Kanthapura

by

Raja Rao

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Kenchamma Hill Symbol Analysis

Kenchamma Hill Symbol Icon

According to village lore, the Kenchamma Hill near Kanthapura is red because the goddess Kenchamma fought off an evil demon there, and the blood from the battle soaked the hill. Kenchamma Hill offers Kanthapura’s residents physical proof of their goddess’s providence for them and demonstrates the way the village’s traditional religion is grounded in the landscape and topography of its surroundings. The hill is an important directional landmark for Kanthapura’s people, and Achakka frequently notes when people pass it on their travels, as passing the hill demonstrates that one has entered Kenchamma’s domain. Kenchamma Hill plays an important role in the villagers’ resistance campaign, too. Achakka believes that “no policeman could catch” anyone who hides out there, presumably because of Kenchamma’s protection. Ultimately, this proves false—the policemen beat protestors there just before the villagers burn Kanthapura to the ground. In this way, although Kenchamma hill symbolizes the villager’s deep cultural and physical sense of connection to the land on which their village rests, it also symbolizes the ways in which that connection can be violently severed.

Kenchamma Hill Quotes in Kanthapura

The Kanthapura quotes below all refer to the symbol of Kenchamma Hill. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Kanthapura published in 1963.
Section 1 Quotes

Sometimes people say to themselves, the Goddess of the River plays through the night with the Goddess of the Hill. Kenchamma is the mother of Himavathy. May the goddess bless us!

Related Characters: Achakka (speaker), Kenchamma
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
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Kenchamma Hill Symbol Timeline in Kanthapura

The timeline below shows where the symbol Kenchamma Hill appears in Kanthapura. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Land, Geography, and Belonging Theme Icon
...and wives, and the goddess fought him back all night. The battle soaked her namesake Kenchamma Hill in blood, and now the part above the Tippur stream is red, which is proof... (full context)
Section 10
Oral Tradition, Writing, and Political Power Theme Icon
Nationalism and Colonialism Theme Icon
Labor, Exploitation, and Economic Independence Theme Icon
...they leave “with the light in our souls.” “Somewhere beyond the Bebbur Mound and the Kenchamma Hill ,” Achakka assures the reader, Moorthy “had grown even more sorrowful and calm.” (full context)