Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    November 30th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Madikeri or Mercara in Karnataka may be right there on the tourist’s itinerary, with the Madikeri fort, Raja Seat and the Omkareshwara temple being the usual haunts. But perhaps less well known are its waterfalls, trekking trails and elephant camps.

    Abbey Falls is perfect for a picnic. Another spot that is ideal, scenically, for a family outing, complete with picnic hamper, is Nisargadhama, between Kushalnagar and Madikeri, where one could cross the Cauvery tributary on log rafts. It’s a beautiful picnic spot.

    There is something here to everyone’s taste. For those who love adventure, 15 km away from Madikeri is the Dubare Elephant Camp where one can see the animals up close.

    They can be fed, ridden, bathed, the sort of thing one sees done on Discovery Channel.

    source: http://www.DeccanChronicle.com / Home> Channels> LifeStyle> Wanderlust / by DC Correspondent / November 23rd, 2012

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    November 29th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    Caption: Picture shows the Kodavas, attired in traditional dresses, bringing the newly-reaped paddy crop to be placed under the Nellakki and offer worship.
    Mysore, Nov. 29
    Hundreds of Kodavas residing in Mysore participated in the Huthri festival celebrations held under the auspices of Mysore Kodava Samaja at the premises of Sri Cauvery Educational Institutions in Kuvempungar last evening.

    The harvest festival got off to a start with the lighting of the traditional lamp by the women members. Samaja President N.P. Kalappa welcomed.

    On the occasion, the Samaja team which bagged prizes in the traditional dance competition held at Balugodu in Virajpet recently were felicitated.

    The celebrations comprised performance of the traditional Kodava dances like bolkaat, ummathaat, kolaat, kathiyaat, thalipaat, pareyakali etc., by the men and women folk attired in traditional Kodava costumes.

    This was followed by Nerekattuva ritual after which the Samaja President led the members to the paddy field created in the institution premises to reap the new paddy crop and distribute it to all the members along with the thambittu prasada.

    The festival saw the participation of young and old alike.

    The Samaja, in a bid to keep the youngsters rooted to their traditions and culture, had trained them in various traditional dances during the past one week at the Samaja premises in Vijayanagar.

    P. Lovely Appaiah and C. Nirmala Subramani compered the programme.

    source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / November 29th, 2012

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    November 28th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    The undulating landscape, miles of greenery and cloud-kissed mountains of Scotland, shown in the Bond flick ‘Skyfall’, might have taken your breath away. Fret not, you can feast your eyes on elysian fields right next door in Coorg. Hailed as the Scotland of India, this hill station has always been known to be a crowd-puller. Now, people from up North are making a beeline to spend a few relaxed days, nestled in the lap of nature.

    Whether for the sprawling green acres or restrained calm, Coorg is pulling crowds in like never before. Based on state tourism board figures, the number of tourists jumped to 15 lakh, at the end of last year, and figures are expected to go up this year. Last year alone, there were close to six lakh holidayers during this time, in Coorg.

    Vedant Ruia, a Mumbai-based businessman, is planning a trip down South with his family.

    “I’ve never seen the interiors of Karnataka and this time of the year is favourable. I am going to fly to Bengaluru, drive down to Mysore and then head to Coorg. I’ve heard the drive up there is also really scenic. Besides, I would love to spend time in a place where my cellphone doesn’t work!” says Vedant Ruia.

    Resort owners and homestays in Coorg are reporting a significant increase in interest levels from holidayers residing in Mumbai, New Delhi and other northern cities. “This season, a number of winter holidayers are opting for Coorg over other South Indian hill stations like Ooty, Chickmagalur and Kodaikanal. Coorg is more accessible, has several hotels to choose from and has great weather all through the year,” says Rahul Bopanna, of Holiday Inn, Madikeri.

