There are several place names in Karavali that were repeated in other area. For example: Udyāvara, Uchila, Alike, Bengare, Kodiyala, Pāndesvara, Puttige, Puttūr etc. The repetition apparently occurred along the timeline and the intention of repetition of name was to repeat the fame, popularity or importance of the place with that original name.
Ur > Oor
Ur was a very famous city during ancient Sumerian civilization. The name must have been repeated many times over in different parts of the civilized world by those tribes who migrated from that region. Even the spread of fame might have spurred the people of far off places to rename their towns or villages as Ur. Proto-Dravidians who emigrated from Africa and Mid-east brought this famous word along with them and now we all know that ‘Oor’ (or ‘ūr’) derived from ‘Ur’ is the popular word for village in the south Indian languages. Note that even the Sanskrit ’pur’ or ‘pur-a’ is a more refined Ur that is made up of ‘p + ur (± a)’.
There are at least two ‘Puttūr’-s in Dakshina Kannada. One is a major and popular town and a Taluk headquarters on the Mangalore-Mysore road. The other is a hamlet appended to Udupi civic agglomeration. Even though the Puttur town, the headquarters of Puttur Taluk is more famous now, at this juncture it is difficult to recognize which was the first original town/village in the history that was named ‘Puttur’ first and which followed it later. There is also a ‘Puttur’ in Andhra Pradesh, suggesting the spread of these common Dravidian words.
The usual current explanation of ‘Puttūr’ is 'Pootta+ oor' or ‘village of flowers’. However an analysis of the word suggests it could have had other meanings originally!
The word ‘Puthu’ has three possible meanings: 1.Favorite or Beloved (Tulu Nighantu) 2. New (‘puth’ as in ‘puttari’ –Kodagu; suggested by Manjunat) 3.A combination of 'beloved' and 'new'; and 4. Anthill ( putta >.hutta Kannada; suggested by Viswanath).
The ‘puthu’1 (=beloved) has survived in Tulu (and also in Beary language) as a pet name used for designating fond children. If you consider the ‘beloved’ as the meaning of the prefix ‘puthu’ then ‘Puttur’ becomes ‘beloved or favorite village’.
Similarly, in the case of other ‘puth-’ settlements, it could have been: ‘Puth+ila’ (=beloved house) and ‘Puth+ige’ (=favorite domain) etc.
Other possibilities for these words considering Puthu 2 (= new) are ‘new village’ (Puttūr), ‘new domain/ habitation ‘(‘Puthige’) and new house/habitation (‘Puttila’). Alternately, in view of Naga worship cults in the region the place names could also been derived from the third meaning namely the ‘puthu’ 3 (=anthill).
One village along NH 48 before Bantval along the Mangalore-BC Road(Bantval cross) is named 'Pudu'.The word 'Pudu' may be a modified form of 'Puthu' discussed above.
Similarly,Puduvettu would be a 'new upland'(pudu+bettu) settlement.
I agree with Manjunat who opines that ‘puthu’ stands for ‘new’ like ‘Hosa’ in place names like ‘Hosapet’ or ‘Hosabettu’. However, I feel that original ‘puth’ conveyed a combined emotional expression of ‘new’ and ‘favorite/ beloved/ affectionate’ considering the pet name used for calling fond children.
The ‘puttari’ festival of Kodagas is ‘puddar’ for Tulu people. (Was it ‘puddari’ initially?) The festival originally conveyed an emotional respect/devotion to the new rice or ‘kadire’ the ear of paddy. The ‘puddar’ has later changed into ‘posatt’. The ‘posa’ has become ‘hosa’ along the timeline in modern Kannada.
Possibly with evolution, we lost the original sentimental attachment and concurrent devotion of our ancestors to the arrival of new objects and now we recognize and distinguish just - old and new!
Books for Reference
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- Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999
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