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363. Deciphering Tulu-nadu place names

The readers would observe that many of the Tulu Place names may not convey, on the face of it, any specific meaning or apparent meanings...

Friday, December 26, 2008

165.Pangala and Bangla

Geneticists are studying variations in the human genome haplotypes to trace the evolution and migration of human beings across the continents. Similarly the words especially those antique words and place names that have remained with and migrated to different parts of the globe can be employed to trace the human migration trends. In the previous posts I have tried to demonstrate that some of the words like Tulu, Bantu, Mande, Kola, Mangala, Sira, Siri, etc are quite ancient and have migrated with human tribes from the original cradle of human civilization namely the Africa.
The Pangala is one more such place names that can be added to this list of antique words.

Pangala is a village on the northern bank of rivulet Pangala in Udupi Taluk and can be encountered on the coastal NH 17 while travelling from Mangalore to Udupi..The village name Pangala has been cited in specific Tulu paD-danas suggesting the historical significance of this place in the evolution of Tulunadu.
The Tulu Nighantu provides that the word Pangala means a portion or share, possibly suggesting that it could be a segment of land given as a share.
Alternately, the word can be analyzed as pa+ang+ala. The 'angala' (now means, a courtyard) must have been originally an open area ('ang') by the side of a river ('ala') as already discussed in some previous posts. Then “Pāngala” represents an stretch of an area by the riverside. The prefix 'pa-' possibly represents water or river as discussed in some of the previous posts.

A word obviously related to Pangala is Bangal(a), Bangla or Bengal. The word is attributed to deltaic region of eastern India where Himalayan River Ganga debouches into the Bay of Bengal. The word Bangla apparently is an equivalent of Pangala with transition of consonants p.> b. The meaning of a riverside or watery land is also applicable to Bengal as is to Pangala.

Global Pangala
A search in the web provides interesting antiquity aspects of Pangala. We find that 'Pangala' villages exist in Angola and Congo regions of Africa. Similarly, Pangala can be found in Srilanka and Indonesia. It seems that the word Pangala has travelled to different regions along with the migrating human tribes in the remote past.
It would be interesting if persons having knowledge of these global Pangala villages explain us the meaning of this word in their present local languages.

Monday, December 22, 2008

164. Belthangadi, Uppinangadi..

There are several places in the Karavali known as 'Angadi's. For example Haleanagdi, Hosangadi, Belthangadi, Uppinangadi etc. An 'Angadi' means a shop in current Tulu and in Kannada. If we use that accepted prevalent meaning to these places these cited above would mean Old shop, New shop, White shop and Salt shop! No this in not true in the historical sense. In these words, the phrase 'urban area' or 'town' needs to be replaced instead of the 'shops'. Analysis of the word 'Angadi' suggests that it originally meant an urbanized area where shops situated like a market or bazaar.

There are places known as 'Angadi' s in Kerala also, implying that this toponymistic word was prevalent in different parts of the West Coast. Eventhough Angdi as a place-name is rather uncommon in Karnataka mainland, other variants of the word apparently existed around East Coast. For example Velangani ( or Vailankanni) in Tamilnadu suggests that it was Vela+angani, the 'angani' being a regional variant of the 'angadi'.

Adi (pronounced 'aDi') means 'the bottom' or 'the foot'. It originally represented the shade under a large tree where early Paleolithic human beings rested, before a culture of construction of huts initiated. The phrase 'maratta aDi, punkyeda aDi'(=shade of a tree, shade of tamarind tree) etc are used even now by the Tulu village folks.
ADi later represented a habitation with passage of time. Further it also represented an unit of measurement like 'aDi' (one foot, equivalent of a footstep).
PāDi (a farm or an area with trees) is derived from aDi. (pa+aDi) Examples include Bellipadi, Bellarpadi, Kukkipadi Ulipadi etc. Similarly māDi (ma+aDi) is also derived from aDi. Examples Hejamadi, Hemmadi etc.
The word 'ang' is a variant of 'anj' or 'anje' representing an open or uncovered area. (Note the word 'angai': ang+kei =open hand or the palm).
The words angar( Naiki language), angari (Naikri language ) and angad (Parji language) mean courtyard or bazaar in ancient Dravidian languages. (See 141. Village name suffixes)
The word 'angar' was an ancient equivalent of 'angadi', the bazaar. The words 'angār' and 'angaDi' (=bazaar or market) (as in Haleanagdi, Uppinangadi, Belthangadi, Hosanagadi Koppalangadi, Murathangadi, Mudarangadi etc) were in turn derived from --anj or -ang.

Therefore the word 'angadi' represented a open shaded area. Trade began in such open areas as seen in rural markets. Since the people met here for trade and other purposes these areas became the initial urban centres.

One of the oldest names of Mangalore was Mangar! Since 'angār' is a variant of 'angadi', mangar ma+ang+ār) could represent an ancient market or bazaar on somewhat an elevated ground (ma).

Haleangadi ,Hosangadi
The place name 'Haleangadi' thus means Old market or town. It signifies shifting of the market or township. 'Posangadi'(=new market) in Tulu represents the area where new market was initially. Located.
Apart from the Halenagadi-Posangadi near Mulki, there is a Hosangadi near Siddapur in Kundapura taluk.

The place name Belthangadi on the way to Dhamasthala originally was Belle-ta- angadi, the market/town of Belle. There are other 'Belle' villages especially in Udupi taluk. The 'Bellar' or 'Vellar' were a fair skinned tribals that settled in various parts of southern India. Bellara Bellari Bellipadi etc (see also 131.Belman to Bellarpadi)

Three possibilities can be deduced with regard to the origin of the name Uppinagadi.Possibly the place name evolved through three stages cited below No 3 to 1 with passage of time.
1.People now believe that the place Uppinagadi has association with salt trade. Uppingadi is situated at the confluence of two rivers namely Nethrāvati and Kumārdhāra.
2.Apart from the salt market tag, the Uppinagadi could have been a modification of Uppuna- angadi, the 'uppuna' represents a residing place.
3.The other possibility is that it was Uphe-na- angadi, where the Munda word 'uphe' or 'ubhe' means two or the junction of two rivers.(see posts 52 and 53). The Tulu equivalent name 'Ubār” (ubh+ar) also suggests of the habitation (ār) by the side of 'ubha'(=two; denoting the two rivers). The ancient word 'ubha' seems lost in current Tulu, but note that it has been preserved in the word 'ubaya' which means 'the both' or 'the two' .
Hosabettu Viswanath adds note on the word 'Ubar' (2):
Ubar/Ubaar (2) also means 'high tide' and brackish or salinity.The word is equivalent of 'ubbara'(Kannada) meaning high tide of the sea. Saline soil and land is called 'ubar nela'. The stink emanating from fields, submerged by high tide salt water, is known as 'ubar-moori' in Tulu. So fish caught in rivers or fields in monsoons smell 'ubar-moori'. It is a known fact that marine fish swim upstream along the estuary, during floods in rainy season and hence the Tulu idiom/proverb, "Ubargu badtina/mittarina meenigu abur ijji" (=No respect for the fish, which swims up-stream during high tides, i.e.they are vulnerable since caught easily).
In monsoons, the Gurupur (Palguni) River gets flooded. In turn the 'Bailare', stretching from Posodi (Hosabettu) to Panambur where the Bailare was debauching into the River (prior to construction new Mangalore Harbour), gets flooded. In those days, there were big catch of fishes, normally found in sea water, such as 'Maala', Paare' (Mullet),etc. in nets spread in Bailare, which is a natural course for storm waters.
However it may be noted that there are no evidences of high tide or salinity reaching up to Uppinangadi along the River Nethravati. But it is known that traditionally wood,rice, salt, condiments and other merchandise were being transported along the River Nethravati that connected the Coast and the Ghat uplands.Therefore, the name Tulu 'Ubar' for Uppinangdi could have been derived from (1) open yard (ar) by the side of two rivers(uba) or (2) open yard where salt was stocked for trade(ubar-salt, the product of high tide).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

163 Tulu Prefixes and Words

Additional data from Hosabettu Viswanath provides some more material on the aspect of ancient prefixes in Tulu and Dravida languages.
Incidentally, 'Mu' was the name of hypothetical continent that allegedly existed in one of the Earth's oceans but disappeared at the dawn of history. However, this has no connection to our Tulu prefix 'mu'.

Prefix 'mun'
Prefix 'mun' appears as a derivative of the prefix mu.
mun=initial,beginning, frontal,the first etc.
'Mundu'(front); 'mungar :(mun+kar= initial season of rainy clouds) . Munnade (mun+naDe=go forward), 'mungurul' (mun+kurul= locks of hair on the frontal forehead). Munjāv (mun+jav= early time, early morning),
Similarly, the opposite prefix of 'mun' is 'hin' as in 'hingar' (hin+kar =next rainy season, winter rains, also winter crops).

Prefix 'muk' or 'muv'
'Muk/v' means 'three' (mukkal, mukkalige= three legged stool or small chair). Muvver (=three persons)

Prefix 'mei'
Possibly prefix 'me' (pronounced 'mei') =above or upper.
Consider the word 'medale'.
'mei' + tale (head or shoulder)> medale. i.e. end part of sāri taken to back side over the shoulder. .
Apparently the original 'mei' evolved into words like 'mel' (mei+l) = upper or above.

