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

The Hindu - - NEWS - Veeren­dra P.M.

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.

VAIDYA ■

Go­ing back in time: An an­cient tem­ple near Ke­shava­pura in Tirtha­halli taluk of Kar­nataka.

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