Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Coorg?

A lot of people ask me, "Why Coorg?". Amongst these people are mostly Kodavas. So I thought of answering this question through the blog so that it reaches a wider audience.

My acquaintance with Coorg started in 2010 when I came to be friends with a few Kodavas. I had heard of Coorg before but only from the perspective of tourism. Till the time I met the people of Coorg, it was just like any other hill station to me.

What spiked my interest in Coorg was the evident pride that Kodavas display. I was captivated by the fierce love for their motherland that they portrayed, which in turn led me to ask my friends about their culture and traditions. Though some of them knew about their culture well, I still felt there were a lot of missing pieces.

The curiosity mixed with my passion for history drove me to read books published about Coorg by British historians and archaeologists as early as the 1800s. During this phase, I learnt a lot about Coorg and the Kodava culture and thought of sharing it with fellow enthusiasts and the blog was born.

To sum it up, though I'm not a Kodava, I want to do my bit in saving the Kodava culture and that is the main reason why I have been putting together all the information I can find. Hope I have been of some help thus far. Keep reading!

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Article on Kodagu Connect

I recently wrote an article on Kodava Marriage Customs which was published on Kodagu Connect. I am sharing an excerpt of the article here, to read more follow the link given below.

"In ancient times, it would seem, the Kodava marriage festivities had a peculiarly communal character. On some great day a family would call together the whole grama, that is, all the families of one of the rice valleys, to a feast. The youths would have their ears pierced by the carpenters for earrings, and the maidens have rice strewn upon their heads. This was in those days called the marriage feast. The whole community feasted together, and the young people were now at liberty to go in search of husbands and wives.

With times, majority of the customs and rituals have undergone changes owing to cultural influences from neighbouring communities but the distinct flavor of the Kodava culture still stays intact.

According to traditional Kodava customs, men have seven kinds of Mangalas (usually, a marriage ceremony, literally, an auspicious event) -

1. Kanni Mangala – Marriage to a maiden
2. Kudavali Mangala – Marriage to a widow or divorcee
3. Kuttik Nippad or Okka Paraje – Performed to prevent extinction of the bride’s okka
4. Paccadak Nadapad or Makka Paraje – Again, performed to prevent extinction of the bride’s okka
5. Nari Mangala – Performed to honour one who has killed a tiger
6. Kemi Kutti Mangala – Ear-piercing ceremony
7. Baalek Mangala – Symbolic marriage to a plantain (banana) stump

Women have five kinds of Mangalas -

1. Kanni Mangala
2. Kuttik Nippad
3. Paccadak Nadapad
4. Nari Mangala
5. Paitandek Alapad – Performed to honour a women who has ten living children

Though women are part of the Kudavali Mangala, traditionally they do not have any muhurta (auspicious time) in the same.

There are a few other mangalas which are no longer performed, like, Kodi Mangala (parents celebrating their love for their child), Mane Mangala (performed to honour a man who has built a house for his family), Pole Kanda Mangala (performed to celebrate a girl attaining puberty), Kuliyime Mangala (performed to celebrate the first pregancy of a woman). Another mangala which was purely symbolic in nature was performed on the corpse of a bachelor to raise his status to that of a married man.

Rituals leading to a Kanni Mangala, may or may not involve horoscope matching and an astrologer. There is an old saying in Kodagu which says, “If minds agree, the stars agree”. So, unlike other Hindu communities, horoscopes are not paid heed to as much. Once a boy’s family hears of a suitable girl, a family member and the family’s aruva go to the girl’s family to seek her hand in marriage. This is known as Ponn Pareyuva. Aruvas (one who knows; man of experience) hold an important office among the Kodavas. They act as representatives, counselors, and guardians of families and individuals, on the great occasions of life. A particular friend of a neighbouring Kodava house becomes its Aruva, and a member of this house is naturally the Aruva of the other." Read More

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Kodava Wedding Song

The following is a specimen of a humorous wedding song, translated by Mr. A. Graeter from the Coorg original -

God Almighty , live and rule,
Rule as our Lord and God,
Rule as our Sovereign and King!
On the surface of the earth
Coorg is like a string of pearls,
Though of smallest kingdoms one.
In this land they count 12 valleys,
And the Nads are 35;
But in our Nad for ever,
Like a flower of paradise,
Blooms the name of Apparanda.
In this Apparanda house
Lived a man of reputation,
Mandanna the mighty hero.
When he offered a petition
To the ruler of the country
For 3 goodly jamma land,
He received it as a present.
For his money he now bought
Holeyas to be his servants,
And they laboured on his farm.
Bullocks too, his fields to plough,
He procured for heavy money,
And completed all his labours.

