An interesting aspect in the study of origin and analysis of ancient historical terms and place names is that a word can have more than one meaning. This could have happened as a result of existence of similar sounding words derived from different tribal communities and time periods. For example, Odi is an ancient word with more than 17 meanings.
Some of these ancient words have the potential of opening and leading our minds into the obscure paths of the nature and evolution of words (and languages) in this land.
Garodi, the gymansium
The term ‘Garodi’ is generally considered to an ancient Tulu word for ancient system of gymnasia that dotted many villages of Tulunadu wherein young men were trained systematically in the martial arts. Interestingly in Tamil the equivalent word for Garodi happens to be karati because Tamil alphabet is devoid of consonants like Ga and Di. It has been speculated that Buddhist monks from south India carried the karati art form of martial arts to China and Japan where it was designated as karate.
Garodi, the Tulu word also means a large hall in front of the house according to Tulu Nighantu. And this could be the actual origin of the word since martial arts were taught to disciples in large open halls called Garodi. The parallel term Kalari (kala+ri), vogue in Tamil and Malayalam region also means an open area or plot (kaLa) for conducting exercises or games. Reference to bows, swords, spears and shields can be found in Sangam literatures like Akananuru and Purananuru. The word Kalari has appeared in Sangam literature (Tamil) like Puram and Akam to describe the war field or combat field. It can be seen that the related word kalaha means battle in languages like Kannada and Sanskrit.
Garodi, the snake charmer
However, the term Garodi is not exclusive to Tulunadu. There are persons having Garodi or Garodiya as surname and tribes known as Garodi in Western India. There are places known as Garodi or Garodiya in Gujarat and Maharastra.
The Garodis are a wandering tribe of snake charmers and jugglers in parts of northern Karnataka and Maharastra (Belgaum, Kolhapur, Sangli , Pune and Miraj). These have been considered to be a Muslim sect converted from Scheduled Castes.
1. Garodi1= A large open hall, gymnasium. Gara= large. Garandal= large tall, person; stalwart. Garda= (flag on) tall post, [misnomer: Garuda kamba; It should be Garda kamba]. Garābu= greed; Garime= severity, magnitude. Gar (as in garpu) to dig soil or land to level etc.
2. Garodi 2= Snake charmer.
Gara= snake, Garala (Tulu etc)=snake poison. Garuda= snake charmer/catcher bird; Eagle, Gar=snake; Odi=charm, magic trick.
Gārudi= magic tricks; snake catchers tricks? ; Shri Krishna Garudi= Magical acts of Lord Krishna.