Tuesday, March 31, 2009

181. Vanished Port of Udyāvara

Alupa Kings who ruled Tulunadu for centuries are known to have changed their capitals from Ancient Mangalore to Ancient Udyavara.It appears that certain major geomorphic changes that affected the coastal rivers and the ports during the relevant historical periods prompted them to do so.
Have you seen the picturesque Udyāvara beach and the barrier spit?
Udyāvara is a historical coastal town Southwest of Udupi and the river flowing nearby also bears the same name. Presently the west-flowing Udyāvara River takes an abrupt turn, very close to the shore, towards north and flows northward parallel to the beach forming a narrow barrier spit consisting of coastal sands in between the river and the Sea.
Well, you may be surprised to know that the present fluvial and beach scenery was not like this some 120 to 150 years ago. Infact, earlier the River Udyāvara was directly joining the Arabian Sea near Pithrodi and the barrier spit found now is a subsequent phenomenon developed during the river-mouth migration event.

The place- name ‘Udyāvara’ is quite interesting. The term Udaya + avara essentially means sunrise field or ground. The word ‘Udaya’ stands for rise or onset and represents sun rise or morning sun in general. The Sanskrit word ‘Udaya’1(=rise) exists in Tulu in the form of ‘udipu’ ( ‘d’ pronounced soft as in English ‘the’).
The word ‘udaya’ 2 has also another lesser known meaning, ie ‘uncovered’. To me the usually explained meaning of ‘sunrise ground’ appears a bit odd since the place is on the West coast that is well known for sunset scenario rather than sunrise! The other possible usage of’ uncovered ground’ sounds meaningful when we see evidences of rounded water worn pebbles in the area that suggest that the area was a deserted former river-plain or an uncovered ground after the alteration and migration of the former river-plain.
Alupa Kings
It has been hinted in earlier posts that Alupa Kings were maritime merchants, or in other words their power and affluence was derived from the marine trade based on large country cargo boats known variously as ‘Pandi’, ‘Naga ‘, Kappal etc. It has also been suggested that the surname ‘Pandya’ adorned by these kings implied their Pandi -owner status. The Alupa Kings, as interpreted in earlier posts, originally hailed from the ‘Alupe’ village, located in the eastern part of present Mangalore city proximal to NH 48. The ancient Alupe town was on the northern banks of River Nethrāvati and it can be deduced that the cargo boats sailed about four kilometers upstream along River Nethrāvati and anchored in the port of Alupe, the original headquarters of Alupa Kings.
Thus it is obvious that the dynasty/family name ‘Alupa’ was a stylized form of the ancient place-name Alupe. In other words the much confused and misinterpreted title ‘Alupa’ originally meant the landlords from Alupe.
Pithrodi has been interpreted as ancient burial ground (Post 178) where mortal remains as well as the memory of the ancestors (‘pithrs’) were preserved. Burying the dead was a common custom among the Megalithic civilization. The practice of cremation of the dead in the Indian subcontinent came into being during the period of late Harappa civilization. The cremation ritual may have been introduced in the Karāvali region by the immigrating Tulu tribes during the period ca.800-400 BCE. Before the introduction of cremation rituals the burial of the dead appears to be the accepted custom in the region. To have a burial ground there must have been a settlement in the area. Thus it appears there was an ancient settlement or habitation on the bank of River Udyāvara.

