Wednesday, January 30, 2019

414. Tulu Koota in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Pune

Tulu koota, 27 th January 2019,Chinchwad, Pune (Photo courtesy: Shri.Shekhar Poojary, Chitrapu)

There is a surge of Tulu speaking diaspora coming together and forming Tulu Koota, a Congregation of Tuluvas, in many parts of the land. This is a new nomenclature for ‘Tulu Chavadi’ (= Tulu Meeting Hall), which are active in some cities of Karnataka.   This enthusiastic Tuluva Pride was enkindled by the first ‘Tulu Vishwa Sammelana-2009’ (Tulu International Conference) held between December 10 and 13, 2009 at Ujire near Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada District.  Blogs in Tulu and Kannada are proliferating, bringing out Tulu Psyche in writings and pictures.   Age-old tradition of Divine Spirit worship (Bhootaaraandhane), temple festivals, Yakshagana and pastimes are depicted in YouTubes.  Enthusiastic participation of youth is noteworthy.  Traditionally, Tuluva culture encompasses all class, caste and creed of Tulu Nadu, now known as Dakshina Kannada District and Udupi District.

Being a sort of recluse, I rarely attend social functions, that too late night programmes.  As an exception, I attended perforce a Tulu Koota in Chinchwad on an open invitation on 27th January.   By a very long and continuous stay, I am a Maharashtrian by domicile.  Things change in ones life.  Circumstances in my life need my presence more in native place.  That is why I used the word ‘perforce’ as I wanted to be an audience being at Pune.

Tulu Koota is vibrant in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation area for the last seven years as a Wing of the Tulu Koota Pune City. It was arranging Sports & Games and helping other needy persons.   First one of such Koota is attended by me.  The Annual Gathering held on 27th January at Ramakrishna More Sabhagriha, Chinchwad is unique and eventful.  It is eventful because it is now working as a self-luminous mantle under the name “Tulu Koota Pimpri-Chinchwad”. 
The honourable guests, who decorated the dais along with President Shri Harish Shetty and other office-bearers of Tulu Koota, are: Sarvashri Santosh Shetty (President of Bunts Sangha, Pune and guiding force behind the construction of Bunts Bhavan along National Highway near Balevadi), Raghupati Bhat (sitting MLA of Udupi), A. Gopala Anchan (Member of Tulu Sahitya Academy, Mangalore) and Kudhi Vasant Shetty (Principal of Kudhi Vishnumoorthi High School and President of India Awardee for Best Teaching at the hands of Hon. Pranav Mukherjee).

The highlights of the Programme are:
1. Show of Tuluva culture at the entrance.
2. Welcoming the Guests with much fanfare.  The procession is led by Chande-beating team (in Tuluva style) and trumpeters (in Maharashtrian garb), followed by Kalash-holding ladies’ group and four children in traditional Yakshagana attire.
3. Programme started on lighting of the lamp around 4 pm with Invocation Prayer to Lord Ganesha, Rasa Manjari of Singing, and variety entertainments by members. Nutan Suvarna interviewed threeShetty-housewives Jaya-Jyoti-Prema.  They shared their life experience, blend with duty and patience, with their enterprising husbands, who are also doing social activities. 
4. Last was the performance of award-winning Tulu Nataka ‘Manni’  by Mumbai Party.It was with a theme of motherly love.  It moves around an obscure mother of a girl baby, abandoned by her family.  The baby suffers at the hands of her grand-mother and grows with specially-abled body.  The hapless mother becomes a surrogate mother to an NRI couple and gives birth to another special baby girl due to infirmity in donor mother.  Donor mother forsakes the child and goes back to foreign land.  Hospital doctor asks surrogate mother to take care of the child or otherwise they would have to give the baby to Anathashram whereupon she readily accepts to shower her motherly love to the hapless, irrespective of safe-guarding the child with financial help by donor mother. The drama happily ends with the hospital doctor-couple adopting the child.

