Toponymy, i.e. the study of place names world-wide, contains generic terms in most of the place names. They describe invariably geographical features, as a suffix. Elsewhere we have analysed some Tulu generic terms, such as aal/la, ba/va/ya, bar, war, wal, kuppe, kar, kuda, kal, kod/kodu/godu, mancha etc. in our earlier Posts. ‘Palke’ is another generic term which can be added to this list. Some of the Tulu Place Names cited below, having ‘palke’ as a suffix, may explain the geographical significance.
1. Dead woods and other waste substances, drained to sea through rivers, scattered by action of sea currents and washed ashore by waves.
’palke booruni’ is a sign of subsiding of sea from roughness (Read our Post: 389 of 16th September). It is a marine incident witnessed in summer monsoon after a stormy weather with rough sea.
2. A valley, slope, or low lying area between mountains or hills.
3. A place where a dead body is placed on floor.
4. A mat (made of leaves or grass)
5. A dead body (= ಪುಣ) itself. One must have heard the swearing words in Tulu when one keeps things for himself beyond ones needs or demands for more): Daane undu ninna palkeda adik paaderena (ದಾನೆ ಉ0ದು ನಿನ್ನ ಪಲ್ಕೆದಡಿಕ್ ಪಾಡೆರೆನ)? It is a custom to burn in the pyre and/or throw away things connected to the departed soul.
6. Base word for Palike is ‘pal or palla’ in Tulu, Kannada and other South Indian languages. ‘Palla’ means Pit, Hole, Depth, Low ground or spot, shallow stream, pond, ditch, hollow, etc. ‘Palike’ has the meaning of: valley, declivity, pond and ditch (See Dravidian Etymological Dictionary). In Toda language also ‘pal’ means ‘valley’. In Barakur-Kannada Palli, Balli or Pali means a long rice field. Pallamu in Telugu means: pit, low ground, dale, wet land and wet crop.
In Southern States (Kerala and Tamil Nadu) ‘palike’ is called as ‘chakara’. A source (now seen by the writer) tells: “A Chakara is a peculiar marine phenomenon in which a large number of fish and prawns throng together during a particular season as a result of mud bank formation. It is derived from (Sanskrit word) Chakra (Disc) which has similar meaning of ‘palke’ in Tulu”.
It is seen that some stretches of a river are deep because of eddy currents. Such area is called Chakra Teertha. Similarly, sea currents create declivity near shore-line, which also results in sand-banks.
Tulu Place Names
Native readers may comprehend meanings of some place names given below. These are commonly found in Tulu Nadu (now Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts).
Manjara palke: The village is in Karkala Taluk, Udupi. The place is also known as ‘Kedinje’ (kedu+inje = a place with many ponds).
Aremajaalu palke: It is in Mangaluru. We think that it is half-terraced (ಅರೆಮಜಲು/ಅರೆಮಜಾಲು) area with ‘palke’ below.
Barry palke: It is a hamlet in Mangaluru (See our Post: 390 – Valencia in Mangaluru). This place is popularly known as ‘Gorigudda (Hill of burial)’ in local tongue even today.
Kocharla Palke: It means: ‘a valley of Kochar Tribes’. It is a place name of a hamlet in Ajekar, Belthangadi Taluk, Dakshina Kannada) (See Post: 272/04.06.2011 - Kochar Tribes).
Chittal palke: The writer has found a reference to this hamlet in ‘Tulu Nada Garodigala Samskritka Adhyayana, 1990’, a cultural study of Garodi Shrines vis-a-vis Folklores related thereto, penned by Bannanje Babu Amin and Mohan Kotian (Ref. Page-314: Thingale Garodi in Karkala Taluk). We think that Chitteripalke (Chita+Eri) also refers to Chitalpalke (Chita+al+palke), i.e. a locality ear-marked for crematorium or burial as is ‘adka’ (= a barren place on the periphery/edge/boundary of a village, i.e. a marginal place in Tulu language).
Other Sub-villages with ‘Palke‘
We have picked up following places from ‘Revenue Villages, Hamlets and Towns of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada’:
Karkal: Majal palke, Dadal/Dodal Palke
Dakshina Kannada: Nejaarpalke, Tailapake (Taluk ?)
Bantwal: Palike, Mada palke, Kuntala palke, Shanti palke, Raja palke, Uppara palke, Achari palke, Gadi palke.
Belthangadi: Bejada palke. Dappada palke, Nelya palke, Kontu palke, Kanthavara palke,
Mangalore: Dompada palke, Murkolthu palke, Muchchara palke.
‘Palke’ in other Indian State
We have reason to believe that other Indian states must have place names with Pal or Palke too. We shall feel thankful if readers bring such place names to our notice.
It is assumed that ‘palke’ sub-villages are undeveloped or under-developed localities in earlier days. Landscape of land is being changed or destroyed by human actions in the name of development, which may lead to change in place name. As an example, we may cite ‘Barry palke or Gorigudda’ in Mangaluru, which is now an elite urban place with modern buildings. Such changed topography may also lead to man-made disasters. So the past and present topography of a village may not be the same.
We may be able to add to above-mentioned list if readers inform such place names, which they know. We value very much these feed-backs from them. Thus, we will be able to substantiate our statements.
1. Tulu Lexicon (page:1962)
2. Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Entry No .4016, page 357 under Pallam).
- Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune
Camp: Udyavara, Udupi; 14th October, 2017