Ancient villages names are wonderful fossils of our cultural heritage. This is especially significant in a region like Tulunadu that is deprived of any kind of documented early history older than Alupa period. One of the strange evidence we gather suggests that the Tulu language and culture in Tulunadu grew over an older substrata consisting of Pakrit, Munda, Toda, Koraga etc.
The village in Mangalore Taluk located proximal to the Mangalore Refinary and Petrochemicals Limited, is called Kuthettur. Similar sounding village names with kuth as a prefix like Kuthar (a place near Konaje, Mangalore University) and Kuthpadi (or Kuthpady) is suburb of Udupi town. Similarly, Kuthyar is also a place South of shirva and Udupi. There is a Kuthlur Village is in Belthanagdi Taluk and a Kuthkunja, in Sullia Taluk. You can also find village/hamlet names like Kuthaje, Kuthila, Kudmar(Kuthmar), etc.
There is a village called Kuthali in Belgaum District. In Chamarajanagar District, there is Kuthanur and Kuthanapura. More such village names can be found in section below titled Kuth villages in India.
Now, what does the word kuth stands for? The present Tulu language does not have a word like kuth or kuttu in its general vocabulary, even though it may usually mean a hurdle or problem in Kannada language.
Kuth , Kutta
Kuth, kuthe, kuthi = kutta (Prakrit/Hindi); dog, first domesticated animal, mans best friend; It is not just a Prakrit/Hindi or Marati word. Analogous word with same meaning can be found in the European Hunagarian/Magyar languages. In Hungarian language, kutya, means a dog: and it also means bad; miserable etc possibly implying the general plight of dogs. The word Kuth is considerd to have been derived from the Sumerian language where it (kuth) also means a dog. Thus the word ‘kutha’ for dog is quite ancient word that has been adopted subsequently by several languages world wide during the course of evolution and migration of people.
Interestingly, village names with the prefix of ‘kuth’ – ancient villages dedicated to the mans’ best friend, the dog- can be found spread in different parts of India.
2. There is an analogous word ‘kutha’ or ‘kutta’ in Tulu language (refer: Tulu Nighantu) which means steep or erect. Some readers may like to apply this connotation to place names with prefix of ‘kuth’ like Kuthethur, Kuthar, kuthaje, Kuthpadi etc.
However, if you study geography of these places you do not find any unusually steep mountains in these villages. On the contrary, many of the steep hills in Tuunadu sucha s Kodanjikal or other hillas have nat been named as Kuth- villages.3. The prefix kuth in these place names could not be a Tulu word because such places (with prefix kuth) are found all over India, where the words of Tulu language are not known or understood.
Kuth~ Villages in India
Andhra Pradesh: Kuthempur, Kuthnepalle, Kuthampauttu.Kuthangi.
Assam: Kuthari, Kuthari Bagisha, Kuthori, Kuthepi, Kuthurijar.
Bihar: Kuthuriahat, Kuthwa,
Chattisgarh: Kuthar, Kuthur, Kuthrel, Kuthraud,
Himachal Pradesh: Kuthah, Kuthal, Kuthan, Kuthar, Kuthara, Kuther, Kuthera, Kuthari, Kuthwari, Kuthandal, Kuthehar,Kuthman, Kutharna, Kuth sarotriyan, Kuthog, Kuthanhad, Kutharli, Kuthaira ,Kuthiana,Kuthulag, Kutharbeet, Kuthakar,
Karnataka: Kuthar, Kuthali, Kuthethur, Kuthyar, Kuthpady, Kuthagodu, Kuthanhalli, Kuthlur, Kutharahalli, Kuthaganahalli, Kuthlur, Kuthandahalli, Kuthappanahlli, Kuthagatta, Kuthingere, Kutharabavi, Kuthagondanahlli, Kuthagale,
Kerala: Kuthannur, Kuthianthode.
Madhya Pradesh: Kuthonda, Kuthili, Kuthila, Kuthilagawan, Kuthuliya, Kuthali, Kuthar, Kuthia, Kuthuli,
Maharastra: Kuthegaon, Kuthare, , Kuthulipada, ,
Orissa: Kutharpali, Kuthulipada, Kuthulimunda, Kuthurla,
Punjab: Kutha keri,
Rajastan: Kuthania, Kuthara,
Tamilandu: Kuthumbakam, Kuthanur, Kuthampoondi,Kutham palyam,Kuthiluppai, Kuthathupatti, Kuthur,Kuthimeikipatti,Kuthapanjan,Kuthiramoli.
Uttar Pradesh: Kuthawati, Kuthia, Kuthaliya, Kuthilahar, Kuttara, Kuthounda, Kuthli,
Uttar Khand: Kuthar, Kuthnaur, Kuthha, Kuthur, Kuthalgaon, Kuthar, Kuthera,
West Bengal: Kuthibari, Kuthegerya, Kuthisakdal, Kuthipara etc.
Major linguistic alteration
Villages dedicated to dogs, the mans’ best friend, are not uncommon in Tulunadu. Later Villages/hamlets like Nayampalli, Nayabasadi, etc are known. However, the word kuth appears to be associated with ancient places named before the advent of Tulu language in these areas.
The words, like kuth used in these place names, are no longer continue to be used in Karavali/Tulunadu regions in the sense originally intended. This implies and reflects a major episode of linguistic and socio-cultural changes during the early history of Karavali/Tulunadu.
The presence of ancient village names with prefix kuth in coastal terrain of Karavali suggests that the Tulunadu was also under the influential spell of languages (like Prakrit and Munda) that pervaded India during the early history probably before the advent and propagation of Tulu in these parts.
In other words, in a major paradigm shift, in the Karavali, during a specific episode in the ancient history, the dominant language of communication was changed gradually from the older Prakrit/Munda base to the current Tulu/Dravida matrix, along with advent of new phase of immigrants.. The newly imposed language happened to borrow some of the words, beliefs, customs and cultural strings from the older substratum language and culture. In the process, many of the older words and customs were forgotten and obliterated from the active sphere of life and communication of the people.