Though he now lived comfortably,
Mandanna the mighty hero,
In his mind was meditating
And within himself he pondered
Constantly this one idea:
'I have rice and costly garments,
But no one to dress and nourish;
I have precious stones and jewels,
But where is the wife to wear them?
In a household without children
Vain is all our toil and trouble;
Here on earth no joy is perfect
Without wife to share the bliss.
If a tank is without water,
Has it not been dug in vain?
And a garden without flowers,
Has it not in vain heen planted?
Who would like to eat cold rice,
Void of curds and void of salt?
Sons there must be in our houses,
And our rooms be full of children.'

So he thought within himself,
And one lovely Sunday morning,
When the silvery dew was sparkling,
Took a meal, and dressed himself,
Joined his hands in adoration
To the ancestors and God;
Sent a man to call his Ar'va
To conduct him on the journey,
Took his stick adorned with silver,
And then started with his friend.
Where between the woody mountains
Thrones the lofty Kutta-male,
Wandering through the hilly country,
He went off to seek a wife.
Walked he till his soles wore off,
Pondering sat in all the Mandus,
Till his dress in holes with sitting;
Wandered in the scorching sun,
Till his head was hot and giddy;
Wandered till the walking-stick
In his hand was growing shorter.
Mandanna the mighty hero
Sought a wife in every quarter,
But no house would suit his mind.
If he found the house was right,
then the servants would not suit him;
If he found the servants right,
Then he did not like the cattle;
If he found the cattle right,
Then the fields were miserable;
If the paddy land was good,
Then the pasture ground was bad
And if all these things were good,
Then the maiden did not please him.

While he thus was sorely troubled,
News arrived of consolation :—
In the Nalku-nad there lived,
In the Pattamada house,
Chinnavva, a lovely maiden.
When he heard this information,
Mandanna, the mighty hero,
Slowly with his friend proceeded
To the house, and there sat down
On the bench of the verandah.
Chinnavva, the lovely maiden,
When she heard of their arrival,
Came and brought a jar of water,
Poured it in a silver pitcher,
Placed it on a shining mat,
And spread another mat for him
In the seat of the verandah.
Pattamada Chinnavva
Then standing modest on the threshold,
Asked him, saying 'Why, my friend,
Do you not take any water?
Use it, and then call for more.'
So she said, and he replied;
'Certainly I will, my dearest,
If for ever you will bring me
Water as to-day you brought it.'
She replied: 'You shall have water
If you come here every day.'
Mandanna now took the water,
Washed his face and hands and feet;
Thought, I'll come for more tomorrow.
Mandanna, the wise and clever,
Took again the seat of honour,
And began; ' My pretty maiden,
Tell me now, where is your father?'
She replied; "My father's gone
To a meeting in the Mandu.'
'And where is your mother then?'
'She's gone to the potters' village,
Where they celebrate a wedding.'
'And where is your brother then?'
'He went down the Ghat to Kote
With his bullocks, to get salt.'

When an hour or two were spent,
To his house returned the father.
Mandanna made his obeisance,
Bowed, and touched the old man's feet.
When an hour or two were spent,
To her house returned the mother.
Mandanna again saluted.
When an hour or two were spent,
To his house returned the brother.
Mandanna made his obeisance.
Then they had some conversation,
Talked about their friends and kindred.
Last they asked him; 'Dearest cousin,
Will you please to let us know
Why you undertook this journey?'
He replied; 'My dearest father,
I have heard that in this house
There are bullocks to be sold,
And moreover that there lives
In the house a lovely maiden,
Whom you want to give in marriage.'
'All the bullocks, they were sold
In July,' replied the father,
'And the daughter too has gone,
In the month of May she left us.'
Then gave Mandanna this answer:
'Those that went, let them be happy,
Give me her who still remains.'
Spoke again to him the landlord;
Tell me, why you called me father?'
Then spoke Mandanna the clever;
'I have seen your lovely daughter,
That is why I call you father.
Evermore with admiration
You behold the stately palm-tree;
If a tree is poor and crippled,
You forget to look upon it.'
Then the father spoke again;
'I will let you have the daughter,
Give a pledge that you will take her.'
'Shake then hands with me' said joyful
Mandanna 'and as a pledge
Take from me this piece of money.'

After this the father sent
For his Ar'va to assist him
In the wedding ceremony;
Women swept the house and chambers,
Filled the store-rooms with provisions
For the merry wedding feast.
Where the beauteous brazen lamp
From the ceiling is suspended,
Aruvas and near relations
Came together from both houses,
Stood and settled the engagement
And the lucky day of wedding.
Whereupon the happy bridegroom
Gave his bride a golden necklace
As a pledge, and eight days after
Was the wedding celebrated.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Early Inscriptions found in Coorg

In this post, I am sharing some pictures of early inscriptions which were discovered in Coorg by archaeologists in the 19th century. These are mostly copper or stone engravings. I am also providing the translations of these inscriptions; most of them are related to grants of land and property.

