Thursday, October 19, 2006


Yakshagana is a classical folk art form of the state of Karnataka in India mostly popular in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasargode district of Kerala. This would be considered to be a form of opera in western eyes. Actors wear costumes and enact the various roles. Traditionally, Yakshaganas would go on all night. It is sometimes simply called as Aataā in both Kannada and Tulu (meaning play).

A Yakshagana performance begins at the twilight hours with the beating of drums for up to a couple of hours before the 'actors' get on the stage. The actors wear resplendent costumes, head-dresses, and painted faces which they paint themselves. A performance usually depicts a story from the Hindu epics and puranas. It consists of a narrator who narrates the story in a song-like fashion, backed by musicians playing on traditional musical instruments as the actors dance to the tune, with actions that portray the story as it is being narrated. The actors have a limited dialog during the course of the performance.
Yakshagana is a traditional theatre form combining dance, music, spoken word, costume-makeup, and stage technique with a distinct style and form.

Both the word Yakshagana and its world are interesting and intriguing. It is a theatre form mainly prevalent in the coastal districts and adjacent areas, in Karnataka. It is closely connected with other forms prevailing in other parts of Karnataka, and its neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Maharastra.

Yakshagana, like many other forms, defies neat classification into categories like folk, classical, rural. It can be included into each of these, or all of them together, depending upon our line of approach. Being a theatre form, unlike a dance form, it is more plural and dynamic. And hence it exhibits many types and varieties inside itself. However, Yakshagana can be rightly called a traditional form. Primarily it is a name given to the one prevailing in Coastal and Malnad areas of Karnataka, though in fringe forms like Doddata are also called by the same name often, especially recently . The traditional theatre form Mudalpaya of Southern Karnataka, the Doddata of Northern Karnataka, the Kelike in the borders of Andhra Pradesh, the Ghattadakore of Kollegal in Chamarajnagar district – are such forms . Among them, the Ghattadakore is a direct branch of Coastal Yakshagana, while Mudalapaya is the most closely connected form. There is a form called Yakshaganamu in Andhra Pradesh also which exhibits resemblance to the forms of Karnataka plateau region.


The State of Karnataka is known for its multitude of tourist attractions and temples. Pilgrimage centers such as Mookambika and Udupi cradled in the western ghats offer a contrast to the ruins of the once grand Vijayanagar edifices at Hampi. The Hoysala temples marked with a profusion of intricate sculpture, and the ancient temples built by the Cholas, and the Chalukyan temples add to the variation in style across this state.

About the Temples of Karnataka: The Chalukyas, the Gangas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar rulers and others contributed to diverse temple styles seen in Karnataka

Halebidu - a sculptors dream lived in stone. The Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu is a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture and sculpture.

Mookambika - Kollur: Rich in legend and tradition, this temple at Kollur is closely associated with Adi Sankaracharya.

Udupi - is the seat of the Madhva school of philosophy. The Balakrishna temple is one of the well visited pilgrimage centers of Karnataka.

Gokarna: This ancient Shiva temple is revered pilgrimage center in Karnataka ; it has been revered by the hymns of the ancient Tamil saints.

Sravanabelagola: The collossal monolithic image of Gomateswara or Bahubali is a familiar sight to those touring Karnataka.

Nandi hills, located near Bangalore is home to the Bhoganandeeswara and Yoganandeeswara temples.

Belur Chennakesava Temple: Explore the rich sculptural wealth of this ancient Hoysala monument built by Vishnuvardhana of the 12th century CE.

Somnathpura: The Kesava temple at Somnathapura located near Mysore is a standing illustration of Hoysala art.

Belur Chennakesava Temple: Explore the history of this Hoysala monument and experience its sculptural splendour.

Srirangapatna near Mysore - the historic capital of Tipu Sultan enshrines Ranganatha and Ranganayaki at the grand Ranganatha temple.

Melkote located near Mysore is home to the Tirunarayana temple and is a seat of the Sri Vaishnava tradition.

Chamundeswari Temple built at Chamundi hills near Mysore enshrines Chamundeswari the tutelary deity of the Maharajahs of Mysore.

The Virupaksha temple at Vijayanagar dating back to the period of Krishna Deva Raya, enshrines Virupaksha or Pampapati.

Mahakoota is another early Chalukyan temple art repository and is located near Badami

The Vitthala temple at Vijayanagar (Hampi) is known for its halls with exquisite pillars, intricate friezes and the a stone chariot.

Talakkad near Mysore: This ancient temple at Talakkad near Mysore was patronized by the Cholas of the 12th century CE.

Badami: The ancient town of Vatapi was a capital of the early Chalukyas. It is now known as Badami and it has several temples from the sixth and seventh centuries CE.

Pattadakal, the third in the triad of early Chalukyan art centers near Bijapur has several landmarks in the evolution of temple architecture.

Aihole near Bijapur is one of the centers of early Chalukyan art. The Durga temple is probably the best known of the temples here.

Sringeri: The Vidyashankara temple is a magnificient temple built under the patronage of the Vijayanagar empire.

