Saturday, May 24, 2008

114. Ayikala

A few of the recognizable vestiges of Buddhism that prevailed in the Karavali / Tulunad region have been traced in some of the earlier posts herein. There may still be skeptics who doubt the extinct evidences of Buddhism in Tulunadu. Apart from the eternal confusion between the parallel paths of Buddhism and Jainism, it may also be true that Jainism that swayed strong influence over Tulunad during the later centuries of the Common Era inadvertently masked the older evidences of existence of Buddhism.

An ancient ‘Mayikala’ devoted to the worship of Gautama Buddha’s mother Mayadevi is traceable in the Mangalore city of early centuries of Common Era. It is existing in the form of an older name of the city, ‘Maikala’ which is still retained and used by Beary merchants as an equivalent name of Mangalore.

The village of Ayikala (usually now pronounced as Aikala) in the northern part of Mangalore taluk. The Aikala village is located east of Kinnigoli town and to north of Kateel the famed temple town.
One neighbouring place forming the junction between Kinnigoli, Aikala and Damaskatte is called Mooru Kaveri (or Mooji Kaveri) poetically referring to three Kaveri(Kayar) trees. Some people have reinterpreted the name as Moodu Kaveri.
The Puttige village that was a power centre of Jain chieftains in the later centuries is to the east of Aikala.
The Aikala village on the Mulki- Kinnigoli - Mudabidri road, is known for granite stone quarries. There is also a temple devoted to Shakti/Durga worship. The traces of theologic evolution of Ayi.>Bhagavathi.> Durga may be relevant here. Original location of Ayikala shrine may be quite difficult to trace now.

Aikala  refers to a 'kaLa' (=field; field shrine) occupied by or named after Ay tribes. Ay tribes were a kind of cattle breeders similar to Yeda, Ida or Yedava/Yadava tribes. Kings and chieftains from the Ay tribes were known to have ruled parts of Kerala. It is possible that they settled in parts of Mangalore Taluk like villages of Aikala.
Aihole in Bijapaur district also reminds us of the Ay tribes settled in various parts of Karnataka in the antiquity.

Prakrit pockets in Tulunadu.
Sham Baa Joshi has deciphered the existence of pockets of Prakrit language within southern Karnataka during the period (before 10th Century CE) when Maharastra and Karnataka shared common socio-political territories. It can be recalled that the medieval Kannada text Kavirajamarga (ca. 10th Century) described that Kannada country as the territory stretched between the rivers of Kaveri and Godavari.

Ayikala proves the Sham Baa Joshi’s theory of existence of pockets of settlements that employed pre-Marati Prakrit language in medieval Karnataka. The pocket settlements of Prakrit language speakers, possibly represented by Buddhist and Jain monasteries, existed in ancient Tulunadu also.
One of the possibility is that Buddhists during the early centuries of CE chose the place Ayikala known for large rocky outcrops, with the intention of carving out cave temples or Viharas.
Buddhism was dominant in the West coast of Maharastra,during the historical past, as evident by the presence of numerous cave temples and rock-cut Viharas, carved in basalt rocks . Thus, the free flow and migration of monks along the western coastal track can be visualized.

Alternate explanations

The word Aayi of present Marati language was derived from the older Prakrit language. The ‘aayi’ is equivalent of the word ‘maayi’, the mother.

The word Aikala has several possible alternate explanations.Manjunath has offered some additional details on the word 'ayi'(see 'comments' below).One of the interesting points cited by him is that the word ayi (=mother) has entered Kannada as ta-ayi!
Hosabettu Viswanath has explored the word Aikala further.I quote some of his points :

'Aya' or 'Ayi' has so many shades of meaning. While 'aya' means 'adrishta' (fortune/goodluck), it has also means 'a kind or mode of tax' (See p.141 of Tulu Lexicon).So 'Ayakal>Ayikal' may mean a toll gate (Sunkada katte). There must be some historical clue if it is so. Let the locals come forward with the explanation.

Following alternative explanations may also be worth noting:

1. 'Ayi' (Five) is shortened form of 'ayin' in compound words, like 'Ayigeni' (a measure of five spans); 'Ayigoli padpu' meaning 'Panchvati' (a grove of five fig trees); 'Ayineer' (a ritual bath on the 5th day after menstruation); 'Ayinadu' (a province of five villages), etc.
2. 'Ayigal/Ayigulu' means a teacher or preceptor. In olden days such teacher's house is known 'Ayigal Math' and lessons are conducted under a tree. So 'Aigala Katte' may have been shortened as Ayigala>Ayikala.
3. 'Ayi' means ''Sayi', which in English means (to) die or expire. 'Kala' means small shrine for the departed Soul/ Bhoota (Spirit). Thus, it means a monument or five monuments for the Departeed Soul or Spirit.
4.  'Ayyalkal', is a stone representing 'Kshetrapala' of a temple.

