‘We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us’- is what Winston Churchill once said and it is now very evident in RKP’s contribution to the society in the form of illustrious establishments.
SHARADA KALA KENDRA
A musician turning into a guru is definitely about the students but is also as much about the guru himself! The imparting of one’s mastery over an art to the generation next is of profound importance in the field of karnatik music and is seen as the foremost journey towards bliss. On this note, Sharada Kala Kendra was established in the year 1990 by Sri R.K. Padmanabha in the loving memory of his beloved mother. The journey of Sharada Kala Kendra began with the objective of inculcating the very sense of karnatic music into every student beneath its roof. However, the reach stretched, and the horizon widened as the purpose broadened. RKP trains his students who sum up to a 1000 in number as of today, competently, thoughtfully and with appropriate caution, in consideration of his own values and that of his students. An aspect that stands RKP apart from the rest is, though the class room training is rigorous and stringent, it is never confined to the walls of his school nor is the sole purpose to perform. Sharada Kala Kendra has been responsible for fabricating one of the finest of the young musicians today under the tutelage of RKP who are now accomplished and capable of tutoring yet another generation altogether! Also, the school has brought hundreds of men and women together who are now professional renderers of goshti gayana. The Kendra also has expanded itself to accommodate the growth and is a sight by itself to watch the students gear up for each class packed with narrative sessions, kriti learning, manodharma jamming etc making it one of the finest creative schools of music.
SAPTASWARA DEVATHA DHYANA MANDIRA
If Rudrapatna today is celebrated for something other than its deep rooted music and R.K. Padmanabha himself, it is the architectural marvel erected there – The Saptaswara Devatha Dhyana Mandira. The Tanpura shaped colossal was brought into life after decades of dreaming and conceptualizing by RKP in the year 2008 dedicating it to the doyens of music fraternity - Purandaradasa, Vadiraja, Kanakadasa, Tyagaraja, Mutthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Shastry with Goddess Saraswathi in the Aadhara Sthaana. This idea has been executed in the clean environs of Rudrapatna and has gone on records too. The monument incorporates every aspect of the instrument itself and the Saptaswaras. For instance the monument is seated on a foundation in the shape of a heptagon depicting the seven notes of music and also has seven steps to its entrance! The gigantic tanpura has 72 flowers on its dandi (stem) depicting the 72 melakarta ragas of the Karnatik system.
Also the temple is electronically sound with sensors that add in the extra sense of divinity with shruthi playing as soon as one enters the temple! One is sure to be surprised as soon as they touch the feet of every deity here as a pre-recorded piece of information plays about the deities thus enlightening one’s knowledge of the upasaka! With the sruthi playing in the background, one can never stop indulging himself in the resonance of the nada.
Encompassing this Nadapeeta is a fence that has been scribed with the entire music fraternity and lineage of Rudrapatna. With two little fountains on either side of the pathway that leads to this abode, the temple is a spectacle on its own when lit up during the night. RKP has re-invented a distinct culture and devotional aspect of music through this brain child of his.
DWADASHA SWARA STAMBHA MANTAPA
Since earliest of times, music has been an integral part of temples in India. Ancient Temple sculptures show that music has always been an inherent part of the Temple Heritage. Saptaswara pillars in the Ranga mantapa of Vitthala temple at Hampi, strikes as the most significant among these heritage architectures, comprising of 7 pillars, each emanating one of the 7 notes of Raga Shankarabharana. Many more such experiments of musical pillars were conducted over the years.
Dwadasha Swara Stambha Mantapa is the second among the two musical marvels at Rudrapatna, where all the 12 notes (Shadja, Shuddha Rishabha, Chatushruti Rishabha, Sadharana Gandhara, Anthara Gandhara, Shuddha Madhyama, Prati Madhyama, Panchama, Shuddha Daivatha, Chatushruti Daivatha, Kaishiki Nishada, Kakali Nishada), that form the basis of Indian classical music can be heard by striking each pillar. All the 12 pillars are monoliths (carved out of a single stone). This is not only a musical wonder but also facilitates the foundation of music education at rural level.
Extensive research has been done to realize these kind of pillars as they require stones with specific properties. Each stone is carved with particular height, weight and depth using scientific methodologies to finally emanate the exact frequencies of the notes. In the district of Hassan which is popular for its Hoysala architecture, this beautiful mantapa has been engineered similarly with advanced technology.
Both the above temple are located in the same premises. These two architectural sensations are one of the primary reasons that justify the title 'Sangeeta Grama' given to Rudrapatna.
VADIRAJA KALA BHAVANA
Vadiraja Kala Bhavana is yet another master piece of RKP, located in the heart of Akshaynagara, Hulimavu of Bengaluru. It was established in the year 1999 by His Holiness late Sri Vishwotthama theertha, the then pontiff of Sonda mutt, and has witnessed many great stalwarts and artists perform and present intricacies of karnatic music with fervour.
The aavarna of Vadiraja Kala Bhavana comprises of a Dhyana Mandira, an auditorium, a hall and a kuteera. The dome shaped Dhyana Mandira where an idol of Sri Vadiraja Swamy is installed, is full of positive and divine vibes. The monthly concert series 'Vadiraja Nada Seve' started by RKP to encourage the young musicians and students is conducted here in the Dhyana Mandira. Just outside the Dhyana Mandira, to the left of it is a small temple of Sri Bhootaraja (ardent devotee of Sri Vadiraja Swamy).
The huge AC auditorium has been named as ‘Vasudeva Gana Mandira’ after the stalwart Sri Mysore Vasudevacharya. This is where all the major concerts and lecture demonstrations are held. The other hall on the ground floor is a multipurpose hall adorned with pictures of all the great musicians and musicologists from the Karnatik and Hindustani music fraternity reminding the students and the public of its glorious tradition and journey. Also this hall is open for classes such as shloka, dance, discourses on Swami Vivekananda etc., exposing the youth and children in the vicinity to the diversity and vastness of our culture.
The Kuteera is a recent addition to the premises and is designed to look like one. While it has a typical hall and a room, it gives a feeling of the Gurukula system when Guru R.K. Padmanabha decides occasionally to conduct advanced classes for days together! Learning something as divine as Karnatik music, at a place as divine as this, is truly a bliss for his students!
The Bhavana, as it is fondly addressed, also hosts various musical festivities through the year in the presidency of RKP. Few being -
Sri Purandara and Sri Tyagaraja aradhana mahotsava
Sri Vadiraja aaradhana mahotsava
Sri Vasudevacharya aradhana mahotsava
RKP also recognizes and confers upon meritorious artists with ‘Vadiraja Prashasti’ on the auspicious day of Sri Vadiraja Aaradhana Mahotsava. A lot of social activities such as eye camps, Ayurveda workshops and free camps are also conducted here.
Amidst the green environment of Kala Bhavana, a magnificent statue of RKP has been installed by his students at the entrance, for his great effort and contribution to the music field.