Nanjangud: The Shrikanteshwara temple at Nanjangud near Mysore is a revered center of worship.

The Kalyani Chalukyas of the 11th & 12th centuries developed a temple style characterized by ornate pillars and doorways

The district of Kolar known more for its gold fields is home to several temples tracing their history through several royal dynasties that ruled the region

Subrahmanya is one of the seven revered Mukti stalas of Karnataka and it enshrines Subrahmanya (Kartikeya).

The Seven Mukti Stalas of Karnataka associated with Parasurama include some of the well visited pilgrimage shrines such as Kollur, Udupi & Gokarna.

Dharmastala - a well visited pilgrimage center in Karnataka enshrines Manjunatha, in this stala of Dharma or righteousness & charity.

A festival of accountability, sacrifice and thanksgiving

Several centuries back, according to the history of the place Dharmadaivas came to Kuduma Nelyadi Beedu, the official residence of the then Heggades. The Dharma Daivas demanded that the house be vacated by the Heggades in their favour and continue conducting charity and Dharma. The place of the Heggades became the temple of the Dharmadaivas. A little while later Lord Manjunatha Swamy was installed in Dharmasthala. Regular rituals (Nema) were being conducted for the Dharmadaivas at the Badinade hills. The Nelyadi beedu continues to be the most sacred place of the Dharmadaivas. Even though the Heggades do not stay in Nelyadi Beedu they get inspiration from here. The guiding spirits, the Dharma Daivas, on the Heggade that the receipts of the temple shall not be stored spent for the welfare of the needy and the poor. The Heggades of Dharmasthala have steadfastedly followed the instructions of the Dharma Daivas.

During Maha Nadavali festivities 'Nema for Dharmadaivas will be conducted at the specially erected mantap in front of the Nelyadi Beedu. The Nema is a dialogue between the Heggade and the person representing the Dharma Daivas.

Thambila and Nema are two of the unique programmes conducted at Dharmasthala among the other religious rituals. On the Sankramana day of every month of Hindu calendar the Heggade visits the Badinade hills close to Manjunatha Swamy Temple after dusk and dialogue with the Dharma Daivas. Popularly known as "Nudigattu", this dialogue is conducted with the Darshana Pathri possessed by the saintly spirits of Dharma Daivas and Annappa Swamy. Throughout this dialogue the spirits seek accountability and performance guarantee. They assure and cajole the Heggade for a more committed performance. This dialogue is in itself an exclusive lesson in the management schools. Although the Heggade does not speak, he responds through the sign language and gets blessed by the Daivas.

Maha Nadavali is the most important festival conducted in Dharmasthala to seek the blessings of Lord Manjunatha Swamy, Lord Chandranatha Swamy, Dharma Daivas and Annappa Swamy for the welfare of the society. It is the highest and greatest of all the festivities conducted in Dharmasthala. As the name suggests, in Maha Nadavali, all the festivals conducted during the year are synchronized to be celebrated in 11 days. Although Maha Nadavali is supposed to be conducted once in twelve years, depending on the star constellations, the programme may be conducted once in two to three decades. The Maha Nadavali festival been conducted in 1886, 1909, 1951 and recently in 2005 which is still being remembered by the devotees.

The Maha Nadavali festival starts with Moodappa offerings to Maha Ganapathi and gets underway with the Laksha Deepothsava festivities to the Lord Manjunatha. In the five of Laksha Deepothsava festival, the idol of the Lord is taken to different centres of Dharmasthala and offerings are made. On the sixth day the ornament ridden treasury of the Dharma Daivas is taken to Nelyadi Beedu. For the next four days the Nema and Thambila normally conducted at the Annappa hills will be conducted at the Nelyadi Beedu. During these days, the Dharma Daivas and Annappa Swamy will call on the beedu and have a dialogue with the Heggade through the Darshana Pathri. Normally women and children prohibited to climb up the Annappa Hills and watch the Nema. It is a rare opportunity for them to witness the Nema during the Maha Nadavali at the Nelyadi Beedu.

On all these days feasts are organised to the devotees visiting Dharmasthala. Religious discourses, cultural programmes and exhibitions are conducted for the visiting devotees.
In this fine example of community feeding during Maha Nadavali, the ordinary people and the farmers make their own offerings to the Lord in the form of cereals, vegetables, coconut and arecanut as a part of their contribution for Maha Nadavali. Called as the "Hasiruvani-Hore Kanike" these offerings will in their own way try to strengthen the hands of the Heggade in conducting the Maha Nadavali festival.

The entire Dharmasthala village will be decked up as a bride for the festival. On either side of the car street thousands of devotees gather to watch the festivities creating a fantastic atmosphere. Entertainment teams bring in wild exuberance.

