April 25th, 2017About Kodagu / Coorg, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Green Initiatives / Environment, Nature
Coorg: The Untold Story blames mushrooming resorts for district’s garbage pile-up
A six-and-half minute documentary shot by a group of environmentalists highlights the environmental degradation of Kodagu district.
The documentary titled Coorg: The Untold Story was shot by Clean Coorg Initiative in association with Surfing Swami Foundation and Mantra Surf Club. Shot in Madikeri and other parts of Kodagu district, it highlights the garbage pile up due to the mushrooming of resorts across the district.
It further went on to state that illegal land conversion, encroachment and sand mafia were turning out to be a nightmare for the district and how the garbage pile up on the banks of the river Cauvery is a threat not just for the residents of the district but for people living in Bengaluru and other cities.
Blaming the government and tourists, environmentalists have accused authorities of going soft on the resorts.
The activists fear that Kodagu district is not far from becoming the Mandur landfill where Bengaluru’s garbage is dumped.
Speaking on the crises, Col Muthanna from the Coorg Wildlife Society said, “Kodagu has an overall population of 5.5 lakh people whereas the number of tourists who visited the district last year was 13 lakh. In fact, the density of population in Kodagu is just 135 per sq/km, which is one of the lowest in the country.
“There are many resorts which have been constructed near the banks of Cauvery river, which release their bio-waste into the river. The government should never allow the expansion of resorts as it may also lead to the landslides and other disasters. We are not against the resorts but against their expansion,” he added.
Another environment activist Sundar Muthanna said that Kodagu which is known as the Scotland of India was fast becoming the Garbage Dump of Karnataka. He said that all resorts must mandatorily have sewage and garbage processing units in the resorts.
He warned that the district was turning into an urban jungle which will not just impact the people of the district but also people residing in Bengaluru and other parts of the state as the main source of drinking water is from the district.
The untold story
* The documentary titled Coorg: The Untold Story was shot by Clean Coorg Initiative in association with Surfing Swami Foundation and Mantra Surf Club.
* Shot in Madikeri and other parts of Kodagu district, it highlights the garbage pile up due to the mushrooming of resorts across the district.
* It further went on to state that illegal land conversion, encroachment and sand mafia were turning out to be a nightmare for the district and how the garbage pile up on the banks of the river Cauvery is a threat not just for the residents of the district but for people living in Bengaluru and other cities.
* Blaming the government and tourists, environmentalists have accused authorities of going soft on the resorts.
source: http://www.bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> State / Bangalore Mirror Bureau / April 21st, 2017
January 24th, 2017About Kodagu / Coorg, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Famous Personalities of Kodagu / Coorg, Historical Links / Pre-Independence, Records, All
The invigorating aroma of the coffee blossoms carried by chilled breeze, the midnight green ambience along the loopy roads… it is not just the abundant natural beauty that makes Kodagu a distinct place. Its people — the Kodavas — with discrete culture and heritage, boost the glory of this coffee land.
Be it the language (Coorgie), cuisine, attire or rituals, Kodava culture moves away from the humdrum reckoning a distinct ethnic identity. And safeguarding this ethnicity while preserving their way of life is the architectural legacy known as the ain mane or ballya mane.
Ain Manes (ain in Coorgie translates to original) are the ancestral heritage homes of the Kodavas that reflect the eminence of a sanctum sanctorum. With quintessential framework, an archetypal heritage home comprises traditionally-carved wooden pillars, bricked white and red walls, intricately-carved wooden doorways and windows. With a typical style, each of them has an unmatched old-world charm.
Every corner of the house is given a name and holds mythical importance. With two types — the othe pore (single roofed house) and mundh mane (courtyard house) — the traditional features of ain manes include kannikamba (a sacrosanct pillar), kayyale (verandah), aimaras (wooden slabs in the verandah), machi (wooden ceiling), mundh (open courtyard) and kannikombre (worship room). Most of the ain manes have kaimadas – a sacred shrine built to worship the ancestors. Since the existence of nuclear families, there were outhouses built around the premises called ale pore.
While the interiors reflect somber and subdued beauty, its exteriors manifest valour and strength. As Chakku Chengappa, a member of Nadikerianda clan, explains, “Hidden and safeguarded amidst the estate were the fort-like structures of ballya mane (ballya means huge); built in this manner to prevent an ambush from enemies. The entrance to the ain mane has many sections. There is a long curvy oni (alley), bakka pare and ala pare (extensions of the alley), which lead to the verandah.”
