Karnataka govt. takes efforts to solve mystery over birthplace of Purandara Dasa
Though it was widely believed that the mystic poet was born in Purandharagad, Maharashtra, many in Malnad claim that he hailed from the region
To explore definitive archaeological evidences that may put an end to speculations regarding the birthplace of Purandara Dasa, hailed as father figure of Carnatic music, the Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums will soon commence field research work at Keshavapura in Araga Grama Panchayat of Tirthahalli taluk in Karnataka.
As ‘Purandara Vithala’ was the pen name of his compositions, it was widely believed that the mystic poet was born in Purandharagad, Maharashtra. However, many in Malnad claimed that he hailed from this region.
According to historians, Araga in Malnad was a buzzing commercial centre during the Vijayanagar rule, the period to which the poet belonged to. Referring to the names of the places in the vicinity of Keshavapura — Varthepura, Vithalanagundi, Dasanagadde, it was argued that these places were inhabited by merchant community influenced by the Vaishnava tradition to which Purandara Dasa belonged. The late Patamakki Rathnakar, former MLA of Tirthahalli, who had requested the Karnataka government to conduct research over the issue, had said that many words that figured in Purandara Dasa’s compositions were used by people in Malnad then in their day-to-day life.
Prior to his initiation to Haridasa tradition, Purandara Dasa was a rich merchant and was called as Srinivasa Nayaka. Referring to this, the proponents of the theory that Puranadara Dasa was born in Malnad point out that ‘Nayaka’ title was attributed to locally influential people, including wealthy merchants in Malnad during the Vijayanagar rule.
To solve the mystery regarding the birthplace, the State government had directed Kannada University, Hampi, to form an expert committee. The committee formed by the university comprised R.K. Padmanabha, music expert; Leeladevi R. Prasad, former Minister of Kannada and Culture; A.V. Navada, Veeranna Rajoora, Aralumallige Parthasarathy and Shivanand Virakthamutt, experts in Kannada Bhakti Sahitya or devotional literature.
After visiting Keshavapura and surrounding places, the committee members said there was enough evidence to come to the conclusion that the devotional poet was born here. The committee had recommended that further research be conducted on the issue.
Shejeshwara R., Assistant Director, Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums, said archaeology experts would visit Araga and surrounding villages for preliminary research soon.
Going back in time: An ancient temple near Keshavapura in Tirthahalli taluk of Karnataka.