5. Raghupati Bhat spoke about the endearing qualities of the Tuluvas and honied Tulu Language, which attracts a Tuluva wherever he is to another Tuluva.  He appreciated the Tuluva Diaspora who create a Mini Tulu Nadu to uphold the age-old traditions.  He urged the necessity of brushing shoulders with Tulu diaspora by main-land Tuluvas.He showered all praise to the Tulu Drama.

6. Gopala Anchan gave a brief sketch how Tulu Sahitya Academy is striving to popularise Tulu Lipi and teaching of Tulu in Schools and colleges.  He pinpointed the divergent ways in observing Tuluva rites an exhorted them to do a heart-searching and to eschew glorification in worship of Daiva-Devas.  He tried to bring home the point of difference in ‘Moola Aradhana Paddhati and Andhashradde.

7. Vasanta Shetty spoke about originality of Tuluva faith and belief, agro-based nature-worship and culture, family bond and worship of manes.  He spoke about confusions created by Sanskritisation of names of Divine Spirits.  He gave some examples of what are superstitions and what are not.

8. The specially invited Guests Santosh Shetty and his wife Divya were honoured as the Achievers of the year.

The Programme ended (around 10.30 pm or so) with honouring of some other guests, Thanks giving and Sneha Bhojan.

Salutation to you, the Tuluva Mother!   It would not be out of place if we reproduce a Tulu Poem (Post-24/29.07.2017), published earlier in our Tulu Blog: poomaale.

ಓಲಗ ಓಲಗ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆಗ್

ಪೂರ್ವ ರಂಗ – ಜಯಕಾರ
ಬಲ್ಲೆ ಓಲಗವಾಲೆ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆ  (ಪಲ್ಲ)
ಈರೆ ಜೋಕುಲೆನು ತೂಲೆ ಎಂಕೆಲೆ ಅಪ್ಪೆ
ಪತ್ತುದೆರ್ ತುಳುನುಡಿ  ಬಾವುಟೆ ಕೈಟ್ ಪೂತ ಮಾಲೆ  (ಅನುಪಲ್ಲ)

ಬೊಮ್ಮನ ರಾಣಿ ಸರಸ್ವತಿ ಕುಳ್ದೆರು  ಸಾರ ಎಸಳುದ ತಾಮರೆಡು
 ಆರೆಗು ಜೋಕುಲು  ದಿಂಜ  ಎಸಳುದ ಕೊಡಿದಂಚ
ಸಾರುವರ್ ಆರೆನ ಮೈಮೆನು ಆಕಲಕೆನ  ಬಾಲ ಬಾಸೆಡು
ಆ ಸಾರ ದನಿಕು ಪಣ್ಪೆರು ಸರಸ್ವತಿ ಸೇವೆ ಸ್ವರ ಸ್ವರ ಕೂಡಿನಂಚ              || 1 ||

ಬಲ್ಲೆ ಓಲಗವಾಲೆ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆ 
ಈರೆ ಜೋಕುಲೆನು ತೂಲೆ ಎಂಕೆಲೆ ಅಪ್ಪೆ
ದೆರ್ತು ಪತ್ತುದೆರ್ ತುಳುನುಡಿ ಬಾವುಟೆ ಕೈಟ್ ಪೂತ ಮಾಲೆ 

ನಮ ನಾಡುಗು ಪಣ್ಪೆರು ತುಳು ನಾಡು  ಪಚ್ಚೆಪೈರುದ ಪೊರ್ಲು
ಮಿತ್ತ್ ತುಂಗ ಸಹ್ಯ ಶೃಂಗ ತಿರ್ತ್ ಕಡಲು ಜಲತರಂಗ
ಬಡಕಾಯಿಡ್ ಭೃಗುಮಂಡಲ ತೇಂಕಾಯಿ ಕಣ್ವ ಮಂಡಲ
ಓಲಗ ಓಲಗ ಭಾರತಿ ಕುಮಾರ್ತಿಗು ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆಗು                                 || 2 || 

ಬಲ್ಲೆ ಓಲಗವಾಲೆ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆ 
ಈರೆ ಜೋಕುಲೆನು ತೂಲೆ ಎಂಕೆಲೆ ಅಪ್ಪೆ
ದೆರ್ತು ಪತ್ತುದೆರ್ ತುಳುನುಡಿ ಬಾವುಟೆ ಕೈಟ್ ಪೂತ ಮಾಲೆ  