    Nicknamed as the Kashmir of the South, it’s no secret that Coorg has been given a facelift and embodies a huge part of Karnataka’s tourism. Apart from an idllyic holiday, there are several tourist attractions that lure even a heritage traveller, who seeks a little history lesson during his vacation. Cherian Ramapuram, of Orange County, explains this fascination, “Coorg beckons the discerning traveller. It’s the land of spices, coffee, warriors, beautiful women and deep-rooted culture, and is blessed with wonderful weather all year round. Once a person travels to Coorg, he wants to go there again and again.”

    Of late, even homestays have become popular as travellers seek a rustic experience on holiday. Shivaprasad, owner of Birds Paradise Homestay, one of the 200 registered homestays in Coorg, says, “It’s no surprise that there are so many options today. All our house guests feel there is a certain untouched, raw quality about Coorg that sets it apart from other hill stations. When they come here, they want to spend a few days in isolation, eat the local food, and relax. It adds value to their vacation.” There are around 2,000 homestays in Coorg, apparently, but only close to 200 are registered.

    Places like Munnar, Thekkady, Ooty and Kodai buzz with tourists during the season. Travellers prefer the solitude and quiet that Kodagu has to offer. Shamli Narayan, a chartered accountant based in Mumbai, will be travelling to Coorg next weekend. “My husband and I have been thinking of places to visit in the South and we decided on Coorg. We are paying a relatively nominal price for a holiday package and there are several add-ons. It’s a good deal.”

    Several resorts offer a variety of options like a body massage, yoga class, coffee plantation tour, trekking and even white-water rafting for the bravehearts. Also, the onus of attracting tourists lies on the owners, to showcase what the beautiful hill station stands for.

    Sarfaraz Saudagar, marketing manager of The Tamara Coorg, says, “Coffee is the biggest USP. When you can personalise unique experiences, it draws crowds. We engage guests in a coffee plantation tour since our resort is located within a coffee estate. There is also the option of personalising a coffee type in a guest’s name.”

    source: http://www.DeccanChronicle.com / Home> Tabloid> Bengaluru / by Sindhuja Balaji, DC, Bangalore / November 18th, 2012

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    November 28th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment


    Mumbai :
    More than 45 top acts are set to perform at Storm 2013 Camp Out music festival, scheduled to take place on 1-2 February at Napoklu, Coorg in Karnataka.

    In its second edition, the fest will have four stages across 22 acres of the venue now called ‘stormfield’, where a galaxy of national and international stars- including singer-songwriters as well as Electronica artistes will perform.

    Apart from the music, “adventure, camping, ecological awareness, late night campsite jams, workshops on farming and yoga activities will be held,” organizers said.

    This year, the organizers also claim to have a exhaustive musical line-up with few surprises at the fest. The festival also stands firm on its ‘No Drugs’ policy.

    The first Storm fest which made its debut earlier this year saw 12 bands, 16 Indian DJs and 5 International names perform to more than 2, 500 revellers.

    source: http://www.radioandmusic.com / Home> Editorial> News / by RnM Team / November 26th, 2012

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    November 27th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Sports

    India’s top doubles star Rohan Bopanna has gone from singles to doubles in his personal life as well.

    The 31-year-old Bopanna married Supriya Annaiah in a ceremony in his hometwon of Coorg earlier today. Coorg is situated in South India.

    The duo got engaged earlier this year and in a recent interview, Bopanna spoke about his latest partnership, “I met Supriya through some common friends, and I have known her for a while now. Supriya is very supportive of my choices, and very understanding of my demanding schedule. She keeps me grounded, and she knows exactly when I need my own space. She respects my priorities and let’s me handle them the way I am used to.”

    The wedding was attended by some of the biggest names in Indian tennis – including Bopanna’s 2012 doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi, his wife and actress Lara Dutta Bhupathi, Somdev Devvarman, Bopanna’s coach Scott Davidoff and former Davis Cupper Mustafa Ghouse.

    Not surprising that Leander Paes was absent. Paes had a fallout with Bhupathi and Bopanna over the Olympic selections earlier this year. India’s top female tennis player Sania Mirza was invited to the wedding but could not make it due to other committments and sent her wishes to the couple on the micro blogging site, Twitter.