The pinnacle of the Maha Nadavali festival is the "Chappara Soore" programme signifying sacrifice at its exquisite best. On this day thousands of daily use commodities are displayed in front of the Chandranatha Swamy Temple. At the stipulated time, the public are let free to loot the items. Thus allowing people to choose and carry the items of their choice, other than the organised charity of Dharmasthala.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

My Dear Children,

I have been planning to write this Letter for quite sometime. Maybe, I just waited for all of you to grow up to understand what I am trying to convey. The story goes back many years. When God sent you to this world, it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to your parents.

Every little nudge and kick in your mother's womb opened up a new world of happiness and expectations. Then, one day, a miracle happened. You were to begin a new journey from the warm, happy, secure world of your mother's womb to a world that is cold and full of insecurities. Nevertheless, the joy that your parents felt after this journey knew no bounds. They were on top of the world. But, unfortunately, this happiness was short lived. That very day you started turning blue in color. The doctors had found a hole in your heart which shattered the dreams of your parents. They were devastated and could not understand why they were being punished in this way. They had no choice but to accept the inevitable and decided to give you the best possible medical care.
Before that, they had to overcome two major hurdles. They could not afford the cost of your heart operation and they could not wait since you were turning blue every time you cried. I guess this is a penalty you have to pay for being born in a third world country. Yes, when you were ten days old you had a price tag on your life. If your parents paid the price, they could have you, if not, you would have to go back to where you came from. Your mummy and daddy went through phases of self-pity, denial, mutual accusations and anger towards the society which was indifferent to their problems. Your daddy was upset since he knew that the price tag on your life was less than what his boss would spend on a Saturday evening party. But that is life and one has to accept it. Time was running out and your daddy was getting desperate until he came to know about me. The first thing he told me when we met was "I heard you love children". Yes, I love children and I have four of my own. My profession is giving hope to those suffering from heart diseases and giving them a chance to start life in a fresh new way. I am essentially a technician who can cut and stitch people's hearts; they call me a heart surgeon.

When I met you first, you were barely 10 days old, cuddled in a warm blanket close to your mother's heart. Except for a bit of rapid breathing and bluish nails on your finger, you looked like an angel. I am sure you cannot remember, but I asked you a question "Do you want to be my friend?". This is the question I ask all the children I see. I did want to be your friend and I worked so hard to gain your friendship. I clearly remember your mother's face when she was handing you over to the operation theater nurse. She kissed you and looked at my face with an expression that she is handing over her most precious possession to me, also with the total confidence that I will take care of you.

It was a different sort of love triangle between your father, mother and myself, with you at the centre. We would have done anything in this world to get you back. It took me 6 hours of intense concentration to operate upon your heart and so many sleepless nights before you started smiling again. God was kind to you that time and you made a marvelous recovery. It was a big day for your family when you were being discharged from the hospital. Both your mummy and daddy would have thanked me a million times before they left the hospital. But you were blissfully unaware of what was going on and you were happily clinging on to your mother's chest. My eyes began to swell with tears and I turned my face the other way, since a cardiac surgeon is not supposed to cry. Through the corner of my wet eyes, I saw your face one more time and I knew, I had found one more friend. Your friendship and love is the only fee I expect for treating you.

As a heart surgeon, I have performed more than 4000 operations on children like you suffering from heart disease. Most of them came from poor families. Despite their backgrounds, I treat all for free. I think this is the best way I can repay God who has given me everything I wanted, a good family, a wonderful wife and loving children. For me this world is such a happy place to live in and in my own small way, I strive to make it happy for others around me who are not so fortunate.

You must be wondering what inspired me to take this path. I guess, I became a doctor because of the recurrent illnesses of my parents. My childhood was spent with the fear of losing my mother. My father, who was a diabetic had multiple episodes of diabetic coma. In the lives of the nine of us, God was a distant image and his clear image was that of a Doctor who could save the lives of our parents.

Another childhood incident left a lasting impression on my young mind. I remember, it was a Saturday afternoon. I was trying to build a car, I think, out of match boxes and sticks, like all the other children in my village while, my mother was speaking to a distant relative of ours in Mumbai. This lady was telling my mother about a particular surgeon who apart from saving her child's life also offered his service completely free of cost. I could hear my mother blessing the mother of that surgeon for giving birth to such a wonderful person and ended up saying that this world is still a wonderful place because of people like him.

That was the time I found the purpose for my life, the purpose of bringing happiness to all the children of this world. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I was trained to be a heart surgeon at Guy's Hospital, London. My colleagues there called me an "operating machine", since I loved heart surgery.

I left England in 1989 to start a state-of-the-art heart hospital called B.M. Biria Heart Research Centre at Calcutta. It was a great experience to set up a heart hospital which soon became one of the best heart hospitals in India. And almost immediately after we set up the research centre, we started the paediatric cardiac surgical facilities to take care of children suffering from heart diseases. Little did I know that this centre was to rewrite medical history. My mother at that time was living in a small town near Mangalore. It was my father's death anniversary and she spent almost the entire day in the prayer room. In the evening, my sister who was watching the news on the national network, all of a sudden screamed out for my mother. My mother hurried to the living room to see her son on TV, with a nine day old baby who underwent a successful open-heart surgery. He was the youngest baby at that point of time in India to undergo this procedure. It was the beginning of heart surgery on newborn babies in India. I guess at that time, many mothers would have prayed for my mother's well being too.