Nonagenarian Nadikerianda Muthamma adds, “The Kodava women were known to be beautiful, and this is why ain manes needed to be protected at the time of British rule. However, today the ain manes play an important role in reuniting families.”
“Much more than just a roof over the head, ain manes are an important part of the tangible heritage of the native community of Kodagu,” write Boverianda Chinnappa and Nanjamma in their book Ainmanes of Kodagu. Built in the ancestral or the jamma land, the ain mane is a binding force that is a pillar of strength — both literally and figuratively. Many findings state that the inception of the concept of ain mane dates back to eighth century.
“The early settlers of Kodagu stayed in forests as a family. Due to feudal fights, it was common for people with the same bloodline to stay together in a small thatched hut. These settlements grew in size and became stronger, which made the ruling king seek their support. In return, the king gifted them land, which is the jamma land. As their living conditions improved, they built a strong fort-like structure on the jamma land, which came to be known as ain mane or ballya mane,” explains Boverianda Nanjamma.
However, the architectural style takes its root from Kerala. She adds, “Kodagu grew paddy abundantly but depended largely on Kerala for other commodities. During the travel for exchange of commodities, the Kodavas were pleased by the Kerala architectural style and there flowed workmanship from Kerala to build the ain mane.”
While there are over 900 clans in existence in Kodagu, not all of them have an ain mane. Nanjamma explains, “During the research work for our book, we found out that many deteriorating ain manes were never rebuilt.” According to their findings, only 40% of the ain manes were renovated keeping the tradition intact and the rest did not see the light of the new era.
Today, there are over 400 ain manes in existence and each of them belongs to a patriarchal clan, which is recognised by unique family names known as mane pedas. They bustle with ritualistic celebrations during festivities including Putthari, Kailpodh and annual kola (spirit dance). “The annual hockey matches conducted between families shed light on the revival of ain manes,” opines Kayapanda Shashi Somaiah, a journalist in Kodagu. Nonetheless, the revival of the ain manes are not just a process of renovation of age-old structures but also a resurgence of Kodava culture.
Unity in diversity
The Kundyolanda clan, which has 35 families, has its ain mane in Kolakeri village that was recently renovated to its pre-eminence. The rituals followed in this ain mane are uncompromising and many. “It is a family temple for us. We strictly adhere to the rituals and it is mandatory for women to wear traditional Coorgie saree and vastra (veil) over the head while entering the house. Apart from this, there are various other restrictions followed religiously in the ain mane,” explains Kundyolanda Dinesh, owner of a hotel.
They have a 400-year-old othe pore ain mane with 14 rooms, but there is no one residing here. However, it is made sure that lamps are lit twice a day and the house is maintained meticulously. “Each nuclear family of the clan takes turn to maintain the house and no one can back out from their duties,” he explains.
The Nadikerianda clan, with over 40 families, has a mundh ain mane in Karada village, which bustles with ritualistic activities during the festivals. A diligently maintained heritage home, it reflects the glory of the past and is keeping alive the culture and traditions. A 350-year-old house, it has a kaimada and a snake shrine in its premises. With 10 rooms, it has a beautifully-carved wooden window frame and a small wooden post box at the entrance. The huge mundh open to the skies is supported by four wooden pillars — all carved differently.
The Arapattu Mukkatira clan has their ain mane in Kadanga village. With 13 rooms, the uniqueness of this ain mane is that it has two mundhs and two kayyales. A 300-year-old structure, it is said that the temple treasure from the village Bhagavathi Temple was locked safely in a wooden treasure box kept in the attic of this ain mane. This wooden treasure box still lies in the attic. “We are a clan of 45 families. The age-old rituals are still in practice here. The renovation of the house is soon to take place with help from all the family members,” explains Katty Uthappa, deputy manager of a bank.
The Biddanda family has the ain mane built in the property gifted by King Veeraraja in 1795. With eight partitions in this mundh mane, there is a kaimada close by and the pictures of ancestors of eight generations can be seen hanging on the wall at the entrance. “One of our ancestors, Sarvakayaka Bopanna, was very close to the king. His (Bopanna’s) tombstone is right next to King Veeraraja’s tombstone,” explains Biddanda S Ganapathi, a retired navy officer.