Prefixes 'Pa' and 'pā'
There is a shorter 'pa' prefix besides the 'pā' cited in previous post.
Possibly pa=rocky, pā= water
Panja p' or pa+anja (=rocky land), punja (p'+anja =rocky land)
Pāngala pā+angala (land on the bank a river), Pāndi (pā+anDi). pā+ani=water

band+ar Enclosed or protected area, port. The port was a protected area within enclosures to protect goods since the historical days. However the word 'bandar'(=port) is apparently more widely spread.
In Maharastra, there is a place called 'Bandra' in the Western suburbs of Mumbai city, which was the centre of power of Portuguese in 16th/17th century before gifting away the Bombay islands to British as marriage gift. The word Bandra appears to be variant of the word bandar, the port. The Bandra is known as 'Vandra/Vandre' in Marathi.Earlier entire parts of the Mahim-Bandra Island was known as 'Salsette' Note the following lines on Bandra as gleaned from a Wikipedia page:

Bandra is a possible adaptation of Bandar, a Persian word for Port. There are other views on the origin of the name: that it is derived from a Portuguese Princess for one, and another more plausible one that it is a corruption of 'Bandar-gah' in Persian (Bandar is a common word for Port in Iran), which means Port. May be Vandre in Marathi and Bandar in Persian both mean port and come from the same Sanskrit root word. This area was under Shilahar dynasty in 12th Century. It is referred to as 'Bandora' in gravestones in the cemetery of St. Andrews Church and in the writings of Mount Struart Elphinstone of the English East India Co., which describe the endeavours to acquire the island of Salsette”.
Similarities in place names of Maharastra and Tulunadu needs to be studied further.

Prefix 'ban'
The prefix 'ban' (pronounced as bun) stands for forest or wild area and the Sanskrit equivalent of 'van'(forest).[A case of b>v transition;.banga>vanga]
Examples for place names with ban- prefix: Bannanje, Bannadi,Banvasi,
Further, the 'banga-' words as in banga, bangarasu, bangawadi,bangal,bangera,bangar, bangere (<.bengare) and also the 'banna' words like 'bannngayi' etc. could have been derived from this prefix.

There is a coastal village name 'Bankot' in Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra.
Written with Hosabettu Viswanath

Saturday, November 29, 2008

162. Evolution of Tulu language

Languages prevalent in India have been broadly classified into groups like Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic. The classifications somehow make us feel that language groups are water tight compartments.
However, like human beings,their gene structures, behaviour, skin colour and attitudes, languages have also evolved with passage of time. Tulu is one of the ancient world languages that has evolved in several stages in different parts of the globe in tune with the human evolution and migration patterns.

Formation of words
1.In Dravidian languages like Tulu, words appear to have been formed by the agglutination of smaller short words. Some examples have been enlisted here below to
show the features of agglutination. Earlier we have discussed some of these features especially in post No.141. Village Name Suffixes.

2.Some of the smaller words or their basic components have also been absorbed or adopted by Dravida and Sanskrit languages alike during the course of evolution. New independent words were formed from the basic word components. It appears that some of these short- basic-words borrowed by Dravida and Sanskrit languages may be older in origin than both.

3.Some of these small words evolved into prefixes and suffixes in some languages while some languages like Tulu have unknowingly discontinued the usage of prefixes, possibly because of absence of systematic or classified grammar during the course of its evolutionary history.
In other words, Tulu had prefix like short words in the earlier stages. This could be a feature absorbed from one of its precursor languages. However, some of these prefix structures were abandoned during the course of later evolution of Tulu language.

4. Analysis of ancient prefixes that prevailed (now buried in ancient words) in Tulu language is important and these prefixes can be resurrected to create new words to suit the demands of current usages.

Tulu/Dravida prefixes
Consider an ancient word like 'mudara'.
Mudara was a commonly used proper name of Tulu people in ancient days. There is a place called Mudarangadi near Padubidri. The word Mudara means fertile land or soil according to Tulu Nighantu.
Thus the word 'Mudara' can be analysed as mu+dara =fertile land. [mu =fertile, wet; dara=land].
Note that 'mu' has been used as an ancient short word or prefix in the construction of several other similar Tulu/ Dravida words, but its independent identity as short word or prefix has been lost with passage of time. That is to say that now we do not use (or are not aware of ) the usage of 'mu' as a prefix in present Tulu.

Word components
The other component word in Mudara, the 'dara' or 'tara', means land or earth.(Compare the Tulu words like: kanDada dara kaDpuni, dare laaguini, etc). The ancient word 'dara' has been absorbed by several Dravidian as well as Sanskrit during the course of evolution. Dara / tara (land) > 'da-re' (Tulu) earthen wall; 'dhare' (Sanskrit, =Earth). Uttara (Sanskrit, =north) is based on (ut + tara) the elevated land. Ettara ( Dravida word, =elevation) (et + tara ) originally meant elevated land/ place > (later simplified to) 'the elevation'.Note that the words 'ettara' and 'uttara' mean the same origin-wise but now they have different meanings. In the Gangetic plains of north India, the northern region (consisting of Himalaya and Siwalik ranges) were distinctly elevated compared to southern regions. Therefore in those areas where Sanskrit was the preferred language, the word 'uttara' meant north!

Note also some of the words derived from the base of 'tara' or 'dara' like 'taru'(= those grown on land; trees) 'tarakāri' (=grown on land,or plant products), 'darakās' (=own land, private land), 'darkār'(=right or authority over land), 'terige'(=tax on land), 'tiruve'(=tax/cess on land) etc.

Prefix mu
Consider some of the other Tulu words having a prefix of mu: mugal, mudel, etc.
Mugal. mu+gal/kal fertile sky > modified to rainy dark clouds. Kal was a variant of kār or gār. Mungar is a variant of mugal r>l transition and obliteration of m sound (anuswāra). kal/gal became kāl, the time. Ancient people used to study/watch sky ( and position of sun in the sky and resultant shadow) to ascertain time.
Kar and kār /kāl further also meant dark blue or black. Kariya, kargi, karmoda etc Dravida words were evolved. Note that Krishna, the Sanskrit word (k.r+sh+Na=dark skinned person ) was also evolved from 'kar'>k.r, the dark.

Mudel, Mudal mu + tal/dal.: 'mudal' or 'mudel' refers to bottom or initial part of a plant.[mu=good; tal /dal=bottom (tal >tala, bottom,lower part)]
The related word 'mudal' refers to the first or initial aspect . The mudal (=first) is derived from 'mudel' (= initial growing part of a plant).
Mudale(=crocodile).(mu+tale=pronounced head characteristic of crocodile).

Above illustrations suggest that mu was a short word or prefix in Tulu and Dravida languages in earlier days. Apparently the usage of prefix/short word 'mu' has been abandoned in present state of Tulu language.

Other Tulu prefixes
Mu is not the only prefix word in ancient Tulu We can find that there are many such lost prefixes. The expression 'lost' is used solely to suggest our present difficulty to trace the exact original meaning of some of these prefixes. Some of the 'lost' prefixes recognizable in Tulu include: Ku, Ko,Ti, Na, Pa , Ma, Mi etc.

Naravi (na=our? ravi/rayi=stoney area)
Navur (na=our? oor=village)
Nakre (Na=?

Kuvettu,[ku=fertile? ku+bettu]
Note an ancient Queens of Sri Lanka was named: 'Kuveni'.
Kumara, [ku=young youthful?, Māra=god ; related to 'Marava' cult].
The prefix Ku as in Sanskrit later became suggestive of negative or bad character.

Koila< Kovil? [ko=divine? illu=house, kovila, koila=shrine]

Ma=elevated area? As in manja, manji

Mi= enclosed, inner part?
Examples: Miyar,( mi+ār= enclosed/inner field?); Mijar( mi+jār=interior sloping land?); Midal(<.mi+tal=inner part/organs of head); Miraj etc.

Ti =wet land?
Examples:Timār(= a wet paddy field, ti+mār), Timare(=an aromatic herb growing in wet fields,'Brāhmi'; herb grown in timār).etc.

Pā=water? Primitive form of ' paani'?
Examples: Pāngala, Pāndi etc.

I have jotted down some of the above thoughts I derived while analysing the Tulu words. Later, these may be refined further. In the meanwhile readers may offer their opinions on these and other primitive Tulu/ Dravida word forms.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

161. Antiquity of Shira

Tracing roots of some of the common words and place names surprisingly leads us to locations beyond the shores our country from where our ancestors apparently set out on journeys several hundreds or thousands of years ago. Digging at the roots also reveal the evolutionary nature of many of the ancient words that might with passage of time have been modified to acquire newer shades of meaning in the true sense of growth and evolution.

The fascinating place-name is as mysterious as inscrutable it is. Shirva and Manchakal are twin urban villages to the south of the temple town of Udupi. The simple analysis Shir+va does not leads us anywhere as to it origin or meaning at the first attempt.
However,comparison with some similar place names throws some light on this word. Some of the village names that can be compared with Shirwa are: Shirthadi, Shiriyara, Shirur,Shiradi and Shira. The common thread in these names is Shira or Sira.
Infact, the name 'Shiriyara' (or Siriyara) prompts us to link these villages with the famous name of Siri, a legend in the Karavali.

Antiquity of the legendary name of Siri has been discussed in older posts. The roots of word Siri can be traced to some of the African heritages. Ethiopia has several places that contain the word Siri. Even the roots of the game Chenne ( Manquala games) popular since Siri days can be traced to African lands. Siri has been a popular word for Goddess of luck in Buddhism and Jainism and later it was adopted into Sanskrit as Shri who is equivalent of Goddess Lakshmi. The common title 'Shri' bestowed on our men to denote respectability originally came from the name of symbolic Goddess of luck, prosperity and wealth.
Some of the place names like Siriyara, Siribeedu, Siribagilu, Shirlalu etc appear to have been directly related to the legend of Siri in Tulunadu. (In these names s- or sh- sounds have been used interchangeably by different users).

However, the word Shira or Sira in our place names is not modification of Siri, but is an original word, though the words Siri and Sira appear to be interrelated in origin and evolution.
There are several distinct places known as Shira. The popular well known town Shira in Tumkur district, Karnataka is not the only example. There is a 'Shira' in Uttar Kashi district of Uttaranchal State in the northern India.. Besides there are several Shirur ( spelt variously as Shiroor, Sirur or Siroor etc) all over India.
However the word Sira, Siri and Siria can be traced in Africa and Europe. Syria is the name of a State in Africa. There are many hills and villages known as 'Siri' or 'Sire' in and around Ethiopia (Africa), Norway and Sweden (Europe). Sira is also the name of river in Norway. Old west Norse priest had a title called Sira. And in Nigeria a Siri (and dialect Sirawa) language is spoken.
These roots leads us to the conclusion that Tulu ancestors who immigrated to India from African Ethiopian roots in antiquity brought with them basic outlines of the legends connected with the 'Siri' of Tulu Siri paDdana.
These data suggest that the word Sira or Siri is not a word restricted to our region alone but rather transcontinental in nature that can be attributed to dispersal of the ancient word in tune with the human migration patterns.

