Friday, September 26, 2008

152. Derebail

Within the Mangalore city,in the northern part, is the place known as Derebail. Derebail (pronounced with soft 'd' as in English 'the') is a colloquial Tulu form of the word Deverebail. Literally it means the God's field or the agricultural field set aside for the sake of activities connected with a temple.

The 'der' prefix has been used in several Tulu place names to signify what is commonly designated as 'devear' or the divinity. Derlakatte therefore is the platform('katte') built around a tree for the worship of the divinity. We have discussed in previous posts that our earlier cultures (Marava etc)worshipped trees. Tree worship culture evolved subsequently into the worship of other Spirits and /or Deities installed on a platform under the auspicious trees.
Derlakatte is a locality near the Konaje campus of the University of Mangalore.
There are other places in Karavali with such prefixes like Derāje, Deradka etc

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

151. Paduvare to Parivara Bunts

An elevated laterite plateau bestowed with bauxite resources (ore of Aluminium metal) on the coastal NH 17 north of Baindur town in Kundapur taluk is known as Paduvare. The village name Paduvare may be simply analysed as 'paduva' (=western) + 'arey' (=rocky area). The word 'arey' in Kannada is used normally to refer to rocky areas, however in Paduvare major part of the village area is covered by laterites and bauxites and only a few sporadic rocky granite outcrops can be encountered close to the beach.

Paduvara halli
Some interesting and relevant data can be gathered from the comparative study of the similar village name from Mysore. Paduvarahalli is a part of suburban habitation on the western part of the Mysore city. Prof D Javare Gowda in his work on Village names of Mysore district provides on the Paduvarahalli. Pauvarahalli is dominated by fisher folks belonging to the sect known as 'Parivara'. The 'Parivara' caste-tag for the fisher-folks seems almost exclusive to the old Mysore region. According to Javare Gowda the term Paduvarahalli is a corruption of the word Parivara- halli However, after comparing with the village name Paduvare, it seems that Paduvarahalli was the original name and it may not be be corruption of Parivara halli

Parivara Nayaks
On the other hand the word Parivara attributed to fisher-folks of Paduvara-halli may be a refined version of Paduvara. The Parivara fishermen served in royal armies of Mysore region as soldiers and captains and acquired the title of 'Nayaks' (=leaders). Parivara Nayaks are now concentrated mostly in Mysore region.
The word 'Parivara' means family or associated people. The word probably was applied to these soldiers since they formed inner circle of royal security. Thus in certain ways the word 'parivara' carries shades of meaning similar to those carried by the word 'bunt'.

Parivara Bunts
Origin of the Parivara Bunt communities of Tulunadu is rather obscure. The Parivara Bunts in the Karavali generally maintain their identity independent of the main Bunt community. The Bunt suffix in the name 'Parivar Bunts' suggests that men of this community were involved as soldiers in the royal war-fares in the historical past. The Parivara Bunts of Tulunadu also carry the surname Nayak, similar to Parivara Nayaks of Mysore region.
One of the possibility is that the a group of Parivara Nayaks migrated as professional soldiers and settled in the Karavali region during or after the period of Vijayanagara reign.

Village Names of Mysore District: An analytical Study 1998. By D.Javare Gowda, p.160

Those with specific data on these historical aspects may kindly provide their valuable feedbacks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

150. Bondel

The northeastern sector of Mangalore city where the old Padushedde and Pachanadi suburban villages meet on the Airport road is popularly known as Bondel. The name was reported to be chosen by the Catholic missionaries who established the St. Lawrence church at Bondel some hundred and odd years ago. The 'Bondel' was christened originally as Bon-dale, the beautiful valley ( bon+ dale) that refers to the scenic panorama of greenery that characterizes the older 'Pachanadi'(=green village) and 'Padu-shedde' (=western clayey plateau) villages.