The ain manes are a matter of pride to the Kodavas and are unique to their ethnicity. This uniqueness in architecture has been adopted by many resorts in Kodagu that woo the tourists. However, ain manes do not just demonstrate pride but bespeak culture. They are the souls of Kodava rituals, and their revival provides a surety to Kodavas’ customs and legacy.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / Prajna G R / January 24th, 2017
December 13th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Historical Links / Pre-Independence, Records, All
As the martial Kodava race gets together to celebrate the annual harvest festival, Puthari, on Tuesday in their homeland Kodagu, they have reason to feel optimistic about their future.
The Karnataka government has initiated an ethnographic and socio-economic survey to see whether the community qualifies for the tribal status. It’s the second time the survey has been taken up, a response to the alarming decline in population.
“Our department has been doing the survey for the past two weeks. Apparently, the culture and traditions of the Kodavas are akin to tribals but the government cannot grant them the status unless the survey establishes it,” said P Manivannan, secretary, social welfare department.
The Centre has also considered a long-pending demand to include Kodava thakk, the Kodava language without a script, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and a notification has been issued to initiate the process.
In 2011, the UPA government directed the then BJP government to take up the survey following petitions by the Codava National Council (CNC), which has been spearheading the community’s cause. It was put on the backburner for political reasons.
AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, along with Brijesh Kalappa, legal adviser to the Karnataka state government, recently impressed upon chief minister Siddaramaiah to order the survey to protect the race.
“Our community is dwindling in numbers very fast for many economic and sociological reasons. The population of Kodagu district is around 5 lakhs, of which Kodavas are not more than 65,000. There is an urgent need to sustain the Kodava genus constitutionally under Articles 340 and 342 of the Constitution that provide for recognizing ethno-linguistic tribal minority nationality,” CNC president N U Nachappa said.
Kalappa said: “When the last survey was taken up around two decades ago, many Kodava leaders, including prominent political leaders, had opposed it because they felt it was demeaning for the race, renowned for gallantry and sportsmanship. But now there is a sense of awareness among the community because they’ve realized it’s inevitable.”
The survey report will be given to the government by early next year and the Centre will take a final call based on the recommendations.
Earlier Kodavas were seen in large numbers in civil services, police and other government jobs but their numbers have dwindled owing to lack of reservation. Though they have been granted Other Backward Classes (OBC) status in the reservation schedule of the state government for jobs and higher education, Kalappa said his community has not gained much since they have to compete with the politically powerful Vokkaliga community that they share under 3A category.
Will Kodavas qualify?
Some anthropologists said Kodavas, as a race, are progressive and different from other tribes. “They cannot be compared to tribes like Bedar, Hakki-Pikki and Kadu Kuruba, among others,” said A K Ravesh, a researcher studying socio-cultural anthropology in Kodagu. The Kodava marriage and funeral rituals, among other things, portray a distinctive culture. A former minister also felt that Kodavas will not gain much if they are granted tribal status since the combined reservation for all STs is just 3% compared to 4% under OBC offered by the state government.
Scheduled Tribe tag
The Constitution does not provide a definition of a Scheduled Tribe. Artice 366 (25) mentions “such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes…” According to the website of the Union ministry of tribal affairs: “The criterion followed for specification of a community as Scheduled Tribes are indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness”.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / December 13th, 2016
November 9th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Amazing Feats, Famous Personalities of Kodagu / Coorg, Historical Links / Pre-Independence, Inspiration / Positive News and Features, Leaders, Records, All
In the northern part of the Mahadevpet quarter of Madikeri town lies a royal graveyard, unbeknownst to many. Gaddige is a set of three regal mausoleums built in the Indo-Saracenic style and enclosed within a compound. Upon each of these rectangular structures is a large dome and four turrets. Two kings of Kodagu (Dodda Vira Rajendra and Linga Rajendra) and their queens lay buried in the two larger identical structures and a third smaller one has the remains of the chief preceptor (Rudrappa) of the kings.
Beside these three tombs, at a little distance away but within the same enclosure, are the tombs of a father-son duo Biddanda Bopanna (Bopu) (1769-1807) and Biddanda Somayya (1800-1879). They had served Kodagu and its kings as sarva-karyakaras, or army generals. While Bopu was the general under Dodda Vira Rajendra (1789-1809), Somayya was the general under Chikka Vira Rajendra (1820-1834). Both tombs have the statue of a Nandi upon it.
Under the Kodagu kings, jamma ryots (farmers by inheritance) held their farmlands by military tenure. The word jamma came from the Sanskrit word for birth, janma. Every able-bodied male jamma ryot had to compulsorily serve in the king’s army. Known as chaudigaras, they worked for 15 days at a time. Around 10 to 100 soldiers served under an army chieftain called the jamedar and a number of jamedars served under an army officer called karyakara. The karyakaras worked under a sarva-karyakaras, or the general. The karyakaras and the sarva-karyakara wore a kombu toppi, a gold zari-bordered red turban with a kombu (horned emblem) in front.