Udyāvara Port
On account of natural hazards in the native Mangalore-Alape Port region, possibly on account of drying up of the original Mangar/Pandeswara Port in Mangalore, the Alupa Kings were forced to shift their base (capital) to Udyāvara during ca. 720-750 CE. Since the Alupas were maritime merchants it is understandable that they shifted to another suitable port. This also suggests that Udyāvara was a natural port amenable for maritime trade at that time.
Legends among the older generation in and around Udyāvara describe that in the olden days, cargo boats used to sail up to Katapadi along the River Udyāvara. The Pithrodi area was possibly earmarked as a respect to early ancestors, and the immigrant Tulu fishermen who settled in this area in several batches occupied an area to the east of Pithrodi which is even now known as “Padinal pattana” (= 14 colonies), which was a cluster of fourteen fishing colonies. The large number of fishing colonies in the area suggests that the region was a well developed fishing port and Udyāvara was a well-populated progressive city in ancient times.
On the northern bank of Udyāvara river we have Pithrodi, Padinal Pattana, Gajane etc whereas on the southern bank we have fort area(Kote), Bolar gudde, Yenagudde, Mattu, Pangala and other hamlets and villages.
Two other localities in Udyāvara suggest historical connections: Bolar gudde and Gajane. Bolar gudde is said to be the ammunition storage centre during Tipu Sultan’s regime. The name ‘Bolar’ is reminiscent of the similar historical place-name in Mangalore city.Bolar gudde was also known as Belara gudde suggesting that it was a locality of fair skinned 'white'tribes(Bela or Bola)in the antiquity.
Gajane locality could be either (a)an ancient waterlogged, marshy area('gajani') or (b) even a historical ‘khajane’ (Treasury) of royal times.The latter opinion prevails among the locals while the former view appears a distinct possibility.
Recent geographic changes
The rivers of the West coast have changed their courses several times in the history. One of the major changes during the last two centuries is development of barrier spits along the beaches covering the estuary zones of these rivers. River Gurupur according to revenue records changed its former course abruptly during 1887 and joined River Nethrāvati after developing a barrier spit (‘Bengre’) between the river and the sea. Many of the coastal rivers similarly changed their courses about 120 to 150 years ago but the exact date or year of change has unfortunately not been documented so far.
Any of the readers who have authentic historical temporal records about these natural fluvial changes may kindly write in comments.

Monday, March 30, 2009

CONTENTS 3. (posts121-180)

Serial list of Posts 121 to 180
180. Javagal
178.Pithrodi in Udyavara
On history and historians
Green flowers
172.Andhra and Dravida
169.Aroor:A cluster village
168.Baindur, Bayandar
167.Padubidri: A relict river
166.Tulu Onamastics
165.Pangala and Bangla
164.Belthangadi, Uppinangadi
163.Tulu prefixes & words
162.Evolution of Tulu language
161.Antiquity of Shira
160.The Pandi culture
158.Pandyas & cargo boats
154.Sin to Chennaitodi
151.Paduvare to Parivara Bunts
147.Kodanjikall to Konaje
146.Kudroli to Katapadi Enagudde
142.Pandeswara, Manjeswara
141.Village name suffixes
139.Cluster villages
136.Kukkian lineage
Debacle of verdant a land:Bailare at Posodi
135.Arianna lineage
134.Tulu vs Italian
132.Sooda to Surinje
131.Belman to Bellarapadi
128.Bairas and Mundas
127.Ancient proper names
126.Totems in our antiquity
124.Disecting strange words
123.Strange words!
122.Irvattur, Iruvail Iraa
121.Kota and Kotian

Sunday, March 22, 2009

180. Javagal

Many of our ancient words have got out of usage and with time people tend to forget their actual meaning. This has happened also in the case of Kannada language.
Javagal is a small town between Arasikere and Halebidu in Hassan district. There is a famous pilgrimage centre for Muslims of Karnataka. The place name Javagal may not mean anything to most of the Kannada people. The Kannada word 'java' is used for early morning period as in 'munjavu'. However, the word association of java(period)+kallu(stone) does not make any sense in general.
Tulu lexicon
The Tulu Lexicon compiled by Govinda Pai Research Centre, Udupi (Vol.3, p.1320) gives the meaning of the Tulu word Javakallu.
In the olden days when people had to carry goods by head load, a large block of stone was kept on the roadside of the village so that the carrying person could lower his weight and place it on the stone. It was easier for the carrier to lift the goods by himself since the stone was placed at sufficient height above the ground.
The large piece stone for lowering and resting the burden was known as 'Javagall' or 'Japel' or 'Javel'.The Tulu word 'jāv' or 'jāpini' refers to 'lowering' (the burden).

Tulu and Old Kannada
The interesting implication of this example is that Tulu and the Old Kannada (Hale Kannada) languages shared many common words before 10th Century CE and Javagall is one such word. Now the present Kannada has apparently given up the usage of old words like Javagall which are yet preserved in Tulu language.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

179. Chakana

Exploring some of the old Tulu words can be an interesting pastime that helps us to delineate some of the fine but obscure strings of our heritage and evolution.In this post we shall explore the word 'Chakana'.

