Sunday, January 23, 2011

268. Nanda Rulers of Tulunadu

Many pages of earlier history of Tulunadu are obscure and have to be pieced together with random strings of data. A Nanda ruler of Tulunadu has been immortalized by the desultory adage alluding to the introduction of leather coins during the downfall of his regime (post 266): Nandarāyas inheritance was eaten away by foxes and dogs (Nanda rāyana baduku nari-nāyi tindu ponDu). It is usually believed that Nandāvara on the southern bank of River Netravati, Bantval Taluk, was the capital of the mythical Nandarāya. There have been suggestions that Nandarāya was a relative of Nanda Kings  of Pataliputra (former Patna, Bihar).However, analytical interpreted data provides some interesting insights into the Nanda issue. The data discussed below suggest that parts of Tulunadu were ruled by Nanda(n) Kings before the Alupa Period.
Nanda settlements
An overlooked historical aspect is that there are at least five or more ancient Nanda settlements in Tulunadu, apart from the well known Nandāvara. These are (1) Nandaneshwara (Panambur) (2) Nandalike (3) Nandara-bettu (4) Nandara padpu, (5) Nandarapura and (6) Nandi-gudde. With these place names we are bound to get confused over the actual location of the capital of King Nandaraya.
A common feature of these Nanda settlements in Tulunadu is that these are (or were) mostly located on the banks of rivers or beaches. Nandavara as well as Nandarabettu are located on the southern and norther banks of River Netravati in Bantval taluk. 
Nandarapura is now a hamlet near Mullarakadu and Akash bhavan area of Derebail-Konchadi in Kavur village, Mangalore.
Nandi-gudde (near Attāvar, Mangalore) is located close the former (ancient) course of River Netravati. [The Nandi-gudde in Attavar, Mangalore, possibly was ‘Nanda-gudde’ earlier.] Similarly, Nandalike (near Karkal) is located on (now dried up) banks of an ancient minor river. Nandara padpu is near Mudipu in southern part of Mangalore Taluk. Nandalike was the hometown of modern Kannada poet Muddana. Similarly Nandavara has been popularized by  Tulu researcher, Dr. Vamana Nandavara.
And Nandaneshwara is an ancient Shiva temple in coastal Panambur beach area, now part of New Mangalore Port. It is traditional in ancient India that the coastal temple towns were named after the Shiva temples of the area and vice versa. (For example: Pandeshwara, Manjeshwara, Mahābaleshwar, Someshwara, Murudeshwara, Dhāreshwara, Rāmeshwara, Bhubaneshwar, etc).
It is obvious that temple Nandaneshwara, of Panambur, was named after ancient King Nandana. Tamil Sangam (‘Chankam’) literature refers to a valiant Tuluva King ‘Nannan’. It appears that the ancient Tamil writers referred to this King Nandan as ‘Nannan’ rather than Nandaraya. Therefore, it appears that Nandaneshwara (Panambur) on the West Coast , was the capital of ancient Nanda Kings of Tulunadu. (Like Pandeshwara, Mangalore, was the capital of later Alupa Kings.)
Grama Paddati
The Grama Paddati (literally means "Village System") historic document of Tulu Brahmins refers to a list of 32 rulers of ancient Tulunadu. The list begins with (1) Nanda Nandana Rāya, (2) Nandana Rāya and (3) Vijaya Nandana Rāya (Nagendra Rao, 2005).Though the Grama Paddati has not assigned any specific time-span for these rulers, it may be presumed that the cited Nanda rulers of Tulunadu reigned during the period ca. 200 BC-100 AD considering that Mayura Varma (Kadamba) has been cited as nineth King in Grama Paddati.
However, in the actual history, there could have been more than three Nanda Kings, in Tulunadu , since the Grama Paddati has been compiled evidently at a later date, apparently based on legends preserved among the population of the period.