A Kannada inscription states that Biddanda Bopu of Bavali village entered the Raja’s service through palace duties on the fifth day of the new moon of Magha month in the Keelaka year (1788). He worked for 19 years until the year Prabhava, bravely risking his life while fighting wars against Tipu Sultan of Mysore and hunting elephants, tigers and other wild animals, to ultimately become a sarva-karyakara. The Biddanda family originated in Kokeri village in Kodagu nearly three centuries ago. In this Kokeri house lived brothers Medappa and Poonacha. Medappa was a member of the local village panchayat and he married Chaniyapanda Subbavva in 1768. They had a son Bopu, who was born in 1769 on what was deemed to be an inauspicious day by the panchayat members. It was decreed that the son’s face was not to be seen by the father and that the mother was not to be allowed into the house. Hence, the mother and the son lived with the maternal family in Podavada village.
Chronicles of the pastUnfortunately, after some time, both Medappa and Subbavva passed away. The orphaned boy was then brought to the Kokeri Biddanda house by his uncle Poonacha. In 1788, at the age of 19, Bopu joined the king’s army. He worked hard and rose through the ranks to become a karyakara. Poonacha and his wife passed away and their two daughters were married into other families. In 1795, the king transferred Poonacha’s property, which was called ‘Mookanda Bane’ (pasture), to Bopu and his paternal relatives for the military services they had rendered.
Bopu moved from Kokeri to Bavali where he built a ‘Nalkett Mundmane’ — a traditional country house (mane) with four blocks (nalkett) built around an open central courtyard (mund). This became the ‘Biddanda Ainmane’, or ancestral home, in Bavali. One can find description of many events pertaining to Karyakara Biddanda Bopu in Reverend Hermann Moegling’s Coorg Memoirs.
In 1799, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out between Tipu Sultan and the British. When the British laid siege upon Srirangapatna, the erstwhile capital of Mysore kingdom, Dodda Vira Rajendra sent his treasurer Karnika Subbayya and his officer Karyakara Bopu to invade the Tulu region, which was then a part of the Mysore State. Bopu led the Kodagu army and defeated Sadri Behari and Mir Mohammed who held the Kodial (Mangalore) district. Soon, Kodagu occupied Mangalore, Barkur, Bantwal, Bellare, Viragamba, Udiavara and other regions. Karnika Subbayya came to hold and govern Kodial at that time.
Eventually, news came from Srirangapatna that Tipu Sultan was killed and that Mysore was taken over by the British. Later, Kodagu was made to evacuate the Tulu region and return it to Mysore. Karyakara Bopu was later made the sarva-karyakara of Kodagu. Biddanda Somayya was born in the year Roudri (1800) to Bopu and his wife Mayavva. Bopu died in 1807 at the young age of 38 years. In commemoration of his remarkable army tenure, the king of Kodagu ordered that Bopu be entombed near the royal tombs of Gaddige.
Somayya joined the Raja’s army in 1821. Like his father, he rose through the ranks to become a sarva-karyakara. In 1834, Kodagu got into a conflict with the British. Under him, the Kodagu army was able to inflict damage upon the British army initially. But Chikka Vira Rajendra, the last king of Kodagu, chose to surrender to the British. He was then exiled and the British took over Kodagu.
In those days, the British decreed that all the native officers would be retained in service. But Sarva-karyakara Somayya refused to be in the service of the new government and thus, retired early instead. After his retirement, Somayya lived in the Bavali Biddanda Ainmane and got involved in farming. But he did have one last wish. After his death, he wanted to be buried beside his father and before the rajas of Kodagu. The British allowed this and refused to have anybody else, including any surviving relatives of the rajas, to be buried in the Gaddige area. Somayya died on August 16, 1879. His tomb was erected in Gaddige with the permission of the Chief Commissioner of Coorg. There is a separate graveyard for other members of the Biddanda family in Bavali as well. While the tombs lie neglected today, their history and significance continue to throw light on the history of our people.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / By Mookanda Kushalappa / November 08th, 2016
October 27th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Famous Personalities of Kodagu / Coorg, Historical Links / Pre-Independence, Records, All, World Opinion
In the hills of Coorg in Karnataka lies Madikeri, the town that gives a military feel & charms with its orderliness
Hugh and Colleen Gantzer
At first glance, Madikeri looks as precise and orderly as a cantonment. In a way, that’s what it is. According to a coffee-planter, “If you throw a stone in Madikeri, you’ll hit a General. If you throw two stones, you’ll probably get a brace of Colonels, bristly moustaches and all!” This could account for the military look of this cottage-dotted town in the hills of Coorg in Karnataka. Madikeri’s narrow, winding roads were meant for brisk walkers and horses. We felt this when we drove through the town to the Palace Fort.
