Sunday, April 27, 2008


An image of Swarna river near Kemmannu village,Udupi taluk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

111. Swirling waves of Surathkal

A photo-montage of Torathakall beach west of NITK campus.

The place names often change with changes in the attitude and customs of the people living around the region. The place name Surathkal presently gives an impression as if it is ‘Surutha’ (=first) ‘Kall’ (=stone). People have often erroneously assumed that it perhaps once represented the first milestone towards Mangalore or something like that.

Vijayanagar period
An stone inscription found in the courtyard of the Kadire Manjunatha temple, Mangalore dated ca.1386 CE, belonging to the period of chieftain Banki Alupendra, who was ruling under the Vijayanagara King Harihararaya, has described the place Surathkal as Turithakali.The ‘kali’ end-form must be an writing error and possibly it was meant Turithakall.

Turithakall <.Torathakall
The inscription rather confirms that the place was known as ‘Turitha-kall’ during 14th century CE. This corresponds closely to the ancient Tulu name of the place Toratha-kall. Even today older folks designate this town as Toratha-kall! And the Turithakall form in the Kannada inscription is only a stylized version of the old Tulu word Torathakall.
As usual to understand the meaning of the place, you have to look into the natural setting of the town, devoid of modern concrete jungles that have been imposed upon it in the recent years.

Wave-washed Rocks
The Surathkal beach west of National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK; formerly known as KREC-Karnataka Regional College of Engineering, Surathkal) holds the key for the meaning of the word Torathakall.
On the NITK beach, we find several large to medium sized dome shaped exposures of gray granite-gneiss rocks that have been turned jet black on their exteriors due to onset of marine waves and coastal rains. On one large exposure we find an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Sadashiva. On another exposure, there is a modern light house built to guide the ships safely into the New Mangalore harbour.
There are other numerous smaller exposures of granite in the beach strip and in the littoral zone on which the proceeding and receding sea waves play with incessantly often swirling around the rock exposures. This particular scenery of play of waves with the rocks must have mesmerized our ancestors.
The name Toratha kall refers directly to the swirling action of waves on the rocks.
The Tulu place name Torathakall is often shortened to Torth-al.
Magic of ‘torapuni’
The words ‘Tere’ or ‘Sire’ refers to sea waves in Tulu language. But the meaning of the word ‘torapuni’ is far more meaningful in the context. The verb ‘torapu’ refers to the ancient practice of protection against evils: it is a primitive form of sorcery or psycho-somatic healing magic.
In the olden days, grandmothers used to conduct the art of ‘torapuni’ on children who were unusually afraid or sick due to psycho-somatic reasons. The art of ‘torapuni’ consists of taking a small stone in the fist and circling it around the head of the infected child, in clockwise direction, a few times, corresponding with chanting of spells that wished all that evils that affected the child should go away or vanish. Finally the stone use for ‘torapuni’ or ‘torat deepuni’ is thrown away and it is considered that all the evil effects are removed from the child. There are several other variants of the torapuni act which essentially is magical practice of the ancient Tulu people designed for the psycho-somatic well being of the children.

For those who stand and watch the play of waves on the beach it appears as if the swirling waves do the magic act of ‘torapuni ‘on the rock exposures strewn in the beach of Torathikall or the torat-kall.

Sire Kallina deva
Ramesh Puthran of Suratkal writes vachanas in 'Mogaveera' (magazine). He terminates the vachanas in the pen-name of 'Sira kallina deva' referring to Lord Sadashiva of Surathkal beach. ‘Sira’, ‘sire’ or 'tere' means sea waves. The Sadashiva temple is located on the rocky mound, which is washed perennially by the incessant waves of the Arabian Sea.

The post is written in collaboration with Hosabettu Viswanath

Sunday, April 20, 2008

110. Mukka

Bhagavathi temple at Kadike,northern beach of Mukka-Sasihitlu.