ಸರಸ್ವತಿ ಜ್ಞಾನ ಸರಿತ್ಸಾಗಾರ  ಆರೆ ನಂದಿನಿ ಈರು ಬಂಗಾರ
ಕಡಕಡಲು ಸಾರ ತುದೆ ಕಡತುದು ಬತ್ತೆರು ಎಂಕೆಲ ಹಿರಿಯಾಕುಳು
ಈರೆ ನುಡಿ ಪತ್ತುದು ಉಂತಿಯೆರ್ ಈ ಕೆಂಪು ಮಣ್ಣುಡು ದಿಂಜಿದುನು ಸಾರ
ಕಾಡು ಕಡ್ತೆರು ನಾಡು ಮಲ್ತೆರು ಬೆನ್ನಿಯೆರ್ ಒಡಿ ದಾಂತಿನಿತ್ತಿನ ಕಂಡೊಡು     ||3||

ಬಲ್ಲೆ ಓಲಗವಾಲೆ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆ 
ಈರೆ ಜೋಕುಲೆನು ತೂಲೆ ಎಂಕೆಲೆ ಅಪ್ಪೆ
ದೆರ್ತು ಪತ್ತುದೆರ್ ತುಳುನುಡಿ ಬಾವುಟೆ ಕೈಟ್ ಪೂತ ಮಾಲೆ  

ಜಯತು ಜಯ ಜಯತು ಜಯ ಈರೆಗು ಪನ್ಪ ಜಯಕಾರ
ಈರೆ ಬಂಜಿಡ್ ಬತ್ತಿನೆಕೆಳೆನ ನುಡಿ ನಮನ ಮಮಕಾರ
ಜಯಜಯತು  ಅಪ್ಪೆ ಈರೆನ  ಮಂಗಳಾಚರಣ
ಈರೆ ಪೆರ್ಮೆನು ಪದ ಕಟ್ಟುದು ಪಣ್ದು  ತುತಿಪೆರ ಕೊರ್ಲೆ ಎಂಕುಲೆಗ್ ತ್ರಾಣ

ಬಲ್ಲೆ ಓಲಗವಾಲೆ ತುಳುವಪ್ಪೆ 
ಈರೆ ಜೋಕುಲೆನು ತೂಲೆ ಎಂಕೆಲೆ ಅಪ್ಪೆ
ದೆರ್ತು ಪತ್ತುದೆರ್ ತುಳುನುಡಿ ಬಾವುಟೆ ಕೈಟ್ ಪೂತ ಮಾಲೆ                  ||4||

--- ಕರ್ತವೆ:  ಹೊಸಬೆಟ್ಟು ವಿಶ್ವನಾಥ್ (ಪುಣೆ)
Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

Monday, January 7, 2019

413. Milestones in the evolution of Mulki region

The region around Mulki has been significant historically since ancient times. However we do not find the place Mulki in very old historical documents! The actual position of the Western coastline has eventually changed during the Holocene geological period due to gradual regression of the sea.

The oldest recognizable cultural core in the region at present happens to be the land of legendary Siri, surviving in Tulu folk-lores (Siri pāḍ’dana). It is  located to the East of Mulki town. The ancient home land of Siri, as documented in the folklores, consists essentially of villages and hamlets of Bola, Sacheri(pete), Kotrupadi and Kadandale.

It is difficult to conclude now whether Siri pāḍ’dana was based on an actual event or a fiction. However, the essential geographic data embodied in the pāḍ’dana, coupled with its indirect cross reference to the Satiyaputo in the emperor Ashoka’s Girnar rock edict,  makes it a historically momentous document.

The River Shambavi that flows by the North side of Mulki, is connected etymologically to Udyavara, in the North represented by the historically significant Shambu-kallu hillock.