But how come the French word 'bon' was affixed to Old English 'dale' to form 'Bondel'? The clue to the real origin of the word 'Bondel 'surfaces if you just walk around in the green interiors of Pachanadi. On the western side of the Railway track within the Pachanadi village close to Bondel you find an old hamlet known as 'Bandhale'.The older place name 'Bandhale'( bandh+ale =captive stream ) must have inspired the missionaries to innovate and name the locality as Bon-dale or Bondel.

Hosabettu Viswanath ponders some other probabilities concerning the origin of the word 'Bondel'.

1) Bonda = Tender branch of a palmyra. Bonde = Tender palm pod. Bonde gudduni = To beat up the tender palymra pod to get toddy. Is/Was the area abounding with palymra trees (Tari mara)?
2) Bande+halla (or 'ala') if the area is rocky.
3) Bondolu = A kind of medicinal plant. Please find out the probability.
4) Please note the similarity between Band+halla/Bana+ala or Halla) and Panhal(a), the Capital of III branch of Shilahara Dynasty in Kolhapur ( where we find ruins of a fort, palace and a dome like granary, having inlet for depositing grains at tangential point at top and removal at ground level secured (small) doors.
Ravi's note:
1.The word "Bondel" is pronounced as 'bon-del', with soft 'd' as in English 'the' and not 'D' as in 'dog' So comparison with bonDa (tender coconut) may not be valid. And the palmyra trees are rare in the said area.
2. Band-ale is the actual nearby location (which still exists with that name 'Bandhale'-pronounced bandale, with soft 'd'.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

149. Yeyyadi

On the Airport road leading from Karnataka Polytechnic to Bondel in Mangalore you find this place known as Yeyyadi.

Yeyyadi appears to be the corrupt form of the earlier name Yedyadi. We have discussed about the tribes Ideyar ('Iddya') who were also known subsequently as 'Yedea' ('Yedapadavu',Yadthadi,Yadamavina hole,Edavolal etc).The existence of 'Edavolal' town during the Kadamba dynasty (4 to 6 th Century CE) helps us to place the timing of the tribal indicator word 'Eda' or 'Yeda'.

148. Sānur

The village name Sānur in between Mudabidri and Karkal bears the stamp of Jain monks usually known as Sravana or Savana. There are villages named Savanur in other parts of Karnataka. However, here the word Savanur has been further simplified into Sānur.
The inscription at the base of monolithic Gomateswara at Sravana Belagola near Channarāyapatna, is in Prakrit script and language. This supports the concept of Sham Baa Joshi that pockets of Prakrit language existed in medieval Karnataka.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

147. Kodanji kall to Konaje

Konāje(pronounced koNāje) is a growing suburb in southern Mangalore that hosts the sylvan campus of University of Mangalore. In normal circumstances, we may analyze the place- name Konaje as Kona+ aje, the village of buffaloes. This also may be realistic considering that buffaloes have become essential parts of the evolution of Karavali culture that has been preserved in the tradition of Kambala the annual buffaloe race conducted in slushy paddy fields.
However there is another set of Konāje village in northeastern part of Mangalore taluk(with Padu (=western)and Mudu(=eastern) rural fractions) that shows derivation of the place name from 'Kodanji' or the pillar rocks.

Kodanj kall
Kodanjikall (pronounced koDanji- kall) is a regionally conspicuous rocky granitic hill with twin curvy peaks on the Mudabidri to Shirtadi route in Mangalore taluk. The 'kod' stands for pillar like standing rock column(s) whereas the 'anji' and 'kall' refer to land and rock. A land with natural rocky pillars is Kodanji-kall. The equivalent village name in Kannada, however, is 'Konjae'. The Konaje that has been split into 'Padu Konaje' (=western Konaje) and 'Mudu Konaje'(=eastern Konaje).
But the application of Kodanjikall as well as paDu/muDu Konjae to the same rural stretch suggest that the word Konāje is derived from Kodanji.