Ay tribes
On overall analysis it appears that the Ay tribes were a kind of cattle-herders (Yadavas) spread in parts of peninsular India during the early centuries of Common Era. In southern India, Ay tribes were ruling parts of West Coast, especially in Kerala during the early centuries of the Common Era.
Ayikala,(ay+kala) in conclusion, represents a sacred place ('kaLa') of Ay tribes.

For additional data on the words aya,ayi and iya see post 201 on Aya.


Sunday, May 18, 2008


Pejakai. A wild tree common to Karavali, Kerala and Malanad tracts, though a rare sight for city dwellers.Artocarpus hirsuta.In Kannada it is known as Hebbalasu or the great jack tree.In Malayalam it is called Anjili.
The fruits are smaller and handy in size compared to that of Pelakai or the jack tree. Trees grow to large size and the wood is preferred for construction of boats as well as for domestic constructions.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

113. Maravoor, Maroli etc.

A village located on the Bajpe Airport road, on the banks of Gurupur River in Mangalore taluk, is known as Maravoor. The name is deceptively simple implying ‘a village of tree’. But the meaning looks out of place in Karavali region where trees are a common sight. Some people have replaced this name Maravoor with Malavoor, which seems inappropriate.
The adjacent village on the southern bank of Gurupur River is known as Marakada. The 'mara+kada' may not be the 'wooden bridge' as it appears on the face.The suffix ‘kada’ is short form of ‘kadapu’ or the river ferry; therefore Marakada represents the ferry -river crossing point on the banks of River Gurupur- to the Mara/ Maravoor village located on the opposite bank of the river. Incidentally, the name of the ferry- Mara-kada has subsequently been extended to the entire village on the southern bank of River Gurupur.
There are also other villages that carry similar word prefix of 'mara' like Maroli, Maravanthe, Marpadi, Marali,Maraali and Marne and so on.

Tree worshippers
Tree worship was a well known phenomenon in ancient India. The Kadamba, Ashoka, Banyan, Aswatha (peepal or Bodhi),Kasara(ka) and other trees were worshipped in ancient India by the early Indian tribes.
S.B.Joshi ( Sham.Baa. Joshi,1967), well-known Kannada researcher, has discussed the Marava(ru) tribes that once thrived in the Karnataka-Maharastra region. They were also distributed in other parts of southern India like the present Tamilnadu areas.

Probably the Marava(ru) tribes were connected with ancient cult of tree worship.There was also a belief of 'Kaval mara'or protected tree,especially among the ruling class of people.The tribes believed that a Spirit was embodied in the trees.The 'Kaval mara(m)' apparently contained the spirit of the King.In battles between Kings, the winner would make a royal drum ('muracu')out of the wood from the 'Kaval mara' of the defeated King.In Tamil areas the tree Spirit later, evolved or amalgamated into the cult of Murugan.

Until 10th century CE the Kannada country (Karnataka) was spread between the rivers Kaveri and Godavari according to the author of Kavirajamarga composed during the Tenth Century CE. That means the present Maharastra was a part of Karnataka in those days. This also explains the similarity of many of the Marati words to Kannada words.
S.B.Joshi has proposed an interesting theory that the word Marati has been derived from the phrase ‘Mara-hatti’, the ancient village(Hatti) of Marava(r) tribes. According to him the word ‘Marahatti’ with time was Sanskritized to the word ‘Maharastra’.

Marava(r) tribes
The data on Marava(r) tribes solves the puzzle of our place names like Maravoor and Maroli. Therefore the Maravoor was formerly the Marav+Oor, Marakada was Marav+kada and Maroli was Marav+Oli and so on. Thus it appears that Karavali region had several villages colonized by the Marava(r) tribes once common to and wide-spread in northern Karnataka and Maharastra regions. Incidentally, the Marol is also the name of a suburban village in Andheri East, Mumbai in Maharastra. This Marati Marol appears to be the equivalent of the Tulu place name Maroli in the suburbs of Mangalore.The spread of analogous tribes across the subcontinent makes an interesting point for the early historical studies.