Travelling northward from Mangalore to Udupi, after Surathkal you shall find places called Mukka and Sasihitlu, where Pavanje and Mulki rivers confluence before debouching into Arabian Sea. A northern part of this coastal beach area is called 'Sasihitlu' or 'Kadike'. ‘Sasihitlu’ can be translated as a compound consisting of seedlings and the ‘Kadike’ refers to short native grass or the ‘garike’.
The part of Mukka beach is known as Mitrapatna,possibly signifying influence of Buddhism .However,it is said that the name Mitrapatna is a recent one,ca. 1920 (Hosabettu Viswanath). Near Kadike in the northern part of Mukka,is a Bhagavathi temple evincing eroded marks of transition from Buddhism to Hinduism.Some more studies may be requirred to prove or disprove the Buddhist heritage of Mukka, apart from the Bhagavathi temple.
A part of the beach area between Mukka and Sasihitlu is designated Lacchil meaning a garden with cultivated plants.Note the analogies between the words Sasihitlu and Lacchil.

Mukka appears to be an unusual place name. The word Mukka means deformed. It also means ‘blow with the fist’ signifying destructive attack. Of the several words derived from the Mukka, the interesting one is ‘mooka’ (=dumb).
Sea erosion
Well, to explain why the place acquired such a negative or ominous name, we have to take the help of coastal geomorphology and geography of the area. The Mukka beach is known for severe sea erosions during the monsoon period. Severe sea erosions involve destructive attack of powerful storm surged sea waves that destroy the delicate sandy beaches. The coastal wave attack destroys, in successive stages, everything that is near the beach such as plants, buildings and structures.
It seems the beach was destroyed many times in the historical past due to severe sea erosions which prompted our ancestors to name the place as Mukka!
This again proves that our ancestors were highly conscious of the geography of the places they lived in.

There is one more interesting legendary angle to the derivation of the place name Mukka.
A divine connection is cited by Mithrapatna Narayan A. Bangera in his book 'Kandevu Kshetra Mahatme'. As against the several reincarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva has a few ones. He established 'Tulasi vrindavana' in every home by destroying Tripura. He bestowed longevity to Maarkhandeya, son of Muni Mrikhandu. He became the main deity of Dravida Race by appearing before Hunter Kannappa, who offered his own eyes in devotion. In the guise of a hunter, he bestowed Pashupataasra to Arjuna. He appeared as 'Dharmarasu Ullaya (meaning 'Swayambhu)' in River Nandini in the form of a face. The west of River Nandini where he put his face is called mukha(=face)>Muga>Mukka. The place where he 'espied to stay' is now called as Kandya/Kandevu (also Khandige). Thus these western and eastern sides of Nandini are considered as sacred places.The Yermal Festival is harbinger of festivals of Tulu Nadu and Kandevu festival signifies end of festivals in a year. Hence the famous saying: "Yermal jappu Kandevu Adepu".

Acknowledgments: Hosabettu Viswanath

109. Odipu - the Udupi

Talented entrepreneurs specialized in the culinary art have immortalized the name of the modest town Udupi world over. Udupi Hotels may be more famous than the Lord Krishna or the Madhvacharya who symbolize the town of Udupi. However, the word Udupi is only a stylized form of the original Tulu name Odipu. Rural folks even today refer to the town as Odipu rather than modernized Udupi.

Someone writing on Udupi had expressed that the meaning of the place name ‘Odipu’ is uncertain. The Tulu word ‘Odipu ‘(Odi+pu) means an elevated village. Tulu Nighantu (Volume2, p.509-510) lists some 15 variants of the word Odi, but the ‘bettu’ meaning has not been enlisted.

Hosabettu Viswanath in a communication was describing that the village Hosabettu was formerly known as Posodi. Posa+Odi is the Tulu equivalent of Hosa (new)+Bettu (raised or elevated land). Therefore the word Odi means Bettu or the elevated land. When viewed from the low lying coast, the strip of land around Udupi forms an elevated area.

Related words
The suffixes –apu, -ipu and –ape in Tulu refer to village hamlet or settlements. Similar to Odipu, we have several related words like Mudipu, Belapu, Alape, Didupe, Bajjodi,etc.
The word ‘Odi’ also appears in. ‘Odiyur’ which means an elevated village. There are also places like Odilnala, Odabhandesvara etc.

Apart from the raised or elevated status, the Odi can also means swollen as we find in Ode ( Uddina Ode, Ambode etc) the swollen or inflated oil fried South Indian dish.

