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363. Deciphering Tulu-nadu place names

The readers would observe that many of the Tulu Place names may not convey, on the face of it, any specific meaning or apparent meanings...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

254. Mangalore: Antiquity & Evolution -2

The place name ‘Mangalur’ evidently came into existence after ca. 1400 CE during Vijayanagar administration in Mangalore. Before that the port town Mangalore was known under various other names as documented by travellers from abroad. One of the odd names recorded by foreign travellers for Mangalore is ‘Mangaruth’. We shall explore some of these place names and the connected obscure pages of history of Mangalore.
Which was the oldest known inhabited area within ancient Mangalore?
Kudu phase
As discussed in the previous part of this post (No. 253), note that there are atleast two points that are likely to form significant temporal markers in the study of evolution of Tulunadu:
1. Early agricultural phase in Tulunadu, the Kudu phase, is correlated with published archeo-botanical data available for peninsular India.Thus the phase can be fixed at 3000-2000 BC timespan in general.
2. The Kudu phase and the formation of Kudu- villages (Kudla, Kudupu etc) were in turn correlated with the period when River Phalguni (Gurupur) was flowing westwards in the area now known as Alike-Kudroli-Kodialbail valley.Thus the period of flow of Phalguni has be equated with 3000-2000 BC period. (The existence of the river in this region could be still older, but it survived atleast up to the Kudu phase.Let us designate this ancient river segment as ‘Kudla River’.
Ancient Netravathi
Another interesting historical data that can be correlated to the Kudu phase is that the River Netravathi was flowng in the ancient river path of Phalnir-Attavara- Pandeshwara valley region. Then, it was joining the Arabian Sea near Pandeshwara Goods shed area. Let us designate this river segment as ‘Attavara River’. Pandeshwara, originally known as ‘Pandela’ (=port of ‘pāndi’ boats) was the sea-faring port for merchant boats during Alupa Rule.
There were atleast two ‘kudu’ hamlets on the bank of this ancient river segment of Netravathi: ‘Kudpadi’ (a part of Jeppu) and ‘Kudthadka’ (a part of Bajal).
Manki
You may be surprised to know that one of the oldest names of Mangalore was ‘Manki’! The place name is preserved as Manki stand near Mangaladevi temple in Bolar area of southern Mangalore. During the British period in Mangalore, the stand (station) for tongas and vehicles was designated as Manki stand. (Some people erroneously considered that it was ‘monkey stand’).
The ancient word Manki has been analysed as Mam+ki (in earlier posts herein), wherein Mam represented elevated area and ‘ki’ a spatial attribute suffix.However, revised studies suggest that the word should be considered as mang+ki wherein Mang represents an immigrant Austro-asiatic tribe and ki stands for village or a spatial suffix. The suffix ‘ke’ or ‘ki’ (=village) is an ancient (Neolithic Bronze age) Austro-asiatic word of Vietnamese origin. (Refer: Keith Weller Taylor: The Birth of Vietnam.).
Infact the place name Manki has been repeated along the West Coast as if tracing the migration path of these Mang tribes. There is one Manki near Honavar, Uttara Kannada district. One Permanki (Greater Manki, ‘peri’ or ‘peru’=larger, greater) village exists near Ulaibettu on the banks of River Gurupur. Similar manki place names have been found in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh as well in Nowshera district of Pakistan.One Manki is also found in the islands of Papua New Guinea.Besides these there are several Mankar, Mankapur, Mankarai, Mankatha etc place names in India, which appear as modified versions of ‘Manki’ village names.
Mangar
The forgotten and vanished/assimailated Mang tribes have left behind one more signature village in ancient Mangalore close to Manki stand (Mangaladevi). The place was known as Mangar! If you are interested in fact finding personally, you can walk westward fom Mangaladevi (and Ramakrishna Mutt) and find the forgotten place name ‘Mangar’ mentioned as ‘Mangar kshetra’ in the signboards of Spirit shrines in the western part of Mangaladevi near Yemmekere. Mangar, possibly was Mang+ār, the field (ār) of Mang tribes.