1. Madikeri plates of Avinita Kongani, 466 A.D.

Mercara Plate 1
Mercara Plate 2
Mercara Plate 3
Mercara Plate 4
Ring and Seal
Translation - 

Be it well. Success through the adorable Padmanabha, resembling (in colour) the cloudless sky. A sun illumining the clear firmament of the Jahnavi (or Ganga) kula, possessed of strength and valour from the great pillar of stone dividing with a single stroke of his sword, adorned with the ornament of a wound received in cutting down the hosts of his cruel enemies, of the Kanvayana gotra, was sriman Kongani-mahadhiraja.

His son, inheriting the qualities of his father, possessing a character for learning and modesty, having obtained the honours of the kingdom only for the sake of the good government of his subjects, a touchstone for (testing) gold the learned and poets, skilled among those who expound and practise the science of politics, author of a commentary on the Dattaka-sutra, was sriman Madhava-mahadhiraja. [Dattaka was an early poet, of perhaps the 1st century, who, induced by the dancing girls of Pataliputra, wrote a work on one section of the Kama-sutra. In Kannada his name appears as Jattaka.]

His son, uniting the qualities of his father and grandfather, having entered into war with many elephants (so that) his fame had tasted the waters of the four oceans, was srimad Harivarmma-mahadhiraja.

His son, devoted to the worship of the twice-born, gurus, and gods, not leaving the feet of Narayana, was srimad Vishnugopa-mahadhiraja.

His son, whose head was purified by the pollen from the lotuses the feet of Triyambhaka, having by personal strength and valour purchased his kingdom, daily eager to extricate the ox of merit from the thick mire of the Kali-yuga in which it had sunk, was sriman Madhavamahadhiraja.

His son, the beloved sister's son of Krishnavarmma-mahadhiraja, who was the sun in the firmament of the Kadamba-kula, his mind illumined with the increase of learning and modesty, of indomitable bravery, reckoned the first among the learned, was Sriman Konganimahadhiraja, named Avinita.

Of whose gift to Chandanandi-bhatara, the disciple of Gunanandi-bhatara, who was the disciple of Jayanandi-bhatara, who was the disciple of Silabhadra-bhatara, who was the disciple of Abhayanandi-bhatara, who was the disciple of Gunachandra-bhatara, of the Desiga-gana and Kondakundanvaya, in the year eighty-eight beyond three hundred, the month Magha, Monday, the Svati-nakshatra, the fifth day of the bright fortnight, the minster (mantri) of Akalavarsha-Prithuvi-Vallabha, having obtained (it) by grant from Avinita-mahadhiraja, presented the charming (village) named Badaneguppe, (situated) within the Edlenadu Seventy of the Punadu Six Thousand, to the Srivijaya Jina temple of Talavananagara, together with twelve kanduga in each of the six dependent hamlets, the ambalimannu, the tala-vitti in Talavana-pura, twelve kanduga in Pogarigele, and twelve kanduga according to the accepted royal measure in Pirikere.

Boundaries of the village of Badaneguppe: east, the red rook, Gajasele, the sakti post at the tri-junction of Karivalli, Kottagara and Badaneguppe, and so coming to the Kagani pond on the south-east; again south, the milk hedge, the balkani tree; again facing west, the row of medical plants, then the pond at the tri-junction of Badaneguppe, Kottagara and Multagi, Chandigala; thence to the clearing-nut tree at the south-west; again west, the peld-uldil tree, the banyan tree called Santara, thence the bed of the stream; facing north, the row of medical plants, the pond of the rose-apple, thence to the sacred tamarind tree at the northwest; again the neggila clump at the tri-junction of Badaneguppe, Multagi, Koleyanur, and Dasanur, the long ? sacrificial circle, thence the hill which protects the north of the village of Gajasele, descending to the big rock; again facing east, the row of medical plants, then the kadapaltigala banyan tree; again north-east, the pond at the tri-junction of Badaneguppe, Dasanur and Polma, the tamarind tree at the paddy fields by the sluice, and so to the level red mound which joins the eastern boundary.

Witnesses thereto: Perbbakkavana, the man who is a friend in all things to the Ganga royal family; Marugareya Sendrika, Ganjenad Nirggunda Maniyugureya, Nandyala Simbaladapa, servants.

Country witnesses: Tagadur Kulugovar, Ganiganur Tagadar, Algodate Nandakar, Ummatur Bellurar and Alageyar, Badaneguppe Jhamsanda-Bellurar and Perggiviyar.

Whoso takes away land presented by himself or by another is born a worm in ordure for sixty thousand years. The earth has been enjoyed by many kings and Saka kings; whosesoever at any time is the land, his at that time is the fruit. The property of the gods is a dreadful poison; call not poison poison, poison kills a single person, but a gift to the gods (if seized) destroys sons and grandsons. Merit is a common bridge for kings, this do ye support from age to age, O kings, thus does Ramabhadra beseech the kings who come after him.

Visvakarmma's writing.