It certainly is a Fort, with thick walls and deep gates. At the far end of its grounds, next to two enormous effigies of elephants is a board that proclaims:
“Mercara was founded by Prince Mudduraja of the Haleri dynasty in 1681 and named after him as Muddurajanakeri. This later became Madikeri by the locals. The British called it Mercara.”
At one corner is a steepled building, now a museum with hero-stones standing erect in the yard. We walked across this former Anglican Church. The light streaming in through its beautiful stained glass windows added to its meditative ambience, ideal for a museum. And, in a fitting tribute to India’s revered Field Marshal Cariappa, the former little vestry had been dedicated to the memory of this unforgettable army chief. He was a Coorgi, a Kodava.
From such shrines to the past, we drove down into town and parked at the gate of a living shrine: the impressive Sri Omkaresvara Temple.
Officially this is a Siva temple of the Lingayats but there are distinctly Islamic idioms in its eclectic architecture. It has a central dome with minarets at the four corners, surmounted by their own, smaller, domes. It is possible that the influence of Tipu Sultan had a lasting impact on the architects of this temple. It was built by Lingaraja II in 1820, just 21 years after Tipu Sultan died in Srirangapatna. We saw the Islamic influence even in other Lingayat monuments crowning a green hill referred to as Gaddige. A plaque installed at the foot of one of the plinths read ‘Royal Tombs’. Built in the Indo-Sarcenic (sic!) style, these monuments with domes and minarets, hold the mortal remains of Kodava Royalty and court dignitaries.
The central tomb is of Dodaveerarajendra and his queen. To the right is the tomb of Lingarajendra built by his son Chikkaveerarajendra in AD 1820. To the left is the tomb of the royal priest Rudrappa, built in 1834.
Nearby are buried two royal officials, Biddanda Bopu, who died fighting Tipu Sultan, and his son Biddanda Somaieh. Clearly these warrior people opposed anyone who tried to cub their freedom to decide their own future.
Our immediate future, however, was constrained by the weather. We looked up at the roiling clouds above us. These were threatening but it hadn’t rained. We decided to rush down to Abbi Falls before a storm boxed us in.
Abbi was spectacular. Even though the water was not gushing in its roaring monsoon fury. it foamed and cascaded over rocks, frothing and surging before pouring into a large pool, and then flowing under a suspension bridge. The falls are well worth visiting but do treat that forest path with a great deal of respect.
It was almost sunset when we reached Raja’s Seat, a popular public garden with horizon-stretching views of the plains. Had the ancestors of the Coorgis battled across those lowlands? We began to think about the origin of the Kodavas.
Their traditional masculine dress of a turban, long coat, sash and curved dagger points strongly to a Middle Eastern connection. The Kodavas have no temples or pujaris, they conduct all their religious or social ceremonies themselves, and revere their ancestors. The Kurds of the Zagros and Taurus mountains of Turkey, Iran and Iraq are also known for their proud and independent nature. Were they the ancestors of the Kodavas? ‘Kurd’ and ‘Kodava’ have a certain similar ring. A popular theory claims that they are the descendants of people who were part of the army of Alexander the Great.
That could explain the very no-nonsense character of their mountain home, Madikeri.
source: http://www.tribuneindia.com / The Tribune / Home> Spectrum> Travel / October 23rd, 2016
October 27th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Agriculture, Green Initiatives / Environment, Nature, Records, All
Kodagu, in Karnataka, is the main catchment area of the river Cauvery – and the environmental health of this district has a direct impact on the river itself. As the battle between states continues over the sharing of Cauvery waters, we visit the source of the river to see the ecological challenges at the birthplace of this precious river.
Kodagu’s Cauvery – A River In Trouble
PUBLISHED ON: OCTOBER 6, 2016 | DURATION: 18 MIN, 49 SEC
04:12 / 18:48
October 21st, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Agriculture, Business & Economy, Green Initiatives / Environment
Near Ponnapet in Virajpet taluk, Kodagu district, the sight that greets the visitor is one of lush paddy fields extending till the very edge of the horizon. However, a wide stretch of land leaden with construction material with a tiny makeshift office, is a blemish on Kodagu’s otherwise pristine landscape.