The origin of name 'Chakana' is also worth exploring. 'Chakana' in Tulu and Kannada languages means 'provider of tangy dish to frequenters to native toddy pub (known as 'gadang' in Tulu)'. This word was in popular use up to the middle of twentieth century. Tulu Lexicon (Vol.3, page 1216) gives the meaning of 'chakana/chakani' as a side dish (apetiser) that complements while drinking toddy. What I had seen and tasted is only spicy fish curry, prepared in a small room, adjoining the main toddy shop. Here, the special dishes were crab and mollusc curries. In earlier days, varieties of toddy were stored in caskets and served in small earthen pots of specific volume called 'mutties' in Tulu. Toddy was also relished with cured and dried and fried 'Nangu' fish. 'Nangu' is a squint-eyed flat marine fish with bottom white and top black skins. It was lively and hurly-burly place (as against the present day dingy hut serving sub-standard quality of toddy).

I feel, the word 'chakana/chakna' relates to Hindi/Urdu language. It means 'to taste' or 'try the taste'. This word must have been originated in battle-field retiring tents in olden days where 'madhu-madira, condiments and vanita (dancing girls) ruled the roost, as means of entertainment to lessen fatigue of battle.

Kannada Vidwan and Teacher of Vidyadayinee School in Suratkal (Late) Mairpadi Venkata Acharya (of Kulai) wrote a learned essay on 'Chakana' in 1970-80's in one of the Deepavali special issue of a periodical. I do not recollect the contents except that this word was used in Kannada literature of yore. If any reader could lay his hand on it, he can share the information with us.

There is a place called 'Chakan' in Pune District of Maharashtra on Pune-Nashik Highway. It is an agrarian area, providing onions, vegetables and horticulture products to Pune City. It was a historical place with a fort, ruled successively by Chieftains of Vijayanagara Empire, Moghuls, Bahamani Sultans and the British. Hence this place was used as garrison. How it got this name is left to sheer conjecture. It was a sleepy agrarian village until it was converted as industrial area. Now it is buzzing with engineering and automobile industries and is destined to have an international airport for Pune.
-Hosabettu Viswanath

Saturday, March 14, 2009

178. Pithrodi in Udyavara

Reconstructed map of historical (ca. 150 years ago) Udyavara with Pithrodi area showing the mouth of River Udyavara joining Arabian Sea near Pithrodi.

'Kaipunjal' (from where my wife hails) is an odd name discussed by Ravi in Post 69 It is possibly named after (Kai+punj+al) a blind tributary or rivulet ("kai") flowing on the plains of a rocky stream ("punjal") that joins Udyavara river. If one reads the Post, one would get an insight into the origin of village name 'Polipu' (meaning 'a break' in the backward flow of water), adjacent to Kaipunjal.

'Pithrodi', around 3 km west of Udyavara town, is another place name, which is challenging my curiosity since May 2004. Let me put my hands to the plough now to decipher the secrets of this name. Pithrodi is a part of Udyavara, a historically famous place. 'Booduda Arasu', named Raja Udyavarma, ruled as 'Kappada Arasa' (subordinate king) to Barakur(Barkur) Kingdom, belonging to Alupa Dynasty, who used to shift their Capital from Mangalore-Udyavara-Barkur and vice versa. Some of the historical ruins are found in Mangalore, Udyavara, Brahmavara and Barkur.

Whenever I was at native place on vacation from Pune, I tried to elicit information about 'Pithrodi' from rickshaw drivers, shop-owners and members of my daughter's in-laws family. They were unanimous in saying that 'Pithlakadu'(Pittilakadu) gradually reduced to 'Pithrodi'. Translating the word literally, it means "a forest (kaadu) by the side of a house (Pittilu)". According to Narendra (my son-in-law), the area was abounding with dense forests with wild animals. It is difficult to gulp the explanation as it is. Pittilu>Bittilu>Hittilu (meaning a garden by the side of a house, i.e. kitchen garden (see page 2018 of Tulu Lexicon) is the logical change over for the word 'Pithla/Pittila'. Then, Pithrodi should have been Bithlodi, Pithlodi or Hithlodi. This explanation also does not fit into Pithla/Pittila Kadu .> Pithrodi.

Suffixes, such as Odi (elevated area), Oli (linear place), Ade (covering/resting place?), Adka (secluded vast area outside habitation site, used as burial ground in olden days - See A. Manner's Tulu-English Dictionary), Koppa/Koppala (colony in a remote/secluded place), Kodi (end, tip, side, nearness), etc. give a conspicuous angle to meaning of place names. According to me, this 'Pithrodi' is akin to 'Pithrubhoomi', i.e. cementery, a resting place of ancestors.