Roots of the term Sira
In Indian languages the term Sira (or Shira) refers to head or peak (summit) in general. And possibly the Indian word Shila (rock) is derived from the original word Shira (r >l conversion). In Phoenician languages the word 'tsur' means rock and the term 'Syria' is considered to have been derived from or related to the cited word 'tsur'. The rocks especially meteorites that fall into the earth were reverently worshipped in the ancient days as we see the importance attached to the rock at Kaaba.
In Persian languages the word 'Siria' means sunny bright glowing light etc, apparently refers indirectly to Sun or the 'Surya ' of Indian languages. Thus Siri, Sari, Sara, Siria, Siraj etc male/female personal names popular in different parts of Africa Europe and India have been derived from the word Siri or Sira. Siri is a name popular in Norway and Sweden as is in India. The Indian title for respectable males, 'Shri' is derived from the word 'Siri'.
We can trace the origin of the word to ancient Sumerian language (6000-4000 BCE) where we encounter the phrase such as “E-gish-shir-gal “(=house of the great light). The Sumerian word 'Shir' or 'sher ' means to shine brightly.

The book of Ecclesiasticus of Old Testament is also known as the “Book of Sirach”. or “Ben Sira”. The book in Greek manuscripts is known as Sophia Iesou uiou Seirach, which means "the Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach". It is also known as Sophia Seirach (=the Wisdom of Sirach). The Hebrew fragments of Ecclesiasticus describes: "Wisdom of Simeon, the son of Yeshua, the son of Eleazar, the son of Sira".
Thus since the days of Sumerian civilization (6000-4000 BCE) and even during the beginning of Common Era the word 'Sira' meant divine light or God which suggests a connotation to the major source of light, the Sun. Further,the word Sira appears recurrently in Islamic tradition (600 CE onwards) too. Biographies of Prophet Muhammad are known as 'Sirah Rasul Allah'.The male Arabic name 'Siraj' means guiding light.
An overall analysis of the word suggests that Sira originally meant bright day light derived from the Sun. The light was considered heavenly and divine since it spread from the vast sky: auspicious and lucky because of its contrast with dark night. Similarly the meteorites that fell on the Earth from the sky were also called Sira, possibly because ancient people thought that it came from heaven. Because of this feelings, the meteorite fragment that survived while falling through the Earth's atmospheric shield were considered divine tokens, as perceived by the historical reverence attached to a specific basaltic rock at Kaaba. Thus Sira represented sky or that is above our head. This meaning was extended to represent top or summit portion of human body or peak of any hill.
Indian context
Migration of people from the African-Mediterranean region to India during several periods in the early human history obviously carried with them their cultural strains as well as their words. Their language was modified as a consequence of admixing with the places they settled but the basic words were absorbed into the new languages they adapted to. Thus five basic meanings were attributed or retained to the word Sira/Siri in the Indian context as follows:
Sira =the peak, the head, the top portion or summit. Sira> Shira
Sira =the rock, Sira>Sila
Sira =column, length or vein . Sire> Sele (=water bearing joint in the rock). Compare 'sele' (rock joint or water spring) with 'shile', the rock.
Sira =the divine light (Sun). Siria>Surya.
Siri =luck. 1.Heroine of an ancient Tulu paDdana (Siri), possibly Tulu equivalent of tamil Sangham literature. 2.Goddess of luck, prosperity and wealth in Buddhist and Jain traditions. 3.Also absorbed into Hindu pantheon of Gods as Shree or Lakshmi. 4.Siri.> Shri (=respectful Indian title of a prosperous man)

Our relevant village names
The usually accepted Indian meaning of Shira(=head or peak )is not applicable in the case of many our village names that contain the word Shira or Sira.
The village name Shirā possibly means divine and/ or rocky. Similarly Siriyara (= Siria+ara) and Shirthadi (Shiratta +aDi) might have been designated after the Siri, the Goddess of luck or the rocks. Note the word 'Siria' is similar to the Siria or Syria place/State name of the African continent. Shirlal is Shirila+ āl or the river-side village of the Siris', the plural term Siris being applied to a group of legendary ladies associated with the paDdana story of the Siri. The Shirahatti may be a divine village. However, in some of the villages known as 'Shiroor's along the coast, there are no trace of rocky outcrops or peaks worth describing. Hence, these Shiroors might have been named after Siri or the divine Sira.
Shirva (Shir+va) possibly means a village with rocky outcrops. Incidentally, an African dialect in Nigeria is also known as Sirawa. The suffix '-va' as village indicator is less common in Tulunadu, the only other example that comes to mind is 'Urva' (Uru+va) in Mangalore. The '-va' suffix may be a variant of '-ya' suffix as in Suria, Neri(y)a, Uliya etc.
It is no longer a mystery that vestiges of human evolution and migration have been preserved even in the evolution of words that have been handed out to us through generations.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

160 . The Pāndi culture

The Alupa/Pandya emblem of twin fishes (copper ) and (2) conch figure on an Alupa gold coin.

The word Pāndi (pronounced pānDi) designating an ancient wooden large boat employed to transport cargo deserves some more probe. Sediyapu Krishna Bhat's suggestion that Pāndya were the owners of the Pāndi cargo boats appears to be reasonable in the historical context. The Tamil Pandya Kings had also adopted the emblem of twin fishes. According to historians Alupa Kings adopted the emblem of twin fishes probably after 7 th Century CE, specifically after a war between Chalukyas and Pandyas at Mangalapura (Mangalore).

The Alupa clan appear to have originated and founded at Alupe village, near Mangalore to begin with. In other words Alupa dynasty derived its clan name from the Alupe village, located on the banks of River Netravathi with direct access to the Arabian Sea. The word 'Alupe' (Al + upe) represents a village on the bank of a river. The attributed Alupa.> Aluva word derivation was circumstantial and relatively later in origin. There has been several drastic geographic/geological changes in the drainage courses of Rivers Netravathi and Phalguni (Gurupur) especially during the time span of historical past.
It may be that Alupa Kings adopted the title Pandya after they came into contact with Tamil Pandyas, possibly who tried to befriend with Alupas on account of common 'Pandia' origin while fighting a war with Chalukyas. History tells us that Alupas were chieftains under Badami Chalukyas and therefore they sided with Chalukyas. Apparently the Tamil Pandya lost the Mangalapura war as result of hegemony between Alupas and Chalukyas.
Besides the emblem of twin fishes Alupa many of their coins also carried a symbol of conch (Shanka, a gastropod) another marine being which was held sacred. Lord Krishna in the epics was invariably depicted with a conch. These symbols corroborate that the Pandia/Pandya merchants were ardent navigators who worshiped marine symbols like fishes and conch.

Pandya Dhananjaya
The Alupa coins carry the title of 'Shri Pandya Dhananjaya'. The name 'Dhanajaya' generally refers to the middle Pandava brother of the Mahabharata epic, the Arjuna. However the word 'Dhananjaya' literally can also mean one who amassed (won) wealth or simply an affluent merchant! Therefore it appears that the title 'Shri Pandya Dhanajaya' was adapted by the Alupa Pandya Kings to represent Pandia the affluent merchants who became the rulers of the land. The gold coins minted by the Alupas imply and corroborate the 'Dhanajaya' status. The gold obviously had to be imported from upland Karnataka since gold deposits were not available in the Karavali.

Pāndi : word structure
The word pāndi can be analysed as pa+anDi
The prefix pa- or pa(n)- appears to be a short word representing water or to float in water (as in pani (=drop of water), pāni (=water) , pāmb (=to float in water) etc).There are several such ancient 'short words' used as prefixes in Tulu. Read also post 141 Village name prefixes.
The word 'anDi' has several meanings such as: (1a) egg (1b) seed (1c) oval structure(1d) head or brain (1e) buttocks and (2) wild wood.[The meaning (2) is obvious in usages such as anDe-Koraga, anD-bedir and anD-punar etc.]
There is one more clue to suggest that the 'anDi' means a wooden structure. Ancient boats have a pair of balancing wooden poles on a side known as 'Ayilandi' and 'Oyilandi'.(Inputs from: Hosabettu Viswanath) .Since the prefixes 'ayil' and 'oyil' refer to the opposing wave/current flows in the water, the suffix 'anDi' stands for the wooden structure.
Thus the word 'pāndi' is a combination of (1c) and (2) meanings cited above representing an oval wooden structure that floats on water.
Low lying watery fields on the river banks used especially to store pānDi boats during the off-season were also designated as PānDi or Pāndimār. Ancient ports were known as 'Pandela'.The Tulu original equivalent of the place-name Pandeswara was 'Pāndetha' again suggestive of connection with PānDi, the boats and Pandela, the ports.

Pandava link
There is one more interesting twist in the story of Pandyas, the affluent boat-owners/ merchants who resorted to ruling people of the land.
The Tamil Pandya were traditionally considered to have been derived from the Pandava clan of north India.(Also read Manjunat.) Besides the the name of their ancient capital, Madhurai is a phonetic replication of Mathura, the celebrated north Indian city cited in Mahabharata. Therefore the influence of the epic on Tamil Pandya Kings cannot be ruled out.
One of the aspects of regal history of India is that the Kings demanded glorified eulogies to constantly cheer up themselves or as psychological morale boosters. They depended on dedicated servants and poets who spun larger than life praises in favour of the King. Such eulogizers, found since the days of Sangam literature, proclaimed that the King descended from great and noble lineages and attributed superhuman attributes to the King.
At the outset, the Pandava link of the Pandya kings appears to the product of such eulogies. If you explore a little further there are some interesting backdrop to this Pandava link. The Mahabharata has been considered by recent analysts to be a blown up version of the battle of ten kings cited in Vedas. However this does not belittles the merits of the epic Mahabharata which is an unparalleled classic in the world literature. The original author of Mahabharata epic Vyasa was born of a sage (Parashara) and a fisher-woman (Matsyaganadha).Therefore, it was natural that the celebrated poet Vyasa had intimate knowledge about boats.