Mang tribes
There were several village names along West Coast and peninsular India that have retained the signatures of the bygone Mang tribes. Place names like Mangra, Mankar, Mangaon, Mangliya gaon, Mangolpuri, Mangliyavas, Mangalagiri etc are the possible vestiges of the Mang era. Mangs were a nomadic tribe that migrated far and wide. Mangols might have been a derived or related tribes.
Māng tribes may have vanished from southern Mangalore, because of displacement by later occupants. However, several sects of Māng tribes are reported from Marharastra and Andhra regions.
Mangaruth, Mangar-ta
Traveller Cosmas who visited the West Coast during ca. 545 CE has recorded the place name of Mangalore as ‘Mangaruth’. (Post No 87.)
Manjeshwara Govinda Pai in one of his essays has reflected that ‘Mangaruth’ could be a misnomer for Mangalur.However the presence of place name Mangar even today, even though lesser known, suggests that Cosmas reference to ‘Mangaruth’ was not out of place.
Tulu PaDdana have also documented the ancient place name Mangar.PaDdana have described (as mentioned in Tulu Nighantu) Mangar-ta kaDapu, Mangar-ta ghatta etc. The ‘-ta’ in Tulu represents the ‘of’ preposition of English language.Theefore Mangar-ta kaDapu means the ferry of Mangar; Mangar-ta ghatta means the Hill of Mangar, Mangarta pānDela means the port of Mangar and so on. Overall, it appears that the word ‘Mangarta’ must have been documented as ‘Mangarut’ by Cosmas.
Sixth Century CE markers
We can now visualize that during the period of visit of the traveller Cosmas (ca.545 CE) the names documented in ancient Tulu PaDdanas such as Mangarta pānDela (port of Mangar) was at present Pandeshwar; Mangar-ta kaDapu (ferry of Mangar) was just North of and close to present Yemmekere (now a dried up tank); Mangar-ta ghatta (Hill of Mangar) appears to be the present Light house hill.
Conversely, the origin of these relevant ‘Mangar-ta’ paDdanas also can be traced back to not less than Sixth Century CE.
Mangala
Several aspects of the word Mangala, its possible origin and scope, has been described (post 90. Mangala ). However, some additional interesting clues may be discussed here.
The spatial association of the place names Manki, Mangar and Mangala in southern Mangalore suggests certain new possibilities to the origin of this word Mangala. If Manki and Mangar are Mang+ki and Mang+ar, the origin of Mangala have been Mang+ala, which means Mang tribal settlement on the bank of River.
The evolutionay sequence of place names Manki> Mangar> Mangala were possibly employed by different generations of tribes of different origin that settled in this southern Mangalore region during different layers of time.
Mangaladevi
The diety of Mangaladevi has origin connected with Natha cult in Mangalore.Macchendra and Gorakha Naths (10th Century CE) are credited with the establishment of Manjunatha temple at Kadire, Mangalore (Posts.77,79,80,82,83,85,88,92). Macchendra had an ardent disciple in Kerala known as Queen Pingala. She followed the Natha sages and came to Mangalore; but due to adverse health conditions, she expired on the way while she reached Mangalore. The event occurred during the early part of 10th Century CE.
The locals built a memorial shrine in her name in the ‘Mangalā’ village, in the tradition of spirit Bhagavathi worship of that time and eventually it was reknowned as ‘Mangalā devi’ (The diety of Mangalā). The shrine of Mangaladevi was renovated subsequently by Alupa Kings and Mangaladevi has been adopted as a form of diety Durga Parameshwari.
Mangalādevi temple has become a major landmark of Mangalore since then. Vijayanagar rulers in Karavali during 14th Century CE renamed the town as Mangalur in honour of the diety Mangalādevi.
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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

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