D.> N transition
The unusual D > N transition with passage of time from the original Tulu word 'koDanji' to the Kannada word 'koNāje' is interesting.
Unless we have additional historical documents to support, it may not be possible at this juncture to prove whether the D> N transition was atleast partly influenced by the alternate origin of the place-name namely, the buffalo – land.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

146. Kudroli to Katapadi- Enagudde

Some of the ancient place-names have been deformed or misinterpreted with passage of time. Reader Ranjan pointed out how Kuduru-bottu hamlet on NH 17 has been mis-translated as Kudure-bottu. The Tulu word 'kuduru' referred to island with the river. But the word 'kuduru'(=island) was confused with 'kudure'(=horse) and consequently the original meaning was lost during translation of the place-name into Kannada.

Similar error has been made in case of the popular place known as Kudroli within Mangalore city. Some translators explained it as Kudure-oli or what they describe as 'a horse yard'. But the original meaning of the word Kudur+oli(=island+hamlet) has historical. and paleo-geographic significance. Several centuries ago the Kuduroli was an island village within a river that dried up during subsequent period. Geological evidences suggest that the historical changes and shifting of the river course rendered the place dry during the early centuries of the Common Era!.
Thus Kudroli is a fossil word that traces the forgotten past paleo-geography of the land that has not been documented otherwise for lack of historical documentation in the region!

While discussing the erroneous interpretation of place-names, Katapadi comes to the mind because of a hilarious misinterpretation. The word Katapadi in Tulu is a pun. The verb 'katapādi' means to tie down. Some people have visualized a fictious story involving a legendary King of Manipura, a small village south of Udupi, who presumably conducted an Ashwamedha (horse-sacrifice) ceremony to propitiate Gods and the place where the designated horse was tied down to a post was said to have named as 'Katapadi'.
However, the actual designation of the word Kāt+pādi (=wild farm) is different and unconnected to this anecdote. There are similar place name of Kaat-padi in Tamilnadu, suggesting that it was an ancient name during the early stages of civilization..

A connected place-name near Kat-padi is Enagudde. It has been misinterpreted as Hengudde, the hill of corpses! Again this is not the original meaning attributed to the place by our forefathers. Ena in place names such as Enakallu, Enagudde etc refer to vertically standing piece of rock. The word 'Ena' (=vertical pole like rock) or 'Eni' (=ladder) needs to be understood properly in the light of the existence of such place names in other parts of Karnataka, specifically with vertical pillar like rock structures. Due to changes in time and tides the vertical rock pole in Enagudde might have collapsed, but the name still reminds us of the pillar rock of the bygone days.

Friday, September 5, 2008


One of the words that impressed me after reading Dr Abhaya Kaukradi's (1997) work on 'Mugeras' is 'partheno'. The Mugera word 'partheno' is equivalent of the Tulu word 'paD-dana'.Both these words refer to the oral form of folk-songs.

Note the similarity between the words 'Partheno' and the Sanskrit 'prarthana'(=prayer). Abhaya suggests that Mugera tribes are related or similar to Mundala tribes. Thus we can infer that Mugera and Mundala are part of the Early Munda group of tribes. The Early Munda language and culture apparently predates Dravidian and Indo-Aryan presence in India.And therefore the possibility of some of the ancient Munda words being used as substrates in later Indo-Aryan/Dravidian words cannot be ruled out. Consider for example:
Partheno.> Prarthana
Partheno.> PaD-dana

I would like to consider the possibility that the words Prarthana and PaD-dana may have been derived or influenced from the apparently older word Partheno.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

144. Mabukala

A place on the northern bank of River Seetha close to NH 17 in Udupi taluk is known as MabukaLa. The significance of the place name Mabukala lies in the fact that it is different from Mayikala or Ayikala we discussed previously.