Kannarapadi, Kalavar etc.
The data reminds us that Karavali had colonies of several tribes which are almost extinct now. The list includes Kanna or Kannar tribes, Koranga tribes and others. There are Kannara-padi and Kannara-gudde and other similar hamlets in the Karavali that once hosted the ancient Kanna tribes. Incidentally, 'kanna' in general refers to the art of breaking into houses in stealth; but it also could have other meanings or origin.It has been suggested to be related to 'kaaN' (to see or visualize)and so on. S. B. Joshi has suggested that the word Kannada might have been derived from the colonies of Kanna tribes that were once common in northern Karnataka.
Another related tribal group cited by him is of Kalavars.The word Kalavar apparently connotes experts in the art of theft,but S.B.Joshi opines that Kalavar were connected with fluids(rasa) as the word 'kalavar' is related to 'kaL', the (intoxicating)liquid. The Maravar and Kalavar were related since intoxicating liquids like Soma-rasa and toddy were obtained from the sap of the trees in the beginning.
There is village East of Surathkal on the way to Bajape that carries the name Kalavar.It is interesting to note that names of some of the earlier settlements of Kannars and Kalavars have been preserved for verification of the historians, even though these tribes have been assimilated into the mass of local population without noticeable tracers.

Tamil Equivalents
Further data on Maravars can be had from the study of their equivalents distributed in Tamilnadu region.Maravars, Kallars and Agamudyar communities prevalent in Tamilnadu are commonly known as Mukkulathor or Mukulathaar or the three clans.These ancient tribes were traditionally known as tough warriors and fought for Cholas,Pandyas and Chera Kings during the historical period.The maravars have been mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature.
A point of possible relevance to Tulu cultural evolution is that the Tamil word Mukkulathor bears resemblance to the Tulu word Mukkaldinar that refers to the priest dedicated to the worship of Spirits in Tulunadu.

Genetic evolutionary strings
It seems that some of the Maravar,Kannar,Kallar(Kalavar) tribals were initially vagabounds from northern Karnataka and Maharastra who migrated and settled in different parts of southern India including the Karavali. These tribes apparently merged into the mass of population in the course of time. The data from Tamilnadu that Maravar,Kallar and other tribal communities were traditional warriors in Tamil armies suggest that similarly the Karavali Maravars might have genetically merged their identities with local Tulu soldier tribes during course of time.S.B.Joshi suggests that Maravar and Kalavar,with passage of time became Kuruba(shepard) and Danagar(cattle-herder) tribes who further were adapted themselves into farming Kuduva and Okkal communities.These possibilities may be evaluated by modern geneticists who trace the evolution of genes through the space and time.

Sham.Baa.Joshi (1967) Karnata Sanskritya Poorva Peetike., Part I..[Kannada] Samaja book depot , Dharawad.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

112. The Temples of Karavali: Early phase

The evolution of the art of architecture of Temple construction and designing of idols in India during the early centuries of the CE were influenced and shared by various older religions of India like Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Buddhists were said to be the pioneers in building religious structures in India. King Ashoka (ca.273-236 BC) several commissioned construction of Buddhist monasteries, known as Viharas. A number of large cave monasteries, meditation halls and temples were dug out of basalts especially in Maharastra. Most of these were built along the Maharastra coastline. These were used as monasteries as well as lodgings for domestic and foreign travelers and merchants who visited nearby ports for trade. Later meditation halls known as Chaitya were added to the Vihara complexes. Those structures that preserved relics of Buddha were called Stupa. The globular super structures of the Stupas appear to have been influenced by the shape of granaries.

Apisidal: The type of temple architecture initially developed was based on the Buddhist Chaitya shrines consisted of a plan with a rectangular entrance and a circular rear. It has been described as Apisidal or horse shoe shape. The early Hindu temples adapted this style of architecture in temples. It is also sometimes called ‘gajaprasta’ or 'elephant back' design. This appears to have been influenced by the shape of early Buddhist cave temples.
Mahalingeswara temples at Brahmavara, Hejamadi, Kota,Bantra, and Puttur. Udupi Ananteswara temple at Udupi, Karinjeswara temple at Karinja, represent this type of U shaped or horse-shoe sectional plan.
Other temple plans have been developed on Square and on Rectangular planar sections.
Nagara and Dravida
The temple architecture in India developed along two lines: Nagara and Dravida. The Nagara style of temple architecture initially evolved in the northern India, was characterized by development of domes on the main temples. Whereas in the Dravida style, developed initially in ancient Tamilnadu, the pyramidal dome known as Gopura (gopuram) was placed on the entrance gate of the temple.
Subsequent experiments in temple construction involved a fusion of Nagara and Dravida styles known as Vesara style of architecture.

