Saturday, July 16, 2011

283. Aggargona, Agumbe: Aga/Agher tribes

A river flowing by Kumta town and to the South of piligrimage centre of Gokarna in Uttara Kannada District is known as Aghanäshini. Aghanäshini in Sanskrit means destroyer (näshini) of sins (agha).While you may be wondering why this particular river was named as destroyer of sins, you shall encounter a place called ‘Aggar-goNa’ in the surrounding region.
Aggargona is a village in Kumta Taluk named after ‘Agher’ (pronounced as Agyer or ‘Aaghers’). Aaghers are a backward tribe distributed in parts of Uttara Kannada district. Aagher is a collective noun wherein the plural suffix ‘–er’ refer to a group of Aga tribes.In Munda tribal belts of Northern India they are known as Agariya.
The place name Aggar-gona could have come from agar, the Marathi word for salt pan, or from the Agher  (Agar or Agari) communities that involved themselves traditionally in the manufacture os common salt from the sea water.
Thus, it can be suggested that Agha in the River name Agha-nashini is derived from the Aagha tribes. And the suffix Näshini was attached to the Agha just to complete the Sanskrit nomenclature. Some of the random places named after Aga tribes in India have been recalled here below:
Agumbe, the hill station famous for a charming sunset on the Sahyadri range in Shimoga district is again named after the Agha tribes.
Agari is a hamlet near Bajpe, Mangalore Taluk.
Agadi: Aga+di village in Belgaum district is suggestive of an ancient habitation of Aga tribes.
Agartala: A place named after Aga(r) tribes.
Agastya: An ancient sage mentioned in Sanskrit as well as Tamil Sangam literature. In his name you can find the prefix ‘Ag(h)a’ suggesting his connection with Agha tribes.
Aga/ Agariya tribes: The Aga or Agariya are an Austro-Asiatic Munda group of tribes, possibly part of the pre-Dravidian settlers in India.
Similarly, 'Agri'  appears to be an variant of the tribe 'Ag'.  'Agri' and 'Koli' are original ethnic (fisherman) tribes of Mumbai and other Konkan coastal belt.  Agri (Ag+ri) is a village in Ghansoli of New Mumbai. There is one 'Agripada' in Central Mumbai and other at Danda-Agripada in Bandra-Khar belt.  Similarly Agari hamlets exist in the Karavli also. Kolis speak Marathi and Agri-Kolis speaks a mixture of Marathi, Hindi, Sanskrit and Kannada .
Like Kols the Aga/Agar/Agariya tribes were involved with metal smelting. The tribal word ‘Ag’ probably supplied the root for the Prakrit /Hindi word ‘Aag’ for fire.
Salt makers
Agar in Marathi means salt pan or bounded farm. In Uttara Kannada district,Karnataka, near Aggargona and Gokarna, traditional salt making industries do exist. The saline water from the tidal stretches are spread on open agricultural fields and are allowed to dry up under the Sun. Desiccation of saline water forms crystals of common salt that are eventually gathered and marketed.Similar native salt making industries prevailed all along the coast since antiquity.
According to legends prevailing among Agari (also known as Agle) tribes in Maharastra, Agela and Mangela were two sons of the sage Agastya.On growing up Agela pursued the art of producing common salt from sea water, wheras Mangela became a fisherman.

Mangala Poojari
Mahakulastri Ammanavaru temple at Benne Kuduru near Barkur, Udupi district is the major centre of worship for Mogaveeras of Tulunadu. The mother Goddess temple is managed by preists designated as Mangala Pojaris. The origin of the word Mangala comes from the name of fisher tribe of Maharastra, the Mangelas. It term reveals that the temple was traditionally owned and maintained by fisher tribes of Mangela who have been known as Mangala Poojaris with passage of time.
-Ravi and Vishwanath.


  1. can you please tell me how many mangala poojaries presided over the mogaveera cult? And also their names?

  2. Gathering the desired data may take some time.So kindly bear with us. In the meanwhile readers may immediately post the data if anyone is having readily.

  3. Earthen wall/fence(with cactus on top & ditch by side) is also called "agar" in tulu. "Agar kaDpunu" is the most laborious work for tuluvas. Agar also means depot in Marathi.
    Kowdoor Narayana Shetty

  4. Agumbe is a special place... informative read...


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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