    Bopanna is currently ranked no. 12 in the doubles rankings and will team up with American Rajeev Ram on the ATP Circuit in 2012.

    Read more: http://www.sportskeeda.com/ Home> Textiles> News / by Staff Reporter / November 25th, 2012

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    HERITAGE
    Mookonda Kushalappa visits Moribetta in Kodagu and discovers that the hilltop has numerous megalithic structures. It is thought that these were more of commemorative value, built in remembrance of the dead.

    In the north of Kodagu district, on the way from Madikeri towards Hassan is Moribetta, the ‘hill of the Maurya’. Local people are, however, not very familiar with that name. They know well the name of a sacred lake and a temple near the same hill, both dedicated to Goddess Honnamma.

    As one approaches the place, one can spot two huge granite hills touching the sky. The bigger one is Gavibetta, while the smaller one is Moribetta. Green foliage surrounds the serene place. Coffee and other plantations make up the agrarian areas. The road leads one towards the large lake that lies between the two hills. This lake happens to be the largest one in the district. It is called Honnammana Kere, the lake of Honnamma. On the right side of the road are a couple of temples; the larger one is newly built and painted while the smaller one is in ruins. In fact, the older one is hardly distinguishable from the rocky background.

    The ancient temple is built of stone blocks. Amidst these blocks which are overgrown with plants is an open doorway which is not quite discernable. In the darkness within is a stone nandi, the bull that carries Shiva, and a linga. The more modern temple is the temple of the goddess in front of the lake. Both the lake and this temple are named after the local goddess, Honnamma.

    The lake temple
    Legend has it that Honnamma was the youngest among an influential man’s daughters-in-law. When the father-in-law told his daughters-in-law that one of them had to sacrifice her life for the common good, it was only the youngest, Honnamma, who complied. She jumped into the lake and drowned. Ever since, the lake has never gone dry. It is after her death that she was revered as goddess Honnamma, the golden deity.
    On the occasion of Gowri habba, a day before Ganesh Chaturthi, the place has throngs of people. As part of the festival, a bagina or an offering is made to the goddess. This is left afloat on the lake.

    During this annual temple festival, pilgrims trek up Moribetta until they reach a spot marked by a flag near its summit. The lesser-known name of the village is Doddamalte. Gavibetta has a few caves and a stairway that leads to the summit. Villagers refrain from speaking much about the ‘other hill’, Moribetta, because of talk about it being an ancient site for human sacrifices.

    Shrouded in mystery
    Mystery shrouds the Moribetta hill. There are numerous megaliths, although in disarray, on the hilltop. There are 50 short dolmens or portholes on the granite hill. Each of them is an arrangement of four upright flat stones with a capstone and the eastern wall has a circular porthole. These granite slab dolmens stand around four or five feet high and the circular portholes are a little more than a foot in diameter.

    While some are intact, others have been broken down. Many of these dolmens have been dismantled and destroyed by treasure hunters, grave diggers, stone cutters or neighbouring farmers. Some of them have taller orthostats (large stones standing upright) beside them. Interspersed between them are cairns or piles of stones.

    No human remains were found in the portholes. Broken stone circles can also be found on the granite hilltop.

    These structures on Moribetta didn’t hold any remains of the dead nor were they habitable. They were like miniature houses, but these abodes were too small to live in. They contained miniature utensils and goods. Some claimed that a pygmy race lived in them. In a 19th-century published article titled ‘Rude stone monuments in all countries’, Fergusson was mesmerised by these ‘miniature toys’ of Moribetta but doesn’t give an explanation for their size.

    However, as no human remains were found in the place, it is thought that these were more of commemorative value, built in remembrance of the dead. To reduce expenses, all these that were built for the dead would have been made on a miniature scale, as they were not used for practical living purposes. Historians like B L Rice, Mackenzie, Rob Cole and K K Subbayya have already explored the hill extensively. Some locals call the structures on Moribetta Kodava Kote, ‘fort of the Kodavas’.