Nanda tribes
The available data suggest that Nanda were a widespread ancient tribe in Indian subcontinent as well as South-east Asia and Australia. Nanda surname can be found extensively in Punjab, Rajastan and Gujarat. Among Ahirs three sub-communities of cattle-herders are known: (1) Nanda (2) Yadu and (3) Gopa. These tribes have been cited in Bhagawat and in the legends of Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna made use of a sword called Nandaka.
(Various variants of Yadu tribes in Tulunadu, such as Yadava, Edava, Yeda, Ideya, Yeya etc have been discussed in older Posts). Apart from Nandas and Yadus, Gopa tribes also have left their signature in the West coast in place names like Goa (Gomantak), Gokarna etc.
Nanda tribes were cattle-herders and it is but natural that Nandi, (ox) , the male species of cow, has been named after them (or vice versa). Nandi has been depicted as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. One of the peaks of Himalaya has been named as Nanda Devi.
Nanda tribes have left their signatures in ancient place names not only in Tulunadu but all over India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.There are ancient Nanda tribal settlements known as Nandagiri and Nandidurga in peninsular India. Nandi hill was known as Nandidurga or Nandagiri formerly. There  are towns known as Nandagiri near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh , as well is in Maharastra.One Nandagudi is near Hosakote on the way to Kolar. Nandihalli is a village proximal to Sandur in Bellary District.There is a Nandipet in Nizambad district and a Nandyala in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.
Likewise there is a Nandap village near Kalyan, Mumbai, Maharastra.
Nanda Kings of Pataliputra (Bihar) who predated Chandragupta Maurya were well known in the history of India. One King Nanda ruled ancient Myanmar. Similarly Nandapur is a famous historical town in Orissa. We find similar Nandapurs in Maharastra, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and in Bangladesh (Swalpa Nandipur). And there are places known as Nandipur in Orissa, Bangladesh and Pakistan.There are villages called Nandivādi in Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh.

There is a ‘Nandagiri’ in Maharastra, also known as ‘Nandurbar’ which similarly was ruled by an ancient Nanda King. The region was was called 'Rasika' in olden days, bounded by  present Districts of Berar (ancient  Vidarbha), Nemad (ancient Anup) and Bhir (ancient Mulaka).  It was a part of erstwhile District of Khandesh, later on bifurcated as Dhule and Jalgaon.  In 1998, Dhule was again bifurcated as Dhule and Nandurbar districts.  Nandurbar now is a city and District headquarter, in North-western part of Maharashtra. bordered by Gujarat on West and North and Madhya Pradesh on North-east with Narmada River, determining its northern boundary.  It is predominantly a tribal district, inhabited by Bhils, Kolis and Ahirs.  Ahirs are now  cowherds in this region.  
The Shiva temple in the Panambur beach close to the New Mangalore Port enclosure is known as “Nandaneshwara Raya” as can be seen in the name emblazoned at the entrance to the temple.Needless to say that the temple-name reminds of an ancient king Nandaneshwara Raya, who installed the original temple.It also may be possible that the temple was founded by one of his off-springs in the name of Nandaneshwara Raya.
However, it is interesting to note that the place name "Nandaneshwara " has not been preserved to date as in the case of other temple towns like Pandeshwara, Manjeshwara, etc. This could be explained by the evident dominance of Panamb (<.Pani) merchant tribes (later known as Nakara merchant class) in the ancient historic town of Panambur subsequently as recorded in the Kadire epigraphs (Post 107) .

Nanda Kings of Tulunadu apparently had origins in nomadic cowherds who migrated south from northern India ca 500 BC or before. The civil war of Yadavas and submergence of Dwarakapuri  as depicted in the  final parts of legends of Shri Krishna possibly displaced the Yadavas to different parts of India and south-western coasts, known as 'Sapta Konkan'. might have settled in various parts of south India as cowherds as well as farmers. Their ‘Raya’ title might have been even derived from, ’raita’, the farmer. With passage of time, Raita > Raya >Rai derivation is one of the historic possibility. Nanda Kings of Tulunadu or other parts of Deccan may not be a single dynasty or related directly to the Nanda Dynasty of  Magadha (ca. 421-321 BC, ancient Bihar) as visualized by some of our historians. On the other hand, all these Nanda Kings might have had origins in ancient Nanda cowherds.

Nagendra Rao, Dr. (2005). Brahmanas of South India: Historical and Tradition .Gyan Books, New Delhi, 216 p. [Google Books.].

- Ravi and Vishwanath.

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 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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