2. Biliur stone Inscription of Satyavakya, 888 A.D.

Translation -

Prosperity to the Jina-sasana.

Of the years expired since the time of the Saka king, the eight hundred and ninth year being current.

Be it well. Satyavakya-Kongunivarmma-dharmma-maharajadhiraja, boon lord of Kovalala-pura, lord of Nandagiri, in the eighteenth year of srimat-Permmanadi's anointing to the kingdom, on the auspicious fifth day of the month Phalguna, to Sivanandi-siddhantabhatara's disciple Sarvvanandi-deva, for the Satyavakya Jina temple of the Penne kadanga, Permmanadi gave the twelve hamlets of Biliur in Peddoregare, free of entry from all feet.

They of the Ninety-six Thousand, the five tributary chiefs, the seventy of Beddoregare, and the eight householders are witnesses to this.

They of the Male Thousand, the Five Hundred, and the five ? garland-makers are guardians of this.

Whoso destroys this destroys Baranasi, a thousand Brahmans and a thousand tawny cows, and is guilty of the five great sins.

Sedoja's writing.

Biliur will bring eighty gadyanas of gold and eight hundred (measures) of paddy.

3. Kotur stone Inscription of Satyavakya, about 890 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. Satyavakya-Kongunivarmma-dharmma-maharajadhiraja, boon lord of Kuvalala-pura, lord of Nandagiri, srimat-Permmanadi: when on Jedala Ereyangagavunda's son he bound the Permmadi-vattam, the order for the estate granted was as follows: the fixed land-rent forty gadyanas of gold, and of seed paddy one hundred (measures) of paddy; thus for all time was a decree granted.

Buvayya's letters.

Prosperity. Kalnad for Ereyanga. Great good fortune.

4. Peggur stone Inscription of Satyavakya, 978 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. Of the hundreds of years expired since the time of the Saka king, the 899th, the year Isvara being current.

Be it well. Satyavakya-Konginivarmma-dharmma-maharajadhiraja, boon lord of Kolala-pura, lord of Nandagiri, srimat-Rachamalla-Permmanadi, within that year, on the Nandisvara talpa day of the bright fortnight of Phalguna.

Be it well. When the valiant one adorned with a powerful right arm, the abode of his sword, vigorous in seizing the priceless pearls scattered from the frontal globes of the troops of proud elephants of all his enemies, his elder brother's warrior, a friend of the poor, srimat-Rakkasa was ruling Beddoregare;

Prosperity to the Jina-sasana. A resident of sri-Belgola, srimat-Anantaviryyayya, the beloved disciple of sri-Gonasena-pandita-bhattaraka, who was the beloved disciple of sri-Birasena-siddhanta-deva, acquired Peggadur and the new trench, secure against obstruction.

Witnesses to it: They of the Ninety-six Thousand, the five tributary chiefs, the Peddoregare seventy, and the eight householders.

Guardians of this: The four Malepar (or hill chiefs), the Five Hundred, and the five ? garland-makers.

Whoso destroys Sripurusha-maharaja's gift destroys Banaras, a thousand Brahmans and a thousand tawny cows, and is guilty of the five great sins. Whoso protects this acquires great merit.

Chandanandiyayya's writing. Grant of the Perggadur basadi.

5. Palur stone Inscription, about 1371 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. Fortune. Doing obeisance to Vinayaka the all-learned guru, and to the goddess Sarasvati, so far as I am able an auspicious sasana will I make.

Be it well. Fortune. The disciple of Avidyamrityu-bhattaraka of the auspicious Purushottama-parshad, Bodharupa-Bhagavar, had this stone Sasana made for (the god) Mahadeva of Palayur. That whoso among the Srivaishnavas of the Eighteen countries, the Valanjiyar (merchants) of the Eighteen countries, the arm-bearing Thousands of the Eighteen countries, or the Brahmanas of the Eighteen nadus, seeing it, will dutifully maintain it, is this stone sasana set up.

Whoso does not pay as laid down by the amachchan after examination of the temple and the requirements of the worship, incurs the penalty of the man who murders his own father, or takes to wife his own mother, or murders the king of the very nadu in which he was born, or cuts off the nose of him who having bound on the right side seizes on the left, or marries a woman within the prohibited degrees of relationship.

The Valanjiyar of the Eighteen countries and others will have the daily expenses and other provisions noted in the treasury accounts of the temple read out once a year, and see that each item mentioned therein which has been omitted to be carried out is properly conducted as directed.

6. Bhagamandala stone Inscription, about 1371 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. Fortune. Doing obeisance to the guru by devotion, Brihaspati (Jupiter) being in conjunction with Kanya (Virgo), in the great month named Vrischika (Scorpio), on the day following Brihaspati's (that is on Fiiday), a universal sasana, a sasana for the guru, who is a form of joy, will I, Bodharupa, make even at the holy Bhagandasrama also.