    Epic connection
    These cromlechs were associated with the Pandavas, the demigod heroes of the Mahabharatha. Locals called them ‘Pandava Pare’ as well, in the past. The same name is used for large stones that were used to lay steps that led to temples and large country houses in Kodagu. Now, however, it’s a forgotten place visited only during the annual temple feast of Honnamma on Gowri festival, a day before Ganesh Chaturthi.
    Six miles from Somwarpet is another place called Morikallu, also known locally as ‘Pandava Bande’. This is a small granite hillock with six dolmens, of which four were well preserved and surrounded by paddy fields. Stone circles surround all these dolmens. The shrine of Male Sartavu, another Kodava temple, has six stones; they are said to have been dedicated to the five Pandava brothers and their wife Draupadi.

    In South India, anything ancient or unknown would be quickly attributed to Brahma (Brahmagiri, the ‘hill of Brahma’ or Brahmadesam, the ‘country of Brahma’), the mythical Pandavas (places called ‘Pandava Pare’ or ‘Pandava Bande’) or the historical Mauryas (Moribetta ‘hill of the Maurya’ or Morikallu, ‘rock of the Maurya’).

    According to Rob Cole’s book, Kodavas have an ancient belief that the Pandavas were the original owners of the earth who rented out land to agriculturists. On Bisu Changrandi (Vishu), also called Edmyaar 1, the new year of the Kodava calendar, Kodavas start farming their lands without fail. This is because they believed that if they don’t, then the Pandavas would come down from their celestial abode to reclaim their lands.

    In his 1870-book ‘Gazetteer of Coorg’, Richter speaks of this picturesque tank, Honnammana kere, which is three miles from Somwarpet, but doesn’t mention its name. He talks of a version of the legend associated with the place. Malla Shetty of Yelusavirashime was the father-in-law who vowed to build this tank.

    Sacrifice

    But after its construction, there was still no water. It was suggested that animals be offered in sacrifice to appease the gods but to no avail. Goddess Ganga appeared in front of the merchant and asked him for a sacrifice. So he approached his daughter-in-law Akkony whose husband was away. Akkony took leave of her child and parents and entered the tank to drown in the rising water.

    Her parents and husband got upset upon hearing this. Richter also writes about a stone inscription found in the place. It reads in Kannada, “King Andany has ordered this tank to be built on Tuesday the tenth day of the month of Phalguna in the year Parthiva.

    “This was written by Venkadasya Mallia Bomarsia at the time of Basawalinga Deva Raja Vodea”.
    Lately this stone inscription has been cemented on the ground in front of the new Honnamma temple.

    King Andany mentioned here must have been a local ruler while the person mentioned at the end must have been the Lingayat (Basawalinga) Raja Devappa (Deva Raja Wodeyar, 1770-1774) of the Haleri dynasty

    source: http://www.DeccanHerald.com / Home> Supplements> Spectrum by Mookonda Kushalappa / November 26th, 2012

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    Bangalore, Nov 25 (PTI)

    Indian tennis doubles star Rohan Bopanna today married Supriya Annaiah at his hometown of Kodagu, some 200 km away from here.

    The wedding was attended by several Indian tennis players, including Mahesh Bhupathi along with his celebrity wife Lara Dutta, Somdev Devvarman and former Davis Cupper Mustafa Ghouse.

    Bopanna’s former doubles partner Aisam Ul-Huq Qureshi was also present at the wedding.

    source: http://www.ptinews.com / Press Trust of India / Home> National / by Staff Writer / November 25th, 2012

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    November 25th, 2012adminFamous Personalities of Kodagu / Coorg


    Bangalore, Nov.24
    Advocate Sajan Poovaiah has been appointed Additional Advocate General II (AAG) for the Karnataka Government with effect from Nov.22.

