Rashtrakavi Kuvempu’s Ancestral House at Kuppali in Shivamogga District of Karnataka

By K V Venkataramana

Kuvempu is the pen name of Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa, who was one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, not only in Karnataka, but at the national level as well. Besides, he was a novelist, playwright and academic who endeared himself to the masses with his popular writings, during his lifetime (1904 -1994).

As a child, Kuvempu grew up in his ancestral house at Kuppali in Thirthahalli taluk of Shivamogga district, where he finished his lower secondary education in Kannada and English mediums, before moving on to Mysore for his high school and college education in 1920. The rustic beauty of nature with its hills, dense forests, rivulets, falls, rocky terrains and diversity of flora and fauna left a deep imprint on his mind which inspired him to write hundreds of   soulful poetry and novels like Malegalalli Madumagalu later in his career. Malegalalli Madumagalu (The Bride in the Mountains -1967) containing about 750 pages is one of his magna opera, the other being Kanuru Subbamma Heggadthi (1936) consisting of 700 pages, based on which a film in Kannada was produced in 1999, which won National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada.

Sri Ramayana Darshanam published by Kuvempu in two volumes (Part I and Part II (in 1949 and in 1951) was his epic poem which got him the highest literary award of the country Jnanapeetha in 1969. Kuvempu received numerous awards and recognitions from different universities, Central Sahitya Akademi , central and state governments and organisations for his rich contribution to literature.

The ancestral house where Kuvempu had spent his childhood years is now preserved as a museum which houses all his Awards, Cerificates, Medals, original books, and photographs. The house is more than 200 years old, constructed with mud walls, wooden carved pillars, and wooden ceilings. Quotations from his writings and speeches are displayed on the walls and his poems set to music are broadcast through audio speakers as you move along glancing at the exhibits. All the furniture and household utensils made of wood or clay used during the period, cradle, etc are also displayed in the house besides agricultural implements that are stored in a separate building.

To the south of Kuvempu museum, within the walkable distance, is situated Kuvempu’s resting place (Samadhi) at Kavi Shyla where he used to visit this place often to enjoy the beauty of nature and engage in meditation. He used to take his friends too to this rocky place where they inscribed their names on a big rock here. This place was named Kavi Shyla by Kuvempu himself and every visitor visiting Kuppali invariably visits Kavi Shyla too to savour the beauty of the picturesque hills, plantations and forests.

Not far from the Kuppali museum, there is also a separate memorial dedicated to Sri K P Poornachandra Tejaswi, Kuvempu’s son who was also a preeminent writer and polymath. His wildlife photographs are displayed in a separate building adjacent to his memorial near Kuvempu Pratishtana Memorial building, which also houses photographs of Kuvempu taken with VIPs who had visited him during his lifetime.

Fact file:

Distance from Bengaluru to Kuppali: 332 kms

Distance from Mysuru to Kuppali: 275 kms

Distance fro Shivamogga to Kuppali: 78 kms

Distance from Chikkamagaluru to Kuppali: 98 kms

Distance from Mangaluru to Kuppali: 143 kms

Pictures (All pics are by Prasad K B):

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Kuvempu”s ancestral house at Kuppali.
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A group of visitors in front of Kuvempu”s ancestral house.
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Entrance to Kavi shyla where Kuvempu used to spend time enjoying nature and sit in meditation.
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Kuvempu”s samadhi (final resting place) at Kavi shyla.
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Inscriptions on a rock by Kuvempu and two other great litterateurs Sri B M Srikantaiah and T S Venkannaiah and his polymath son Sri Poornachandra Tejasvi.
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A spectacular view of nature from Kavi shyla.
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Sri Poornachandra Tejasvi”s memorial near Kavi shyla.

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