is Mangalore, nearest railway station is Shimoga and nearest bus depot is Thirthahalli. You can avail bus service from KSRTC or other private operators to Thirthahalli. Recently KSRTC has introduced two direct buses from Bengaluru to Kuppalli with luxurious shuttles like Mayura(A/C) and Rajahamsa(Non A/C) buses to promote tourism in Kuppalli.

Nearby villages are Hirekodige, Devangi, and Basavani. If you alight at Thirthahalli, there are no other direct local buses to Kuppalli you may need hire a cab from Thirthahalli itself. There’s no hotel accomodation available. There is one canteen for museum staff & visitors, but try to carry food of your own.

Don’t forget to carry your camera to catch the scenic beauty of malnad. Photography inside the poet’s house is strictly prohibited, but I was smart enough to take couple photos inside. Visitors can buy books, songs CDs & cassettes and greeting cards written by Kuvempu with a discount of 10% available in a small bookshop located in ground floor. I’m fortunate enough buy a book called “Malenada Chitragalu” one of the renowned work by Kuvempu and few greeting cards with photographs shot by Poornachandra Tejaswi & poetry of Kuvempu completely in KANNADA.

Hope, you too will visit Kuppali. Happy journey in advance!