Akka Mahadevi was born in the 12th century in Udutadi village of Shivamogga (Shimoga) in Karnataka. She was initiated into the worship of Lord Shiva at a young age of 10 and later became one of the most prominent figure of the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement of the 12th century. She was one of the noted poets who composed Vachanas which are a form of didactic poetry. Throughout her life she composed 430 Vachanas and Channa Mallikarjuna became her signature in her poetry.
In her early life, She was married to a King against her wishes. But she had already accepted Lord Shiva as her husband and could not lead a regular married life. The misery of her life found its expression in her poetry. When her husband tried to force her into married life, she left her home and became a wanderer. In later stages she even discarded her clothes and covered herself only with long tresses and singing devotional songs in the name of Lord Shiva.
Later she reached a congregation of renowned devotees of Lord Shiva like Veera Shaiva Allama and Basavanna. Allama who tested her bowed down to her unwavering devotion and high intellectual spirituality. She was then accepted by the Veera Shaivas. She later wandered off to Sri Sailam where she merged with the Lord she loved and worshipped. She lived for a short span of about 30 years.
The renowned devotees of the Anubhavamantapa which had the likes of Basavanna, Allama prabhu, Siddharama, Kinnari Bommayya accepted her and greeted her as Akka (which means Sister) and later her contribution to the spiritual and cultural facets of society became remarkable.