When Melpundi-Kunniyarasa was ruling the nadu, Bodharupa-Bhagavar-arasu of the auspicious Purushottama-parshad, with others, had a copper plate engraved. Whoever stops for a day the daily expenses laid down in the plate, whether male or female, including Kunniyarasa (himself), violates the order of the king ruling this nadu. The penalty for such violation for one day is 12 kanam and twice the offerings for the god; and when continued for a whole week, 12 kalanju of gold of 7 touches to the king.

There will be 17 perpetual lamps. The quantity of rice to be supplied by the podaval for daily offerings, etc., is 26 nali. For the high oblation there will be 2 nali, and for flowers 4 nali. There will also be supplied daily 32 garlands of flowers and 6 lamps in the month of Vrischika.

Whoso does not pay as laid down by the amachchan after examination of the temple and the requirements of the worship, shall be looked upon as a traitor conspiring to murder the king of the very nadu in which he was born, and incurs the penalty of the man who cuts off the nose of him who having bound on the right side seizes on the left, and of one who takes to wife a woman within the prohibited degrees of relationship. Should the king be indifferent towards a man who does not pay the above fine, even after seeing and hearing him, the people of his nadu will curse him.

The people have to perform five items of service, of which the Mahabharata is one. If even a single item of the expenses is stopped, the penalty shall be 2.5 kanam for every day.

May the arm-bearing Thousands of the Eighteen countries and the Valanjiyar protect the Vaganda temple. May the ascetics and the king ? prosper.

Whatever is omitted here may be found in the treasury register and the copper plate.

Pakandala-ayari's writing.

7. Anjanagiri Jain stone Inscription, 1544 A.D.

Translation -

Obeisance to sri-Santinatha. Be it free from obstruction. Be it fortunate. May it prevail, the auspicious supreme profound syad-vada, a fruit-bearing token, the doctrine of the lord of the three worlds, the Jain doctrine.

Be it well. Of the sri-Mula-sangha, Desi-gana, Pustaka-gachcha, Kundakundanvaya, and Ingulesvara circle, a bee intoxicated from the lotus feet of Gummata-Jinesvara, the lord of the auspicious Belugula-pura, promoter of the religious merit of the time, (was) Dharmacharya, whose titles were as follows: nourishing the groups of lotuses the learned, he at the same time drove away the darkness from the minds of evil-speakers, proud as the tortoise that bears up the earth, upholding the character of a Digambara shining ornament, he ever protected the ruddy goose the Bhavyas (or Jains); thus was the sun Pandita-deva ever distinguished with the rays his gentle speech.

Be it well. The auspicious Acharya of the circle of the royal rajagurus, the great lord of powerful orators, a Brahma of royal speakers, emperor of all the learned, preserver of the life of Ballala-Raya, distinguished with these and many other titles, was srimad-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva; the disciple of whose disciple's disciple was srimad-Abhinava-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva; whose beloved disciple, his elder brother's disciple, srimad-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva's fellow-student, srimad-Santikirtti-deva, in the Saka year 1466 expired, the year Krodhi being current, on the 15th of the bright fortnight of Kartika, caused to be written a stone inscription as follows:

His guru srimad-Abhinava-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva, when, for the promotion of religious merit in the Kali age, Santi-tirthesvara and Anantanatha-svami themselves came and manifested themselves from the Suvarnavati river in the Saka year 1453, the year Vikritu, in Chaitra, having paid a visit to the basadi of Santinatha-svami who dwells on the summit of Anjanagiri, and made on the crest of the hill a basadi of wood, in the year Khara, in the month Chaitra, he caused it to be consecrated by the hand of his own younger brother Konasanagudda Santopadhyaya, and left instructions for the erection of a stone basadi.

After that, in the following year Krodhi, the 15th of the bright fortnight of Kartika, the stone work done to the foundation and the haladhares were as follows: to all the halaru of Bemmatti Butanhalli and Maganakere belonging to Nanjarayapattana, paid for stone work ga 200 honnu; to Adi-Sri-Avvagal of Hanasoge for having the stone work of the inner shrine done by Bhujabali-Sri-Avvagal of Ammana-Hosahalli, paid ga 30 honnu; to his guru srimad-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva for two sets of three haladhare, and for a curtain for the centre door at the one time of the offering, paid ga 50; and for a curtain at the distribution of food ga ? 50.

In the year Subhakritu, the 15th of the bright fortnight of Phalguna, all the halaru the Kannadiga halaru and Nanadesi halaru of Bidire and Sitalamalige for (the god) Santisvara of Anjanagiri made a dharma and had it written in their dharma sasana, saying the 81 pana due for the footpath that we have built, we will give for distribution of food. Whoso fail in this dharma are guilty of murdering cows and Brahmans.