In the modern times, Karnad Sadashiva Rao was a prominent freedom fighter from the West Coast who brought laurels to the place Karnad, a suburb of Mulki.  Recently there has been a good article on the historical aspects of Mulki in Kannada by Dr. Vamana S.S, entitled  ನಮ್ಮೂರು ಮೂಲಿಕೆ (ಮೂಲ್ಕಿ)” published in the Mumbai monthly “Mogaveera” (September 2018).  At this juncture let us collate and review the available historical and geological data.


Presently, we do not find Mulki port town right on the coast but slightly inland being guarded by two rivers namely Shambhavi and Pavanje that join and debouch their fluvial contents into the Arabian Sea near Sasihitlu.   Two barrier spits extend from the sandy coastal banks of R. Shambhavi (Mulki River) and R. Pavanje (Nandini), in opposite directions, parallel to the beach-line that terminate near the estuary of Sasihitlu. (Earlier in this blog a post (Post 305) was written on Mulki the emergent land.)

The  geomorphology of the West Coast has evolved with time. In the past the features were much different!
Before a few centuries, the rivers Shambhavi and Pavanje were joining the Arabian Sea independently like other coastal rivers at that time. Then, Shambhavi river had a direct access to the Sea and  the of old Mulki port was located close to the sea mouth or the estuary.  Further with passage of time, as the sea receded westward, the position of the old sea port of Bappanadu, Mulki, remained inland.
Current geography of the region around Mulki, with ancient Siri homeland located to the East (click to enlarge).

There are a few evidences preserved in the local place names corroborating   the geographic changes in the flow channels of the Shambhavi/Mulki River during the past history. A note on the place name ‘Olalanke’ is pertinent here:

Olalanke: The ancient place name Ola-lanke is an interesting geographic toponym, as it suggests (1) the presence of an island within the river Shambhavi. (Ola =inner, inside river; lanke=island) in the past and (2)  shifting of the old river course such that the old river island was transformed into a land area. In other words, the locality Olalanke originally represented a kuduru or an island within the river. Due to subsequent changes in river geomorphology such as migration of river flow path, it became part of the mainland, as it exists now.
(However, there are a few legendary anecdotes in the area attempting to connect the place name ‘Olalanke’ with the renowned “Lanke” of Ramayana.)

Westward emergence of coastal land concurrent with regression of sea
The sea coast has gradually receded during the past, revealing the land of Mulki around 2nd to 3rd century CE. In fact, similar   recession of the Arabian Sea occurred all along the West coast and consequently, the original sea front locations of the ancient ports became inland with regression of the Sea.   Thus presently we find the ancient ports of not only Mulki but also Basrur, Barkur, Udyavar  and Alape (Mangaluru East) in inland locations (For corroborative documentary evidences,  on spatio-temporal changes in Gurpur river, read our Post  98).

The regression of the West Coast was a gradual and continuous event and if travel backwards in the history,  we find that whole Mulki and the region East of it was under the Sea.

 In retrospection, if we go back further in time some 2500 years or more, we find that then the Sea coast existed somewhere near Sacheripete (Mundkuru) and Bola ! That is to reiterate that then all the land now to the West of Sacheripete/Bola were covered under the Sea.

In Siri pāḍ’dana, there is glaring absence of present coastal place names such as Mangaluru, Mulki, Malpe, Udupi and Kundapura etc. Since these land parts were recovered from the sea as a result of marine regression,  the absence of current coastal places in the folk lore corroborates  the event of marine retreat  of the Arabian Sea. The regression of the sea is also documented in the legend of creation and retrieval of land from the Sea, popularly attributed to legends of Parashurama.(Post. 102)

About 2500 years ago: Satiyaputo/Satyanapura

In fact the places, Sacheripete and Bola, were the places of center of action described as “Satyanapura” in Siri pāḍ’dana  which appears to date back to some 2000 years.

Ashoka’s rock edict
 The rock edict of Girnar, attributed to King Ashoka ( ca 304-232 BCE) mentioned “Satiyaputo” along with other (neighboring) ancient South Indian States like Chola, Pandya, and Keralaputo.  The rock edict declares that in these regions ( implying that even though not included in his kingdom),    King  Ashoka provided the people with or arranged for  necessary medicinal herbs, roots and edible fruits along with providing facility of drinking water wells as popular welfare measures. The region mentioned as Satiyaputo in the rock edict has been considered to represent the ancient Tulunadu by several historians. (Budhananda Shivalli, 1982).

