Our place names have preserved some of the old fossil words that are no longer in use. Nantur (also written as Nanthur) is one such interesting place name. Nantur (pronounced as short 'na' ) is a junction in the outer Mangalore, located amidst Shivabagh, Kadri-Padavu and Bikarnakatte (-Kulashekar) localities.
Nanta- a lost word
What is the meaning of the word 'nanta' in the toponym 'Nanthur' or specifically nanta+oor? The word 'nanta' has been apparently lost or forgotten in the current usage. We do not find the word included in the Tulu Nighantu. However, the clues for deciphering the word 'nanta' can be obtained from the words 'ananta' (=endless) and 'nantara'/'anantara'(=afterward). If 'ananta' is endless, then the 'nanta' should be 'the end'.
If you forget the urban developments in the Nanthur and analyse the basic geographic- topographic features of the area, we find that it is located on the edge of a precipice or cliff. The cliff extends from the western side of Nanthur upto Kadri hills Circuit House. On the western side of the cliff is a bowl shaped valley (also called 'Kai baTTalu' in local parlance and is a popular part of the legends of the Kadri Manjunatha temple).The Kadri Manjunatha temple is also situated in the valley down the cliff.
The word 'nanta' exactly referred to this topographic feature of a cliff. Thus the Nantur was named as a village on the edge of a cliff!
From the old word 'nanta'(=edge of cliff, end of an area),the word 'a+nanta' (=endless) has been derived. Similarly the Kannada words 'nantara' and 'ānantara' may have been derived as 'after the end, pause or break' (>.nanta+ara). In these Kannada usages 'nanta' referred to time rather than space.
Compare the word 'nanta' with another Tulu/Dravida word 'kant' or 'kanta'(short 'ka') which means deep,steep, dip, submerge, prick (penetrate) etc. It is also used to referred to the Sunset which is can be visualized as as Sun dipping into the Sea in the coastal beaches . [The word 'kant' has also other meanings such as installment(of money transactions etc) and mesh of fishing net etc].
n'+anta=edge of cliff
Note that the meanings steep,deep,dip etc are related to cliff suggesting that these two words originated based on the same root word 'anta' which possibly meant 'edge of land' in the beginning .
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