White boards reading Converted Site For Sale and pointing, rather ironically, towards verdant green fields is a common sight across the district. Interestingly, some of these plots cost more than a flat in the heart of Bengaluru.
Reflecting on the sharp spurt in the price of land in the district in the past decade, president of the Coorg Wildlife Society, Colonel CP Muthanna said, “Ten years ago, an acre cost Rs 7 lakh. Now, it is almost Rs 1 crore, and many layouts have cropped up in the last five years.” The many residential enclaves that have cropped up, mostly on wetlands and agricultural fields, might have resulted in the land prices shoot up, but they have had a disastrous effect on the flow of rain water into the many streams and brooks that feed the Cauvery River, which originates in the district. A school built on paddy fields near Gonikoppa in Virajpet is faced with the problem of flooding almost annually.
However, it is those who practise agriculture who have to bear the brunt of these ill-thought out development projects. Gopakumar M, who has been studying otters in the Cauvery River, said, “Paddy was the primary crop that was grown by farmers here. Now, cultivation has come down by 50%, since many have abandoned it because of labour costs, irregular rainfall pattern and lack of business.”
However, Muthanna laid the blame at the government’s feet, for its failure to encourage cultivation of indigenous varieties of paddy. “Sellers are saying that they are giving up because of high labour costs and rainfall patterns; they aren’t good enough reasons. Most sell them for the money,” he said.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City News> Bangalore / Aditi Sequeira / TNN / October 15th, 2016
August 6th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Green Initiatives / Environment, Nature
Nestled in the verdant landscape of hills and forests, Kodagu is considered as one of the most beautiful hill stations in Karnataka. Popular for its serene nature, rich biodiversity, quality coffee, vibrant culture and brave warriors, the district has made great strides in tourism and agriculture. Located in the Western Ghats mountain range, Kodagu has many places of tourist interest. During the monsoons, nature is at its best here with spectacular sights of rivers and waterfalls. Trekking, water sports and nature-watching are some of the common activities people get indulged in while farmers get busy in agricultural activities. Here is a glimpse into the diversity of Kodagu in the rainy season.
The charm of water
The Brahmagiri hill range in the western and southern parts of Kodagu has some of the highest peaks of Karnataka such as Thadiyandamol. Near Thadiyandamol, and on the way west from the town of Virajpet (about 16 km away) towards Talacauvery, is a beautiful natural cascade called the Chelavara Falls beside the village of Cheyyandane. This waterfall is within a forest and is part of a stream, which eventually joins River Cauvery. Chelavara is also called Embepare or Tortoise rock colloquially. There is a beautiful hill called Choma Kund, a couple of kilometres away. Chelavara is accessible from Madikeri and Virajpet by road.
River Lakshmanathirtha takes birth in the forests of Western Ghats and flows through Kodagu and Mysuru until it merges with River Cauvery at the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) in Mandya. Near Kurchi village in South Kodagu, this tributary cascades down a rocky hill, forming a waterfall. The waterfall is called as Irupu Falls. Legend has it that Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman had come to this place and when Rama was thirsty, Lakshmana shot an arrow into the hills and hence, River Lakshmanathirtha was born. There is one more version of the story, which says that Lakshmana had once unwittingly insulted Rama and later, tried to immolate himself in repentance. In order to douse the fire and save Lakshmana, Rama shot an arrow into the rocks and the stream was formed. A Shiva linga was installed by Rama to aid his prayers. Nearby is the Hanuman Betta. One will be pointed out to a crescent shaped depression on that hill and told that it was formed when the powerful Hanuman wound his large tail around it in an attempt to heave it. The Irupu Falls can be reached by road from the towns of Virajpet or Gonikoppal. The best time to visit the falls is monsoon.
River Barapole near T Shettigeri is accessible from Virajpet and is a good site for white water rafting. It has a number of rapids with strange sounding names such as Grasshopper, Morning Coffee, Wicked Witch, Frame Head and Milky Churn. The river takes birth in the Brahmagiri hills, meanders through forests and coffee plantations and then disappears into the Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. The greenery on either side is infested with reptiles and insects, so the traveller needs to take precautions. The rivulet eventually goes west into Kerala and descends into the Arabian Sea.