Ancient land of Siri - East of Mulki
 A perspective analysis of the places associated with Siri pāḍ’dana (as shown in the map) suggests that “Sacheri (-pete)” happens to be the modern equivalent place cited as “Satiyaputo”.
It appears that the Satyanapura was on the sea coast some two millennia ago. In other words, during the period of Satyanapura and Siri pāḍ’dana, there was no Mulki and the relevant land was under the sea!
Some of the relevant inferences in this regard are enlisted here below:

1. In the folk lore of Siri we find the name of Satyanapura near Bola, as the home of legendary brave woman Siri, popularly known as Tulunada Siri.  The homeland of Siri and her father Birumalva was ‘Satyanapura’ in Bola village according to pāḍ’dana.

2. The Satyanapura described in Siri pāḍ’dana can be matched with the  Prakrit equivalent term of Satiyaputo cited in the King Ashoka's rock edict.  The reference to Satiyaputo in the rock edict suggests that the region was well known by the time of Ashoka.

3. Presently, there is no place specifically known as ‘Satyanapura’ or ‘Satiyaputo’  in the West coast of India. However, south of Bola village and West of Kadandale village (both villages mentioned clearly in Siri pāḍ’dana) there is a hamlet known as "Sacheripete". 
The alternate Prakrit/Pali word ‘sach’(=truth)  in Sacheri (sach+yeri= mound of truth) corresponds to “satya” (=truth)   and “satiya” (=truth)   of Siri pāḍ’dana and King Ashoka edict respectively. 
In fact, the ‘satya’ (or ‘satyolu’, plural) is the usual term used in Tulunadu since antiquity to refer to the eternal aspect of the divine spirits.
Thus the hamlet presently known as Sacheri-pete (now within Mundkur village) near Bola village holds key to the mystery of the elusive Satiyaputo.

4. In case the,  Satiyaputo in Ashoka's edict refers to the Satyanapura of Siri pāḍ’dana, then it takes the date of Siri pāḍ’dana to an older period in the time frame of 250-100 BCE.

5. Siri pāḍ’dana mentions only one God or divinity known as “Bermer”, which was the ancient form of worship  that existed in several parts of ancient India, rudiments of which still prevail in Tulunadu. (There is a reference to the dilapidated shrine of Bermer, on which, Birumalva ,Siri’s father,  focuses his attention to repair it.)

6. In Siri pāḍ’dana, we find reference to only those places lying  around and to the East of Bola-Sacheri-Kadandale. Basrur port in the North is mentioned (as Siri’s husbands place) but the current well known coastal towns such as Mangaluru, Mulki, Udupi, Udyavara, Kundapura etc are not found. Note that  Karla (Karkal) town located to the NE of Bola finds mention as a major town where one could buy wedding saris !

7. Based on the presence of abundant Prakrit derived words in Tulu and Kannada it has been   suggested that the Prakrit was the administrative language during early part of the common Era.(Shettar, 2014). Thus it is possible that the original version of the Siri epic could have been composed in Prakrit and later translated into Tulu pāḍ’dana (folklore) form.

8. The epic qualities of the Siri pāḍ’dana resemble Sangam literature of Tamil. Thus the folk lore appears to have been inspired from the Sangam literature and we may recognize it as a product of  “Tulu Sangam” literature that ran parallel to Tamil Sangam.

The glaring absence of present coastal place names such as Mangaluru, Mulki, Malpe, Udupi and Kundapura etc in the Siri pāḍ’dana further corroborates an major event of marine regression. It is also corroborated in the popular legend of creation of land retrieval of land from the Sea attributed to sage Parashurama is a real and natural geological event !

Early centuries of Common Era: Siri alaḍe
Many of the Tulu moolastānas that represent the original settlements (or ancient tribal settlements of primary order) of the immigrant Tulu tribes, have been attached or equated to alaḍes. 

