Friday, December 27, 2013

321. Bangalore: Origin of the place name

Some places like Bangalore have standard explanations for the origin of place name that is being accepted and believed by people without questioning. This includes the explanation for the worlds’ favorite software city, Bangalore. Some smart one dared to think of the origin of Bengaluru (Bangalore) as a village of boiled beans (benda + kaalu + ooru)  and it has been accepted in general.
However, many like me may have their own doubts as to how the Benda-kaalu-ooru can become Bengal-ooru? In formal and/or common dialectical Kannada, benda-kaalu (=boiled beans) is not usually abridged to Bengaalu!  Only in poetry such a union or words can be expected. And it is quite unusual that a poetic term should become   accepted as a place for Bangalore.

Alternate theory for Origin
How about an alternate explanation for the origin of place name Bengaluru? The name Bengaluru could have been a modification of original Bangalur. The place name of Bangal+ur, the ooru (village) of Bengal or Bangal is similar to the Bengal or Bangal in origin.

Bengāl / Bangal
Surprisingly, the name Bengal in Bengaluru or Bangalore is also shared by Bengal (West Bengal, East Bengal, Bangladesh) region, where there is no widely accepted explanation for the origin of the word Bengal, even though the current wiki page on Bengal suggests that the term Bengal or Bongo may have been derived from the Bang tribes of Dravidian origin. In this blog we have explained that the suffix –al represents an (ancient) habitation located by the side of a river.
Banga being a tribe the Bengal or Bangal (Banga + al) means an ancient habitation located on the bank of a river. In fact even today, the Bangal or the Bengal is located on the banks of river Ganges.
Bangalore is not on the banks of any river at present but the geological and geomorphological evidences suggest that there was a river flowing on the western side of Bangalore once upon a time. The river appears to have dried up during the course of history.

Banga tribes
In different parts of India we have hundreds of place names associated with or attributable to ancient Banga tribes (Banga, Bangaria, Bangaon, Banganapalle, Bangarpalle, Bangarpete, Bangadi, .Bangara, Bangaro, Bangatiya, Bangawa, Bangama, Bangai, Banganj, etc ) Some of these places have been modified into prefix of Benga (Benali, Bengahi, Bengabari, Benga male,. Banganur, Baengadi, Bengama, Bengaipatti, Bengabad etc) . The Banga were an African tribe that apparently migrated and settled in different parts of India during ancient period.
As in Bengal, the term Vanga has been a regional modification of the term Banga.  Some of the Vanga villages in India are Vangara, Vangapalle, Vangai, Vangarai, Vangala, Vangali, Vangaon, Vangam, Vangad, Vangapalle, etc. Similarly, especially in southern India, the term Banga has become Panga (as in village name Pāngala) in some regions. Some of the Panga- villages in different parts of India are Pangal, Pangali, Pangam, Pangama, Pangar, Pangare, Pangari, Pangadi, Pangan, Pangaon, Pangaiyan, Pangath, Pangarkhed etc.

Surname:  Banga and Banger
The term Banga has survived as a surname among the Jains of Tulunadu.  Jain kings and chieftains with the surname Banga or Banga-arasa ruled parts of Tulunadu until independence.
Banger or Bangera is a most popular surname in Tulunadu common to many communities irrespective of their socio-communal status. The Banger is a plural or respectable for of the word Banga.
According to African mythology the Banga was a water God of the Ngbandi people. According to the African legends the Banga God created the white races. It is possible that Banga tribes in India were part of the white or fair skinned immigrants who have been documented distinctly as white tribes (Bola and Boller Tulu; Bellar -Kannada; Gore - Marati/Prakrit/Hindi etc) especially in the place names of the Southern India.


