Kaviraja Marga, Tracing writers’ abode
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Kaviraja Marga, Tracing writers’ abode

The 83rd Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelana has a rather special event where interested participants are taken to Mysuru’s literary destinations. Titled Kaviraja Marga, the tour, organised by the Department of Tourism, will take visitors to the house of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu, novelist R.K. Narayan’s house, Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies and finally to Rangayana.

This Weekend Star Supplement takes our readers on a pictorial and informative journey to these destinations and also gives an idea about what to expect at these locales.

Kaviraja Marga- WHEN AND WHERE

When: Nov. 24, 25 and 26

Where: From Maharaja’s College Grounds

Timings: 10 am to 1 pm

A Bibliophile’s Delight

Kavirajamarga’ is the earliest available work on rhetoric, poetics and grammar in Kannada language. It was inspired by or written in part by the famous Rashtrakuta King “Nrupathunga” Amoghavarsha I, and some historians claim that it is based partly on the Sanskrit text ‘Kavyadarsha’.

Some historians believe Kavirajamarga may have been co-authored by a poet in the king’s court, the Kannada language theorist Sri Vijaya. ‘Kavirajamarga’ literally means “Royal Path for Poets” and was written as a guide book for poets and scholars (Kavishiksha).

So, what has ‘Kavirajamarga’, written in 850 CE, got to do with this Weekend Star Supplement? ‘Kaviraja Marga’ is the name of a unique programme organised for bibliophiles and history enthusiasts who will descend on the cultural capital of Karnataka to take part in the three-day 83rd Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, scheduled to be held from Nov. 24 at the sprawling Maharaja’s College Grounds.

The Kannada Lit Fest, first one to be held in the 21st century in Mysuru, will have a host of events and attractions lined up and one among them is ‘Kaviraja Marga’ a tour to witness the must-visit literary destinations of Mysuru. The intention of the tour is to convey a message that Mysuru has both ‘royal path’ (raja marga) as well as ‘poets’ (kavi).

‘Kaviraja Marga’, an initiative by the Tourism Department, will provide an opportunity to literary buffs to visit the residences of noted literary personalities and places of literary interest. Apart from the regular literary and cultural events that will be held at various venues in the city, the tourism department will organise the half-day tour that will take tourists to ‘Udayaravi’ or ‘Kuvempu Mane’ the house of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu (Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa) at V.V. Mohalla.

A file photo of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu standing in front of his house at VV Mohalla.

Kuvempu is also the first Kannada writer to win the Jnanpith award. Visitors can see the Vaagdevi idol and citation of the Jnanpith Award and also trophies and citations of other awards that were bestowed upon Kuvempu.

Personal photographs of Kuvempu with his family and friends, his daily use items and a few of his literary works will be on display.

The frontal view of Kuvempu house Udayaravi at VV Mohalla The house, complete with garden and lush green surroundings, is a Mecca of Kannada lovers.

After ‘Udayaravi’, they will be taken to the house of noted English novelist R.K. Narayan of Malgudi Days fame. His house, located at No. D-14, Yadavagiri, has been developed into a museum at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh on the lines of Shakespeare’s memorial at Stratford-upon-Avon in London

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R.K. Narayan’s house has black-and-white portraits, family photographs, collection of quotes, awards and honorary degrees. Narayan’s spectacles, shirts, shawls, coats, typewriters and other items would also be on display.

Noted novelist R K Narayan s house at Yadavagiri in Mysuru that has been converted into a museum now.

Next destination of ‘Kaviraja Marga’ is Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies at Manasagangothri. At Kuvempu Institute, viewers can see the collection of all literary works of Kuvempu, who was the Vice Chancellor of University of Mysore.

A view of Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies building at Manasagangothri.

Finally, the visitors will be taken to Mysuru’s theatre destination — Rangayana. The famous repertory of South India, Rangayana houses Kalamandira, where visitors can meet theatre artistes and take a small tour of the campus and see “Kindarijogi” statue that is inspired by Kuvempu’s masterpiece Bommanahalliya Kindarijogi.

The imposing statue of Kindarijogi is an added attraction for visitors to the theatre repertoire. The statue has an important place in the history of Rangayana. It was displayed at a Dasara exhibition decades ago. The Kindarijogi statue was later installed at Rangayana to mark its milestone production — “Bommanahalli Kindarijogi” directed by B.V. Karanth, Founder-Director of the repertoire.

The statue of Kindarijogi that was inspired by Kuvempu s play.

The tour will start from Nov. 24, the day of the inauguration of the Sahitya Sammelana. Speaking to Star of Mysore, Tourism Department Deputy Director H.P. Janardhan said that tour has been planned for those attending the literary fest.

The department is planning to engage an Air Conditioned luxury coach from the Karnataka Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC). The fares for the tour will be nominal when compared to the knowledge the visitors will gain out of the literary visit, he said.

The tour will start at 10 am in the mornings from Maharaja’s College Grounds for three days and will be back at the Sammelan venue by 1 pm.

“As of now, we have planned three trips for three days and in each trip, over 50 people will have a chance to take this tour and it will be on first-come-first-serve basis,” he said and added that the KSTDC bus will be stationed at the Maharaja’s College.