It can be deduced that the name 'PānDav' in the epic was chosen by the poet Vyasa based on his childhood influences of boat culture. The word PanDav appears to be a regional variant of the word pānDi. PānDav also means large size even in Tulu. The word 'paDavu' is a Tulu variant of the word panDavu, the large boat or ship, like pānDi.
The Tulu/Dravida word panDavu/ paDavu has undergone further evolution as follows: panDavu.> paDavu.> haDavu.> haDagu. The word 'haDagu' in modern Kannada represents a ship.
Footnote on the role ofAyilandi in fishing( by Hosabettu Viswanath):
The Ayilandi (two thick paralleled poles fastened to Padavu and fixed to boat-shaped wooden plump ) is on right-hand side. While jettisoning out large net in the sea - from one point of shore to other point of it - padavu takes a curved course, encircling targeted shoal of fish, when ayilandi is on inner side, thus balancing padavu. 'Maand' (Tulu Noghantu, p.2552) is a piece of thick rope (made of coir) with a light-weight wooden float tied to centre-most portion of the assemblage of nets (made of several nets of members, joined by special thread of specific thickness). Width of nets on 'maandu' section is large, considering depth of sea to be ventured so as to cover entire shoals of fish sighted by 'kontalas' (small boats) manned by experts with keen eyes. Eyes of the net are also small in maand section. Considering depth and length of sea to be covered, additional pieces of 'aalad' (TN.p.269) (Thread of coir ropes entwined to gain thickness and strength) are enjoined on both ends of assembled-nets.)
Padavau returns to centre, lifts the maand and ties it to Padavu (on its higher side).The cast net is towed up to shore by a number of pairs of members on both ends.
Govindraya Prabhu, S & Nithyananda Pai, M (2006) The Alupas: Coinage and History.200p.
Sediyapu Krishna Bhat (2008) 'Shabdartha Shodha.' Edited by Dr.Padekallu Vishnu Bhat. Rastrakavi Govinda Pai Research Centre, Udupi. 361p.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

159. Airodi

The present delimitation of Tulu speaking areas along the Karavali especially to the south of Udupi appears to be a feature imposed on the region after the Vijayanagar administration (ca 14 century CE and thereafter) centered on Barakur that fostered administrative support for the growth of Kannada in the region around and north of Barakur. Before Vijayanagar era in the Karavali, Kadamba rule centered on Banavasi ca. 4th century CE laid the foundation for growth of (old) Kannada in the northern Karavali.
A few words still prevail in the northern Karavali in support of the above claim. And Airodi is one such place name.

Airodi (pronounced AayiroDi) is a village close to the northern banks of River Seetha near Hangarkatta in Udupi taluk. Hangarkatta was a traditional boat building centre in the Karavali.
Ayere in Tulu stands for river bank. Possibly the word originated as aa+ere meaning the other edge of river.(Compare 'ayere' with Attavara, Aamai etc words that refer to the place on the other side of the river.)
Therefore the place name Airodi literally represents an Odi (village) on the Ayere (the river bank).

A similar sounding village Airoli exists in coastal Maharastra. The Oli (pronounced OLi) is a Prakrit/ Marati word generally representing a village or habitation and the word is also found in Tulu.(Note the Tulu village names like Kudroli, Maroli, Budoli etc). The existence of names like Airoli in Maharastra suggests that the word 'ayere' was more widespread in the earlier days along the west coast.
It is possible that the Tulu word -Odi is an variant of the word -OLi or vice versa.

Written with: Hosabettu Viswanath

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

158. Pandyas & cargo boats

A wooden nagaa under construction at Ullal. A white arrow inserted shows the size of a man for comparison

Panemangalore and Pandimar, the place names, hold key to the ancient boat based trade culture of the Karavali. The word 'Pandi' (= a large cargo boat) appears to have been connected with ancient rulers of the south known as Pandyas. Apart from the Pandya Kings that ruled parts of Tamilandu during historical period, several Alupa Kings of Tulunadu have adorned the title of Pandya. The 'Pandya' surname appears to have been derived from the word 'Pāndi'. The capital of Pandyas, the original Madhurai, as well as those of Alupas were coastal port towns. It is logical to presume that ancient rulers of the coastal lands were affluent traders who employed large boats to ferry their merchandise to various destinations. Thus the ancient Tulu -Dravida coastal people were proficient in building huge boats to transport food-grains and other items on sea-route and coastal fluvial courses . Large tree trunks woods were cut down in the dense forests of Western Ghats and were transported downstream to coastal boat making centres through the major rivers like Nethravati.

The common 'Oda'(d as in dog) is a narrow linear wooden boat employed to traverse through rivers as well as used for fishing in the sea. On the analogy of morphology (shape) of Oda, the Tulu village name /suffix 'Odi' (as in Odipu, Posodi, Niddodi etc) can be described as a lane like habitation with houses arranged in a linear fashion.Odi can have several other shades of meaning like sloping land:it also may be an equivalent of the word 'Oli'(Compare village names 'Airoli' with 'Airodi'). As suggested by Hosabettu Viswanath the 'Oda' apparently evolved later into 'Ota', the run.
Besides 'Oda ', there are a number of words that describe large sized cargo boats in Tulu. Words like Pāndi, Koti, Nagā, Manji, Padavu and Kappāl were in usage to refer to large cargo boats implying that the ancient Tulu people were proficient in marine trade and navigation. Note that most of these words also reflect a large size or a huge number.

Pāndi , Pandya
Pandi is large boat used to carry merchandise and the boat-owner was usually known as Pandia or Pāndya. The legend of Bhutala Pandya highlights the life and times of a Pāndi owner or Pāndya. There is a suggestion that some of these Pandia were rich fishermen who were also experts in sea-faring and sailing cargo boats.
Pāndyas of Tamilnadu as well as Tulunadu (Alupa Kings)adopted the insignia of twin fishes. Adoption of this insignia might have been conncted to their heritage of fisherfolk /sailor culture or it may have been derived from the roots of fish worship cult of Sindhu- Saraswathi (Indus valley) civilization.

Sediyapu Krishna Bhat suggested that the surname Pandya or Pandia was originally applied to the owner of the large boat known as Pandi. Pandya were one of the the earliest dynasties that ruled ancient Tamilnadu. He has also proved that the word Pandi was once a Dravida word widespread in southern India. The place names Pondicherry and Pondi Bazar in Tamil areas are obviously the relics of the ancient Dravida word Pāndi.
Pandi probably was known in Gujarat coast also as pointed out by Sediyapu. The 'Pānde' surname popular in northern India might have been an offshoot of the word 'Pāndi'.

Another interesting point is that the word 'Pandi' is related to or evolved to 'Bandi' (p>b transition) which now literally represents a wheeled vehicle, but originally the word banDa meant goods or merchandise and therefore 'banDi' meant a goods transport vehicle. Note the word 'banDasāle' (d pronounced as in 'dog') in Tulu represents a store-house.

Koti (t pronounced as in tea) is a large boat like Pandi. The funny expression 'KoTi or PānDi' is used by Tulu people usually as a pun. A Koti also represents a store-house or large number ( a crore or one hundred lakhs). However the personal name of 'Koti' (of Koti- Chennya fame)is said to have been derived from the name of deity Kotilingeswara.

Nagāa also means a hill. The word was applied to (1) a hill-like large boat (2) a boat carrying valuable goods that brought cash to the owner of the boat upon trade transactions. The word nagā also evolved later to represent valuables like gold and jewelry ( as in 'naga nattu' ) or currency (as in 'naga nānya'), The Dravida word for cash 'nagad' is also derived from the word 'nagā'.

The words 'manjā' or 'manji' in Tulu meant a raised structure or elevated land and it was also applied to large sized boats. So the original word coined by the Nātha monks at Kadire (Mangalore) for the deity Manjinatha (later refined to 'Manjunatha') actually referred to the God of the heights, the heights possible connoted either the Mount Kailas ( the Himalayas) and/or the 'manja' or 'manji' (elevated plateau of the Kadire hills.
Of course there are words apparently of different origin but sounding similar to 'manji' with dissimilar meanings like (1) 'manj' or 'manji', the dew or fog and (2) 'mānji' a flat fish, known also as pamphret.


Friday, October 10, 2008

157. Panemangalur

A small town on the bank of Netravathi River in Bantval Taluk is known by the name of Pānemangalur. Sediyapu Krishna Bhat has discussed the origin of this place name in a work cited at the bottom of this post..

Pānemangalur is called Pāner in Tulu. Fishermen call this place as Pāndimār. Sediyapu suggested that the name 'Pāner' is derived from Pāndimār. Padekallu Vishnu Bhat cites that Dr.G. R. Rai proposed that Pāner is a modified form of 'Pāndiyer'. The 'yer' suffix denotes that Pāndi boats were lifted on the river-bank field to be parked in the the raised field.
On the other hand,since the 'ār' suffix in Tulu (and other Dravidian languages) represents a field,the Pāner may have simply been derived -colloquially- from Pān(d)yār < 'Pāndi+ār', the parking field of pāndi boats.

'Pāndi' is a large cargo boat used to transport merchandise since early history in various ports of southern India. 'Mār' is an expansive agricultural field. The Pāndimār therefore implies a large field used for anchoring or parking large cargo boats known as Pāndi. During the earlier history River Netravathi was extensively used for navigation and transportation of goods. Goods were transported on Pāndi boats from Panemangalore to Mangalore along the river Netravathi. During the off-seasons the Pāndi boats from Mangalur (Mangalore) were parked at Pāndimār. Thus the village was called Pandimangalur which was later shortened to Panemangalur.

Sediyapu has a special explanation for the word mār, the agricultural field. He suggests that mār is a abbreviated form of 'timar' the field. In my opinion mār is an independent Tulu word representing expansive fileds, Bākimār, Pālemār, Mālemār etc. The 'timār' possibly means wet field as indicated by 'timare' the aromatic herb that rampantly grows in wet fields.