Nishani Motte is a lesser-known peak near the temple town of Bhagamandala which is known for Triveni Sangam, a confluence of three rivers. Nishani motte is a good place for trekkers but one must seek permission from the Forest Department and follow a ‘leave no trace’ policy in order to safeguard the ecology of the area. A part of the trail has to be taken by jeep. If one is lucky, then he or she can spot elephants grazing below the hills. One also needs to watch out for leeches.
The rain god
The Padi Igguthappa Temple dedicated to Igguthappa, considered as the god of rains, is located near the town of Kakkabe in the Thadiyandamol region and is accessible by road. In Kodagu, Igguthappa is venerated as a hero god and especially remembered during Puttari, the harvest festival. While River Cauvery is called the kula devi or patron goddess, Igguthappa is known as mahaguru, or chief preceptor. He is also considered as the giver of food. It is one of the most ancient temples in Kodagu.
The main annual temple festival of Padi Igguthappa happens around April. The date of Puttari festival is decided in the Igguthappa temple. The festival begins in the temple and the crop is first offered here. Only then the people of Kodagu celebrate the festival. During the harvest festival, people invoke Igguthappa, Mahadeva and Baithurappa (the deity of Vayathur).
According to a ballad, Igguthappa had five brothers and a sister, and all were reincarnations of various deities. Born across the celestial milky ocean, they arrived as children in the northern Malabar coast.While three elder brothers settled in different places of worship as deities, the remaining four siblings crossed the Western Ghats and entered Kodagu. Led by Igguthappa, the eldest among them, they came near a hill in the village of Kakkabe. There, they felt hungry and hence came to a halt. They were in the family property of Nambimada Muthanna, a local farmer and landlord. Later, Muthanna had the Padi Igguthappa Temple built. His descendants became the hereditary managers of that temple. Though the temple’s history dates back to several centuries, the present temple is said to be built by a king a couple of centuries ago.
Among the younger brothers of Igguthappa, one was an avatar of Lord Mahalingeshwara. He settled down in the village of Palur along River Cauvery and came to be known as Palurappa. Pemmayya, the last of the brothers went southward dressed as a yogi. He crossed the Brahmagiri hill range and settled down in Thirunelli, Wayanad. His temple came to be known as Janardhana Temple, named after the deity whose avatar he was. The sister came to be known as Ponnangalatamme as she was destined to settle in Ponnangala in Yavakapadi village.
During the monsoons, races called the naati ota are organised upon the paddy fields of Kodagu. A long strip of land in a paddy field is left uncultivated. Both sides of this strip have three parallel rows of paddy seedlings, called naati. These rows are also called darae naati as they show the way to the runners. The track is set in the night. It is usually the farmers themselves who get together and organise the ota, or race. Traditionally, the runners gather from the neighbouring villages. They race across the track and through the slush, stumbling along the way. The winners are given a prize money. After the race, the track will have seedlings planted in them.
The event attracts large numbers of people from villages and towns. Be it rural sports rooted in culture or historical temples or serene places, Kodagu has something for everyone.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> Spectrum / by Mookonda Kushalappa / August 02nd, 2016
Work and family pressure, over population, fatigue and to top it off, the ever increasing pollution – air, water, sound – you name it. This is the average life of a Bangalorean who, like thousands of their peers could not resist the pull of the cut–throat business and money of the corporate industry and not to forget the pub culture.
With the influx of so much poison, contaminating our bodily fluids, there are moments when one looks for a way out, even if only for a short while. Imagine chill mornings, under heavy blankets, waking up to the sounds of birds chirping rather than the blaring horns of the city. Imagine long walks through green and luscious estates with the ever present aroma of coffee. Imagine drinking the best brewed coffee while watching raindrops hit the ground, the smell of the mud the very scent of the earth itself. Welcome to Coorg!
Situated at some 250km to the east of Bengaluru, the hill-station district of Coorg or Kodagu is one of the most beautiful places of Karnataka. It holds a certain charm and mystique unlike any other place. In particular – Madikeri, the chief township of the district.
Monsoon is the best time to visit Coorg. The heavy rainfall somehow makes the place ever more beautiful. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kodagu include Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Nisargadhama, Abbey Falls, Dubare, Nagarahole National Park, Iruppu Falls, and the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple.
Particularly in Madikeri, the Raja’s seat is the most prominent tourist spot, with an extraordinary view of the sunrise and the sunset. A big, open-air garden, overlooking the green hills and valleys of Coorg, the Raja’s seat is believed to have been recreational spot for Kodava kings, who, along with their consorts spent their sunsets enjoying the scenic change of the colours of the sky.