In olden days burying the dead was a common practice , especially elderly persons in a family, famous community leaders and religious heads. Normally, places are ear-marked in a corner of a field belonging to a family, or community burial place, called 'adka', and temple compounds (for religious heads) for such burials. Before my birth or so, there was a Cholera epidemic outbreak and there were many deaths. The dead were buried in sand mound area (belonging to Hosabettu Mogaveera Sabha) on southern tip of Hosabettu. Those were the days of Rajas (Kings) and feudal lords when battling for supremacy was paramount. Udyavara region being a historically important place, we can conjecture such battles/fightings in Udyavara, leaving many dead. One cannot deny the existence of forests around Udyavara during bygone days. It is possible that the present Pithrodi settlement, being a secluded place near the river bank, offered a suitable burial ground for earlier tribes inhabitating this region. Monuments are built over burial sites or over the funeral remains and/or personal effects of dead.

Pithrodi (western part of Udyavara) is a fishing village, skirted by Udyavara River and is preponderantly inhabitated by Mogaveeras. Seven fishing villages (Mogaveera Pattanas) of this region, viz. Udyavara, Kuthipadi, Kadekar, Kanakode, Bolje, Yenade and Kote are along the Udyavara River Banks and form a Federation, which is again under the federation of fourteen Mogaveera Pattanas. Late Shri Sadiya Sahukar was a pioneer Gurikara and was one of the community leaders of South Kanara (until fifties of last Century). The road from Udyavara town upto Pithrodi ferry point was the first and the only one feeder road much before the development of Malpe (Udupi) area. From this ferry point, one can reach the Udyavara sea beach. Besides being a philanthropist, he was instrumental in development of Udyavara in transport, commerce and trade.

In his article "Dolmens, Hero Stones & the Dravidian People" Dr. R. Rangarajan, an Archeologist, writes on dolmens:

"There are many megalithic burials, dating as far back as 7th & 8th Centuries BC in South India and for that matter in the length and breadth of India. These monuments are in the form of dolmens, cist burials and also some are urn burials with limestone/stone coffins. Impressive number of funerary deposits, like pots, iron implements, beads, metal-wares and charred grains are found in burials associated with Dravidians.

Dolmens, say Hero-stones (popularly called 'Virakallu' by scholars) consist mainly of three upright slabs, covering three sides, with a cap-stone and and an opening, oriented towards the south. In most cases, flooring is also of stone. These hero-stones were erected in memory of heroes, who laid down their life, defending their territory or making some kind of supreme sacrifice for the sake of community or region. These stones show the figure of hero with inscriptions, giving details of the hero, the battle, the king for whom the battle was fought and the person who erected the stone. Either they stand alone or in groups and are usually found outside the village limits, nearby a tank or lake (say a water-body). This suggests that they are located in the cemetery, an inhabited area. Dating of these dolmens are mainly based on typology and pottery.

A large number of dolmens and cairn circles in ancient megalithic sites show that almost all the people received such honours in the beginning but the later custom was confined to men of great valour and fame. Erection of memorial is a strong cultural trait of Tamils (read as Dravidians, as Tuluvas are not far behind Tamils). Such hero-stones have been found from almost 3rd c. CE to 16th c. CE, attested by inscriptions. The custom continued in a symbolic manner for other people, say elderly persons of a community, clan or family. Obviously, the tradition continued till very late.

Viewed from the angle of the builders of the memorials, the dead is a god. What is important for the present study is that dolmen form of hero-stone resembles a small village shrine. These are even now adored and worshipped periodically by the remote descendants of the heroes. It is this worship of the hero-stone that led to some of the cults of village gods. Wherever the people of a region migrated, they took that hero with them."

Such cult of worship of celebrated heroes (say historical figures) is seen in Tulunadu too. Spirit Worship is practised by all Tuluvas in Tulunadu, including Brahmins. It is said the spirits of our ancestors (daivas, who attained divinity) are more powerful than God and Goddesses (deities, supreme divinities).

