Do you remember a place called ‘Manchale’?
Manchale was the former name of the holy place later known as Mantralaya, located on the bank of River Tungabhadra in Raichur district, Karnataka. Guru Raghavendra, a Swami or sage of Madhwa cult became famous in the river side village of Manchale. The township and the religious institutions built around the brindavana (cemetery) of Raghavendra Swamy deserved a magical name and the old Manchale village was renamed as Mantralaya a few centuries ago. In the old village of Manchale, rural Goddess Manchalamma was a popular deity, a form of mother Goddess the local people believed in. The increasing influence of Raghavendra Swami overshadowed the popularity of the native Goddess Manchalamma, which was resented by many.
This year several Rivers of northern Karnataka were in spate owing to unprecedented heavy rainfall in the catchment area. River Tungabhadra was also flooded leading to submergence and severe damages to the properties of the religious institutions built in the name of Guru Raghavendra.
As the legend goes, Manchalamma was instrumental in Shri Raghavendra Swami locating his Ashram at Manchale. It is with the grace of Manchalamma he established the institutions. When he went to 'samadhi' state by interning himself in a Tulasi Vrindavana, he assured devotees that he would fullfil the wishes of 'Bhaktas' (devotees) by remaining invisible for 700 years (or so) thereafter. His power ,as experienced by devotees, is vibrant still today, though Manchalamma is the reigning deity of Manchale .>. Mantralaya.
However, the laymen connect the recent flooding at Mantralaya to the wrath or curse of Manchalamma for neglecting Her!
The place name Manchale= Mancha+ala. The suffix ‘ -ala ‘or ’- ale’ refers to the river. Then, what is the ‘mancha’?
Manchakall(u) is a hamlet adjoining Shirva town in Udupi district. Manchakall area is strewn with abundant rocky exposures. Manchakall sounds strange, but makes sense when you analyze the meanings of the place name Palli.
Palli also means ‘rock -bed’ structures used formerly by Buddhist and/or Jain monks during the early centuries of CE. Therefore, Manchakall is an alternate word for the Palli.
Mancha (=cot or bed) + kall (=rock).
Mancha in modern Kannada means a wooden cot. In Tulu, it also means pedestals or modified seats reserved for the installation of spirits. This application also indicates the possible heritage of the word. The rocky seat or pedestal preferred by monks was also known as ‘mancha’ or ‘manchavu’. Detailed archeological studies in the rocky region of Manchakall may throw special light on early historical rock structures frequented by Buddhist and or Jain monks. It is also possible that destruction of rocks in the name of development may have damaged any of the archeological structures.
Ma + anchav= elevated structure.
‘manja’ . (ma +anja) =elevated land,
‘manga’ . (ma +anga) =animal on the tree.
'manji' . (ma +anji) = big sailing ship.)
There is another similar sounding village in the southern part of Bantval Taluk that sports the name Manchi. The word ‘Manchi ‘was an early variant of the name ‘mancha’ or ‘manchav’. Several place names have such ‘–i ’ variants, such as nādu-nādi, pāda-pādi, vāda-vādi, bāda-bādi , uru- uri etc.
Besides there are many places all over Karnataka having the prefix of ‘mancha-’. The word mancha is a gift of Dravidian languages to Sanskrit. It is a widely used word in all languages, including Tulu. Vishwanath's Kannada Pandit in Vidyadayinee High School, Suratkal,late Shri Padmanabha Somayaji, who learnt Sanskrit for twelve years in Mysore, used to say that 'Mancha' is a Kannada word, gifted to Sanskrit.( For that matter, Tamils would say, that it is a gift from Tamil). Sanskrit has a definite rule for explaining etymology of a word from the root word. 'Mancha' is an exception to that rule.
Manchil: A palanquin used for carrying important persons in the past years. The Kula Gurus and religious pontiffs, were used to be carried around in such 'manchil's.
There are also Manchar in Tulunadu, Maharashtra, and Pakistan.
'Manchad' Manchad is a Tibeto-Burman language, also known as Pattani, Lahuli or Swangla, spoken in Hiamachal Pradesh
(Indo-Tibetan border) means a lower valley in local Tibetan dialect.
Manchar in Pune district is a town on Pune- Nashik road alongside Sahyadri Range. Manchar and Manchad are most probably cognates.
Rangamancha= A stage or (raised) platform for performing arts, like Yakshagana.
North Indians use the word ‘Manch’ to represent a platform, a stage or a forum.
-With Hosabettu Vishwanath.