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Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Kyathanahalli Treasure Hunt

On 3rd April 2009, I could realize a long standing dream, i.e., to travel to Kyathanahalli village, in search of our “Yoga Mestru” at Chaitanya Vidya Shala, Channarayapatna – Mr. K. S. Kantharaju. Kyathanahalli village is near Pandavapura (it is actually 5 kms away from the Pandavapura Railway Station a.k.a. KennaaLu) and I had known for long that it was Mr. Kantharaju’s native place. Long back, that is, just before he left Channarayapatna, probably around 1997-98, he had gifted me a book, and had written his address inside the book. From this, I could get to know that he was from Kyathanahalli. Also, about a year ago, Srikanta, a friend and fellow “Kantharaju admirer” :) had learnt from another source that Kantharaju was running a business at a place called “Arathi Ukkada”, which was also close to Pandavapura. I will come back to the Kantharaju story a little later…

Many a times, I had seen a signboard just after passing Pandavapura Railway Station that said “Way to Vivekananda Tample” while travelling from Mysore to Channarayapatna, and this time, I thought of taking a detour and checking it out by myself. Only after reaching Pandavapura Railway Station, I got to know that the temple is inside Kyathanahalli village itself, and that it is about 5 kms from that place. The temple itself, named “Vivekananda Mandira” is quite large and detailed, and has been built there over the last decade or so, with the funding of the Devine Park Trust, and a few other likeminded people, with importance given to “Sarva Dharma Samanvaya”, peaceful meditation facilities, “Daasoha”, “Upanyaasa” and the likes.

Here are a couple of snaps of the temple, and still-under-construction buildings of the ambitious project:

If anyone is interested in visiting this place, you can get in touch with the person below:

Mr. J. Krishna Kumar,
Public Relation Officer,
“Kripa Sinchana”
Kyathanahalli – 571427
Mobile No: 9900567362

Then, the obvious question came up. After taking a look at the Vivekananda temple and its facilities, I asked Mr. Krishna Kumar about Kantharaju, the Yoga teacher. He said he knew him, and straightaway pointed me to his home at the village. I could not believe that it would be so easy, but there I was, standing in front of the beloved Yogasana expert whom I had last met in 1999!

I could not believe when he could so vividly remember me and most of our schoolmates with their names, their parents and the way we to attend Yoga classes, and even the Asanas most of us were uncomfortable with, which was “Sheershasana” in my case. :)

He had an album of photos which were exclusively set aside for the photos taken during the Yogasana classes and competitions while he was at Chaitanya Vidya Shala. He could recall almost every name in the photos, and regretted that he had lost contact of almost all of them. Here are a few photos of his Yoga teaching days at Chaitanya Vidya Shala, Channarayapatna:

Getting back to Mr. Kantharaju’s story, he left his beloved school in 1998 to pursue TCH and get a regular teacher’s job in one of the government schools in and around his native place. But unfortunately, ridiculous changes to hiring rules coupled with favoritism and corruption meant that he did not get the job both the times he wrote and cleared the exams in 1999 and 2001. He then decided to turn his back towards the teaching profession, and concentrated on his family farms and floated a shamiyana and furniture business on his own at Arathi Ukkada, where people flock day in and day out to get the blessings of the presiding deity Ahalyadevi.

Arathi Ukkada is midway from Pandavapura Railway Station and Kyathanahalli, and his was the first such store in that place. It turned out to be a very successful decision for him, and he now says, the fact that he could not get the teacher’s job was probably a blessing in disguise, as he now has a healthy job at his doorstep. He says that he is confident of leading a satisfactory life with what he is doing, and of course, is now happily married with two kids. Here is him, obliging to have a photograph taken with me. :)

Thus, for me, the “Kyathanahalli Treasure Hunt” became a rousing success.


Unknown said...

you did admirable job prasanna.

Prasanna said...

Thank you :)

Unknown said...

thank you prasanna.... i miss him too much...