Mala, Yermal
The r > l conversion of phonemes in Tulu during medieval history is well known. The 'mār' became 'māl' with passage of time as exemplified by the village name 'Māla' ( pronounced māLa) and Erumala (Yermal) and the words 'gomāla' (=pasture reserved for cattle grazing) etc.
Hosabettu Viswanath adds :
"A bit of information about 'Pandimar'. Keel is an important part of a boat. Hence strong and sturdy wood is used. This is made of fully grown and large tree trunks, which were available aplenty in forests of Ghat sections. Such crudely carved tree trunks were rowed through Netravathi River and sea and brought to coastal destinations. I have seen such tree trunks brought to Hosabettu for building country boats. I have heard elderly people sitting in sea-shore shelters, i.e. 'dompas/chappars' made of coconut leaves, and telling anecdotes about their trips and cutting jokes about Goudas and their admirable hospitality."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

156. Bondantila

An village in Mangalore Taluk is known as Bondantila.
In Proto-Kolami-Gadba langauges the word 'bonD'- referred to toddy palm or the palmyra. Therefore the place name Bondantila stands for a village with many palm trees.
In Tulu the word 'bonDa' refers almost exclusively to the tender fruit of coconut palm.Apparently th word 'bōnDa' was extended further to represent a round shaped oil-fried dish popular in south Indian restaurants.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

155. Lathande

Origin of some of the common words in our usage are plainly mysterious! The name of the common pulse 'alasande' is a word based on a Greek name Alexander or Alexandria!

It appears that the familiar slender, tubular, long bean sheathing the 'black-eyed pea' pulse or 'cow-pea' (Vigna unguiculata) known as alasande, originally from Africa, was apparently introduced to India by the Greeks and it was named after the ancient Greek hero Alexander or the Greek town of Alexandria. Read Manjunat's relevant note on Alasande.
The word 'alasanda' is said to be a Pali word that was absorbed into most of the Dravidian languages during the period of Budhism in south India.
The word has undergone several serial modifications in Tulu such as Alasande, Alsande, Alathande, Lathande, Lathane etc.

A word cited in Tulu Lexicon 'alasāngi' which means a woman, apparently does not have clearly deduced origin. Like the long beans 'alasande' this word might also have been derived from or related to Alexandria or the Greeks.

Friday, October 3, 2008

154. Sin to Chennaitodi

Evolution has been an integral feature of human civilization that can be recognized in the sequential growth of words and concepts in tune with the passage of time. Migration of human beings on continental scale in the historical past has propagated and dispersed some of the basic words and concepts in diverse territories. Ponder over the evolution of the ancient word Sin,(or Suen) the Sumerian-Babylonian Moon God and its evolution into Chen,Chenne,Chinna, China, Chennai and Chandra etc.
The connection between the words Sin and Chandra has been documented earlier by scholars like Prof. Rajawade and Sham Baa Joshi.

Sin, the Moon God
Early Sumerian civilization (2000-4000 BCE) worshipped Sin (=Moon) as a supreme male God. The Sin or Suen has been considered as an word of Akkadian origin. According to Sumerian legends Sin married Shamash (Sun, female)and had son called Ishtar (Venus,the morning star). The Moon God Sin was represented in Sumerian mythology as an old man with flowing beard and crescent as symbol. Moon temples were popular during the time of Abraham (ca.2000 BC) at the towns of Ur and Harran. The crescent symbol was also adopted by later religions like Islam. Sinai region in Arabian peninsula was named after the God Sin.

Moon and Sun
Some of the authors have pointed out that the Moon worship related to early pastoral society whereas Sun worship was characteristic of later agricultural society. Indian races believed that they belonged to the clan of Moon (Chandra Vamsha) or the clan of Sun (Surya Vamsha). The Dravidians were generally considered to belong to the Moon's clan and Aryans asserted that they hailed from the Sun's clan. Interestingly, the crescent symbol was also adapted in India as an ornament in the tied-up hairs of the popular Indian God Lord Shiva, the Ishwar.

Shen, Chen, China
The Sin God was later had name variants like Sinim, Shen or Chen. The word Sinim is considered to be relevant to Chinese people. Similarly the surnames Shen and Chen are very common surnames among the people of Chinese descent. Basically the name of the country China itself appears to have evolved from the word Chen.

Possibly the word Shen or Chen was applied people with golden yellow skin. Besides the Moon God was known for beauty. The word Chen also was adapted in Dravidian languages as Chenna (=beautiful) and Chinna (=gold).

Chenne was an ancient board-game originated in Africa as discussed in earlier posts. The game of Chenne was considered to have mystic divine powers and was played on specific ocasions.It was popular in Tulunadu since the legendary days of Siri. The Siri paDdana appears to be contemporaneous of the Tamil Sangam literature that possibly dates back to beginning of the Common Era.

Chennai, Chennaitodi
The Taml place name Chennai, now a Metropolitan city, is an offshoot of these words suggesting a beautiful city (initially dedicated to Moon God?). In a sense Chennai is similar in meaning and aspiration to Afro-Arabic land of Sinai. However, the word Chennai is not exclusive to Tamil. A village in Bantval Taluk is known as ChennaitoDi (D pronounced as in dog).

Moon has been represented in Rigveda as Schendra. It is a compound of S/Chen+indra, the Indra being leader of early Aryan Gods.(Compare with Sin, the leader of Sumerian pantheon). Rigveda also cites two versions of Moon such as: Raka, the Goddess of Full Moon (Poornima) and Sinivali, the crescent on the eve of New Moon.
The Schendra gradually became Chandra in Indian parlance. Another word Chandrama was also used. Again it has been considered as a combination of Chandra+Maas, the Maas representing Moon or the lunar month.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

153. Ambala-mogaru

Ambala-mogaru near Konaje is a village on the southern bank of River Netravathi. There are other villages in the region like Ammembala. Both these place names contain 'Ambala'(= temple) a word of Malayalam origin. The word appears to be popular in transitional areas between Tulunad and Kerala since the word Ambala is not quite common in northern Tulu region.

The word Ambala possibly referred to shrines dedicated to the Mother Godess, under the matriarchial system of society. The 'Amba' in Ambala refers to the Mother Goddess. The Amba appears to be an ancient Prakrit word borrowed into Malayalam and Tulu. The '-la' suffix in the word employed to denote the 'shrine' is interesting. Was this '-la' suffix an attenuated version of 'ila' the habitation,.'illa' the house or 'ala' the river? The word Ambāla also exists in northen India as a place-name.
The other place name Ammembala is also interesting. Whether the 'amme' in Ammembala connotes 'father' as in Tulu or 'amma', the mother, needs to be studied.
Ambalapadi near Udupi again reflects another temple village, where the term Ambala specifically refers to the Mother Goddess, Kali.

Friday, September 26, 2008

152. Derebail

Within the Mangalore city,in the northern part, is the place known as Derebail. Derebail (pronounced with soft 'd' as in English 'the') is a colloquial Tulu form of the word Deverebail. Literally it means the God's field or the agricultural field set aside for the sake of activities connected with a temple.

The 'der' prefix has been used in several Tulu place names to signify what is commonly designated as 'devear' or the divinity. Derlakatte therefore is the platform('katte') built around a tree for the worship of the divinity. We have discussed in previous posts that our earlier cultures (Marava etc)worshipped trees. Tree worship culture evolved subsequently into the worship of other Spirits and /or Deities installed on a platform under the auspicious trees.
Derlakatte is a locality near the Konaje campus of the University of Mangalore.
There are other places in Karavali with such prefixes like Derāje, Deradka etc

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

151. Paduvare to Parivara Bunts

An elevated laterite plateau bestowed with bauxite resources (ore of Aluminium metal) on the coastal NH 17 north of Baindur town in Kundapur taluk is known as Paduvare. The village name Paduvare may be simply analysed as 'paduva' (=western) + 'arey' (=rocky area). The word 'arey' in Kannada is used normally to refer to rocky areas, however in Paduvare major part of the village area is covered by laterites and bauxites and only a few sporadic rocky granite outcrops can be encountered close to the beach.

Paduvara halli
Some interesting and relevant data can be gathered from the comparative study of the similar village name from Mysore. Paduvarahalli is a part of suburban habitation on the western part of the Mysore city. Prof D Javare Gowda in his work on Village names of Mysore district provides on the Paduvarahalli. Pauvarahalli is dominated by fisher folks belonging to the sect known as 'Parivara'. The 'Parivara' caste-tag for the fisher-folks seems almost exclusive to the old Mysore region. According to Javare Gowda the term Paduvarahalli is a corruption of the word Parivara- halli However, after comparing with the village name Paduvare, it seems that Paduvarahalli was the original name and it may not be be corruption of Parivara halli

Parivara Nayaks
On the other hand the word Parivara attributed to fisher-folks of Paduvara-halli may be a refined version of Paduvara. The Parivara fishermen served in royal armies of Mysore region as soldiers and captains and acquired the title of 'Nayaks' (=leaders). Parivara Nayaks are now concentrated mostly in Mysore region.
The word 'Parivara' means family or associated people. The word probably was applied to these soldiers since they formed inner circle of royal security. Thus in certain ways the word 'parivara' carries shades of meaning similar to those carried by the word 'bunt'.

Parivara Bunts
Origin of the Parivara Bunt communities of Tulunadu is rather obscure. The Parivara Bunts in the Karavali generally maintain their identity independent of the main Bunt community. The Bunt suffix in the name 'Parivar Bunts' suggests that men of this community were involved as soldiers in the royal war-fares in the historical past. The Parivara Bunts of Tulunadu also carry the surname Nayak, similar to Parivara Nayaks of Mysore region.
One of the possibility is that the a group of Parivara Nayaks migrated as professional soldiers and settled in the Karavali region during or after the period of Vijayanagara reign.

