Thursday 19 October 2017 News Updated at 07:10 AM IST
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In memory of a legend - Deccan Herald
In memory of a legend
Ronald Anil Fernandes, DH News Service, Mangaluru,
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MULTIFACETED genius On the occasion of Shivaram Karanth's birth anniversary, Ronald Anil Fernandes details the features  of a theme park dedicated to him in Kota, his birthplace
Kota, a small village in Brahmavar taluk of Udupi district, is synonymous with renowned writer Kota Shivaram Karanth. Kota is the birthplace of Shivaram Karanth, where he also wrote some of his books. Though his ancestral house could not be saved, Dr Kota Shivaram Karanth Theme Park, constructed in a place called Kolkere in Kota in 2011, has succeeded in keeping the memories of a person, who had become a legend in his own lifetime, alive.

A multifaceted genius who was hailed as a walking encyclopedia, there was no field that Karanth did not touch. While his novels that depicted the intricacies of life influenced generations of readers, his contribution to other fields like environment, theatre, Yakshagana and science communication was also immense. He also wrote for children on many subjects including the science encyclopedia.

The theme park, located around 20 km from Udupi, is the manifestation of the life of Shivaram Karanth. It depicts the essence of his work in various fields. It was developed by the Kotathattu Gram Panchayat of which Kota is a part. Kotathattu Gram Panchayat and Kota Shivaram Karanth Prathishtana manage the park. Kota Srinivas Poojary, a Member of Legislative Council, was instrumental in developing the theme park.

Many attractions

The entrance of the park has two statues of Yakshagana artistes, representing the two styles of the art form, badagu thittu and thenku thittu. The theme park comprises a landscaped garden in which there is a small pool with the life-size bronze statue of Shivaram Karanth in the middle. Sculptures that represent some of the iconic characters of his novels also decorate this garden. The life-size statue of Choma playing the drum reminds one of the classic Kannada movie Chomana Dudi that was based on his novel of the same name.

Similarly, ajji (grandmother), the lead character of Mookajjiya Kanasugalu, the epic novel which won the Jnanapith award for him can also be seen in the garden. A bullock cart with the sculpture of rider Koosanna, who used to take Shivaram Karanth in this cart, is also placed at a corner of the garden. Another attraction is a twin sculpture of Radha and Krishna seated on a swing.

An image of Shivaram Karanth addressing the audience is also placed in the theme park. Sculptures of his celebrated books are also seen here. Most of these sculptures were made as part of a 10-day workshop organised by the Shilpakala Academy. Besides, the park has busts of all Jnanpith awardees of Kannada, rare photographs of Shivaram Karanth, a library and an art gallery in its premises. The design of the aesthetically built auditorium is attractive.

The library has a collection of all the works of the author and also books from his personal collection. In the art gallery, paintings and photographs that portray the life and works of Shivaram Karanth are on display. Most of the paintings have scenes from Shivaram Karanth’s novels.

Celebration of literature

A number of literary and cultural programmes are held quite often in the auditorium. Every year, a special programme is organised in the auditorium on Karanth’s birth anniversary, that is today, in which an achiever is honoured with Karanth Huttoora Prashasthi. The award was instituted 13 years ago by Kotathattu Gram Panchayat and Karanth Huttoora Prashasthi Prathishtana. On the occasion, a 10-day-long literary-cultural programme is also organised with various events like cultural programmes, children’s fest, Yakshagana performances, seminars, theatre activities and poets meet.

This year too, a 10-day programme titled Tambelaru - 2017 has been organised.

The younger audience is not left behind at the theme park. In fact, various activities like training the children in Yakshagana, music and bhagavathike are also organised at the campus. A recent Yakshagana training camp had around 30 children participating with enthusiasm. Last year, Kotathattu Gram Panchayat with support from Kota Srinivas Poojary organised a sports meet for all the gram panchayat representatives of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. It is said to be a first of its kind not only in the State, but in the entire nation. As it was well-received, the event is also planned for this year. With such a wide range of activities, the theme park attracts not only art and literature enthusiasts, but also many common people.

The renovated residence of Kota Shivaram Karanth in Puttur, another place linked to him, will be opened to the public today. A team of conservation architects of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) restored the house. Karanth, who built the house in 1930, lived there until 1973.