    He, along with the team consisting of the Advocate General and another Additional Advo- cate General, will advise and represent the State Government on legal issues in the Karnataka HC and the Supreme Court.

    source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / November 25th, 2012

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    Caption: M.A. Ponnappa, Anantha Shayana, Amshi Prasanna

    Bangalore, Nov. 24
    The State government issued an order yesterday revamping the Karnataka Media Academy with senior journalist M.A. Ponnappa (Kodagu) being continued as its Chairman.

    Amshi Prasanna Kumar, the former President of Mysore District Journalists’ Association, has been nominated on behalf of the Karnataka State Working Journalists’ Association while B.G. Anantha Shayana of Shakti Kannada daily in Kodagu, represents All India Newspapers Confederation.

    Other members of the Academy are: Parvathi Menon, Sarju Katkar, K. Raja Rao, U.B. Rajalakshmi (from journalist fraternity), K.N. Tilak Kumar, Manoj Kumar Sontalia (from Indian Newspaper Society), T.G. Adaveshappa, Gangadhara Hiregutti, Mohammed Younis, B.T. Amudam (from All India Newspaper Confederation), Gangadhara Mudaliyar, Rama Managuli, Channabasavanna, Malappa Adasale (from Karnataka Working Journalists’ Association), Directors of Information Department and Akashavani and Heads of Department of Journalism in the Universities of Mysore, Dharwad and Gulbarga.

    source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / General News / November 24th, 2012

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    This is a very unusual book, almost a rarity, wherein a daughter pens her mother’s memoirs in first person. While a memoir is a sub genre of autobiography, Gore Vidal differentiates the two thus, “a memoir is how one remembers one’s own life, while autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked.”

    The mother in question is Malavanda (Biddanda) Gowramma Achaiah. She decides to pen her life, which in her words, “was as richly eventful as it was lively” and is about a generation “before these mechanised, chaotic times.” She offers her life “as an open book” to the readers. It was originally written in Kodava language in Kannada script. In view of the fact that this did not make for easy reading, her daughter Dr. Latha Muthanna, a well-known physician in the city of Mysore, decided to render it in English.

    What initially began as a translation underwent a sea change as more information came in through her daily interviews with her mother. Gow-ramma read the manuscript and approved it but for some minor issues. The end product is a very readable book written in admirable English.

    The book is written in the reminiscential mode. It is loosely structured, does not strictly follow chronology and focuses on the dear and near ones who come into her life. What we have in the book is a portrait of a bygone era, an insight to the way of life of the times and the memorable descriptions of different persons, all of whom who form her large family with its tentacles reaching far and wide.

    We read about Chonira Mu-thamma, the first woman to join the Indian Foreign Service in 1948. It saddens one to learn how she was discriminated against because of her gender. She was overlooked for the position of Foreign Secretary in 1980. The assumption was that a female married diplomat cannot be trusted to keep State secrets. The author tongue-in-cheek remarks that the male diplomat was, “after all — for want of a better expression — leak proof!”

    We have a fully rounded picture of her grandfather, Nadikerianda Chinnappa, fondly called, Dada. Incidentally, it was he who wrote the Kodava folk classic Pattole Palame. Gowramma gives us interesting tit-bits about the manner in which her Dada went about collecting the songs, folk tales, gossipy ballads, allegories and riddles and inscribing them. Dada found that the folklore faithfully carried little-known Kodava history and culture of ancient times. The 500-page volume was published in 1924 and is widely regarded as the first among such a collection of folklore to be published in Kannada. The English version of this magnum opus is now available, thanks to the efforts of Bovverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa.

    Another major influence on her was her grandmother, whom she affectionately called, Chachavva. She remarks, “I got from her the value of hard work, the futility of idle gossip. I learnt hospitality, how to be prepared for unexpected guests. I learnt to care for servants and their families. Most of all, I learnt how to run a home in times of want and to use home-grown resources to their fullest potential. Also, like my grandmother before me, I abhor waste.” These were invaluable lessons for the young Gowramma and they came in handy later in her life.