Village Names of Mysore District: An analytical Study 1998. By D.Javare Gowda, p.160

Those with specific data on these historical aspects may kindly provide their valuable feedbacks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

150. Bondel

The northeastern sector of Mangalore city where the old Padushedde and Pachanadi suburban villages meet on the Airport road is popularly known as Bondel. The name was reported to be chosen by the Catholic missionaries who established the St. Lawrence church at Bondel some hundred and odd years ago. The 'Bondel' was christened originally as Bon-dale, the beautiful valley ( bon+ dale) that refers to the scenic panorama of greenery that characterizes the older 'Pachanadi'(=green village) and 'Padu-shedde' (=western clayey plateau) villages.

But how come the French word 'bon' was affixed to Old English 'dale' to form 'Bondel'? The clue to the real origin of the word 'Bondel 'surfaces if you just walk around in the green interiors of Pachanadi. On the western side of the Railway track within the Pachanadi village close to Bondel you find an old hamlet known as 'Bandhale'.The older place name 'Bandhale'( bandh+ale =captive stream ) must have inspired the missionaries to innovate and name the locality as Bon-dale or Bondel.

Hosabettu Viswanath ponders some other probabilities concerning the origin of the word 'Bondel'.

1) Bonda = Tender branch of a palmyra. Bonde = Tender palm pod. Bonde gudduni = To beat up the tender palymra pod to get toddy. Is/Was the area abounding with palymra trees (Tari mara)?
2) Bande+halla (or 'ala') if the area is rocky.
3) Bondolu = A kind of medicinal plant. Please find out the probability.
4) Please note the similarity between Band+halla/Bana+ala or Halla) and Panhal(a), the Capital of III branch of Shilahara Dynasty in Kolhapur ( where we find ruins of a fort, palace and a dome like granary, having inlet for depositing grains at tangential point at top and removal at ground level secured (small) doors.
Ravi's note:
1.The word "Bondel" is pronounced as 'bon-del', with soft 'd' as in English 'the' and not 'D' as in 'dog' So comparison with bonDa (tender coconut) may not be valid. And the palmyra trees are rare in the said area.
2. Band-ale is the actual nearby location (which still exists with that name 'Bandhale'-pronounced bandale, with soft 'd'.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

149. Yeyyadi

On the Airport road leading from Karnataka Polytechnic to Bondel in Mangalore you find this place known as Yeyyadi.

Yeyyadi appears to be the corrupt form of the earlier name Yedyadi. We have discussed about the tribes Ideyar ('Iddya') who were also known subsequently as 'Yedea' ('Yedapadavu',Yadthadi,Yadamavina hole,Edavolal etc).The existence of 'Edavolal' town during the Kadamba dynasty (4 to 6 th Century CE) helps us to place the timing of the tribal indicator word 'Eda' or 'Yeda'.

148. Sānur

The village name Sānur in between Mudabidri and Karkal bears the stamp of Jain monks usually known as Sravana or Savana. There are villages named Savanur in other parts of Karnataka. However, here the word Savanur has been further simplified into Sānur.
The inscription at the base of monolithic Gomateswara at Sravana Belagola near Channarāyapatna, is in Prakrit script and language. This supports the concept of Sham Baa Joshi that pockets of Prakrit language existed in medieval Karnataka.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

147. Kodanji kall to Konaje

Konāje(pronounced koNāje) is a growing suburb in southern Mangalore that hosts the sylvan campus of University of Mangalore. In normal circumstances, we may analyze the place- name Konaje as Kona+ aje, the village of buffaloes. This also may be realistic considering that buffaloes have become essential parts of the evolution of Karavali culture that has been preserved in the tradition of Kambala the annual buffaloe race conducted in slushy paddy fields.
However there is another set of Konāje village in northeastern part of Mangalore taluk(with Padu (=western)and Mudu(=eastern) rural fractions) that shows derivation of the place name from 'Kodanji' or the pillar rocks.

Kodanj kall
Kodanjikall (pronounced koDanji- kall) is a regionally conspicuous rocky granitic hill with twin curvy peaks on the Mudabidri to Shirtadi route in Mangalore taluk. The 'kod' stands for pillar like standing rock column(s) whereas the 'anji' and 'kall' refer to land and rock. A land with natural rocky pillars is Kodanji-kall. The equivalent village name in Kannada, however, is 'Konjae'. The Konaje that has been split into 'Padu Konaje' (=western Konaje) and 'Mudu Konaje'(=eastern Konaje).
But the application of Kodanjikall as well as paDu/muDu Konjae to the same rural stretch suggest that the word Konāje is derived from Kodanji.

D.> N transition
The unusual D > N transition with passage of time from the original Tulu word 'koDanji' to the Kannada word 'koNāje' is interesting.
Unless we have additional historical documents to support, it may not be possible at this juncture to prove whether the D> N transition was atleast partly influenced by the alternate origin of the place-name namely, the buffalo – land.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

146. Kudroli to Katapadi- Enagudde

Some of the ancient place-names have been deformed or misinterpreted with passage of time. Reader Ranjan pointed out how Kuduru-bottu hamlet on NH 17 has been mis-translated as Kudure-bottu. The Tulu word 'kuduru' referred to island with the river. But the word 'kuduru'(=island) was confused with 'kudure'(=horse) and consequently the original meaning was lost during translation of the place-name into Kannada.

Similar error has been made in case of the popular place known as Kudroli within Mangalore city. Some translators explained it as Kudure-oli or what they describe as 'a horse yard'. But the original meaning of the word Kudur+oli(=island+hamlet) has historical. and paleo-geographic significance. Several centuries ago the Kuduroli was an island village within a river that dried up during subsequent period. Geological evidences suggest that the historical changes and shifting of the river course rendered the place dry during the early centuries of the Common Era!.
Thus Kudroli is a fossil word that traces the forgotten past paleo-geography of the land that has not been documented otherwise for lack of historical documentation in the region!

While discussing the erroneous interpretation of place-names, Katapadi comes to the mind because of a hilarious misinterpretation. The word Katapadi in Tulu is a pun. The verb 'katapādi' means to tie down. Some people have visualized a fictious story involving a legendary King of Manipura, a small village south of Udupi, who presumably conducted an Ashwamedha (horse-sacrifice) ceremony to propitiate Gods and the place where the designated horse was tied down to a post was said to have named as 'Katapadi'.
However, the actual designation of the word Kāt+pādi (=wild farm) is different and unconnected to this anecdote. There are similar place name of Kaat-padi in Tamilnadu, suggesting that it was an ancient name during the early stages of civilization..

A connected place-name near Kat-padi is Enagudde. It has been misinterpreted as Hengudde, the hill of corpses! Again this is not the original meaning attributed to the place by our forefathers. Ena in place names such as Enakallu, Enagudde etc refer to vertically standing piece of rock. The word 'Ena' (=vertical pole like rock) or 'Eni' (=ladder) needs to be understood properly in the light of the existence of such place names in other parts of Karnataka, specifically with vertical pillar like rock structures. Due to changes in time and tides the vertical rock pole in Enagudde might have collapsed, but the name still reminds us of the pillar rock of the bygone days.

Friday, September 5, 2008


One of the words that impressed me after reading Dr Abhaya Kaukradi's (1997) work on 'Mugeras' is 'partheno'. The Mugera word 'partheno' is equivalent of the Tulu word 'paD-dana'.Both these words refer to the oral form of folk-songs.

Note the similarity between the words 'Partheno' and the Sanskrit 'prarthana'(=prayer). Abhaya suggests that Mugera tribes are related or similar to Mundala tribes. Thus we can infer that Mugera and Mundala are part of the Early Munda group of tribes. The Early Munda language and culture apparently predates Dravidian and Indo-Aryan presence in India.And therefore the possibility of some of the ancient Munda words being used as substrates in later Indo-Aryan/Dravidian words cannot be ruled out. Consider for example:
Partheno.> Prarthana
Partheno.> PaD-dana

I would like to consider the possibility that the words Prarthana and PaD-dana may have been derived or influenced from the apparently older word Partheno.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

144. Mabukala

A place on the northern bank of River Seetha close to NH 17 in Udupi taluk is known as MabukaLa. The significance of the place name Mabukala lies in the fact that it is different from Mayikala or Ayikala we discussed previously.

The suffix 'kaDa' in Tulu is an abbreviated form of the word 'kadapu' or 'kadapu kariya' (the ferry or ferry bank), the place used by people in the olden days to cross the river on boats. The Marakada for example was an ancient ferry point.
However, in the parts of Karavali, north of Udupi, Kannada became the prevalent official language especially during and after the rule by Vijayanagar Kings. Consequently many of the original Tulu words and place-names got translated into Kannada.Under the spell of Kannada, the original Mabukada became Mabukala!.

The ferry was named after Mābu, probably the boat-man who used to ferry people across the river. Mabukala is located in a historically significant region that encompasses the ancient State of Barkur and several Moolasthanas on the banks of Rivers Seetha and Swarna and their confluence near Hoode-Bengare beach.
Mābu, the boatman who ferried people across the river must have been a popular person during a specific period in the early history as the place has been cited in some of the paD-danas.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Billadi is a village in Udupi taluk near Yadthadi that carries the relic signature of ancient Bill or Bhil tribes in the Karavali.
The Bhils are now a predominant tribe in the forests of Madhya Pradesh and adjoining sylvan region. Once upon a time they were widespread in the peninsular region also. They were also employed historically in the regional armies of Marata and Rajput Kings for their expertise in guerilla warfare.

Bhils of Karavali
Basically, they were archers ('bhil' or 'bill'=bow) which was a part of the hunter stage of early human evolution. The word 'bill '(the bow) has been a common word in several southern languages including Kannada. Thus the Bhils of Karavali were later known as 'Billava' probably during Vijayanagara and subsequent period of 'Kannadization' of Karavali. However, the equivalent word for Bhil in Tulu is 'biru' and the 'Billava' are popularly known as 'Biruver'.

Even today the native doctor among the tribes are called 'Baida'. The word 'Baida' forms the basis for the later evolved word 'Vaidya'. The mother of legendary heroes Koti-Chennaya was known as 'Deyi Baidethi' and she was proficient in the native system of herbal medicine. The Tulu word 'Baider' has been evolved from the tribal word 'Baida'. The ancient 'Baida' were the pioneers of Ayurveda system of medicine in India.