In the Saka year 1465, the year Subhakritu, the 13th of the bright fortnight of Chaitra, Wednesday, the Vrishabha-lagna, the family consecration was performed of the three sets of deharagalu (possibly bodyguards). For a danasale the price of the Hallivayalu paddy field, 70 ga, and the sum given to the kolayaru for work at the new paddy field, 50 ga, both together an outlay of 120 ga, was received from srimad-Charukirtti-Pandita-deva's disciples Adi-Sri-Avvagal of Hanasoge and Bhujabali-Sri-Avvagal, 24 ga; Basavapatna Anantamati-Avagal paid through Nemi-Sri-Avvagal 24 ga; Muddi-setti's Vijayi paid through Sri-Avvagal 10 ga; through Muluganahalli Adyakka was paid 12 ga; from Haruva-setti and Vijeyana-setti, 30 ga; from Kannanur Devaramma-setti, 12 ga; 

Three usual imprecatory verses.

That the dharma here made may endure as long as sun and moon has it been engraved in a Sasana. Great good fortune. Sri, Sri.

8. Mullur Epitaph of Gunasena, 1064 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. Of the hundreds of years elapsed since the time of the Saka king, the 986th, the year Krodhi, being current, on the 9th of the dark fortnight of Chaitra in that year, Tuesday, under the Purvva-Bhadrapada nakshatra, at the rise of Mina (Pisces).

Be it well. Having crossed completely over the deep ocean of nectar, the agama which issued from the lotus mouth of the holy Arbad-paramesvara parama-bhattaraka, whose lotus feet are illumined by the rows of gems set in the crowns of all the gods and demon lords, Srimad Gunasena pandita-deva gained the abode of Moksha-Lakshmi.

His guru, skilled in unfolding the essence of the siddhanta, Pushpasena-vratindra; his eminent sangha, the Nandi-sangha; lord of the Dravila-gana of the great Arungulamnaya; proficient in the supreme arhantya and other the three jewels, all the great science of grammar, agama and others, and the six established systems of logic; thus was the vratipati Gunasena-aryya, praised of aryyas.

9. Mullur Pillar inscription of Rajendra-Kongalva and Rajadhiraja-Kongalva's Mother, 1058 A.D.

Translation -

Written by Dharmma-setti. Be it well. In the 980th Saka year, the year Vilambi, at the time of the uttarayana-sankranti, sri-Rajendra-Kongalva, for the basadi his father had had made, granted in Haruvanahalli, Arakanahalli, and Niduta godu 3 khanduga, and similar grants in other villages (named), with the oil from one oil mill.

Sri-Rajadhiraja-Kongalva's mother, Pochabbarasi, had (the grant) made to her guru Gunasena-pandita-deva, of the Dravila-gana, Nandi-sangha and Arungal-anvaya, and given with pouring of water.

Whoso takes away land given by himself or by another is born a worm in ordure for sixty thousand years.

10. A Virakal from Mullur, 1296 A.D.

Translation -

Om. Obeisance. Be it well. In the reign of, with all titles, the mandalika-Narayana, the champion who put to flight Maleya, a cage of adamant to refugees, sri- Harihara-Deva Chola-Deva, in the year Durmmukhi, on the 5th of the bright fortnight of Chaitra, Monday, when Beluhu-nad Goddumbadi, Mulivaraditya-nad Mallikarjjuna, Nidita Menasa, and others the whole nad, uniting, marched to the Mullur fort and besieging it, were scaling the fort, Boppa-gaudi's (son) Malleya, fighting the Mullur fort, hewing down the barrier and slaying, fell in the crooked entrance. On his falling, the three hundred men of the villages especially of Masavi, uniting, gave as a vira-sese for him 3 paddy-fields in the Makove land of the Mullur paddy-fields, and 5 paddy-fields in Hidijagala; these eight paddy-fields Boppagaudi's (sons) Malaiya and Madaiya having exchanged for the new amani tank and 9 ga, the Masavi village united and made over to them, free of all imposts. These boundaries are fixed.

This stone was made by Kengolali Bachachari's son Bairoja. The Kopana-tirttha senahova, Sateya, wrote the letters of this sasana. Great good fortune. Sri. Sri.

11. The Malambi stone of the time of Rajakesarivarma-Permanadigal, 1004 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. The sun in the sky the Chola-kula which was like the stem of the tree of paradise the Solar race, the friend of the virgin daughter of Kavera (that is, the Kaveri river) devoted to removing the sins of all people, the great Chola king Rajakesarivarmma-Permmanadigal, to Manija, who in the battle of Panasoge had massed (his forces) and fought, saying I will not return till they are completely put down, so that those who opposed him died, of his great grace, saying to bind a patta on him and give him a nad, sent word to Panchavan-maraya, who bound on him a patta (inscribed with the title) as Kshatriya-sikhamani Kongalva and gave him Malavi [now Malambi].

To this, gavunda-Rachamma's family are witnesses - Kannavangala Aditya-gavunda, and..galani Nanniya Meru, Kelane...cha-gavunda, Nallur Ereyangagavunda, (the rest is effaced).