Apart from these, there are loads of trekking spots and coffee estates which are refreshments to both the mind and the soul. And one should not forget to buy his coffee and home-made chocolates which are a specialty of the place.
Plan fast, drive safe and have an extraordinary experience!!
source: http://www.siliconindia.com / Silicon India / Home> Silicon India News> Life / by SiliconIndia / Friday – July 29th, 2016
July 26th, 2016About Kodagu / Coorg, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Historical Links / Pre-Independence, Leaders, Records, All
The coffee land is all set to witness the 80th Kannada literary meet scheduled to begin on January 7, after a long gap of 32 years. Earlier, Madikeri has witnessed two literary meets – the 18th literary meet in 1932 under the leadership of D V Gundappa and the 54th literary meet in 1982 under the leadership of Dr Shambha Joshi.
Interestingly, despite being one of the smallest districts in Karnataka, it has a wide variety of culture as well as languages that include Kodava, Arebashe Gowda and Malayalam, yet the region has managed to retain the flavour of State language.
If one goes down the pages of history, the little district with unique weather and culture has contributed immensely for the development of Kannada language. The Ganga – Kongwala – Hoysala and Haleri dynasties, perhaps laid the strong foundation for Kannada through inscriptions way back in the 9th century. In the 10th century, Nagaverma had created ‘Chandombudi’ and ‘Punyashrava,’ according to the reference available at ‘Kodagu Sahithya – Sanskrithi Darshana,’ published by Kodagu District Kannada Sahithya Parishat.
During the Chengalva dynasty, the third Mangarasa had published ‘Jayanrupa Kavya’ and ‘Samyukta Kaumudi’ (1508), while his cousin Nanjunda had written ‘Kumara Ramana Kathe.’
There are documents to prove that the first epic ‘Rama Vijaya Kavya’ was written by Devappa, a Jain poet in 1540. Similarly, Dodda Veera Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1789 and 1809, has the credit of documenting history titled ‘Rajendra Name’ in Kannada. The II Linga Rajendra, who ruled Kodagu between 1810 and 1820 had written a book pertaining to land in Kodagu entitled ‘Lingarajana Shisthu.’
The 19th century
The leading name of 19th century pertaining to literature is that of Panje Mangesh Rao, who served as a teacher in Kodagu in 1920s. He had penned poems pertaining to Hutthari festivities among other literary works. In fact, he was the president of All India Kannada literary meet held in Raichur in 1934.
Haradasa Appacchha Kavi, popularly known as the Adi Kavi of Kodagu had penned many plays including ‘Savithri,’ ‘Yayathi,’ ‘Kaveri’ and ‘Subramanya’ in Kodava language. The same were translated to Kannada language by Dr I M Muttanna, who also hailed from Kodagu.
The first woman story writer in Kannada literary field, Gowramma, hailed from Kodagu and she is known as ‘Kodagina Gowramma.’ Born in Madikeri in 1912, she did her early schooling in Madikeri and married to B T Gopalakrishna in 1928.
From 1931, she wrote a number of articles and stories in the name of ‘Mrs G T G Krishna’. Most of her stories were based on the theme of women’s problems. However, she passed away in 1940 when she was just 28 years old. When Mahathma Gandiji arrived at Kodagu, she had invited Gandhiji to her home and she had donated her jewellery for the cause of freedom.
A teacher by profession, ‘Bharathisutha’ was the pen name of S R Narayana Rao. Based on the life story of Kodagu ruler Siribai Dodda Veerappa, he had written ‘Huliya Haalina Mevu,’ which was later made into a film by the same name.
His other stories too have been made into films and they include ‘Girikanye,’ ‘Edakallu Guddada Mele’ and ‘Bayalu Daari’ among others. His work on ‘Solle Haraduva Rogagalu’ (Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes) and ‘Giliyu Panjaradolilla’ (The parrot is not in the cage) earned him Central government award and Karnataka Sahithya Academy award respectively.
Rev Fr Ferdinand Kittel, who contributed immensely to the field of Kannada literature has left indelible marks in Kodagu, prominent among them include the Kannada – English dictionary.
A German missionary, who served in Kodagu church (presently knownn as Shanthi church) between 1871 and 1876, was the first parish priest of the church. Rev Kittel started learning Kannada after going around the coffee land, says the present parish priest of the church.
DH News Service
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> District / by Srikanth Kallammanavar / Madikeri – DHNS, January 05th, 2014