Attimabbe is one of the most renowned women in ancient Karnataka. Ranna, one of the great poets sponsored by her has paid glowing tributes to her in his well known epic ‘Ajithapurana’. An inscription found in Lakkundi, (Gadag district) possibly written by Ranna and ‘Shanthipurana’ by Ponna provide some information about her.
Attimabbe lived in the second half of the tenth century and the first half of the eleventh century. Her ancestors belonged to Punganuru of Vengimandala which is presently located in Andhrapradesh. Mallappaiah and Appakabbe were her parents. Her father was a great patron of art and literature and he was a mentor of Ponna. Attimabbe was married to Nagadeva who was an able general at the court of Ahavamalla Someshvara the Chalukya emperor. Gundamabbe, her younger sister was also married to Nagadeva. Attimabbe had a son named Annigadeva from this marriage. Gundamabbe sacrificed her life on the funeral pyre of Nagadeva who passed away prematurely. Attimabbe was left mourning her husband as well as her sister. She took all this in her stride and led an exemplary life full of religious piety. She spent all her wealth in the cause of religion and art. She was bestowed with the title of ‘Daana Chintaamani’ for her ascetic and altruistic life.
Attimabbe got a huge Basadi (Jaina temple) built in Lakkundi (1007 A.D.) and provided sufficient funds for its upkeep. She distributed one thousand and five hundreds statues of Jina made of gold and studded with precious stones, to the devotees. She ordered the scribes to write one thousand copies of Ponna’s ‘Shanthipurana’ on palm leaves and they too were distributed among scholars.
Many inscriptions after her death and many poets of the next generation have sung her praise. However the poems written by Ranna are very poetic and have been preserved for their literary merits also. The Government of Karnataka has instituted an annual award in her name which is awarded to a woman writer.
References: 1. Attimabbe and contemporary woman culture, Govt. of Karnataka, Contains eight articles on Jainism and the position of women in the 10th century
2. Attimabbe (Novel) by Samethanahalli Ramaraya, 2004, Kannada Sahitya
3. Daanachintaamani Attimabbe (Biography) 1994, S.P.Patil and
Prashanthakumara Nalavara, Published by Jayapadma Chandrakeerthi,
4. Daanachintamani Attimabbe by Hampa. Nagarajaiah,