12. Vira-Sasana from Yadur, 1095 A.D.

Translation -

Be it well. In the 1017th Saka year, the year Yuva, the second of the bright fortnight of the month Sravana, Sunday, the sriman maha-mandalesvara, chief lord of Tripura, sun to the lotus the Balindra-kula, champion of the Four-faced (Brahma), a cage of adamant to refugees, a lion to the elephant his enemies, a Bhima of the powerful, a Rama in war, a pleasure garden of the Malepas (or hill chiefs), praised by the eulogists, plunderer of foreign territory, his father's warrior, his head at the feet of Siva, an ocean of truth, a saw to the heart of his enemies, a Rakkasa in war with kings, with these and many other titles, Duddharasa, born to Hitteyarasa and Junjala-Devi, being of great might and valour, possessed of fresh youth, the beloved of Vijaya-Lakshmi (the goddess of victory), protecting Maleya, terrifying and driving away his enemies, casting them out of their forts, an incarnation of prowess (or a Virabhadra), the Kali-yuga Yama, protecting and ruling Samhatha-nad, Pakuvadi and other places, having fifteen horses, fifty male servants, two hundred and fifty strong men, forty five retainers of good family, and a retinue of many subjects guards relatives and landed proprietors, on the application of his lawful wife Chikala-Devi, ....... having the Raja(samudra) tank built, and the . . erected, having set up a chatram for holy Brahmans, having caused rice fields to be made at the river, and brightening many acts of dharmma, when he gained the Siva-loka (died), his brother Jujarasa, out of friendship performing his obsequies, had this vira-sasana written by Molate Duddha-malla, minister for peace and war, and senabhova Rajimayya's son Bamma-deva. 

Whoso contemns the rice fields that Duddharasa thus caused to be made, has slain cows and Brahmans in Banarasi. Great good fortune. Sri. Sri.

Source: Coorg Inscriptions, Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. I by Lewis Rice

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coorg Inscriptions - Gangas

The earliest of the inscriptions in Coorg show that this country formed part of the territory of the Gangas, a line of kings who ruled over Mysore from about the 2nd to the 11th century. Their kingdom was called Gangavadi, and their capital, at first Kuvalala or Kovalala (Kolar), was removed in the 3rd century to Talakad on the Kaveri, in the south-east of the Mysore District. The dynasty was founded by two Jain princes of the Ikshvaku (Solar) race, who came from the North, and were aided by the Jain acharya Simhanandi whom they met at Perur, still distinguished as Ganga-Perur (in the Kadapa District).

By name, the Gangas seem to be connected with the Gangaridae or tribes of the Ganges valley who, according to Greek and Roman accounts of the times of Alexander the Great and Seleucus Nicator, were subjects of Chandra-Gupta, the founder of the Maurya dynasty of Pataliputra (now Patna on the Ganges). Jain traditions represent him as ending his life at Sravana-Belgola in Mysore. The Gangaridae are mentioned by Ptolemy, and the Latin authors Virgil, Valerius Flaccus, and Curtius also make reference to them. Pliny writes of the Gangaridae Calingae or Gangas of Kalinga (Orissa and neighbouring parts), where there was an important line of Ganga kings in the 7th and 8th centuries, and where Ganga kings ruled down to as late as the 16th century. But the Gangas of Mysore were the original line, and the Gangadikaras, who still form the largest section of the agricultural population of Mysore, represent their former subjects, this name being a contraction from Gangavadikara.

Putting together the discovery of various coincident items, the following appears to have been the state of affairs. The Ganga king Avinita (whose mother was a Kadamba princess, the sister of Krishnavarmma) married the Punnad Raja's daughter, and had by her his son Durvvinita. This son he set aside (from the succession) in favour of another son (no doubt born of a different mother), and the latter obtained the Kongani (or Ganga) crown from (or with the support of) the Pallava and Rashtrakuta kings. Nevertheless, Lakshmi (the goddess of sovereignty) came to Durvvinita of her own accord, and he on his part entered into alliance with the Chalukya prince, giving him his daughter in marriage. The son born of this union was Jayasimha-Vallabha. Durvvinita next seized Kaduvetti (the Pallava king) on the field of battle and placed Jayasimha-Vallabha on his hereditary throne. And he in his turn made good the Chalukya supremacy for the time being by defeating the Rashtrakuta, the son of Krishna, but was eventually, it appears, slain in an encounter with Trilochana-Pallava.

Source: Coorg Inscriptions, Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. I by Lewis Rice

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coorg Inscriptions - Kadambas

During the British rule, a number of inscriptions were unearthed and deciphered. The earliest express mention of the Kodavas that has been met with in inscriptions is in 1174, in the time of the Hoysala king Vira-Ballala. They are also mentioned in 1722, in the time of Chikka Deva-Raja of Mysore. But the name Kudakam (Coorg) apparently occurs in Tamil literature as far back as the 2nd century.