Since most of the narrations in Siri pāḍ’dana are realistic social events, we may assume that the epic was based on a natural incident. Following the popularization of the Siri pāḍ’dana, a number of “Alaḍe” (ancient centers of worship) were developed around the Siri land centered on Bola village. (Alaḍe: āla = water ḍe =place; or, holy place beside water body). 

Usually these Siri Alaḍe are referred to as Adi Alaḍes suggesting their historical antiquity.  Thus Siri alaḍe were established in villages around Bola such as Kavatar, Nandalike, Hiriadka, Pangala, Kandevu (Chellair) and Nidigal (Kanyadi).

Two of these places - Nandalike (Karkal Taluk) and Kavatar (Mangaluru Taluk) are close to the original Siri homeland, where as Pangala ( near Udyavara,  Udupi Taluk) and Kandevu (Chellairu near Surathkal, Mangaluru Taluk) are proximal to the coast. Hiriadka must have been an ancient center of traditional worship in those times. Only Nidigal (Kanyadi village, near Dharmastala, Beltangadi Taluk) on the banks of River Netravati is a relatively far off place from the Siri homeland. Notably there are no popular Siri shrines in Kundapura/Basrur region which was Siris first husband's place according to the pāḍ’dana. (Please correct me if any reader has more information on this aspect).
Location of Siri Alades in Dakshina Kannada & Udupi districts, Karnataka (Click to enlarge)

The Siri alade are characterized by a different  pattern of worship compared to other Spirit worships. Besides impersonation of characters in Siri pāḍ’dana such as Siri and Kumara, the festive congregation also witnesses convulsions of mass effects of possession and or trance.

In the Siri pāḍ’dana the name of the Siri’s father is given as Birumalva. Note that the term “Biruma” represents alternate form of the word Berma or Bermer. The basic doubt historians may get is whether Birumalva was an Alupa chieftain or connected to the Alupa dynasty of rulers?  We have no corroboratory data on this as there are no mention of  places like Alupe or Mangaluru or any hints on Alupa rulers in the available texts of Siri pāḍ’dana. It could be that the suffix Aluva in Birumalva’s name  possibly refers merely to his status as a member of a past ruling family and may have been added by the pāḍ’dana reciters later on. It may or may not have any connection with the Alupa ruling families.

However, the setting of the Siri pāḍ’dana clearly evinces that Satyanapura as well as the shrine of Bermer gunḍa were in dilapidated form when the original narration of Siri pāḍ’dana was going on, and thus, indirectly suggesting that once upon a time  these were in good shape. 
This setting further prompts us to infer that there were past days of glory of Satyanapura (or Satiyaputo) before the Siri pāḍ’dana event. 
The earlier period of  glory probably prompted King Ashoka to include reference to Satiyaputo in his rock edict. 
It is possible that after the period of installation of the cited rock edicts (ca. 250 BCE), Satiyaputo/Satyanapura saw bad days and then the main events of Siri pāḍ’dana occurred. This inference would place the date of Siri pāḍ’dana  events somewhere between 250 BCE and 100 CE.

Alupa rule at Udyavara
Members of Alupa family (of chieftains) ruled major parts of Tulunadu and parts of Malenadu (Humcha, Banavasi) for some 1000 years,  probably between the years ca.400 and 1400 CE. However, established inscriptional evidence of their reign begins around 650 CE, when Aluvarasa I was associated with Kadambas at Banavasi (Gururaja Bhat, 1975). Banavasi is located in Uttara Kannada district.
 It has been considered that Alupas migrated from Alupe / Mangalapura to Udyavara early 7 th century. There are known inscriptions relating to Alupa rulers in Udyavara have been dated to ca. 730 CE and later up to about 10th century CE.
So far there have been no inscriptions related to Alupas at Mulki or East of Mulki. However, a historical word clue on Shambu and Shambhavi possibly unites the area of Mulki with Udyavara.