Let me tell you about another incident. Do you know the definition of a paediatric cardiac surgeon? The dictionary says he is a surgeon who specializes in the treatment of heart ailments in children. A few years ago, when Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack, I was put in charge of her heart care. One day, Mother, who at that point of time was convalescing in the intensive care unit of the hospital, saw me examining a blue baby. After few minutes of thought, she turned towards me and said, "Now I know why you are here. To relieve the agony of children with heart disease. God sent you to this world to fix it". To my mind, this is the best definition ever given of a paediatric cardiac surgeon and perhaps the best compliment that I have ever received.
One day you will become an adult and probably a very important member of our society. You will have lot of responsibilities and commitments. All I ask of you for is, can you spare a few moments of your precious time every day for someone who needs it and that too without expecting anything back in return. Did you know that, to save your life, a few hundred people worked sincerely without expecting any remuneration other than the joy of making your family, friends and relatives happy?

Dear Children, we are all created by God and He is in control of all the events happening in this world. Unfortunately, He is not supposed to be seen, heard or felt. So, He runs His world using people like you and me. And when you do your work without expecting anything in return, just for the joy of bringing happiness to others, that's when you'll realize it is not your hands which do the job it is the Hands of God. God bless,

Dr. Devi Shetty April 1997, Bangalore

- This letter was written by Dr. Devi Shetty in the year 1997 after he had completed 4000 surgeries on children.

Narayana Murthy

Mr. Narayana Murthy was born on August 20, 1946 in Karnataka, India. He obtained his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (B.E.) from University of Mysore in 1967 and his Master of Technology (M.Tech.) from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur in 1969.

He founded Infosys in 1981 along with six software professionals. He is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor Officer of Infosys.

He was a member of the operating system team that designed real time operating system for handling air cargo for Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris. He was the President of National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) from 1992 to 1994.

Mr. Murthy is a member of the National Information Technology Task Force of India, and also of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry. He is a Director on the board of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Mr. Narayana Murthy is undoubtedly one of the most famous persons from Karnataka. He is known not just for building the biggest IT empire in India but also for his simplicity. Almost every important dignitary visits Infosys campus. The beauty about his family is that they believe in sharing their wealth with the needy. We wish the leading film actors in Karnataka had followed his footsteps.

He feels we need to review our reservation policy. He expressed this on Aug 11, 2001 during the convocation address at IIT, Delhi. He says perhaps we are the only nation in the world were people fight to be called backward rather than forward.

Mr. Murthy has received several honors and awards :

  1. The ET Businessperson Of The Year Award [2000-2001]
  2. The Max Schmidheiny Award - 2001
  3. He has been featured in the Asiaweek Power 50 (June 2000) - a list of Asia's Most Powerful People
  4. He has been named by Business Week as one of the Top Entrepreneurs of the Year 1999.
  5. He was chosen as the Business India's "Businessman of the Year 1999", the Indian corporate world's most coveted award.
  6. Business Week chose him as one of "The Stars of Asia" for three successive years, in 1998, 1999 and 2000
  7. He has been awarded the JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award for 1996-97
  8. He has been conferred with the Distinguished Alumni Award for the year 1998 by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  9. He is the Co-Chairman of the Indo-British Partnership
  10. He is a member of the Asia Society's International Council and Board of Councilors of the University of Southern California School of Engineering. He is also on the Wharton Business School's Asian Executive Board

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kempe Gowda

Kempe Gowda I (ಕೆಂಪೇಗೌಡ in Kannada) (1513-1569) was a chieftain of Yelahanka (now in present day Bangalore), a tributary of the Vijayanagara kingdom. He is credited with having established the Indian city of Bangalore in 1537. Kempegowda built the four towers which mark the boundaries of Bangalore.

Hiriya Kempe Gowda (c 1513-1569, c 1510-1570 AD) is also called Kempe Gowda, Kempe Gowda I or Bengalooru Kempe Gowda. He showed remarkable qualities of leadership from his childhood. He had the burning desire to extend his Kingdom to provide a just rule over it and to work for the preservation of Hindu Dharma. He studied in a Gurukula type of school in Aivarukandapura (Aigondapura), a village near Hesaraghatta, for nine years.

The story goes that one day he went westward from Yelahanka with his Minister Veeranna and Advisor Gidde Gowda in search of game and arrived near a village called Shivasamudra (near Hesaraghatta) some 10 miles (16 Km) from Yelahanka. While relaxing under a tree he conceived the idea of building a suitable city which would be his future capital. The city he planned was to have a fort, a cantonment, tanks (water reservoirs), temples and people of all trades and professions to live in it. He got the necessary Imperial permission of the Vijayanagar Emperor, Achyutharaya (Dasarahalli record dated 1532) and built the Bangalore fort and the town in 1537 A D. His capital was then transferred from Yelahanka to the new Bangalore.