Deciphering the origin of place names, particularly the odd ones, is a tough job in the absence of documented records. This situation is very much pertinent to place names in Tulunadu. Help from topography, word fossils and rituals, peculiar to a region, could be taken for a telescopic explanation. One can 'plough a lonely furrow', which means steadfastly holding a different view, opposed to others. Awesome legends are available in plenty to popular place names, feeding emotions and pride. In spite of all these attempts, it will remain an 'open question'. Hope, the readers will try to solve these riddles such as 'Pithrodi'.
-Hosabettu Viswanath
(Based on inputs from Narendra)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On history and historians

Different people look at same things in different ways! See how a topic like history and historians can be defined by different people.
Hosabettu Viswanath has compiled some interesting quotations on history and historians here below for your reading pleasure:
1. "For historians ought to be precise, truthful, and quite unprejudiced, and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should cause them to swerve from the path of truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of what is past, the example and instruction of the present, the monitor of the future." - Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616), Spanish Novelist, dramatist, Poet.
2. "Historian - an unsuccessful novelist." - H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)American Editor, Author, Critic, Humorist.
3. "To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture." - Oscar Wilde (1856-1900), British Author & Wit.
4. "History is but a confused heap of facts." - Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773), British Statesman, Author.
5. "Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge." - Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Great Roman Orator, Politician.
6. "History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten." - George Santayana (1863-1952), American Philosopher, Poet.

Add your favourite quotes on the subject if any.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

177. Yenagudde

With passage of time some place names may get distorted or unintentionally acquire distorted meanings which may fail to reflect the original essence of the specific village name.

Katpadi, a suburb located on the NH 17 on the way to Udupi, is a fine example for the distortion of village name and meaning with passage of time. The word 'Katpādi' (pronounced 'kaTpāDi') now means to tie down! It very unlikely that any village can have a verb as a name. If you analyse this word properly you shall find that it was 'KātpāDi' originally which got distorted with time due to wrong pronunciation. The Village name KātpāDi also exists in Tamilnadu for verification and comparison of the Dravidian village names. The word KātpāDi (kāT=wild, forest +pāDi= wooded zone) represents a cultivated/nurtured wild grove of trees.

Yenagudde near Katapadi is presently assumed as a 'hill of corpses' in the parlance of common folks since the word 'Yena' (pronounced 'yaeNa') is misrepresented as 'Hena' (=corpse).The myth circulating among the folks of the region states that a certain king of Manipur supposed to have conducted an Ashwamedha ritual and tied down his Royal horse at Katpadi. The local chieftains fought valiantly against the king and died in the war. The corpses were piled at the village named Yenagudde.etc. Needless to say that this is only a baseless myth and misinterpretation of the original village names.
With vagaries of prolonged time and perpetual weathering the original pillar- like standing monolithic rock in the Yenagudde may have fallen off during the time immemorial. However, the Yenagudde (Yena=vertical column) means a vertical steep hill or a hill with a vertical standing natural column of rock. To prove this point we can consider and compare certain natural 'Yenakal' features from other parts of the region.

There are sevaral villages named as Yenakal or Yenagudde or even Yenilagudde. One such Yenakal village is in Sullia Taluk. Yenilagudde is a steeper hill near Mundkur.
The place name Yenakal [Yena =vertical standing ; + kall=rock, monolith; (compare with word 'Yeni'=ladder)] or pillar-like standing, vertical column of natural rock is relatively a common geographic feature in some of the villages of peninsular India.
One such famous Yenakal of vertical standing chunk of granite rock can be seen in Idikidu village while travelling from Vitla to Kabaka or Puttur. It looks like a slightly bent giant forefinger from the distance.

Yenil is an interesting related word, applied specifically to the agricultural crops grown during the southwest monsoon season. The connection with the stronger monsoon('mungaru') here is noteworthy. The point I would like draw your attention to is to the possible origin of this word. The original meaning of the word 'Yenil' (Yeni+il) appears to be 'the abode above' or 'the sky' or 'the heaven'. The Yenila gudde is also the steep Western hill to where our ancestors looked for the onset of darker rain clouds that heralded a rich monsoon.
Our paleolithic ancestors must have considered that rains(monsoon) came as gift from the mysterious abode above. However with passage of time the original meaning was lost and now we regard 'Yenil' as just a primary crop of the year.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Green Flowers

Green flowers are not common. Or at least many of the city dwellers think so.However a few of the rural wild plants like the wild Renjir creeper sport light green inflorescences in the flowering season. Here are a few pics of Wild Renjir blooms (also called 'Enjir' or 'Injir' ) especially for green lovers. The creepers of Injir are traditionally used for knitting baskets and other related handicrafts.

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 Culture.by 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 !