Wednesday, November 9, 2016

370. Tulasi- Venkataramana in Ankola

The different patterns of worshipping divine forces of the nature can be seen in different parts of the world. Traditionally the herb basil or Tulasi, which has excellent medicinal properties as recognised by our ancestors, has been the divine symbol of health, sanitation and prosperity for Hindus and we can see pedestal structures in front of houses wherein the herb of holy basil (tulasi)   is devotedly planted for regular nurture and worship. 
The holy basil is utilised by members of all communities, irrespective of religions, in the coast for the beneficial medicinal properties. 
The conventional pedestal erected for the implant of Tulasi herb in front of the Hindu houses is known as Tulasi katte in Kannada as well as in Tulu. In south Indian devout  houses the Tulasi is being worshipped on regular basis and annually special pooja are offered on the designated day of Tulasi pooje that follows  twelve nights after the joyful festival of lights, the Deepavali.

Tulasi pedestal with image of Venkataramana  in  Hichkad Village, Ankola, Uttara Kannada. 
Tulasi worship in Ankola
In Uttara Kannada district especially around Ankola we can see the modification of the Tualsi pedestal structures in front of the traditional houses into a small shrines  structure comparable  to the Spirit (‘boota’) shrines of Tulunadu. These shrines in front of the traditional joint family houses are commonly known as the “Tulasi”.  Normally one joint family shall have a common Tulasi which shall have adesignated member of the family to look after routine pooja rituals for the Tulasi shrine. 

It is interesting to note that the Tulasi shrines especially in Ankola region have been modifed to accommodate images of  Lord Venkataramana (usually along with other village deities or spirits). Thus we can see the vestiges of ancient spirit worship as well well the worship of Venkataramana fused into the worship and legends of the holy herb Tulasi. Probably this amalgamation occurred in this region about five to six centuries ago when a few Nadava families migrated  from the Kundapura region and settled in Ankola -Gokarna- Kumta region in coastal Uttara Kannada.
A wooden plaque containing sculptures of Venkataramana -and other wooden dolls probably representing village deities - are placed in front of the Tulasi pedestal which is housed inside a small shrine like structure. Routine rituals connected with Tulasi with Venkataramana (with other minor deities)are conventionally conducted by a designated senior member of the joint family.
Such Tulasi-Venkataramana shrines are not newly constructed in newly built houses these days. Only the older composite Tulasi shrine structures belonging to the particular joint families of the yester years are being renovated and maintained.
Tulasi marriage
In Karavali West Coast on the twelfth night (“dwadashi”), traditionally people celebrate a festive night known as “Tulasi parba”. The Tulasi festival conducted with lamps lighted up around the decorated pedestal of Tulasi in front of the house is traditionally considered to be the annual celebration of the ancient  event of marriage of the Lady Tulasi with Lord Vishnu.


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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 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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