Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Uchila village in the NH 17 between Mangalore and Udupi is an interesting name that has been interpreted differently. There is one more Uchila near Ullal and Someswara , to the south of Mangalore city again on the coastal highway NH17. On the face of it the name appears as Uchu + ill that means serpent -house. Some have liked to interpret it as Uccha +ill, the 'uchha' being superior or placed at an higher elevation.

Naga (serpent) worship being one of the popular cults followed traditionally, many villages have been named as Nagoor or variants of it along the Karavali and Konkan. Such Nagoors can be seen all along the West coast and even in Rajasthan suggesting a repeating pattern of establishment of villages by the devout migrants during the history. Naguri ( at Kankanadi, Mangalore city) may be an older variant of the place name Nagoor. Therefore, logically we can infer that the place name Uchila is the Tulu equivalent of the word Nagoor.

Accepting Nagoor=Uchila leads us to the inference that the suffix 'ilā' stands for the 'oor', the village or habitation. This interpretation is slightly different from our general perception that 'ila' is a variant of 'ill', 'illu', the house. The 'ilā' is not exactly 'ill' even though these two words may have genetic, evolutionary and historical connections. The 'ilā'(pronounced iLā) (=Earth) has been adopted into Sanskrit also.
Possibly, the ancient word 'ilā' originally meant a stretch of land. For example the French word 'Ila' ( a female name) stands for 'island'. Later the word was extended to mean the entire earth by specific group of people while others applied the derivative 'ill' for their dwelling houses.
Therefore the 'ila' suffix in various place names such as Kedila, Puttila, Baltila,Tekkila,Nekkila etc need to be reinterpreted as - - -villages.

Note the interesting village name Ilāntila (Belthangadi taluk)!
Does 'Ilāntila' means a village inside a village?

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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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