On the site of the present Kodigehalli village towards the North-inward side of Hebbal tank, there was a small hamlet called "Hale Benga-looru" from where his mother and his wife hailed, Therefore he gave the name Bengalooru, to the new town.

There is another story about the origin of the name, Bengalooru The Hoysala king, Veera Ballala II, during one of his hunting trips in the area of present Bangalore lost his way and after hours of wandering reached a hut of an old woman. The humble woman offered cooked beans to the hungry king, which he gladly accepted and satisfied his hunger. The Prince named the place Benda-kaalu-Ooru (meaning "Boiled-Beans-Town") and in the combined form Bendakalooru. In later usage it became Bengalooru and in the Anglicized form, Ban galore. The 9th century (890 A D) inscription found in Begur, near Bangalore, speaks of the existence of Bengalooru much before the Hoysalas came into history. Therefore, historically the story is not acceptable.

There is an incident of a great sacrifice while the Gowda was building the mud fort of Bangalore. After the fort was built and one of its gates was about to be fixed up, it so happened that the portion so laboriously built all day long, used to collapse during the night The event plunged Kempe Gowda in deep thought. Suggestions were not wanting to remedy the problem. One of them was that if a pregnant woman was offered as a sacrifice at the gate, it would stand. But Kempe Gowda did not agree for that or the offer of his daughter-in-law, who was in the family way, to get herself sacrificed. However, one night his daughter-in-law (Lakshmamma), stole to the fort gate with a sword in hand and praying to her Goddess that the good work of her father-in-law may prosper without any hindrance, she beheaded herself. In the morning the workers found the gate standing intact but they also discovered the immolated body of Lakshmamma with the destructive sword in hand. Kempe Gowda bemoaned her loss and eventually built a temple at Koramangala, a suburb of Bangalore, and installed in it the idol of the heroic Lakshmamma.

Kempe Gowda built eight gates for the fort with a moat surrounding it. Inside the fort two wide roads ran from North to South and East to West. The other roads were made parallel or perpendicular to them. It is said that at the auspicious moment fixed by the astrologer, Kempe Gowda harnessed the bullocks to the ploughs at the central Doddapete square, at the junction of Doddapete (Avenue Road) and Chikka pete, got the ground ploughed and worked the four main streets running in four directions. One ran from Halasoor (Ulsoor) Gate to Sondekoppa Road from East to West, and another from Yelahanka Gate to the Fort running from North to South. These roads are the present Nagarthapete and Chikka-pete; and Doddapete respectively. The streets and the Blocks were demarcated for the purpose they were meant, like for business or residences etc. Streets of Doddapete, Chikkapete, Nagartha-pete were for marketing of general merchandise; Aralepete (Cotton pet), Tharagupete, Akki pete, Ragipete, Balepete etc. were for marketing of commodities like cotton, grain, rice, ragi, and bangles respectively: kurubarapete, Kumbara-pete, Ganigarapete, Upparapete etc. were for trades and crafts, and residences of Kuruba, Kumbara, Ganiga, Uppara castes respectively and similar petes' (Blocks). Halasoorpete, Manava-rthepete, Mutyalapete (Ballapurapete) etc. were meant for other groups of the society. The Agraharas were for the priests and learned classes. He got skilled artisans and craftsmen from the neighboring as well as far oft places and got them settled so that they could pursue their avocations.

Temples of Vinayaka and Anjaneya were built at the Northern Yelahanka Gate of the fort (near the present State Bank of Mysore). Dodda Basavannanagudi (The Bull Temple) and in its neighborhood, Dodda Vinayaka and Dodda Anjaneya and Veerabhadhra temples, were also built outside the fort on the Southern side. Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple in Gavipura was extended; Gangadhareshwara's (Shiva) Ayudhas' (Weapons), 'Thrishula', 'Damaruga' and the two 'Suryapanas (large discs of Sun supported by pedestals) of about 15 feet high, were carved out of a solid rock. A phenomenon witnessed on 'Makara Sankranthi' Day (January 14 or 15) in Gangadhareshwara temple should be pointed out. The rays of the setting Sun enter the 'Mukha Mantapa' through the Western window, pass between the horns of the 'Nandi" (Bull) and reach the 'Shiva Linga' located in the sanctum of the cave. Temples were endowed with substantial land grants, for the maintenance of daily 'poojas' and special 'poojas' on festival days.

Tanks were built for the water supply to the town, to the moat around the fort and for the irrigation of crops. Inside the fort, a big pond enclosed by masonry of dressed granite stones was dug and built (on the South-Western corner of the present Sri krishnarajendra Market). Dhar-mambudhi tank, which supplied water to the town (present Subhash Nagar, Bangalore Transport Service (BTS) and Karnataka State Road Transport Services (KSRTC) bus stands, in front of the city Railway Station), Kempambudhi tank (named after Ranabhaire Gowda's family Goddess, Doddamma or Kempamma), in Gavi-pura Guttahalli (recently dried up) and Samp-igambudhi tank (named after one of the daughters-in-law: present Kanteerava Stadium), which were meant for irrigation, were also built. Irrigational facilities gave much impetus to agriculture and horticulture and also encouraged laying of gardens and raising groves of fruit crops.