Alupa period: Shambu and Shāmbhavi: 
River Mulki is traditionally known as Shāmbhavi, a name of the mother goddess, which is the feminine form of Shambhu. Note the suffix –avi (=mother) in the word Shāmbhavi. River Shambhavi originates near Alladakyār in Karkal Taluk. Two tributaries, namely Goldendi stream from Irvattur and Renjala stream from Renjala,  join to form the initial source of River Shāmbhavi.
The name Shambhu representing Lord Shiva, though relatively less common in usage we find it applied to  a dome shaped granite rock, hosting an ancient (8th century CE temple dedicated to Shiva)  named as Shambhu-kallu in Udyavara, located about 20 km to the north of Mulki. This provides clues to infer that Mulki to Udyavara was a contiguous political-administrative unit during the early history of the terrain.

Bappanadu Durga Parameshwari Temple
Legends and lore abound in the region describe that one day during the undated early history  ship of a Muslim merchant by name Bappa was stranded near the Mulki port due to inclement weather. Locals advised him to pray to the Goddess of the region for relieving the stranded boat. Accordingly, after due prayers and physical help from the natives, the merchant Bappa was able to retrieve the stranded boat and its merchandise successfully. It is said that merchant Bappa arranged for the construction of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Durga Parameshwari near the port. In honor of the merchant Bappa, the locality was named as Bappanādu, which popular place-name is prevailing even today. Based on the history of other Durga temples in the West Coast, the original Durga temple of Bappanadu can be dated between 8th and 10th centuries CE.
The local people describe that the original Durga temple was near the old Mulki port before it was shifted to its current position on account of the dilapidation of the ancient structure.

Vestiges of Buddhism
Similarly, vestiges of evidences of Buddhism in the region, such as involvement of the members of  Thiyya/Belchada community in the traditional temple car festival celebrations even now, suggest that the temple was originally  an ancient shrine of Bhagavati worship  which was transformed into Durga temple under the profound influence of revivalist sage Shankaracharya (788-820 CE) probably during the early part of 9th century CE. Before recent renovation of the Bappanadu temple, there were wheel symbols in the front stone facade of the old temple. Such symbolic wheel designs are commonly associated with Buddhism in the temple architecture.

Administrative structure: 
Dr Vaman (2018) begins with introductory notes on earlier pattern of administration vogue in ancient Tulunadu. Earlier, typically the States in Tulunadu were the principal   administrative divisions, with each State made of ten “māgaNe (ಮಾಗಣೆ). Each māgaNe” traditionally consisted of four to five contiguous villages. Each village had four   leaders known as “Gurikars” (ಗುರಿಕಾರ).
The village level administrative structure altered after the Jain chieftains took over. A Jain Ballāl or Heggaḍe was appointed as the administrative head of each māgane. Further, each village had two ‘bhāva’, one ‘bālike’ and a ‘parāri’. In this case, the old Mulki State consisted of nine māganes.

Samantha chieftains, 15-16th century 
Rulers of Samantha dynastic family occupied Mulki town during  circa 16th century. Before adopting Mulki they were residing and ruling from  Shimanthur village, located to the East of Mulki. The Kotekeri (koţe=fort; keri= residential zone) area in Eastern Mulki contains relics of the fort built by Samantha rulers of Mulki. Chandranatha basadi and Hanuman temple located in the area are also attributed to the Samantha rulers.
Samantha chieftains defended Mulki   from the Portuguese and the Keladi invaders within their means. Keladi  Venkatappa  Nayaka seized the fort from the Samantha chieftains. Later Haider Ali and Tippu Sultan have occupied the fort from Keladi Nayaks. Subsequently, the Samantha chieftains shifted their base to Panambur located to the South of Mulki.

Mulki Port: It is interesting to note that the old sea port of Mulki is situated about a km East of the coastline near Kadavina-bāgilu (“ferry gate”) and Mānampadi, on the southern bank of River Shāmbhavi. The old Mulki port, built around the year 1705 CE, was used in the past for international marine trade involving Arabs, Dutch and Portuguese merchants. However, the old Mulki port existed several centuries before the arrival of Portuguese, and then the port was at the earlier estuary of River Shambhavi.
During the post-Vijayanagar phase, early 18th Century CE, the Portuguese collected tax on the merchandise in the port under permission from the Keladi rulers of the period. During the period larger ships could not enter the Mulki port on the banks of Shāmbhavi, hence the ships used to anchor in the Arabian Sea west of Mulki and the merchandise was transported inland to the port by boats with the help of native Mogaveera workers.