Other Odis
There are several 'oDi'and 'ODi' words in Tulu Nighantu with variety of meanings to mislead the original meaning of the word Odipu.Some of the meanings attached to these words can be enlisted here for the benefit of analytic thinkers.1.Branch of plant laden with fruits,2.Drip,3.Cease flowing,4.Control or regulate,5.Raised divider between the agricultural fields,6.A narrow strip of field,7.A field canal,8.sorcery,9.A measure,10.A tumour,11.A hunters lodge,12.defeat,13.evil eye,14.A pair, pull or pluck(oDipu)etc.16.ODi= an union of members,as in 'ODi kaTTu' 17.A competition like cock fight.
The word 'oDi' also is a personal male name among the ancient people of Karavali. The name is still found among some of the Scheduled castes.

On the other hand there are alternate Puranic style explanations as to why the place is known as Udupi(uDu=star; +pa=king of).Hosabettu Viswanath cites an introduction by Krishnapur Mutt on Udupi.
"The Roopya Peetha land is now popularly known as Udupi. The name has been derived from the Moon. The moon was once cursed by Daksha Prajapati. To ward off this curse, the moon performed penance in propitiation of God Iswara in a forest in this land. Iswara being pleased, appeared before the moon and removed the evil effects of the curse. This place has since been known as Chandramouleeswara and there is an ancient temple of this name in this place. The actual spot where the moon performed penance is known as Abjaranya. There is a sacred tank Chandra Pushkarani by its side. In Sanskrit, 'Udu' means stars; 'pa' means 'lord of''. Hence 'Udupa' means lord of stars, that is moon. The place where the moon performed penance and obtained grace is known as Udupi."[Udupi-An introduction.By Krishnapur mutt].

Written in collaboration with Hosabetttu Viswanath.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

108. Koraga language: A primer

A simple word can prompt different people to think in different dimensions and probe different shades of meanings leading to better appreciation of the genesis and evolution of the words.
The derivation of the word kavu:>kapu / kayu in one of my previous post elicited some further analysis by Manjunath where he concluded that ‘kavu’ could be a Dravidian word. The word ‘kavu’ has been cited as a Koraga word (Ramakrishna Shetty, 2007). The frequency of occurrence of the words ‘Kavu’ and ‘Kapu’ as place names in Karavali Tulunad tempted me to conclude that Tulu word ‘Kapu’ has been derived from the pre-Tulu word ‘Kavu’
The word ‘kavu’ has several shades of meaning, as reminded by Hosabettu Viswanath, which includes (a) heat (b) husk(c) dark-coloured cloth or soil -‘kavi’ (d) to wait etc., apart from the place names that mean (e) reserved area (common in place names such as Kavu, Kavur, Kavugoli, Kapu, Kapikad, Modankapu, etc).

Early Munda groups
Normally, the Indian people have been classified into Dravidian, Aryan and Austro-Asiatic origins. In the earlier posts I have tried to support the existing theories that the point that Aryan and Dravidian ancestors immigrated into India during the period 1900-800 BC. At the time of arrival of these Aryan and Dravidian groups, the ancient India was not an empty zone. It was already manned by inhabitants who are generally designated as Austro-asiatics .The Austro-asiatics are at presented represented by Munda group of people who are distributed mainly in Chotanagpur and surrounding tribal areas. Various evidences and cultural vestiges in Tulu and other Dravidians suggest that these tribal groups were once distributed widely in different parts of India. To account for the pre-Tulu and pre-Dravidian lingual-cultural elements, I introduced the concept of “Early Munda tribes” that inhabited whole of southern India, especially at the time of arrival of Dravidians ca. 800-600BC.Somehow the phrase ‘Early Munda groups’ has confused many of the readers because of the present Munda tribes whose present distribution has been reduced to certain tribal pockets of India. Added to this, tribal groups like Koragas and Bhils are usually not classified as part of the present Munda tribes.

Early Indians tribes
My concept of introducing the phrase ‘Early Munda groups’ was to represent all those tribes that inhabited India before the arrival of Dravidians/Aryans into India. Since the usage of the phrase (‘Early Munda groups’) in my earlier posts has lead to confusion, I would to replace it with the phrase ‘Early Indian tribes’ to encompass the whole gamut of early settlers in India before 1900-800 BC periods.
These distinctions may be of help in further detailed philological and genetic studies of our evolution.

