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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, April 8, 2007

16.Mangalore: Kudla and Nitria


Mangalore, the sultry and vibrant coastal town of Karnataka, has a long history. It also has several alternate names. Tulu people call it Kudla; Konkani’s prefer it as Kodiala; Malayalam people call it Mangalapuram; Beary people prefer the term Maikala. The Arabian traders preferred the term Maikala for Mangalore, possibly around 6th century AD. Possibly it was an Arab word. But there is little written history.

In Greek literature of early Christian era, there is said to be reference to an Oloikhera, which has been interpreted as Greek version of the name Aluva Kheda.

We do not find mention of either Mangalur or Kudla in Greek reports. Instead we find the port of Nitria mentioned. Nitria was probably the port located on the estuary of River Netravathy. Nitria must have been derived from an Indian word, possibly something like Netra or Netria. Geological inferences reveal that the near the confluence between the Rivers Netravathy and Gurpur there was an eye shaped island. This eye shaped half-island (small peninsula), Netra (=eye) or Netriya, must have prompted the Greek historians to refer to as Netria. In that case, name of the River Netravathy also must have been derived from the shape of the island. Netra or Netriya If this deduction is correct then the earliest known name of Mangalore appears to be Netra or Netriya.

Mangalore is the anglicized version of the name MangaLooru. Premilla, a queen of Malabar, renounced her kingdom and became a disciple of Matsyendranath of Nath cult. She traveled with her Guru towards Kudla (or Mangalore) but had to settle near Bolar as she fell ill on the way. Eventually she died there and local people built a temple in reverence to her. The temple was renovated subsequently by an Alupa ruler, Kundavarma during the year 968 AD. Thus the town was known as Mangalapura.

The term Mangala also means fort, so a few believe because an ancient fort the name came. Infact,the name Mangalapura is found in the inscriptions earlier to the period of installation of Mangaladevi temple, ie., 968 AD. The Mangaladevi temple in the southern part of the city, reminds us that the city was named after goddess Mangaladevi. Thus Mangalapura later became Mangalooru during the Vijayanagar period. They called it Mangalur Rajya.

The name Kudla is a native geographic term indicating confluence of two rivers. The words KooD or KooDi (joined)+ala(=rivers) have become (1) kooDala > Kudla , and (2) kooDiala > koDiala. In other words, Koodla or Kudla is the Tulu equivalent of the Sanskrit word, sangam.The word Koodala is also there in Kannada. The river confluence of Kudalasangama is quite famous since the time of Basaveswara, the social reformer.Similarly the township at the confluence of Tunga and Bhadra rivers in Shimaoga district is known as Kudli.

A number of significant geographic modifications have taken place in Mangalore area during the historical past. At present, River Nethravathy flows westerly and joins the Arabian Sea, south of Mangalore town and north of Ullal area. And the other River Phalguni (Gurpur) flows westerly up to Tannirbavi, near New Mangalore Port. Near Tannirbavi, very close to the beach, hardly 500 meters from the beach-sea interface, River Phalguni takes an abrupt southerly turn and flows southward till it joins the River Nethravathy north of Ullal.

This geographic situation was much different during the historical past. The rivers Phalguni and Nethravathy were flowing within the present city area of Mangalore and joining the sea near the Alake-Bokkapatna area.


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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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