Kempe Gowda enlarged his territories and exercised humanness and justice over his subjects. These various developments reached the ears of the Vijayanagar Emperors. They were pleased with his activities and in appreciation, they bestowed on him the villages of Halasooru (Ulsoor), Begur, Varthur, Jigani, Thalagattapura, Kumbalgodu, Kengeri and Banavara, which were yielding an annual revenue of 30,000 Pagodas (a gold coin of Rs 3.5 value).

During Kempe Gowda's reign there was peace and prosperity in his kingdom. The people were contented and prosperous and carried on their avocations without any fear of frequent invasions. He set up his own Mint and struck Bhairava Nanyas (Pagodas or Varahas).

In the mid 16th century the Vijayanagar Emperors, who were well-disposed towards Kempe Gowda were dead and Sadashivaraya was on the throne. He was a weak Emperor and Aliya Ramaraya was all powerful. The neighboring palegar, Jagadevaraya of Channapattana, who had inherited the principality from his father-in-law, a penukonda ruler, was jealous of the prosperity of kempe Gowda and carried tales to the Vijayanagar Court. The minting of his own coins without the Emperor's prior approval and the rise in power of Kempe Gowda reached Ramaraya, who got the Gowda summoned to appear before the Imperial Court. When the Gowda did so, he was imprisoned at Penukonda and his territories were confiscated. Gowda kept his courage and cool and gradually gained the confidence of the Emperor, who recognized the real merit of the Gowda and restored his territories. He was released after being imprisoned for five years.

After he returned from Vijayanagar, the Gowda devoted more time to spiritual and moral welfare of his people He visited Shivaganga, which is famous as Dakshina Kashi, and prayed to the deities, Gangadhara and Honnambike The temples were in the midst of inaccessible rocks and ascent was difficult He built steps leading to the temples and a hall, to the East of the temple, called even today as "kempe Gowdara Hajara" (Audience Hall) Ulsoor Someshwara temple was extended by building a 'Navaranga', 'Mukha Mantapa' and the main 'Gopura'

One of his social reforms was to prohibit the custom of amputating the last two fingers of the left hand of the married women during "Bandi Devaru", an important custom of Morasu Vokkaligas. Besides being a benevolent and just ruler, he was a patron of art and learning. He authored "Ganga-Gouri Sallapamu" an Yakshagana in Telugu, the official court language at that time

After the defeat in the Battle of Talikote in 1565, the Emperor Sadashivaraya and Thiruma-laraya moved to Penukonda. As they were weak rulers many Palegars became independent of the Vijayanagar Empire

It is worthy of Kempe Gowda that Ban galore, which he had the inspiration to found and the foresight to build at the Southern part of Vijayanagar Empire, has grown to vast proportions and blossomed into a modern Metropolis in today's India

He ruled for about 56 years and died in c 1569 There is a metallic statue of Kempe Gowda posthumouslyinstalled(1609)in

Gangadhareshwara temple at Shivaganga and recently in 1964 another statue was erected in front of the Corporation offices in Bangalore According to some literary sources Bengalooru Kempe Gowda's elder son, Gidde Gowda, succeeded his father and he ruled for 15 years (c 1570-1585) but no inscriptions have been found to corroborate this. After him Immadi kempe Gowda (Kempe Gowda II) came to power in 1585.

Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara empire (Kannada: ವಿಜಯನಗರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ, Telugu: విజయనగర సామ్రాజ్యము) was based in the Deccan, in peninsular and southern India, from 1336 onwards. It was founded by Harihara, also known as Hakka, and his brother Bukka Raya. It is named after its capital city Vijayanagara, whose impressive ruins surround Hampi in modern Karnataka, India. It lasted from about 1336 to perhaps about 1660, though throughout its last century it was in a slow decline due to a massive and catastrophic defeat at the hands of an alliance of the sultanates, and the capital was taken, looted, and razed. Its foundation, and even great part of its history, is obscure; but its power and wealth are attested by more than one European traveller, such as the Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes and Nuniz, and the Venetian Niccolò Da Conti in 1420.

The Vijayanagar era continued the ancient tradition of Kannada literature. In Kannada, famous Jain poets were Madhura (patronised by Harihara II and Deva Raya I), Ratnakaravarni and others. Virashaiva literature saw a renaissance with many famous works by Singiraja, Mallanarya (who was patronised by Krishnadevaraya). Deva Raya II patronised several Virashaivas like Lakkana Dandesa, Chamarasa, Jakkanarya. Tontada Siddesvara was the guru of Virupaksha Raya II. Famous among Vaishnava scholars were, Kumara Vyasa (patronised by Deva Raya II), Chatu Vittalanatha patronised by Krishnadevaraya and Achyuta Raya, Timmanna Kavi (patronised by Krishnadevaraya), Narahari and Kanakadasa. Purandaradasa (who was patronised by Achyuta Raya) and Kanakadasa wrote Dasa Sahithya and Keerthanas sowing the seeds of carnatic music. Nanjunda, Kereya Padmarasa, Mangaraja and Linganna were other famous poets. The Vijayanagar period continued the ancient tradition of Kannada literature.

