Kukkian is one of the lineages among the present Billava community. This surname is generally not found in other Tulu communities. Evidences from place-names in Tulunadu suggest that Kukki or Kukke were a widespread tribal group in the past. It appears that the amalgamation of this tribal group with Billava group led to the formation of a distinctive lineage named Kukkian during the historical period.
Since the word ‘kukke’ represents the basket made from bamboos, creepers and other fibrous plant materials, we can deduce that these tribes were proficient in the art of basket weaving. The mango fruit ‘kukku’ which carries their name apparently was introduced by these people in this region.
The famous Subramanya temple area in Sullia taluk is also known as Kukke or 'Kukke-pattana'. This appears to be the old name for the place now popularly known as Subramanya. Legends suggest that Kukke tribes installed and worshipped the initial form of Linga in the remote past at Kukke or Subramanya.The picturesque hill-side hamlet later developed into a major centre of Subramanya worship where Naga cult was combined with the worship of Kumara (Murugan in Tamil culture) or Subramanya.It is said that sage Shankaracharya visited and worshipped in this place.
Kukkipadi - Kowkradi
There are numerous place names in the Karavali that signify the existence of Kukke people in the past. The list of place names include Kukkatte, Kukkedi, Kukkipadi, Kukkikatte, Kukkala, Kowkradi (< Kokkaradi), Kokkada, Kokkarne,Kukkikatte, Kukkandur,Kukkadi etc.
Kukkanoor in Koppala district,Karnataka and similar places in other parts of southern India suggest the spread of these tribes in the past.
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