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Moodbidri's grand old building that served as court slinking into oblivion

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (SP)
Ganesh Kamath

Mangaluru, Jul 29: An old building in Moodbidri, which has close links with a veteran supporting actor of Sandalwood, where one of the finest Bharatnatyam artistes had taken birth, and which served as the court for a decade, is preparing to bid adieu to the town and cease to exist. It will join the echelons of several important buildings, memorials etc which can now be seen only in history books, because of the compulsions of modernity. It is but natural for the old to give way for the new.

A spacious house named 'Shivaprabha', which stands some distance away from the centre of Moodbidri on Mahaveer College Road in Jyotinagar is one of the few memorials in the history of the town which cannot be erased from the memories associated with this region. A look at the history of this building reveals that this house had been built by a wealthy person named P Nagaraja in conformity with modern trend prevailing at that time. He had named the house after his two children. It got credit for being one of the rare terraced houses of that period, and roof garden was the unique feature of this building.

Varada Devi, sister of national award winning supporting actor, Vasudeva Rao, who shot up to fame with his performance in Kannada movie, 'Chomana Dudi', owned this house. Dr Vasundhara Doreswamy, who grew into an internationally acclaimed Bharatnatyam danseuse, was the daughter of Varada Devi. Doreswamy, who was also associated with filmdom, was the son-in-law of Varada Devi.

Dr Vasundhara Doreswamy

Vasundhara took to Bharatnatyam at a very young age, mastered the art early, grew as a disciple of Muralidhar from Mangalore, and earned fame then by performing even in houses during festivals like Vinayaka Chaturthi. In course of time, this family shifted base elsewhere, but the sublimity of the house was preserved. Perhaps as a coincidence, when the court began to function in the town in 2004, this building was chosen as its office, because of the fact that government-owned buildings were not available. 'Shivaprabha', which housed the court for 11 years and hence happened to be the abode of the Goddess of Justice, was vacated when the court was shifted to its own, new building in 2015.

This unique building, standing in a 19-cent plot with some vacant space, was owned by entrepreneur, Meghnath Shetty, till recently. Shetty also had a desire to build his own house here. He changed his mind, and sold the property to another businessman. The building is now on the verge of being dismantled of its wooden pillars, carvings, roof, and grandeur. It isdanceuse rearing to become one with mother earth. After sometime, 'Shivaprabha' will live on only in the memories of the people of this region.

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Comment on this article

  • sid, mangalore

    Wed, Jul 29 2015

    old building can be priceless possessions if maintained and restored . The clock tower of mangalore would have been a icon for mangalore had it been saved .Very sad we lost it

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

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