    She had her schooling at Cheyyandane, Kakkabe and Virajpet. It is difficult to imagine the challenges that the young girl enco-untered in her desire to pursue her education. There is a curious encounter that she had with a raging bull in the wilds. She was able to find her way back home due to the help of a Good Samaritan. It is indeed satisfying that she becomes a successful teacher and works for nearly three years until she gets married to Malavanda Achaiah in 1943.

    We have a 14-page long description of her wedding. These were well before the days of marriages where we have catering and what is needed is a little planning and lots of money to make it a success. The hustle bustle of the wedding is captured in vivid detail. It was entirely a family event and each member gladly and wholesomely contributed to its celebration. Every aspect of the wedding like the food, sweetmeats, jewellery, various rituals is highlighted.

    Gowramma offers the reader a very intimate picture of her married life. Nothing is held back from the reader and one could easily describe them as a ‘Made for each Other Couple.’ However, I would like to allow her the last word: “He was the quintessential free spirit. Were we compatible, to use a modern term? I have not the faintest idea — but I miss my husband very much.”

    An important figure in the book is her husband’s maternal uncle, Kollimada Karumbaiah. He was a true Gandhian, was a vegetarian, never smoked or drank and wore only khadi. He was largely responsible for Harijans and Yeravas taking part in the non-cooperation movement, perhaps the first example of its kind in the country.

    There is a detailed presentation of Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Kodagu. Gandhiji addresses the crowd and spoke of the manner in which the British siphoned off the nation’s wealth. He appealed to them to contribute generously and help win our freedom quickly. The women were all dressed in their best silks and heavy jewellery. They slowly but surely respond to Gandhiji’s appeal and gave away their jewels to the Mahatma. Gowramma’s fourteen-year-old sister-in-law, Akkamma gives her gold earrings, the only piece of jewellery she had. And she went about bare eared until she got married. Such was the young girl’s conviction.

    Gowramma’s family along with her husband’s twin brothers move on to Chikamagalur and a new life opens out to her. Bringing up a large family gets delineated in some detail. Nevertheless, the life in the different surroundings poses peculiar problems in view of the women wearing their sarees differently. Her honest confession makes for a healthy attitude towards life: “Many were the times when I was tempted to change and conform to the majority, but I am glad that I did not, in the end. An eclectic society is so much richer; besides, I am indeed proud of my Kodava origins!”

    She makes a name for herself because of her selfless service to the underprivileged sections of society. While trying to answer the question as to what drew her to social service, she remarks in her typically disarming manner, “Well, I simply wanted to do more.” In recognition of her contribution, the State government honoured her with the Kittur Rani Chennamma award. The Kasuriba Sadan was started in 1962 with Gowramma as its Founder-President. Fittingly, it went on to win the same award a couple of years later.

    The narrative reads well. Even though the perspective is that of a ninety-year-old, the language is contemporary and hence has a greater appeal to the modern reader. The style is lucid and makes for interesting reading. It is embellished by figures of speech like similes in the text. Let me illustrate with a few examples: “The result was a young woman who emerged from her bath looking like a boiled prawn,” “tender shoots (of bamboo) would start erupting, their bald heads shiny and glistening like inverted glass bowls” and “when the harvest moon hangs heavy and round, glowing like a pregnant woman, in the cold winter sky.” There is a marvellous freshness about each one of them.

    Let me conclude on a personal note. There is a referen-ce to the Editor-in-Chief’s father, Kalyatanda Bopaiah, her class teacher. He was an excellent Maths teacher and the first left-handed person she had seen in her life. He was very kindly disposed towards Gowramma which she acknowledges gratefully. Incidentally, Gowramma was my father’s classmate at Kakkabe. During my meetings with her in Assam where she stayed with one of her sons, Ganesh, she shared with me some of her memories of my father.

    Dr. Latha Muthanna could not have thought of a more fitting tribute to her dear mother.

    e-mail: belliappa_kc@rediffmail.com

    source: http://www.StarofMysore.com / Home> Feature Articles / by K. C. Belliappa / November 19th, 2012

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