Tuesday, October 29, 2013

318. Udupi and Orissa: Common threads.

Understanding the origin of ancient place names and their realistic meanings can often be hampered by limitations of our perceptions of our entire gamut of history and evolution of our culture and languages. When understanding or analyzing any unusual place name, people generally resort to compare with commonly known words prevailing in the local or the most influential language, without realizing that the words involved may also possibly represent unfamiliar ancient words that at present may or may not be in current use.

Let us compare and analyze two place names Udupi and Orissa and in order to arrive at some interesting and meaningful inferences. Udupi is a coastal town in West Coast of India, whereas Orissa is a State on the East Coast of India. On account of the Arya- Dravida syndrome, usually people consider that South and North have distinctly different sets of languages. Udupi is commonly considered to have been derived from Sanskrit words, whereas,   the name ‘Orissa’ has been changed into earlier form of Odisha.
Let us analyze the available data and understand how East (Orissa) and West (Udupi) Coasts of India shared common language and culture in the remote past.
Udupi in the Karavali (West Coast) of Karnataka is a small burgeoning town known for cultural centre of medieval Krishna cult and the dwaita religious philosophy founded by Madhvāchārya (1238-1317). The Udupi hotels are known as a brand worldwide for their exquisite delicious South Indian vegetarian food. Udupi is also known for quality education and medical facilities.
There are a number of explanations in vogue in the net for the origin and meaning of the place name Udupi (or Udupa). 
1. Udu+pa:  (Sanskrit) Udu = Star; pa= leader. Udupi=leader of stars, ie moon.
2. Udu+pa (Sanskrit) Udu= Moon; pa= bearer, Udupa= Shiva; who carries moon on his hairs.
In both these derivations, which mean the Shiva or the Moon, and there is no hint of any suffix indicative of place like village or town.

The name Udupi is the modified version of the popular Tulu name Odipu. (d pronounced as in English word Detail) . There are two more places near Odipu which possibly share the ancient name of Odipu or evolved from that name. One is Odabhandeshwara (also spelt as Vadabhandeshwara or Odapandeshwara). The other is Udyavara which could be the evolved version of the old name Odiyara. (Post.184 The Magic of Malpe ).
Even though now it is a fairly strange word, the word ‘oDi ‘carries some 18 or more meanings, as enlisted in Tulu Nighantu (see : Post No 109.Odipu-the Udupi)  . The various shades of meanings available for this word reflect the antiquity of this strange word. The meanings include:
(1) A branch of plant laden with fruits, (2)to drip, (3) to cease flowing,  (4)to control or regulate, (5).A raised divider between the agricultural fields,  (6) A narrow   strip of field   (7) A field canal, (8) Sorcery,  (9) A measure, (10)  A  tumour   (11). A hunters lodge, (12) Defeat   (13) Evil eye   (14) A pair, (15) to pull or pluck (oDipu) (16)  an union of members, [  as in 'ODi kaTTu' ] (17) A  competition,   like cock fight.(18) A raised ,high land (like ‘bettu’ in Tulu).and (19)  Odi, is a proper   name, for male person among certain tribes.
As discussed in older posts herein, the word ‘pu’ is an ancient suffix indicative of habitation as in Balapu, Mudipu, Polipu, Odipu etc place names. Probably the Sanskrit word pura (=town) was evolved (pu+ura) after the ancient suffix ‘pu’. Another related spatial suffix is –pe as in place names Didupe, ALape, Malpe etc.
Pura= pu+ura. Pu=habitation;  ur, ura or oor=town, city or village.
Therefore, an Odipu in the ancient sense of meaning   can be a magical, high land habitation or tribal village. We shall see the other important place which shares the magic of odi in the East coast of India.