Bhils of central India assert that Valmiki the composer of Ramayana was a Bhil. The simplicity of the core story of Ramayana thus leads us to infer that the base of Ramayana was a tribal story that was fashioned into an immortal epic by the gifted poet-composer Valmiki.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

142. Pandesvara, Manjesvara..

Ishvara is God (Isha/eesha= master,lord; vara=great, supreme).But we have a large number of place names that end with the suffix of -Ishvara .The list includes Pandesvara, Manjesvara, Neelesvara, Rāmesvara, Lakshmesvara, Dharesvara, Murudesvara, Mahabalesvara etc. The names are obviously among the numerous epithets for the Lord Shiva, and especially for the temples dedicated to Shiva at various places but their application as place-names in various parts of South India may have evolved out of a different word origin.

Pandi and Manji
There is one interesting analogy between the two place names Pandeswara and Manjeswara. Apart from the fact that both of these places are on the coast, they carry the names of the country cargo boats (Pandi and Manji) that were popular in the past. It can be deduced that the Shiva (Iswara) temples in these two port towns were built by the cargo boat owners,and the 'Ishvara '(isha-avara? =divine temple) were built after the names of cargo boats!

Compare the place name Brahmāvara with Pandesvara or Manjesvara. Āvara (<.ār) is large yard and thus Brahmāvara is an open-yard or place dedicated to the Lord Brahma.
Similarly, the various 'Isha-avara'-s should have been originally the places or yards dedicated to Manjesha-, Pandesha, Murudesha- Rāmesha- etc.

A temple dedicated to Ishvara by the Pandya King, Pandesha must have been Pandeshavara. A temple dedicated to Manjesha should have been Manjeshavara.
However, It appears that the original 'Ishāvara' places were misinterpreted, reinterpreted or stylized later as -'Ishvara' and the places were referred to as 'Manjesvara' (alternate spellings: Manjeshvara or Manjeswara), 'Pandesvara' and so on instead of Manjeshavara, Pandeshavara etc..

Saturday, August 30, 2008

141.Village name suffixes

The usual word-suffixes for designating villages in Dravidian languages in southern India are -oor, palli/ halli, grama, naaD, koppal etc. However, the Karavali region has a large number of somewhat unusual village name suffixes that evidently represent specific trends in evolution of words some of which are common to all the south Indian languages. The Karavali during the various early historical periods being a settlement of assorted tribes with their own languages, we can expect input of primitive words from their languages that have formed the base from which the present set of words were evolved. Note some of the delicate implication of evolutionary trends in the following place indicators.

Ar.> Avara
It has been suggested that the Indo-European root word 'Ar' as in Aryan represents agriculture or cultivation. However similar root is found in Dravidian languages. For example 'ārankei' represented the open palm of the hand, for example, in Kolami (Dravidian)language. The word 'ārankei' later became 'angai '(palm of hand) in various Dravidian languages. Thus we can deduce that original root 'ār' or 'āran' meant open area or field.
The natural open fields that facilitated as the human settlements during the early civilization were possibly designated with the suffix -ar. There are a large number of villages/hamlets in Karavali that have the suffix -ar. For example: Todar, Bolar, Kemar, Mijar, Mudar, Madar, Palar, Pilar,Ubar etc. And Arantodu, Arambodi Arabail etc.
With passage of time the ār was converted to -āra or -āru. (Bantara, Bolāra, Kantāra, Kemaru, Mijaru etc).
New words were created later in time span by adding short modifying prefixes. For example: mār (m+ār) meant agricultural field, probably slightly elevated than ār.(For example: Malemar, Bakimar, Palimar, Palemar, Barimar etc) Similarly kār( k+ ār) represented wooded field(Ajekar, . And jār (j+ ār) for sloping ground. The -gār and -chār became variants of -kār and -jār. For example Alangar, Kannangar, Mangar, Kodichar, Kolchar etc.
Further innovation, especially Sanskritization modified and refined the ār hamlets into -avara. (Attavara, Udyavara, Banavara, Mangalavara Neelavara, Pejavara etc).

r.> L With passage of time, probably during Vijayanagar and later period, with conversion of r.> L, the 'mār' beacame 'māLa'. Names like MāLa, GomāLa, ErumāLa etc came into being.

aDi.> adka
The suffix 'aDi' possibly originally referred to cool shade of a tree, that was later extended to mean huts,hamlet or habitation etc. Nelyādi, Kalyādi, Manjanādi, Nekkilādi, Amtādi, etc An variant of -aDi was -aDa. For example Kokkada.
The PāDi (pa+aDi;= farm) developed from -aDi. Examples: Kukkipādi, Bellipādi, Baikampādi etc. In some areas -pāDi has become -bāDi. For example: Kannambādi, Kodimbādi,etc..
The suffix 'aDka', evolved from -aDi, and means open ground or yard. Possibly, it developed later as a regional variant of the suffix-ar. Examples include Kudthadka, Aladka,Pāladka, Kalladka, Mulladka, etc.

The suffix -al or its later forms -ala , -alu or āL meant water course, river or stream. It was employed to represent land area or field by the side of a stream. Bajāl, Kaipunjāl, Kudala, Koppalu, Alupe, Alike, Aluve, Pāngala etc. The -sāl (s+āl), -jāl (j+āl) , -vāl (v+āl) and -chāl (ch+āl) became the modified variants of -āl. For example: Nadisāl, Kodijāl, Heranjāl, Ilavāla etc.

The āN is an another basic suffix (with its later variants -aNNu, or -aNe) that represented soil, land or field. For example: Belman, Muddān, Kemman, Kondāna, Kodmān, Kokkarne, Perne, Marne etc.
Also the words KonkaNa, PaDuvaNa(=western), MooDaNa (=eastern), tenkaNa (=southern )etc.were formed in this fashion. So, the word 'konkaNa' refers to notched/crooked coastline between Goa and Gokarna: konk(crooked, hook-like,non-linear)+aNa (land).

Naturally, the common word maNNu (=soil) is a compound of m+aNNu. (Similar analysis can be extended for the word 'haNNu' (=fruit), the agricultural product.

Anj.> Aje
The -anj or -anje (along with its regional variant -ang) was one of the ancient basic word that possibly suggested developed area, shops or township. Possibly the root word '-anj' originally meant 'a sloping ground ' or 'hill-slope' as we find that in the Kolami-Gadaba languages the word 'anj' means climb.
Several zone indicators were evolved from the basic word - anj , such as:

banja. (=barren/dry)
kanja (=reddish )
kunja, (=hilly)
manja (=even land)
nanja, (=farmland)
punja, (=rocky)
renja ...(=fragrant/delightful)....etc.

Many of these words were compounded with -ar into Kunjar, Manjar (>Manjarur), Kenjar, Banjar etc.
The words angar( Naiki language), angari (Naikri language ) and angad (Parji language) mean courtyard or bazaar in ancient Dravidian languages.Thus the word 'Mangar' (m+ang+ar=Ancient Mangalore) could be an earlier variant of the word 'Manjar' (m+anj+ar) or Manjarur. The word 'angar' was an ancient equivalent of 'angadi', the bazaar. The words 'angār' and 'angaDi' (=bazaar) (as in Haleanagdi, Uppinangadi, Belthangadi, Hosanagadi Koppalangadi, Murathangadi, Mudarangadi etc) were in turn derived from --anj or -ang.
Some of these words were modified in later period. For example 'manja' (as in Ballamanja, Kalmanja) became 'maja' as in '-majalu.'(as in Kanakamajalu).
Similarly 'kanje' became 'kaje', banje .> 'baje' with passage of time.

Land classification words like nanja, punja etc are used even today in Kannada also. Examples for village names embodying -anj derivatives include: Markanja, Balkunje, Elinje, Heggunje, Kudkunja, Kedinje, Innanje, Bannanje, Surinje, Kunjathabail, Punjālkatte, The 'nanja' became 'nancha' (as in Nanchar) in some areas.

Ank, ang
The -anj had two variants namely : -ang and -ank. The -ang/e and -ank/i variant of -anj/e can be examplified by Varanga,Kodange, Parenki, Neranki, Pernakila etc. The-ank (=yard, small piece of land; e.g. Koli-anka) evolved into place names such as Manki (m+anki), Permanki etc. Even the word Lanka (island) can be considered as ( l+anka or the land within water; la- being shortened form of al/a=water). The 'ank' later evolved to represent the 'number'
The 'anj' root word with passage of time became '-aj 'or '-aje'. Variants of 'aje' include Aje(<.anje), Kaje(<.kanje), maje/majalu (<.manje) and Baje(<.banje). Village names such as Ajekār, Baje, Bajāl, Bajape Kaje, Kajekār, Konaje, Pāthaje, Derāje, etc abound in the Karavali.

The suffix word -Oli or -OLi could be of Prakrit origin as it has been traced to Marati areas as a village indicator. For example of -Oli are: Innoli, Maroli, Kudroli, etc.
One of the possibility is that the suffix '-goLi' in many of the village names (like Bajagoli, Kinnigoli, Goliangadi, Taudugoli, Asaigoli etc) could actually be a derivative of Oli (g+oli) rather than the goLi, the banyan tree, as commonly presumed so far!

The suffix Odi apparently has several meanings as enlisted in the Tulu nighantu. However, it could be geographical indicator of 'bettu' (upland) is suggested by the Kannada equivalent name 'Hosabettu' of the original Tulu place name 'Posodi'. Examples of Odi villages include Odipu, Posodi, Arambodi,
The Odi could be a regional variant of Oli as we find analogy between Oli>goLi and Odi >k+ODi, ODu>> k/g+oDu.
Further variants of -Odi are -kODi (Kodi. Aluvekodi, etc). And for -Odu and -koDu or -goDu or -toDu., we find examples in Kumragodu, Balgodu, Kasarkodu, Kasargodu, Arantodu etc.