Monday, December 9, 2013

320. Manch, Manchi, Manchale, Manchakall: Early Religions

My Kannadiga friends used to tease about the apparent odd sounding place names in Tulunadu. Some of these prompted me to delve deeper into the meaning behind some of these place names. People generally look for meanings in the place names using the currently   prevailing   language without realizing that some of these odd sounding names could be heritage words preserved as fossils that throws light on the existence of an earlier and older phase of bygone languages and culture in our terrain. During the course of my studies and analysis I have realized that odd sounding place names are not unique to Tulunadu. Some of these odd sounding ancient place names are found all over India.
For example there are some 113 officially listed villages having the prefix of ‘Manch’ or ‘Mancha’ in the census of India 2011 , which obviously includes numerous hamlets and unlisted villages with the tag of Mancha.
The word ‘mancha’ in Tulu, Kannada and other Dravidian languages mean a wooden or stone bed or cot.  In North-Indian languages ‘manch’ generally  means a platform or podium. Let us evaluate some of the place names associated with the word ‘manch’ or ‘mancha’ and analyse the historical significance of these place names.

Manchi is a modest village in Bantwal   taluk, Dakshina Kannada district. Naturally most of the locals are not aware why or how their   place was called Manchi.  Some might think that it was derived from the Telugu word which means nice or good. Surely the word ‘manchi’ does not mean anything in Tulu language. Some have felt that the name Manchi was influenced by or derived from Telugu people since the word ‘manchi ‘ means good in Telugu.
 There are some 27 villages (this excludes hamlets named after Manchi   in different States of India. We find Manch in Uttarkhand and Mancha in Bihar and West Bengal. Similarly there are villages known as Manchi in Uttar Pradesh, Rajastan, Tamilnadu, Orissa,   Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, besides Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Therefore the place name Manchi is not a place name exclusive  to Tulunadu.

Manchale was the original name of the village now known as Mantralaya famous for the Brindavan of Guru Raghavendra Swamy on the bank of Tungabhadra River in Kurnool District (which borders  Raichur district of Karnataka). Before the establishment of Raghavendra Mutt at Mantralaya an ancient tradition of mother Goddess cult prevailed in the village of Manchale and the deity was known Manchalamma (= Mother of Manchale Village). It seems the place name Mantralaya was  thought out by Raghavendra Swamy and is followers who were influenced by the original name Manchale.
The ‘Manchale’ or manch+ale represents a habitation containing a ‘mancha’ (traditionally a rock bed used by ascetics to take rest) located on the bank of river.
However, the place name Manchal, Manchala or Manchale can be found in Bihar, Rajastan, Arunachal Pradesh, and Other States. Manchalkuppe and Manchaldore can be found in Tumkur District of Karnataka.

We have covered a post on Manchakallu. The Manchakall is a village in Udupi district near Shirva and Kapu. There is also a Manchakall in Kolar District and a Manchakal kuppe in Tumkur District of Karnataka, besides Manchikall in Guntur District and Manchikall-padu in Prakasham District of Andhra Pradesh.

Other Mancha place names
There are other Manch place names prevailing in different parts of India such as Manchod (Bihar), Manchar (Madhya Pradesh, Maharstra) , Manchur (Andhra Pradesh), Manchia(Orissa), Manchang (Meghalaya),  Manchagaon (Orissa), Manchapur( West Bengal),  Manchanpur (Maharastra); Manchanbele, Manchasandra, Manchinakoppa, Manchagondanhalli, Manchibeedu, Manchanahalli, Manchiganahalli (Karnataka); Manchipatna, Manchanpalu, Mancharami, Manchippa,  Manchirevula, Manchagonda, Manchalkatta, Manchili,(Andhra Pradesh) etc.

Mancha-the rock beds
In all the village names cited above the common word is Mancha. The name Mancha has been named after rock beds (beds  or platforms fashioned in rocks and designed for resting of Jain ascetics in different parts of India during the Early history).  It is generally claimed that Jainism is a very ancient religion and that Mahaveera was the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism.  Stringent ascetism was the essential feature of Jainism and the monks made use of rock beds to meditate, relax or to take rest. Thus the rock beds or Mancha came into significance in early civilization.  In Buddhism the Mancha was the platform on which relics of Buddha were kept.
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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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