The name of Orissa State has been changed over to Odisha in the year 2011. The term Odisha cited in Pali and Sanskrit texts is considered to be the ancient name of the region. The Official Language of the State has been declared as Odia. In ancient texts it has been recorded as Odra desa or Odra Visaya or Oddaka. Greek historian Pliny recorded the region of ‘Oretes’ which is said to be the ‘Odisha’. The Mount Maleus in Plinys accounts is said to be the Malayagiri (near Pala Lahara) and the Monedes are said to be the Munda tribes that inhabited the region. A part of ancient Odisha consisting of Kalahandi,Koraput and Bastar was known as Maha-kantara (great forest) or Atavi din epics like Ramayana and Mahabharat.
The place name Odisha can be analysed as Odi+sha. According to a Wiki contributor, the term Odi is a variant of Ora or Ura. Ur was a famous ancient Sumerian city. The Dravidian word ur or oor (Village/habitation)   seems to be derived from the name of the ancient Sumerian port city Ur in Mesopotamia. It is possible that the term Odi was an ancient variant or cognate of the word Ur or Or.
Further, the ancient suffix Sa or Sha is an indicative of habitation as in place names Belashe, Avarse, Teggarshe, Vaddarse, Amashe (bail), etc (Post. 141. Village name suffixes).

Parallels between Udupi and Odisha
There are several aspects common between the place names Odipu (Udupi) and Odisha (Udisha/ Orissa). Both were probably ancient port cities that carried the name of Ur the famous Sumerian port city of Mespotamia.
There are several other villages in Odisha that carry the place name Odi such as Odiso, Odisha, Odisagarha, Odiaalapur, Odiapali, Odling, Odisagarha, Odia munda, Odijambo etc (Census of India, 2011).
Similarly around Udupi also we can find several places that carry the tag of Odi. Odabhandeshwara  or  Odapandeshwara is the name of the beach, near Malpe, West of Udupi. The place name Malpe, which probably was originally Malapu. (In Tulu usage it is ‘Malapu’ similar to ‘Odipu’.).  Mala=hill; pu/pe=habitation. The hill implied may be St Mary and Badragada group of volcanic islands located west of Malpe.We also find Brahmagiri in Udupi as well as in Orissa.
In Orissa similarly we find Malaygiri hills. A part of Orissa was known as Kantara or Maha-kantara. Similarly we have Kantara Village (or Kantavara) East of Udupi, located near Bola in Karkal taluk. An area in Orissa was known as Atavi and we have an Adve,  near Palimar, South of Udupi, on the Padubidri- Karkal Road.
Similarly we have suggested in older posts that the Udyvara could have been the modernised name of ancient place known as Odiara.
Apart from the place known as Odilnala in Belthangadi taluk , Dakshina Kannada , we have a number of places in different parts of  India that carry the tag of Odi in the place names as compiled in Census of India 2011.
Some of these places are :  Odi (Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan and Himachal Pradesh) Odina (Jammu & Kashmir),Odidra(Gujarat), Odikhor(Bihar),Odiakhurd, Odiakalan (Chattisgarh), Odi pora shahoora (Jammu & Kashmir,) Odiso, Odisha, Odisagarha, Odiaalapur, Odiapali, Odling, Odisagarha, Odia munda, Odijambo (Orissa), Odi ka pura, Odia kheraOdia kheri (Rajastan)
Odium, Odiyathur, Odianthal (Tamilnadu), Odiarthnathpur (UttarPradesh), Odiyari(Uttar khand) etc. We have also Chikkodi (Karnataka) and Tirodi (Madhya Pradesh).
The above list is obviously incomplete because Census of India, 2011 has not considered names of hamlets and smaller villages.
On the whole, the word Odi is not exclusive to Tulu Language, nor it is a pure Dravidian word. Most likely Tulu and other Dravidian languages borrowed the word from older languages that prevailed in different parts of India including the ancient Karavali. Further it proves that there were intensive tourism by migration and cultural exchanges among different parts of India even in ancient period.

Odi Oli and Ur or Oor
In ultimate analysis it seems that the word Odi is a variant of the common word Ur or Oor or Or that means village or habitation.Similarly when we compare the place names in Maharastra we find that Odi and Oli (=village) are interchangeable words having the same meaning.It is interesting that all these words Odi, Oli and Oor have been preserved in place names of Tulunadu suggesting that there was  an intimate connection and exchange of people, culture, words and language even during the remote past in spite of poor civic, and transport facilities.

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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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