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Uppinakudru, located 6 km north of Kundapura Udupi District (Karnataka, India), is a small island village, once famous for trading of salt (uppu) and seafood (picking of sea shells in backwaters). It is the native place of Uppinakudru Kogga Devanna Kamath, internationally known artist for Yakshagana puppet dance or puppetry.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Education
- 4 Economy
- 5 Yakshagana puppetry
- 6 Temples and Mutts
- 7 Awards
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
Uppina Kudru name comes from two words in Kannada. It means an island of salt or place where salt is produced and exported.
It was isolated from main land of Kundapura and main means of transport was by boats only. During Tippu Sultan's regime, Uppinakudru was a major armament storage point. It is also a through destination from Arabian Sea towards Basrur which was a major trade centre up to 19th Century. Coconut trees were to be found around the island which literally hide the island from pirates, which was useful up to 20th century as this village was near an important trade sea route. Vessels sailing to Basrur, (then an important business centre, now a village) must pass Uppinakudru village.
The village has three Kinder Gartens of which one requires new building (presently running in Lord Vasudeva temple). The higher primary school, which was built in 1917, has churned out nearly 5000 students. It has mid-day meal scheme running efficiently. In the year 1992 a new building was constructed. Sri U. Nagappa Aithal and Yajnanarayana Aithal are motivating personalities of new building for the higher elementary school.
The Government high school in this village was established on 16-01-1993. It had a strength of 125 students during 2005. 569 students have passed as of 2005.
People of this village largely depend on agriculture. They grow paddy, ground nut and various types of dhal (pulses/lentils). There is a milk collecting centre which provides livelihood for many people. Formerly sugarcane was grown. This is not grown anymore as there is no reliable market nearby. Self-help groups which have come into existence recently have helped many people to stand on their own legs through co-operative movement.
Yakshagana string puppet show is the major art of this village (puppet dance with music in Yakshagana style). The wooden puppets are about 18 inches high. Their costumes are similar to those worn by the characters from Yakshagana Bayalata, with the same elaborate make-up, high and colorful head-gear and heavy jewellery. The person who infuses life into the puppet and makes it come alive, by dexterous manipulation, is the puppet master, known as the 'Suthradhara'.
The contents of the Yakshagana puppetry, as in every other ancient performing art, are drawn from the Epics and Bhagavatha Purana. There may have been possibilities for embracing secular themes, but the older tradition still persists. Yakshagana puppetry has lived through the onslaught of social and economic ravages and now reposes safely in the hands of handful of devoted practitioners.
This ancient folk art was founded by three brothers, Laxman, Narasimha and Manjappa Kamath, three centuries ago at Uppinakudru, a small village of Kundapura Taluk. Devanna Padmanabha Kamath, the grandson of Laxman Kamath, pursued this profession with missionary zeal. With the able assistance and patron age of Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya, Sri Srinivasa Mallya, Sri K.Sanjeeva Prabhu and Sri K.S Upadhyaya for improving this art, Devanna Kamath got National recognition by winning National Award in 1966. Sri Kogga Devanna Kamath staged many shows in the country and abroad and participated in many National and International Festivals. Now, Bhaskar Kogga Kamath, son of Kogga Kamath, has popularised this art and has staged numerous puppetry shows all over the world.
National recognition for puppet art
Temples and Mutts
Though it has a small population, the island boasts of 3 temples and 8 mutts. It is noteworthy that car festival has been a regular annual feature throughout. All temples are being renovated regularly.
Lord Gopalakrishna Temple is one of the famous temples in Uppinakudru. Lord shiva temple is near to this. The fair is celebrated on Ramanavami every year.
Lord Vasudeva Temple
Vasudeva is the village deity. This temple was the seat of education in olden days. The idol is of historic times, and it is believed that application of Gandha (sandalwood paste) on the forehead of the idol for centuries has made a dent on the forehead of the idol.
Siddi Vinayaka Temple
Adjacent to the Vasudeva temple is the temple of lord Ganesha. It is said that during British rule in India tobacco was exported from here. As idols fetched lot of money in foreign market, it was planned to smuggle this idol (stolen from a temple in mainland) in one tobacco bundle. But somehow, it slipped from the tobacco bundle and was dropped here and a temple was built for the statue. In the year 2002 and 2005 this temple was renovated with masonry work. A new Dwajastambha and wooden chariot were also built.
Lord Laxminarasimha Mutt
Lord Laxminarasimha Mutt is located in the heart of village near the high school, higher primary school and Varada Ganapathi temple. This mutt is the leading mutt with largest land holding in the village. This mutt has been renovated in the year 2004. The other notable mutts are Ishwar mutt, Ganapathi mutt, Gopinath mutt and Devi mutt.
The Bobborya daivastan has many devotees in Gangolli & Kundapura. People eking out a living from the river (picking chippu and catching fish) are the main devotees.
This tiny village has been bestowed with four national awards.
- In Education field, Sri Anantha Maiya and Sri U. Nagappa Aithal are the recipients of national award.
- Father-son duo of Sri Devanna Kamath & Sri Kogga Devanna Kamath are the other recipients of National award in fine arts. Their specialization is in Yakshagana string puppetry.
- Helen Rebello, daughter of Alphonsus Rebello, ex-chairman of Uppinakudru Village Panchayat, holds the distinction of being the first female graduate from this village. She attended the International conference as one of the two delegates chosen from India, held in Chicago, U.S and won the Excellence Award for the Best Teacher for the year 2005 in Bangalore.