Koragas are a distinct usually dark coloured tribal group that inhabit the Karavali area. It is not certain right now whether these tribes should be classified under Austro-Asiatics or under those migrated from Africa during the initial or subsequent stages of human evolution. Evidences of presence of relict Koraga words in Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam suggests that the Koragas groups thrived in different parts of southern India. Kurumba, Korava, Korama, Kuruvan and other tribes may be variants of Koragas of Tulunad. Kannada researcher, Sham. Baa.Joshi has suggested that the Kannada word ‘Kuruba’ (=Shepard)is derived from ‘Kurumba,’ wherein the word ‘Kuru’ stands for hilly region.
Koraga Subgroups: Several subgroups have been distinguished among Koragas of Karavali zone.Edgar Thurston (1975) recognized Ande Koraga,Vastrada Koraga,Tippi Koragaand Panti Koraga subgroups. D.N. Shankara Bhat (1971) recognized Ande Koraga, Onti Koraga, Tappu Koraga and Moodu Koraga,. Aravinda Malagatti and Odeyar Heggade distinguished Ande Koraga, Soppu Koraga, Chippu Koraga, Mundu Koraga and Bakuda Koraga. The 'bakuda', apparently is also a part of the Munda group of tribes.Ramakrishna Shetty (2007) concluded that the Koraga is not a sub-dialect of Tulu and it is an independent language. The following analysis of Koraga words is based on the cited research paper by Ramakrishna Shetty.

Koraga words adapted into Tulu language
During the spatial- temporal evolution, the Tulu ancestral people have borrowed several words that were in usage among the native Koraga tribes. Some of the Koraga words that were adapted into Tulu language are:

gaDi1 (=wound),
gaDi 2 (=mark made on the land to distinguish boundary),
koTTa>koTya (=hut,shed),
booru (=sleep)>booru (to fall),
ijji.>ee (thou,you),
nikal:>nikul (=you people),
nakal.>.nama (=we people),
ayi:>aye (=he).
pakki =bird),
dina (=day),
pooja (=worship)
pari.> par (=drink)
oli.>olipu/leppu(=to call)
kudpu.>kudpu (=to peck)
kavu.>kapu (=to wait, reserve?)
laak.>lakk(=to get up)
kall.>kalpu(=to learn)

.. etc.

Koraga words adapted into Kannada language
Adoption of Koraga words was not restricted to Tulu people. Ancestors of Kannada Tamil and Malayalam ancestors have borrowed Koraga word from their respective areas. Some of the Koraga words that were adapted into Kannada language are:

gaDi 2(=mark made on the land to distinguish boundary),
nakal:>naavu (=We),
nikal.>neevu (=you people),
kavu.>kayu(=to wait)
kall.>kali(=to learn)
kel.>keLu (to listen,hear)
ganDe.>ganDu (=male)
puDdu/ huDdu.>hiDi.(=to hold)


Koraga Weekdays
The immigrant Tulu ancestral people brought the names for seven days of the week from the north. Thus the Tulu week names are similar to or derived from Sanskrit (or Prakrit derived) week-names based on names of solar planets and the Sun. Aitara (<.adityavara), Somara(<.Somavara), Angare(<.Angaraka is Mars),Budaara(<.Budhvara) etc.
But Koraga week names are distinctly different and not imitated from Prakrit/Tulu week names. For example, Koraga tribes use the word ‘Pooja dina’ for Sunday! It leads us to conclude that words like pooja(=worship), dina(=day), pakki (=bird), kodanTi(=wooden club) etc are originally derived from Koraga language.

Week days in Koraga language
Sunday= Pooja dina
Monday= Kunjar dina
Tuesday=Gadige dina
Wednesday=Pakki dina
Thursday=kodanTi dina
Saturday=Maral dina

Koraga community words
Similarly Koraga words that refer to certain communities of the Tulunad throw light on some ancient words. For example the word ‘Ajal’ refers to ‘authority, jurisdiction, religious rights ‘ etc (Tulu NighanTu,Vol.I,1988).Before the arrival of Tulu/Dravida tribes into Karavali, the ‘Billava’ (a part of the ancient Bhil tribes) were the authorized people to conduct the religious ceremonies in the Early Indian society. So the Koraga tribes used the words 'Ajalai' and 'Ajalthi' to refer to the religious authority of the Billava men and women during the pre-Vedic days. It is a pity that the word ‘Ajal’ has lost its original shade of meaning with passage of time.
The ‘Baida’ were the native doctors of that time. Hence the word ‘baida’ in Koraga means medicine! The ‘Baider’ sect later merged into Billava-Poojari community.
The fishermen constructed ‘pattana’ (colony) or ‘patna’ in their fishing villages and settlements. Hence they were referred to as ‘Patle’ (one from Patna) and ‘Patandi’( woman from the Patna)

