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Cukkemane or Kukkemane or Cuckemane is surname or a family name belonging to members of the Havyaka Brahmin Community. They belong to the Gautama gotra; they originate from and are mainly based in Kodagu (Coorg), Karnataka, a state in South India.
Origins of Cukkemane
Many centuries ago, a Brahmin family of Gautama gotra from Sagara taluka in Shimoga (Shivamogga) district in Karnataka migrated to the hamlet Saravu in Kodapadavu village in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. During a particular point in history, there was no male heir to continue the family. The then family members went to the Kukke Subramanya Temple & prayed to Lord Subramanya to bless them with a male heir. The bought home a Shiva Linga for daiy worship from the temple. Within the same temple complex, they also sought the blessings of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, with an assurance to him, that he would be the kuladevaru or Kuldevta of the family henceforth. A male heir was thus born and the family continued. Then on the descendents of this family identified themselves as belonging to Cukkemane or Kukkemane deriving it from "Kukke" - the name of the Lord of Subramanya & "Mane" - which in Kannada means house, therefore the name meant the House of the Lord Kukke Subramanya. Prior to accepting Lord Lakshmi Narasimha as the Cukkemane family deity, Goddess Sri Durgaparmeshwari was the Kuladevaru or the family deity. Therefore even today some members of the Cukkemane in Saravu, worship Lord Lakshmi Narasimha as the Mane Devaru - God of the House, at noon and Goddess Sri Durgaparameshwari as the kuladevaru - God of the Clan or family, at night.
History and myth and fact
It is said that centuries ago one of the ancestors of Cukkemane, was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and possessed a Shivalinga & worshipped it with a great devotion. As he sensed his life on earth nearing an end, he was worried as to who would perform the daily rituals and care for the lord at all times as he did. Possessed with this thought, he decided to instal this shivalinga in the garbha gudi - the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Subramanya in the Kukke Subramanya Temple. Having done so, when his time came, he died, content with the knowledge that the lord would be well taken care of. However, many years later, some jealous elements, made of with the linga and it was not found for some centuries, until about 250–150 years ago it was found in the forest behind the Kukke Subramanya Temple, and re-installed. However, certain sections do not agree with the earlier part of the story and just reiterate that the latter part of it, about the idol being found in the forest is true and that nothing else is associated with it. Yet, many members of the Cukkemane family pay a yearly visit to the Temple and perform prescribed rituals for Lord Subramanya along with this particular Shivalinga believing it to be installed there by their forefather. Rituals are also performed for Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and Adi Shesha.
Caste, language and belief
The Cukkemanes belong to the Havyaka Brahmin community of Hinduism & speak mainly in Hosa (new) Kannada as spoken in Bangalore, Mysore etc. & Havigannada (Havyaka Kannada) dialects. They belong to the Gautama gotra. They further follow and perform the rituals as per the Yajurveda among the four veda - the holy scriptures of the Hindus & are followers of the Advaita philosophy propounded by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. Among the Math they follow the Ramachandrapura Math and Pontiff head of the Math, Shree Shree Raghaveshwara Bharathi Mahaswamiji is the Kulaguru - the divine mentor, teacher & instructor to the family as to many other Havyaka families as well.
The Cukkemanes' primary occupation in bygone centuries was as per their birth into the Brahmin Community, pourohitya - priest. Since then the members have coursed through time & learning and acquiring new professional skills have gone on to various careers like pourohitya and agricultural landlords, coffee plantations etc., teachers and Government/revenue department jobs, lawyers, allopathic, homeopathic and Ayurvedic doctors, lawyers, judges, industrialists, military, naval & Air Force officers, engineers, bankers, Chartered Accountants, scientists, geologists, insurance agents, businessman, entrepreneurs, hotels/catering, research, jewellers and administrators. They are today still found in large numbers in Dakshina Kannada, mainly in Kodagu (Coorg) District, though many in the last 60 years have since migrated to other parts of India and the world.