The Portuguese by virtue of constructing the port dock, in early 18th century CE, collected taxes on the merchandise, with permission from the Keladi rulers of the time. Though the available record mentions the construction of the Mulki port on 1705, other circumstantial evidences suggest that the port existed there before the Keladi /Portuguese period. 


Herbs.. or new land ?
 Dr. Vaman, suggests that the place name “Mulki” was derived from: “moolike” (=herb); it was also known as “moolikapura” which on translation means the town of herbs. People believe that the Moolikapura later became Moolike and further later on Mulki. Several other earlier authors have also expressed similar interpretation on the origin of this place name.

Emergent land
However, we can trace the real origin of the place name to a Prakrit /Munda word “mulk “ (or > “mulki”), which simply means the land or more specifically connotes to the new land emerged from the Sea, possibly during the early centuries of the common era.

Prakrit/Munda was the administrative language of this coastal land during the early centuries of Common Era (CE) (see also Shettar, 2014) , as is explicitly evident in the presence of numerous place names of Prakrit/Munda origin in Tulunadu (as also in other parts of India). Thus, the place name Mulki can be traced to the beginning centuries of the CE when the new land emerged by the regression of the Arabian Sea.

Mulki= land;   derived from “mulk”,  a Prakrit/ Munḍa word.

Indirectly, the place name Mulki suggests that Prakrit/Munda were the common administrative languages in the region when the land of Mulki was emerged from the Arabian  Sea in the early centuries of CE.
 Incidentally, the Tulu word muluku (muruku; murunku) (=to sink or submerge) also sounds close to the Prakrit word mulk, as suggested by Hosabettu Vishwanath.

Prakrit/ Munda words in Tulu, Tulunadu
There are a plethora of ancient words in Tulu language as well as in place names Tulunadu. Several years ago we pointed out strange sounding place name words in Tulunadu, whose meanings are either not known or wrongly interpreted because of confusion! With further analysis and interpretations we found most of these strange words in Tulu are of Prakrit / Munḍa origin.
Note that even today we commonly use the Prakrit word “barsa” (ಬರ್ಸ) for rain; we have almost forgotten the original Dravida/Tulu word for rain: “mare” (ಮರೆ) - incidentally, which later became “male” (ಮಳೆ ) in Kannada.  Also note that the Dravida/Tulu word ‘mare(ಮರೆ) still survives in the Tulu word ‘mariyala(ಮರಿಯಾಲ) for the rainy season!
Saraswath settlers
During the ruling period of Samantha Dugganna, (17th Century CE) witnessed the exodus of many members of Saraswaths and Gowda Saraswaths communities from Goa towards South, owing to persecution of  Hindus by Portuguese occupants of Goa. Many of the immigrants settled in and around Mulki and Karnad. The installation of Ishvara temple at Kotekeri and Venkataramana temple at Olalanke are attributed to the Saraswath and Gowda Saraswath settlers in Mulki.


Budhananda Shivalli (1982). “Tulu Patero”. (in Tulu language).  Mandira Prakashana, Mangaluru-575001, 2004, p.317.
Gururaja Bhat, P.( 19 75 ) Studies in Tuluva culture and history. P. Reprint 2014. Padur Gurauraja Bhat memorial trust, Udupi-576101.p.452+plates 448+xxxvii
Shettar,S (2014) Halegannda: Lipi, lipikara, lipi vyvasaya, p.528. Abhinava, Bengaluru.
Vamana, S.S, Dr.(2018) “Nammuru Moolike(Mulki). ”ನಮ್ಮೂರು ಮೂಲಿಕೆ (ಮೂಲ್ಕಿ)” (In Kannada), Mogaveera, Kannada monthly, Andheri (East), Mumbai, September 2018, vol 79, no.3, pp.44-47.


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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