An appreciative but anonymous comment has requested for a post on Mandarti. Infact, a short note on Mandarti was contemplated earlier but somehow was not posted on the blog.
Yes, Mandarti (also written as Mandarthi ; pron: d as in English the, t as in thin) is a popular temple hamlet (of Heggunje village) about 7 km east of the historical city of Barkur in Udupi district. Mandarthi has a famous temple dedicated to Goddess Durga Parameswari. Apart from the legends connected with the renowned Goddess, possibly dating back to ca. 7th to 11th century CE, there are anecdotes relating the place to serpent worship. Infact ‘Mandarti’ has been described as derived from the name of a serpent ‘Mandarati’ connected with the local legends(sthala-purana).
However, the original place name Mandarti apparently has a simple derivation. The word ‘manda’ generally means dense or thick in Tulu as well as in Old Kannada. [The word has also other meanings such as sluggish or dull (‘manda buddhi’) or mild or modest (‘mandahasa’) but those meanings may not be appropriate here.]
‘Arti’ (Kannada: 'Atti mara') is a wild tree bearing numerous small fruits particularly on the trunk. The fruits are similar in size to that of banyan tree (locally known as Goli or Ala). In other words ‘arti’ (pron: short a as in undue, t as in thin) fruits are miniatures of fig, hence it is also known as wild or country fig tree or cluster fig tree (Botanical name : Ficus racemosa).In Sanskrit it is known as 'udumbara'.
Several villages in Karavali have been named after trees such as Banyan (=Goli) tree. For example Uliyargoli, Bajagoli, Kinnigoli,etc. Similarly, the ‘arti’ tree has been in some of the place names of Karavali region such as Artikaje, Artiadka, Artila etc.
Thus we can visualize early historical days that there was a popular arti tree in the village centre or the original habitation of Mandarti. The wild tree was laden with dense growth of numerous 'arti' fruits on it trunk, that earned the name Manda arti.
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