Community words in Koraga langauge
Ajalai= Poojari billawa
Ajalthi=Billawa woman
Bonkudadd=Odari woman
kanchald=Christian woman
Korre korai=Koraga male
Korr korti=Koraga woman

Pre-Dravida Koraga
It appears that the Koraga may be one of the pre-Dravida languages that supplied root words to Tulu and other Dravidian languages during the course of lingual evolution. Assimilation of the pre-Dravidian roots in the Dravidian languages must have taken place in the course of time after 800-600 BC.

Ramakrishna T Shetty (2007) “Tulu-Koraga Bhashe”(in Kannada)..In: ‘Tulu Sahitya Charitre’.(Eds: AV Navada et al), pp.300-307. Kannada University, Hampi.

Monday, April 7, 2008

107. Nagara at Panambur

Ancient Temples that contain preserved epigraphs provide interesting historical information during the study of the inscriptions etched in the past in order to perpetuate the celebration of rituals connected with the Temples.
One of such interesting historical tidbit is that Panambur, now the site of New Mangalore harbour was once also known as ‘Nagara’ from Tenth Century upto the beginning of Fourteenth Century CE.

The ancient temple of Nandanesvara located inside the Port area at Panambur was preserved intact during the construction of New Mangalore Port that involved massive displacement of the habitations in the area during the construction of the man-made harbour. The Temple also has been renovated due to dedicated involvement of local people in the recent years.
An inscription in the Temple dated 1305 CE (pre-Vijayanagar period) has described it as Nagaresvara Temple. It means that the area was popularly known as ‘Nagara’ or the city. Between the period of 10th and 14th Century CE, the coastal zone near Panambur must have been well developed as a city judging by the standards of those times. Alupa and Hoysala Kings were ruling the Karavali at that time. Since, Alupa had headquarters around Alupe, Maroli and Kulashekara areas of Mangalore, it can be surmised that Hoysala Kings contributed to the growth of Nagara around Padu Nambur. Murulidhara Upadhya and Narasimhamurthy (2000) suggest that the Panambur Nagara was an important commercial centre during the Hoysala period.

The Nagaresvara Temple may have been renamed as Nandanesvara Temple during the Vijayanagara period. During the Vijayanagara period the and township and the port was shifted southwards to Bokkapatna( Bolur) and Urwa area.

Padu Nambur
The place has been recorded as Nambur in inscriptions connected with Kadire Manjunatha Temple, Mangalore. The stone inscription in the courtyard of the Kadire temple dated ca.1386 CE corresponding to the period of Chieftain Banki Alupendra,who was ruling under the Vijayanagara King Harihararaya .The inscription mentions place names like Nambur (Panambur), Turithakali (Suratkal), Yedeya (Iddya), Kollia (Kulai) and Chitrapura (Gururaja Bhat, 1974.)

The Nambur village might have been a large village in the past and the western portion of it was designated later as Padu Nambur. The word ‘Padu’ stands for the 'West'. The word Padu Nambur has become Panambur with passage of time.

Gururaja Bhat, P. (1974) “Kadri Shri Manjunatha Devalaya: Kshetra Mahatme mattu Itihasa” (Kannada).Published by: trustees of the Kadri Manjunatha temple.73p.

Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriyadaka & Narasimhamurthy,P.N. (Editors)(2000) ‘Dakshina Kannadada Devalayagalu’.(Kannada). Publication Committee of Shri Janardhana and Mahakaali Temple, Ambalapadi, Udupi, .472+76 p.

106. Maarigudi II

In Tamilnadu the ‘Maariamman’ is considered as the Godess of Rain and fertility, whereas in Karnataka (including Karavali) 'Maari' is the village Goddess/Deity of misfortunes and epidemics diseases. Hosabettu Viswanath has added some more points below to complement the previous post on the Maarigudis.

