Kaveri Ponnapa studied at Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi and took a Master's Degree in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, where her M.A. dissertation was on aspects of Kodava culture. She began work on The Vanishing Kodavas® in 1998, travelling across the district year after year, recording, interviewing, speaking to elders, attending festivals, locating and documenting some unusual ones, participating in ceremonies, ancestor propitiations, witnessing trances and possessions, all of which form the rich fabric of the culture of Kodagu. The unstinted support and patience of the elders of many clans, and the community, carried her project through the many years it took to complete it, and it is their voices that speak through the book. She participated in some of the least known, most ancient aspects of Kodava culture that have survived into the twenty-first century, and explored some of the most beautiful, remote parts of the region.
Kaveri has been an independent writer for almost three decades. Her articles on Kodava culture, as well as features on contemporary Indian Art, travel, food and wine, and heritage appear in leading publications. She has written a monograph on the artist Rehka Rao Hebbar, and contributed to Warm, Rich and Fearless, published by Cartwright Hall, Bradford.