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara is a Royal Festival Celebrating victory of Truth over Evil. Legend has it that the Goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga slew the demon Mahishasura on Vijayadashami day. Dasara is a 10-day festival in the region culminating on Vijayadashami or tenth day. The day marks the successful conclusion of the preceding nine days called as Navarathri.

The preceding nine days of Navarathri have celebrations starting only after six days. The sixth day is in honour of goddess Saraswathi. Eighth day is dedicated to Durga and Ninth day is for Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. On tenth day a grand spectacular Procession is held which starts from Mysore Palace and ends in Bannimantap.

The State Festival
The Mysore Dasara festival was celebrated as the Nadahabba or the State Festival by the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore for over 600 years, the festival was a continuation of the festival of much larger scale celebrated by the Mighty Vijayanagar emperors. After the formation of Karnataka State the State Government has taken over the responsibility of conducting the Dasara Festival and has been declared as the State festival or Nadahabba. During the month long celebrations all the schools and colleges are given offical state holidays.

The Royal Family
The descendent of the royal family the current maharaja of Mysore Sikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wodeyar holds a private darbar in the Mysore Palace and the royal family members are accorded the due respects as in the old days and they take part activelt in the dasara festivities. The royal family of Mysore performs special Pooja on the occasion of Dasara.

Festivities and Cultural Programmes
The entire Mysore City is gaily decorated and illuminated. The Palace and other important buildings are illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet's meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people. Dasara Exhibition is arranged in the Doddakere Maidana, by the Karnataka Exhibition Authority, where the public and private sector industries, leading business establishments, State Government departments put up their stalls to promote industrial and corporate business for months.

Jambu Savari
When the cannons are fired and the 12-gun salute sounds to signal the beginning of the Vijayadashami procession , The three Dasara Elephants, along with nine others led by Balarama, will hog the limelight. Jambu Savari means ride on the Elephant, in the days of the Kingdom of Mysore the Maharaja would do the Jambu Savari on the culmination of the dasara celebrations sitting on the Famous Golden Howdah popularly known as Chinnada Ambari in Kannada. But now the Maharaja is being replaced by the statue of Goddess Chamundeshwari the state goddess or Nadadevathe.

Carnatic Music

Carnatic music (known as karnataka sangīta , कर्णाटक सङ्गीत in Sanskrit, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸಂಗೀತ in Kannada, கருநாடக இசை in Tamil, కర్నాటక సంగీతం in Telugu) is the form of Indian classical music that had its origins in Karnataka South India.

Carnatic music is of a melodic form and is typically a monophonic song with improvised variations. This is one of the world's oldest and richest musical traditions. It is primarily a vocal form of music; most compositions are written to be sung, and even when played on instruments, they are meant to be performed in a singing style. Almost all songs are devotional in nature, being addressed to one of the many Hindu deities.

Carnatic music developed gradually from the ancient musical traditions of India, upon which Sama Veda had an important influence. The Yajur-Veda, which mainly consists of sacrificial formulæ, mentions the vīna as an accompaniment to vocal recitations during the sacrifices. The concept of Sruti and Tala are based on the Vedic pitch/accent (also called sruti), and Vedic meter (called chandas). The Vedas are themselves called sruti, as they are recited in the pitch-based Vedic language. The chants evolved into two main notes with two accents forming the first concept of the tetrachord (four notes). Three more notes were added to the original tetrachord resulting in the first full scale of seven notes; within this scale were all the important and known musical intervals. The concept of the octave is also mentioned here.

The Vedic rishi Yajnavalkya (compiler of Sukla Yajur Veda) says in his Yajnavalkya Smriti: “Veena vadhana tathvangna sruti, jathi, visartha talanjaaprayasena moksha margam niyachathi” ("The one who is well versed in veena, one who has the knowledge of srutis and one who is adept in tala – all of them attain moksham or salvation without effort.") The Vedic Gandharvas (a class of beings) were the first to be exclusively considered celestial musicians. Natya Shastra (dated between 400BC and 200AD) is also an early work on Indian Classical Music and Dance.

Both Carnatic and Hindustani music shared a common history until the gradual increase in Persian influence on Indian Classical Music attributed to Mughal and other invasions through the north-west, leading to emergence of Hindustani Music as an independent genre. Carnatic Music started evolving independently with major contributions from later South Indian composers and musicologists. Carnatic Music also has a number of similarities with the Tamil music traditions, including the similarities between panns and ragas, swara system, usage of talas and the similarity in the song structures etc. The pan-Indian bhakti movement also laid a substantial basis for carnatic music as far as the evolution of kritis in various ragas, using religious themes is concerned.