The oldest known temple in Karavali dedicated to Lord Shiva at Shambukallu,Udyavara,Udupi taluk.(Front view)

Karavali architecture
The Karavali temples like the native old style tiled houses characteristically have pyramidal sloping roofs covered with stone slabs, copper sheets or tiles. Possibly the earlier versions had similar styled wooden roofs in the past that were replaced by weathering proof stone slabs in the course of time. Narasimhamurthy (2000) proposed that this style be designated as Karavali style of architecture.
However, earlier workers like Havel have noted influence of Nepali architecture on the Karavali shrines and houses.

Skanda worship
It is generally observed that most of the old temples were devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva in various forms such as Mahalingesvara, Umamahesvara, Anantesvara etc. This is also true in the case of temples in the Karavali. The early phase of Shiva worship was followed by the worship of Ganesha, Durga Parameswari and Krishna I general.
However, it seems that in the post Vedic phase Skanda was the first God to be worshipped. The worship of Skanda or Devasenani was popular during the period of Chandrgupta Maurya and mentioned in the Artha Shastra of Kautilya (ca.250-300 BC). It is said Gautama Buddha saw idols of Skanda during his childhood.

Murungu and Murugan
Skanda is popular in southern India under the names of Kumara and Murugan. It has been suggested that the name Murugan has been derived from the Murungu the African God of Kenya. It is possible that immigrants from Africa brought the concept of God Murungu to southern India where the youthful God was designated Murugan.
The Skanda worship was strong during the Satavahana(2nd to 4th Century CE) and Kadamba period(4th to 6th Century CE) and as pointed by noted historian Sham.Ba.Joshi. The name Mayura is symbolic of Kumara worship. There are several villages in Dakshina Kannada that bear the name Kanda or the Skanda, such as Kandavara, apart from numerous places of worship of Subramanya. It appears that Kanda-Subramanya worship was dominant in Karavali during the Kadamba period. Most of the ancient Skanda temples built of mud and wood may have been destroyed due to onslaught of weathering and erosion.
The Kanda-Subramanya worship subsequently in the due course of history in Karavali was amalgamated with Naga worship.It is probable that the synthesis of Naga-Subramanya represents fusion of two cultural streams, representing two different worship ideologies(Naga and Subramanya) in the ancient Karavali society.

An Apisidal or Horse-shoe shaped Shiva temple (renovated)at Shambukall,Udyavara,Udupi district.(Back view)

Oldest temple in Dakshina Kannada & Udupi
The total number of temples in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts exceeds 1600. A compilation of the temples of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, edited by Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriadaka and P N Narasimaha Murthy has been published (2000)by the management of Sri Janardhana and Mahakali temples of Amabalapadi, Udupi. Dr. Narasimhamurthy (2000) summarises that the Udyavara Shambukalllu temple and Vaddarse Mahalingeswara temple, both in Udupi taluk and district are the two oldest. The Vaddarse temple carries a seventh century CE inscription of King Alupendra I.
Narasimhamurthy (2000) states that the horse shoe shaped Shiva temple on Shambu kallu hillock of Udyavara, Udupi taluk, estimated to have been built originally during 4th to 5th Century CE, (now in renovated condition) is probably the oldest known temple in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.The temple is built, without additional foundation, directly on a large elliptical dome of gray granite locally called Shambukallu.
The other by-product of the above data is that Udyavara near Udupi was one of the early centres of culture and power.Udyavara, incidentally means 'the ground of the rising Sun'.

Dr Padur Gururaja Bhat

Dr P.Gururaja Bhat (1924-1978) was a pioneer in the systematic study of temples of Karavali region. He analytically studied numerous temples and the idols therein and has written some 233 research papers relating to the history of temples distributed in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. His books ‘Antiquities of South Kanara’ (1969) and ‘Studies in Tuluva History and Culture’ (1975) richly deserve to be reprinted now for the benefit of aficionados of the cultural evolution of the Karavali.

Murudhara Upadhya Hiriadaka (2000). Samapadakeeya. In: Dakshina Kannadada Devalayagalu.[Kannada].(Editors: Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriadaka and P N Narasimaha Murthy). Published by Sri Janardhana-Mahakali temple, Amabalapadi,Udupi. p.436., pp.31-60
Narasimhamurthy,P.N.(2000) ‘Prastavane’. In: Dakshina Kannadada Devalayagalu.[Kannada].(Editors: Murulidhara Upadhya Hiriadaka and P N Narasimaha Murthy). Published by Sri Janardhana-Mahakali temple, Amabalapadi, Udupi.p.436.,pp.61-84.

Blog Archive

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

Copy? Right - but kindly remember to acknowledge!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

" tulu-research.blogspot." ತುಳು ರಿಸರ್ಚ್. ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್

" tulu-research.blogspot."  ತುಳು  ರಿಸರ್ಚ್.  ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್
Have a nice day !