The suffix 'kaDa' in Tulu is an abbreviated form of the word 'kadapu' or 'kadapu kariya' (the ferry or ferry bank), the place used by people in the olden days to cross the river on boats. The Marakada for example was an ancient ferry point.
However, in the parts of Karavali, north of Udupi, Kannada became the prevalent official language especially during and after the rule by Vijayanagar Kings. Consequently many of the original Tulu words and place-names got translated into Kannada.Under the spell of Kannada, the original Mabukada became Mabukala!.

The ferry was named after Mābu, probably the boat-man who used to ferry people across the river. Mabukala is located in a historically significant region that encompasses the ancient State of Barkur and several Moolasthanas on the banks of Rivers Seetha and Swarna and their confluence near Hoode-Bengare beach.
Mābu, the boatman who ferried people across the river must have been a popular person during a specific period in the early history as the place has been cited in some of the paD-danas.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Billadi is a village in Udupi taluk near Yadthadi that carries the relic signature of ancient Bill or Bhil tribes in the Karavali.
The Bhils are now a predominant tribe in the forests of Madhya Pradesh and adjoining sylvan region. Once upon a time they were widespread in the peninsular region also. They were also employed historically in the regional armies of Marata and Rajput Kings for their expertise in guerilla warfare.

Bhils of Karavali
Basically, they were archers ('bhil' or 'bill'=bow) which was a part of the hunter stage of early human evolution. The word 'bill '(the bow) has been a common word in several southern languages including Kannada. Thus the Bhils of Karavali were later known as 'Billava' probably during Vijayanagara and subsequent period of 'Kannadization' of Karavali. However, the equivalent word for Bhil in Tulu is 'biru' and the 'Billava' are popularly known as 'Biruver'.

Even today the native doctor among the tribes are called 'Baida'. The word 'Baida' forms the basis for the later evolved word 'Vaidya'. The mother of legendary heroes Koti-Chennaya was known as 'Deyi Baidethi' and she was proficient in the native system of herbal medicine. The Tulu word 'Baider' has been evolved from the tribal word 'Baida'. The ancient 'Baida' were the pioneers of Ayurveda system of medicine in India.

Bhils of central India assert that Valmiki the composer of Ramayana was a Bhil. The simplicity of the core story of Ramayana thus leads us to infer that the base of Ramayana was a tribal story that was fashioned into an immortal epic by the gifted poet-composer Valmiki.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

142. Pandesvara, Manjesvara..

Ishvara is God (Isha/eesha= master,lord; vara=great, supreme).But we have a large number of place names that end with the suffix of -Ishvara .The list includes Pandesvara, Manjesvara, Neelesvara, Rāmesvara, Lakshmesvara, Dharesvara, Murudesvara, Mahabalesvara etc. The names are obviously among the numerous epithets for the Lord Shiva, and especially for the temples dedicated to Shiva at various places but their application as place-names in various parts of South India may have evolved out of a different word origin.

Pandi and Manji
There is one interesting analogy between the two place names Pandeswara and Manjeswara. Apart from the fact that both of these places are on the coast, they carry the names of the country cargo boats (Pandi and Manji) that were popular in the past. It can be deduced that the Shiva (Iswara) temples in these two port towns were built by the cargo boat owners,and the 'Ishvara '(isha-avara? =divine temple) were built after the names of cargo boats!

Compare the place name Brahmāvara with Pandesvara or Manjesvara. Āvara (<.ār) is large yard and thus Brahmāvara is an open-yard or place dedicated to the Lord Brahma.
Similarly, the various 'Isha-avara'-s should have been originally the places or yards dedicated to Manjesha-, Pandesha, Murudesha- Rāmesha- etc.

A temple dedicated to Ishvara by the Pandya King, Pandesha must have been Pandeshavara. A temple dedicated to Manjesha should have been Manjeshavara.
However, It appears that the original 'Ishāvara' places were misinterpreted, reinterpreted or stylized later as -'Ishvara' and the places were referred to as 'Manjesvara' (alternate spellings: Manjeshvara or Manjeswara), 'Pandesvara' and so on instead of Manjeshavara, Pandeshavara etc..

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

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