The origin of the word oor can be traced to the name of the renowned ancient Sumerian city, Ur , that dated back to some 6000 BCE. The names of ancient Indian historical cities Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)and Madhuarai (Tamilnad) were based on the root word -ur or -oor.
Now the suffix -oor is the most common indicator (Mangalur, Bengalur, Maisur,alur, Belur, Begur, Puttur, Tumkur, Kittur, Nellur, Chittur, etc) of village/town/city names in southern India.

An old form of -oor was -uri. Place names like Naguri, Hebburi (Hebri), Uruval, etc. were based on these. The -uri form apparently was used by ancient Munda tribes as one of their language was called Naguri.

There are a number of ancient village names that end with -pu or- pe. For example:Alape, Didupe, Bajape, Belapu, Mudipu, Kudupu etc. The -pe suffix was altered to -be in some areas. (Example Perabe). The original -pe or -pu possibly represented township. Later on the -pu suffix was merged with -ur that probably led to the formation of Sanskrit suffix 'pura' (p'+ ura) as in for example Kundapura, Kalyanpura, Manipura, Sakleshpura; Kanpur, Nagpur, Jaipur etc.

The suffix -se has become a place indicator in several village names such as Avarse, Vaddarse, Teggarse etc. The -se suffix could possibly be a regional variant of -pe.

Readers may offer their opinions or disagreements if any on the above topic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Uchila village in the NH 17 between Mangalore and Udupi is an interesting name that has been interpreted differently. There is one more Uchila near Ullal and Someswara , to the south of Mangalore city again on the coastal highway NH17. On the face of it the name appears as Uchu + ill that means serpent -house. Some have liked to interpret it as Uccha +ill, the 'uchha' being superior or placed at an higher elevation.

Naga (serpent) worship being one of the popular cults followed traditionally, many villages have been named as Nagoor or variants of it along the Karavali and Konkan. Such Nagoors can be seen all along the West coast and even in Rajasthan suggesting a repeating pattern of establishment of villages by the devout migrants during the history. Naguri ( at Kankanadi, Mangalore city) may be an older variant of the place name Nagoor. Therefore, logically we can infer that the place name Uchila is the Tulu equivalent of the word Nagoor.

Accepting Nagoor=Uchila leads us to the inference that the suffix 'ilā' stands for the 'oor', the village or habitation. This interpretation is slightly different from our general perception that 'ila' is a variant of 'ill', 'illu', the house. The 'ilā' is not exactly 'ill' even though these two words may have genetic, evolutionary and historical connections. The 'ilā'(pronounced iLā) (=Earth) has been adopted into Sanskrit also.
Possibly, the ancient word 'ilā' originally meant a stretch of land. For example the French word 'Ila' ( a female name) stands for 'island'. Later the word was extended to mean the entire earth by specific group of people while others applied the derivative 'ill' for their dwelling houses.
Therefore the 'ila' suffix in various place names such as Kedila, Puttila, Baltila,Tekkila,Nekkila etc need to be reinterpreted as - - -villages.

Note the interesting village name Ilāntila (Belthangadi taluk)!
Does 'Ilāntila' means a village inside a village?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

139.Cluster villages

Like regions united socio-politically into States and confederations, certain like-minded adjacent villages during the history, united themselves into a cluster of villages. Thus, we have Moorur (=three vilage),Nãlkur(=four village) and Aroor (=six village) in different parts of the Karavali. Ainoor(=five village) and Enmoor(=eight village) in Sullia taluk also reflect clustered villages.Aivathoklu(=50 houses) in Sullia taluk explains a cluster of fifty houses.

Nãlkur in Udupi taluk and district was formed as a cluster of four adjacent hamlets, namely Kajke, Muddūr, Miyãru and Mãrali.
: With inputs from Narayana Shetty :

Monday, August 25, 2008

138. Mandekolu

'Mande-kakke' in Tulu represents rather unusual large headed crow that makes slightly different sound compared with the ordinary crow. The word 'mande' being equivalent of English 'head', in general sense, people generally think that 'mande-kakke' refers to crows with slightly larger or prominent head !
However, the actual meaning and origin of the word 'manDe' could be different!

Mandekolu is an unusual sounding village name from Sullia district in the foot hills of Western Ghat .Mande-kolu for an ordinary analysis represents 'head – rod', a meaningless name. However, the meaning of the word becomes clear when we analyse these words as derived from the tribal names. The Mande and the Kols refer to tribal groups that pervaded these regions in the past. A sub-group of Kol tribes from Mande origin could have been known as Mande Kols during the undated early history.
Mandechar is the name of another Mande village from the Sullia taluk.

Mande is an ethnic group of Western Africa. Mande people of Niger-Congo region of Africa have their own set of languages. Two major episodes of environmental changes resulting in the increasing spread of deserts in Africa, ca.2000 BC and ca.100BC to 200 CE prompted Mande and Bantus to migrate to better areas. The recurrence of both these words in our language leads us to suggest that some of these tribes actually migrated and settled in our lands in the past.
Other evidences of existence of Mande people in Tulunadu exist in the form of Mande-Koraga, a sub-group among Koraga tribes.
The Garo tribes of Meghalaya,Assam and Bangladesh also call themselves Achik, Mande or Achik-Mande. Achik means hill and Mande means people in Garo language.

Kols were another ancient tribes that distributed in different parts of peninsular India. There are numerous place-names that embody the word 'Kol' or 'Koll'. Kolar, Kolur, Kollur, Kolnad, Kolchar, Kollamogaru, Kolya, etc. Kol tribes may have ben known as Kollis during later history.Kol tribes were said to be experts in metal smelting during early part of the civilization. Kollis are known as fishermen in parts of Maharastra and interior Karnataka even today.
The origin of the word 'Kol' appears to be a Turkish word that means valley region between rivers.

In the similar line, the place-name of Mandya (Karnataka ) could have possibly been derived from the name of Mande tribes.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Chitrapu is a picturesque peninsula like semi-island along the Karavali coastline located southwest of Mulki town. It is formed in the coastal stretch where the Rivers Shambavi (Mulki) and Nandini (Pavanje) join together before disgorging into the Arabian Sea.The area west and southwest of Chitrapu, including Sasihitlu and Mukka is infamous for severe sea erosions especially during the peak monsoons.

Shekar Chitrapu
Shekar Chitrapu has compiled informative and useful geological and historical data available on Chitrapu in his Kannada essay ‘Chitrapu gramada Charitre: Ondu adhyayana haagoo upalabda maahitigalu’ (History of Chitrapu village: A Study and Available data) published in a regional souvenir.

River mouth drift
Shekar Chitrapu has documented the drift or migration of the combined river mouth of the Rivers Nandini and Shambavi at the sea front near Chitrapu during the recent history.This fact is also established by comparision of Survey of India toposheets documented for the years 1916 and 1968 and later satellite imageries of the area.
The northward migration of the river mouth is due to upliftment of the crust especially around Mangalore.An eastwesterly ridge traversing peninsular India along Mulki/Mangalore in the West Coast and Pulicat in the East Coast has been documented by geological studies.The rise of the ridge has been slow and steady over the years leading to gradual or abrupt migration of river mouths and other relevant Geomorphological features.

However, available data and evidences suggest that the Rivers Shambavi and Nandini were independently joining Arabian Sea before 19th century. The data is in conformity with the palo-geography of Gurupur- Netravathi duo.River Gurupur was joining the Sea independently of River Nethravathi until Nineteenth Century CE and one fine monsoon day in the year 1887 River Gurpur abruptly took a southerly turn and joined River Nethravathi before emptying into the Sea.
The story must have been similar in the case of Shamabavi and Nandini Rivers even though the year of joining of these two rivers has not been documented so farThe status of River Shambavi joining directly into Arabian Sea (independently of River Nandini) is supported by the fact that the present Bappanadu was a port where ships in the olden days used to dock.
The merchant ship of Bappa Beary was mysteriously stranded in the estuary here, according to local legends, and it was cleared after he offered to build a temple in honour of Durga Paramesvari.The temple is known as Bappanad Durga Paramesvari temple and it was rebuilt in the present site during later years.

Chitrapu Niyogis
A class of Telugu Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh is known as Niyogis. Niyogis are well known for for accomplishing intelligent executive works. Niyogi means appointed person or staff. One of the hundred and odd surnames of Telugu Niyogi Brahmins of Machilapatam, Andhra Pradesh, is ‘Chitrapu’. ‘Aruvel Niyogis’ (=six thousand appointed staff) were said to have been deployed during Vijayanagara reign for supporting administrative works of the warriors (Kshatriyas). Possibly, these six thousand recruitees were drawn from different parts of southern India including the Karavali.
Thus the Chitrapu Niyogis were possibly originally drawn from the Chitrapu near Mulki during 13-14 century CE.The connection of Niyogis to Karavali-Kerala is further supported by the fact that the Niyogi surnames also include ‘Uppala’ and ‘Malyala’.

The place name Chitrapu (Chitra+apu, the ’Chitra’ village) apparently is derived from the name of Alupa King Chitravahana I (680 -730 CE) who ruled Karavali and parts of Sahaydri like Edivolal (present Banavasi) areas during early Eigth Century CE. Chitravahana I was a powerful King among Alupas. He married queen Kumkuma Devi of Chalukya dynasty which was ruling at ruling at Badami.
There is one more King Chitravahana II documented in Alupa history (760-800 CE). However, the name Chitrapu may have been associated with the famous Chitravahana I who was ruling in the Mangalapura and Banavasi regions.

Alupa family has been considered to have originated at ‘Alupe’ village in eastern part of presnt Mangalore city.Then it needs to be explored why this village chitrapu was named after the King Chitravahana

One possible reason is that Chitrapu area was a flourishing port and urban area developed by Chitravahana I during 7th and 8th Centuries CE.Other reason could be that Chitravahana I or his mother hailed from this area, which was later renamed after the popular King of the time.

There are atleast two more villages in the Karavali named ‘Chitrapura’: one near Baikampadi (Mangalore) and another in the proximity of Shirali (Uttara Kannada). Compared to the antique name of Chitrapu, the new name ‘Chitrapura’ implies a subsequent date in the history. It is not clear whether these villages were named after Alupa King Chitravahana II (760-800 CE).

Readers with additional data on the area may add their comments

Blog Archive

Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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