The name 'Carnatic Music' is the anglicized form of Karnata Sangeetham, the traditional name of the classical music of South India. The Kannada composer Purandara Dasa is known as the Sangita Pitamaha or 'Patriarch of Carnatic music'. Carnatic music saw renewed growth during Vijayanagar Empire by the Kannada Haridasa movement of Vyasaraja, Purandara Dasa, Kanakadasa and others. Purandara Dasa, laid out the fundamental tenets and framework for teaching carnatic music.. Venkatamakhin (Venkateswara Dikshitar) is credited with the classification of ragas in the Melakarta System. He wrote his most important work Chaturdandi Prakasika (c.1635 CE) in Sanskrit. Govindacharya modified the Melakarta Scheme to include only Sampoorna ragas, which is the system in common use ever since. The three famous composers Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri, are known as the Trinity of Carnatic Music and composed hundreds of songs. These three were contemporaries and lived in Thanjavur district in the present-day Tamil Nadu.

The learning texts and exercises are more or less uniform across all the South Indian states. The learning structure is arranged in the increasing order of the complexity. The lessons start with the learning of the sarali varisai (solfege set to a particular raga)

Monday, October 16, 2006


Kuvempu was born in 1904 in Hirekodige, Koppa Taluk, Chikmagalur district of Karnataka to a Kannada speaking family. He was brought up in a place in the lush Malenadu region of Tirthahalli, called Kuppali, of Shimoga District, (central Karnataka, India). He pursued his studies in Mysore, and graduated in 1929 in Kannada. He married Hemavati on 30 April 1937. He began his academic career as a lecturer in Kannada at Maharaja's College. He went on to become a professor and a principal. Among the prestigious positions he held was the Vice Chancellorship of the University of Mysore during the period 1956-60. He was the first graduate from the University to rise to the position.
Kuvempu started his literary work in English first, with a collection of poetry called "Beginner's Muse", and later switched to Kannada.
He spearheaded Kannada as a medium for education, emphasizing the theme of "Education in Mother tongues". To cater to the needs of Kannada research, he founded the Kannada Adhyayana Samsthe (The Institute of Kannada Studies) in Mysore University. As Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University, he pioneered the study of Basic Sciences and Languages. He also championed the Publishing of "knowledge for laymen", started by G Hanumanta Rao.
In the year 1987, a new university was started near Shimoga, Karnataka in the name of Kuvempu. It is located in Jnana Sahyadri campus, 28 km from Shimoga.
His son K P Purnachandra Tejaswiis a polymath, contributing significantly to Literature, Photography, Calligraphy, Digital Imaging, Social Movements, and Agriculture.

History of Kannada

Stone inscriptions
The first record on Kannada language is traced to Emperor Ashoka's Brahmagiri edict dated 230 BC. The first example of full length Kannada language stone inscription (shilashaasana) in Hale Kannada (Old-Kannada) script can be found in the Halmidi inscription, dated c. 450 CE. Prior to this, there is an abundance of inscriptions containing Kannada words, phrases and sentences. The 543 CE. Badami fort shilashaasana of Pulakesi I is an example of Sanskrit inscription in Hale Kannada script.

Copper plate inscriptions

An example of early Sanskrit copper plate inscription (tamarashaasana) in Old Kannada script is the Western Ganga Dynasty Penugonda inscription date early 6th c. CE.(Govt. Museum, Chennai). The earliest full length Kannada tamarashaasana in Old Kannada script (early 8th c. CE) belongs to Alupas ruled by Aluvarasa II from Belmannu, South Kanara district and has the double crest fish, their royal emblem.

Ancient manuscripts

The oldest well-preserved palm leaf manuscript is in old Kannada and is that of Dhavala, dated to around 9th century, preserved in the Jain Bhandar, Mudbidri, Dakshina Kannada district. The manuscript contains 1478 leaves written in ink.

Kannada language inscriptions are the highest of any language in India, with more than 30,000. These inscriptions were not only discovered in Karnataka but also quite commonly in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Some inscriptions were also found in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. As an example, the inscription at Jura 964 C.E. (Jabalpur) , belonging to the reign of Rashtrakuta Krishna III, is regarded as an epigraphical landmark of classical Kannada literary composition, with charming poetic diction in polished Kannada metre. This indicates the spread of the language over the ages, especially during the rule of large Kannada empires.

Impact on other cultures and languages

Kannada has had significant influence on other Indian languages and overseas cultures. It has been brought to light the influence of old Kannada on the language of Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions from the 2nd. c. BCE - 4th. c. CE. These observations were made using grammatical and lexical analysis.

Charition mime, a Greek drama discovered at Oxyrhynchus and dated to 2nd century CE. or earlier contains scenes where Indian characters in the skit speak dialogue in Kannada.

Prior to and during the early Christian era, Kannada country seems to have been in close trade ties with the Greek and Roman empires of the west. Greek dramatists of 4th century BCE., particularly Euripedes and Aristophanes seem to have been familiar with Kannada language. This is evident in their usage of Kannada words and phrases in their dramas and skits.