According to the Kaveri Purana, Kodavas are supposed to be the descendants of a Kadamba prince named Chandravarmma. The origin and rise of the Kadambas is described in the fine old inscription on a pillar at Talagunda in the Shikarpur taluq of Mysore. According to this, a Brahman student in the agrahara of Sthanakundur (Talagunda) was the progenitor of the royal line. He went to the Pallava capital (Kanchivaram) in order to complete his studies, but owing to a violent quarrel there with Pallava horsemen, he resolved, for the purpose of revenging the insults he had received as a Brahman, to become a Kshattriya. Training himself in the use of arms, he escaped to the forests leading to Sriparvata (Karnul District), where he became so powerful, levying tribute from the great Bana (or Brihad-Bana) and other kings, that the Pallavas found it impossible to put him down. They therefore resolved to recognize him as a king, and installed him in a territory extending to the Western Ocean. He is known as Mayuravarmma. Of his successors, one of the most distinguished was Kakustha, whose daughters were given in marriage to the Gupta and other kings. The reference is probably to Samudra-Gupta, who made an expedition throughout the South, as recorded on the pillar at Allahabad. Another daughter was apparently given to the Ganga king of Mysore. The Kadambas were subdued by the Chalukyas from the North in the 6th century, but held subordinate positions for several centuries later. It can be seen from the inscriptions that Kadamba states existed in the 11th century in the country now called Manjarabad, in the north of Coorg; and in the 10th to the 12th century in Bayalnad, now called Wynad, to the south of Coorg; as well as in Hangal and Goa.

Of the Kadambas of Manjarabad there is an inscription in Coorg itself dated in 1095. It relates to a king named Duddharasa, and is a vira-sasana erected to his memory by his brother Jujarasa. Duddha is described as a maha-mandalesvara, lord of Tripura, sun to the Balindra-kula, a pleasure-garden of the Malepas (or hill chiefs), his father's warrior (ayyan-ankakdra), and has other titles. He protected Maleya (Malabar), and was governing Samhutha-nad, Pakuvadi and other places; having 15 horses, 50 male servants, 250 strong men (ekkatigaru), 45 retainers of good family, and a retinue of many subjects, guards, relatives, and landholders. He was the son of Hitteyarasa and Junjala-Devi. At the request of his wife Chikkala-Devi, he had a tank made. He also endowed Brahmans, and formed rice-fields at the river. The inscription was apparently composed by Molate-Duddhamalla, his minister for peace and war, and written by the senabova's son Bamma-deva.

Source: Coorg Inscriptions, Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol. I by Lewis Rice

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Coorg Forts

There were mainly five forts in Coorg - the Fort at Mercara, and the forts at Kushalnagar, Beppunad, Bhagamandala and Palupare which are no more in preservation.

Mercara Fort is still in pretty good preservation. The fortress was originally built by Muddu Raja Wodeyar in, 1680 or thereabout, and then consisted probably of mud walls, but it was rebuilt with stone by Tippu Sultan, who called it Jaffarabad. It was held by his generals till 1790, when Jaffar Ali Beg evacuated the place and left it with all its guns and ammunition to the Raja, Dodda Vira Rajendra. The entrance on the east is intricate and circuitous and guarded by three successive gates, which close in the space that is now occupied by public buildings. On the left side of the third gate there is a shrine erected against the wall, dedicated to Ganapati. Within the Fort itself, there is in the centre the palace, to the left and in front of it the English church, to the right the quarter-guard and armoury, and behind the palace the powder magazine. The English church stands near the place which was formerly occupied by a temple dedicated to Virabhadra but which was demolished in 1855.

The Fort at Kushalnagar (Fraserpet) was built by Tippu Sultan. It was taken by the Coorgs in June 1789 under Dodda Vira Rajendra, who sacked and burnt the place. When in 1846-1848 the fine bridge over the Kaveri was constructed, the ruins of the Fort supplied excellent building material. The Fortress at Armeri in Beppunad was razed to the ground in August 1789. Bhagamandala Fort, where Tippu seized some 5,000 Coorgs with their families, whom he sent into Mysore in 1785 and forcibly coverted to Islam, was invaded by Dodda Vira Rajendra in 1790 and taken after five days' siege. The Raja himself fired the first cannon from the hill of Mumbaratu. During the bombardment three copper tiles of the devastana were destroyed by a cannon shot, but Dodda Vira Rajendra replaced them by four tiles made of silver. The Papare Fort (Palu-Pare) on the Kire river, a tributary of the Lakshmantirtha, in Hatgatnad in Kiggatnad taluk, in which there are also the ruins of a temple, is said to have been built by Kolli-Ninga and Benne-Krishna of the Bedar or hunter tribe. It was destroyed by Tippu Sultan's armies.

Source: Mysore and Coorg, Vol. III by Lewis Rice