50 years for Kuvempu’s Jnanpith

2017 marks 50 years of novelist, poet, playwright, critic and thinker Rashtrakavi Kuvempu receiving Jnanpith Award. Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa, popularly known by the nickname Kuvempu, was the first among Kannada writers to be decorated with the prestigious Jnanpith Award.

A file photo of Kuvempu and his wife.

Kuvempu was offered a tribute in flowers at the 205th Lalbagh Flower Show held from August 4 to 15, 2017, in Bengaluru. The poet-laureate was the inspiration for Independence Day flower show and as part of it, a mini-Malnad was created, complete with a replica of Jog Falls, where the verses of Kuvempu was aesthetically brought out.  Kuvempu’s house at Kuppalli in Shivamogga district was replicated with flowers and fruits and ‘Kavishaila’, the rock monument dedicated to the poet, was also recreated florally. ‘Kavishaila’ was where Kuvempu drew inspiration for many of his works. More than 3.5 lakh roses and other flowers were used for the purpose.

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Kuvempu’s House at V.V. Mohalla – What to see?

  • A jackfruit tree that is planted by none other than Kuvempu himself which still bears fruits. Most of the fruits grow on the tree bark and can easily be plucked.
  • The fruit has a special taste and as Swami Somanathanandaji of Ramakrishna Ashram says it is as sweet as Kuvempu’s poetry
  • On an average, the tree bears 100 fruits every year and the family makes it a point to distribute among Kuvempu’s fans and followers. Many people who have taken the fruit seeds have planted at their backyard and called it as “Kuvempu”

The jackfruit tree that was planted by Kuvempu.

  • A radio that Kuvempu bought on August 14, 1947 and listened to the Independence Day speech by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The “Valve Radio” is still in working condition.
  • Family photos and many photos of Kuvempu and his wife Hemavathy.
  • Saraswathi statue given by Sahitya Sangha, Jnanpith Award, the chairs and tables used by Kuvempu
  • The book that has the Vishvamanava message – Kuvempu would never allow anyone leave his house empty-handed as he would give this book.
  • Kuvempu’s old phone and the number “707” that has changed to “1707” and “2511707”.

The awards received by Jnanpith Awardee Kuvempu displayed at his house.

What you will miss

Glandiflora flower plant. This was the favourite flowering plant for Kuvempu and he always used to pluck the flowers from this tree for his daily pujas. The tree died four years back.

R.K. Narayan’s house at Yadavagiri – Don’t miss these

  • Books and manuscripts of Malgudi Days, watches worn by Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami – R.K. Narayan.
  • Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan medals – India’s third and second highest civilian awards.
  • Books, stills from the TV show of Malgudi Days, a few pieces of furniture, and Narayan’s personal effects – spectacles, frayed shirts, embroidered shawls, woollen coats, and pullovers.

The coats sweaters and shawls used by R K Narayan displayed at his Yadavagiri house.

  • The house has seven rooms and the upper part of the house is the place where R.K. Narayan used to write and rest.
  • Narayan’s study room has gleaming red oxide floors, high ceilings, and arc-shaped bay windows that look out on a breadfruit tree, a gulmohar, a frangipani tree, and the garden below his house.
  • The commemorative stamp that was released by Government of India in 2009.
  • In his autobiography, My Days, Narayan says that he picked out this particular spot to build a house because of the frangipani tree, which was in full bloom at the edge of the plot.

The study room with its splendid views that inspired R K Narayan to pen masterpieces.

  • Narayan describes his study as “a bay room with eight windows that affords me a view in every direction: The Chamundi Hill temple on the south, a variety of spires, turrets, and domes on the east, sheep and cows grazing in the meadows on all sides, and railway trains cutting across the east-west-slope.”

Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies – What’s in store?

  • An exclusive gallery and library on Kuvempu’s books and books on Kuvempu and a folklore museum.

The bust of Rashtrakavi Kuvempu as one enters the Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies.

  • Kuvempu’s books, awards, hand-written manuscripts.
  • Original hand-written manuscript of Sri Ramayana Darshanam, its first print edition.
  • The first batch photo (5 ft wide, 3 ft high) of Kannada MA students in which Kuvempu was a student .

The photo of the first batch of Kannada MA students along with distinguished teachers at Gangothri where Kuvempu -standing 6th from left- was one among them.

  • The syllabus of first Kannada MA batch and an exclusive linguistic section.
  • Sections on linguistics as science, South India Studies section, Translation and Editing sections, Old Kannada translation wing, Research section and Epigraphy division.
  • Dictionary section that has brought out 14 editions in CD format.
  • Encyclopaedia section that has published 6 volumes out of 35 volumes.

The library at Kuvempu Institute of Kannada Studies Rare books by Kuvempu and books on Kuvempu are displayed here.

November 18, 2017

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Kaviraja Marga, Tracing writers’ abode”

  1. Thethreewisemen says:

    R.K. Narayan? A Tamilian in heart and soul, never conversed in Kannada in meeting with Kannadigas, which he rarely met. The luckiest are his descendants who sold a dilapidated house to the Municipal Corporation, making sumptuous money, instead of donating it for free. Kuvempu’s house? Is not some one living there?

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