Recently the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, Mangaluru, has published an important thesis on the history of Tulunadu compiled by (1984) Late Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty (1950-1997) entitled “ Barakuru: A Metropolitan city of antiquity-its history and culture.”
Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty
Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty was the Vice Principal and the Head of the Department of History and Archeology at St Marys Syrian College, Brahmavara, Udupi at the time of compiling and submitting the thesis (1984) under the guidance of Prof. Dr A.Y. Narasimha Murthy, Prof & Head, Department of Postgraduate studies and research in Ancient History and Archeology, University of Mysore at Mysore. It is sad to note that the promising historian Dr. Vasantha Shetty expired (1997) in his young age. With his rather premature death, the field of Tulu studies has lost an important researcher.
Vasantha Shetty reports that the earliest documented form of name as found in the inscription (dated ca 11th Century CE) located in the Hosala Durga /Mahalakshmi temple for the town was Barakanuru. In support of this conclusion he cites two epigraphs located in areas outside the district, dated 1122 and 1135 CE relating to the period of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, which also refer to this place as Barakanuru. Arab historian Rashi-ud-Din in his compiled work (1310) referred to this port as Fakanur, which appears to be a corrupt form of Barakanuru. Near Barakuru there is deep pit in the river known as Barakana-gundi (or Barakana-baligundi).
The application of the name Bāraha kanyāpura for the place appears around 1155 CE as found in an inscription of the period during the reign of Alupa King Kavi Alupendra. The Sanskritized place name Bāraha kanyāpura apparently has been associated with the legends of Bhutala Pandya. The legendary Bhutala Pandya is said to have married 12 Jaina maidens; the incident appear to have modified the name of the city to Bāraha kanyāpura.
The data presented by Vasantha Shetty in the book leads us to infer that the legend of Bhutala Pandya was created by certain Alupa Kings with the help of royal poets of the period. However, the legends apparently do not have the support of corroborative historical evidences. Though some of the royal records and Alupa inscriptions of ca 1254-1261 CE, period express the place name as Bāraha kanyāpura, the foreign historians descriptions (like Fakanur or Bacanur) as well as the coins minted during the period appear to have continued to mention the place as Barakanura gadhyana. Similarly, contemporaries of Alupas like the Ballala rulers who occupied Barakuru did not accepted the use of the name of Baraha Kanyapura suggesting that the legends of Bhutala Pandya were not appealing to other rulers of the period.
In spite of entry of Baraha Kanyapura in contemporary official Alupa records, many common people as well as other rulers stuck to the old name of Barakanur. An inscription of Virapandyadeva-Alupendradeva dated 1257 mentioned the town “Bakur” probably due to engravers confusion or mistake. Later inscriptions of the same ruler mentions the name of the capital as Baraha-Kanyapura. However, Hoysala ruler Ballala III who married Chikkayi Tayi of Alupa lineage and shared authority over the Alupa capital issued inscriptions in 1334 CE carried the place name as Barakuru. Inscriptions issued by Chikkayi Tayi in 1334 CE also carried the name of Barakuru. Other Alupa rulers like Kulashekaradeva continued the name of Baraha Kanyapura in his inscriptions of 1339 and 1345 CE.
Further the capital was acquired by Vijayanagara rulers who also preferentially adopted the name of Barakuru only. Similarly further rulers like Nayakas of Keladi also continued with the name of Barakuru, derived from the old name of Barakanuru.
Alupas in Barakuru
Vasantha Shetty reports that the first record of Alupa ruling in Barakuru dates back to 1139 CE (Saka 1062), in the inscription attributed to Kavi Alupendra and found at Panchalingeshwara temple, Kotekeri, Barakuru. The said inscription mentions Tolahas of Suralu. Also mentioned in the record is the Gadyana, the Alupa coin in vogue in that period. The Barakuru became the capital city of Alupas with effect from the year 1155 CE during the reign of King Kavi Alupendra, who ruled from the palace of Bāraha-kanyāpura, as recorded in another inscription in the area. Kavi Alupendras queen was known as Pandya-Mahādevi.
Hoysalas in Barakuru
One of the surprising historical data we find as evident in an undated inscription of Kotekeri, Barakur is regarding the joint rule of Vira Jagadevarasa (of Hoysala/Santara descent) and Pattamāhadevi (and her son Pandya-Devarasa of Alupa descent) in Barakuru.
During the reign of Alupa ruler Soyideva, Hoysala King Ballala III married Alupa princess Chikkayi Tāyi, and exercised Hoysala authority over the Barakuru. An inscription dated 1336 CE at Mudukeri, Barakuru suggests that Chikkayi Tāyi, Senior queen of Vira Ballala Devarasa ruled over Barakuru at that time.
The Vijayanagara Kings based in Hampi deputed Governors to rule the Barakuru province. Inscriptions of the period at found at Barakuru represent the reign of Vijayanagara Kings from Bukka I and there onwards.
Vasantha Shetty, B, Dr (2006). Barakuru: A Metropolitan city of antiquity its history and culture. (Thesis submitted for doctoral degree in 1984). Published by Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, Tulu Bhavana, Urva Stores, Mangaluru-575006 p.xvi+ 296. (Price: Rs.800.)