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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...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

287. Balmata, Mangalore


Origin of the name of a familiar and one of the oldest roads in the heart of Mangalore city- Balmata (pronounced as balmaTa) road is disputed. The local newspaper  Udayavani dated 29 september 2011 in the commercial supplement carried an anonymous note on the origin of the name Balmata. Excerpts from the cited article inspired me to write this post.
Bell Mount
One of the possibility suggested  is that a Bell shaped mount (hill)  or Bell on the mount apparently was corrupted to Bal-mata.However, this explanation is not quite satisfactory as none of the hills in the area are in the shape of  bell.

Bāl-mata
There is one more explanation for the origin of the word: Balmata. Close to the Balmata area there is one ‘Sanyasi gudde’ (hill of the ‘Sanyasi’; ‘sanyāsi’= a sage) that can be approached from Arya Samaj  cross Road. Here we have an ancient Kālbairav temple and relicts of Natha monasteries that held held powerful influences on the history of Mangalore during the period 9th  to 14th  Centuries CE. The word ‘bāl’ refers to children in Indian languages. It is said that the term ‘Bāl maTa’ was applied to one of the Natha monasteries, even though it is not clear if any Natha monastery dedicated to young people existed in the antiquity in this area.
Bol -mata
A third possibility discussed was that in the Balmata area some two centuries ago there were a couple of deserted British Bungalows. It is said deserted Bungalows were called ‘Bol’ (barren,empty) in Tulu.
Boll -mata
However, the fourth and the best possible explanation would be that  a group of German missionaries established Basel Mission Church and Monastery in this area. Tulu people used refer as ‘Boll ‘ or ‘Boller’ for the white people. The ancient places Bolur and Bolar in Mangalore also designate areas of ancient white immigrants as discussed in our older posts herein.
It seems apt that local Tulu people described religious centres ( designated as ‘maTa’ in Tulu and Kannada) established by white people (German Basel Missionaries) as ‘Boll maTa’. The ‘Boll-maTa’ with passage of time has been reduced to mere ‘Balmata’.

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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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