It appears that originally the concept of Maari worship was conceived to drive out epidemic diseases. The Maari-pooje is traditionally held in many villages of Karavali usually on a specific day in the following week after the Car festival event of the village Durga temples.
'Maari gidapunu/ derunu', 'maaripuje' in village level (the Maari without having a temple) is a common annual feature in some villages. It is performed under a tree with raised platform around by offering food/animal sacrifice. Similar village cults are reported from Tamilnadu also. It is also likely that the original concept of (driving out the epidemics) is being interpreted in different ways, like addition of concepts of rain and fertility, in these days. The cult of emphasis on rains may have been derived from prevention against the draught situations.
During outbreak of epidemics, to chase out the 'maari' out of village limits such rituals are performed. In the fishing villages, the Bhajana Mandira undertakes singing of bhajans through out the 'Mogaveera pattana',running corner to corner, to chase the 'Maari' out. Such events have played a significant role in providing psychological relief to the people by removing fear.

In the days of 'ramponi' in the fishing colonies of Karavali villages, 'kuttipooje' was performed prior to commencement of fishing season. It is another form of 'maari gidapunu'.

'Maari' also means great, big, terrifying, as in 'maaribale'(=huge fishing net), 'maari barsa' (=intensive rainfall) etc.Usages like 'maari pondu', 'ayik maari baradu' are also in vogue. Worship of mother Maari appears universal and it may have existed in native form even before the arrival of Ikkeri Kings to Tulunad.. However, it was more popularised with the exodus of Konkanis from Konkan to Tulunadu and with the construction of Maari Gudies' during Ikkeri rule.

Mohanappa Thingalaya
Arya Samajists in the Karavali,like late Shri Mohanappa Thingalaya, have played a significant role in the beginning of the Twentieth Century in crusading against the cruel practice of animal sacrifice .

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

105. Maarigudis of Kapu

Religion is a sensitive issue in the minds of devotees. The faith and devotion inherent in the religion contribute to the basic psychological strength and well being of the people since ages. The core concept of Maari cult is of Spirit worship origin in the ancient peninsular India and later in time sequence was absorbed into or developed in tune with the Shakti worship. Analogy with the Bhagavathi worship is most obvious.
The concept of Maarigudi was introduced to Tulunadu by the Ikkeri rulers. It appears that the original Kapu Maarigudi was initially modeled on Sirsi Maarikamaba temple. Under the rule of Ikkeri Kings, the Maarigudi had a strong influence on the local people.
Over the years, Maarigudis proliferated in the Kapu area. The religious history of Kapu area may be an example to show how people live with and adapt to diverse religious cults over the years.

The area around Kapu (older British spelling: Kaup) has several interesting aspects of historically significance. In the Early centuries of Common Era, it appears to be a centre of Buddhism that superposed on an earlier period of Spirit worship.
The Tulu/Kannada word ‘Kapu’ (=reserved area) is derived from the pre-Tulu (Koraga /Munda) word ‘Kavu’ (=reserved grove). The Uchila Mahalingeshvara temple shows evidences of relics of Buddhism in the region. An early period of Buddhism was succeeded by the worship of mainstream Hinduism represented by Mahalingeshvara (Shiva) Janaradhana (Vishnu) and Mahalakshmi. Later Jainism has also played a key role in the region. A Tulu Jain Basadi (‘Dharmasthana’) under the custody of State Mujarai Department, in Kapu still bears the title of ‘Rakshna Sthana’ (protected area), suggestive of the reserved area status in the place name.
The cult of Bobbariya, a spirit of Muslim Beary merchant was also evolved in the Kapu area.

Ikkeri Nayakas
Nayaka Kings of Ikkeri (now part of Shimoga district) ruled over parts of Tulunadu after the fall of Vijayanagar Empire. Ikkeri Nayakas were Lingayaths in faith. In the year 1607, Ikkeri Nayakas overpowered the ruling Jain Chieftains of Barakur and destroyed much part of the historical city. The army of Jain Chieftains consisted mainly of Billava and other backward castes.
During the time, the trade in the Kapu region was dominated by Konkani merchants (GSB,Gauda Saraswath Brahmins) who had settled in the area for business purposes during the period of Ikkeri Kings. The Karavali coastline was brimming with export related trade activities and the Portuguese were in a powerful position in the West Coast. The Konkani merchants maintained flourishing trade relations with the Portuguese. In the ambient atmosphere there was a strong business rivalry at that time among the GSB Konkani Brahmins, Jains, and Bearys of the area.

The Maari worship is common in peninsular India (mainland Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilandu.). The word ‘Maari’ refers to contagious diseases in Kannada, whereas in Tamil ‘Maari’ also means rains. The latter meaning also exists in Tulu language. (Note the Tulu word ‘mariyala’ that refers to rainy season.).The Maari was a pre-Vedic village deity (grama devata) originally but nowadays she is worshipped as a form of Durga or Shakti.
The tradition of worshipping Maari was introduced to Tulunadu by the Ikkeri Kings who held sway over the Karavali from Gokarana in the north upto Nileswara in the south in the Seventeenth Century CE. The few Maarigudis existing in the Karavali Tulunadu region are distributed in Kapu and Surathkal.
In the 17th Century CE Ikkeri Kings constructed the first Maarigudi at Kaup, where the idol of ‘Ucchangi,’ a Maari Spirit prevalent in the Malnad area was installed. Animal sacrifice was in vogue according to the old customs of the Maarigudi. Livestock like ox, sheep, goat and chicken were butchered in the name of sacrifice to ‘please’ the wild Spirit deity. It was practice since Ikkeri days to bring butchers of Rane community from the Malnad region to carry out the ritual of animal sacrifice. Ikkeri Kings who were afraid of the rebellion against their rule had no faith on the local people. They brought soldiers from the upland Malnad area known as "Rama kshatriyas'.Some analysts opine that Ikkeri rulers perpetuated animal sacrifice to induce fear psychosis among the locals and to contain any possible rebellion.
Mahatma Gandhi who visited the Mangalore during 26 October 1927 advised the natives to abolish the cruel practice of animal sacrifice. Members from backward castes including Billava were not allowed inside the Maari temple in those days until the State Government imposed rules to ban the communal discriminations after 1973 and 1976.
After the Ikkeri period the administration of the said Maarigudi was managed by Gauda Saraswaths and Bunts of the area.

Tippu Sultan
Tippu Sultan captured Kapu during the latter part of Seventeenth Century CE. Tippu was irritated over the Maarigudi probably because it was controlled by the Ikkeri administrators and their henchmen. He prohibited natives from participating in the Maarigudi. Subsequently, he ordered demolition of the Maarigudi and constructed a Mosque in its place. After the construction of Mosque (Palli) the locality was known as Palli padpu. After Tippu’s defeat and death, in the year 1799 the British who took over the administration of the region, allowed the locals to shift the Mosque and rebuild the Maarigudi in the old place.

New Maarigudi
The religious influence of Maarigudi on the natives increased. Since the administration of the Old Maarigudi was controlled by the Gauda Saraswaths, a new Maarigudi was separately built by the Bunts of the area.
Subsequently several other communities in the Kapu have built independent Maarigudis controlled by their individual communities. In the course of time, a Maarigudi was also built in the Tadambail area of Surathkal.

Kapu also holds a record for massive conversion of members of ‘lower’ Tulu communities into Christianity. In the Nineteenth century, Tulunad witnessed communal discordances and social disparities. Experts in the Basel Mission, Mangalore were actively involved in the systematic learning of the local languages like Kannada and Tulu. Missionaries exploited the social discordances and during 1851 massively converted disgruntled members from Billava and other lower communities of Kapu area into Protestant faith. The consequent Protestants preferred to use their mother tongue the Tulu language.

The post is based on the material collected by Dinesh K.Mulki

Let the Studies...

Dr H.S. Venkatesha Murthy ,noted Kannada writer and poet, has cited the following positive and meaningful Sanskrit verse in his weekly column ‘Ee mukhena’ in Udayavani dated 30 March 2008 (p.3 Sunday magazine). The verse cited below is relevant to everyone of us in this society.
Sahanaa vavatu
Sahanau bhunatku
Sahaveeryam karavaavahai
Tejasvinaavadhi tamstu maa vidishwavahai

The English translation of the verse is based on his translation note in Kannada:
Let the studies protect us,
Let the studies feed us the results,
Let us recall the powerful ideas
Let studies make us glow and let us not despise each other

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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 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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