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Kodagu district

  (Redirected from Coorg)

Kodagu (also known by its former name Coorg) is an administrative district in Karnataka, India. Coorg is home to the native speakers of the Kodava language.[3]

Kodagu district
Coorg district
Talakaveri aerial view
Talakaveri aerial view
Location in Karnataka
Location in Karnataka
Coordinates: 12°25′15″N 75°44′23″E / 12.4208°N 75.7397°E / 12.4208; 75.7397Coordinates: 12°25′15″N 75°44′23″E / 12.4208°N 75.7397°E / 12.4208; 75.7397
Country India
TalukasMadikeri, Somwarpet, Virajpet
 • Deputy CommissionerSreevidya P.I
 • Total4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi)
900 m (3,000 ft)
 • Total554,519
 • Density140/km2 (350/sq mi)
 • OfficialKannada
 • RegionalKodava, Arebhashe
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
571201 (Madikeri)
Telephone code+ 91 (0) 8272
Vehicle registrationKA-12
Lok Sabha constituencyMysore Lok Sabha constituency
ClimateTropical Wet (Köppen)
Precipitation2,725.5 millimetres (107.30 in)
Avg. summer temperature28.6 °C (83.5 °F)
Avg. winter temperature14.2 °C (57.6 °F)

Before 1956, it was an administratively separate Coorg State,[4] at which point it was merged into an enlarged Mysore State. In 2001 its population was 548,561, 13.74% of which resided in the district's urban centres, making it the least populous of the 30 districts in Karnataka.[5]



Map of South Indian states prior to the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. Kodagu (then called Coorg) is in dark green.

The words Kodagu (the land) and Kodava (the indigenous people, language and culture) come from the same roots, either meaning 'hills', or 'west', related to the Western Ghats' location. The Kodavas (Coorgs) are ethnically and culturally distinct people. For centuries, the Kodavas have lived in Kodagu cultivating paddy fields, maintaining cattle herds and carrying arms during war.[6] Historians agree that the Kodavas have lived in Kodagu for over a thousand years, hence they are the earliest agriculturists and probably the oldest settled inhabitants of the area.[7][8][9]

Rajas and SultansEdit

Kannada inscriptions speak of this region as being called Kudagu nad (parts of Kodagu, Western Mysore and Kerala) as well. Both the name of the natives and of the region are synonymous (Kodava-Kodavu; Kodaga-Kodagu; Coorgs-Coorg).[7] In 1398 AD, when Vijaynagar ruled South India, Mangaraja, a Kannada poet, wrote in his lexicon about the Kodavas saying that they were a warrior people who were fond of hunting game for sport.[7]

The Haleri dynasty, an offshoot of the Keladi Nayakas, ruled Kodagu between 1600 and 1834. When Linga Raja I of Haleri died, Hyder Ali imprisoned the royal family and took direct control of Kodagu. This enraged the Kodavas who took power back from Hyder Ali in 1782. In the same year, Hyder Ali died. In 1784, his son Tippu Sultan attacked Kodagu, while returning from Mangalore to Srirangapattana, his capital city.[10] The Coorg capital of Madikeri was renamed to Zafarabad by the Sultan in the meanwhile.[11] The Muslim descendants of the Kodavas who converted into Islam, after Tipu Sultan's army on various forays into Coorg are called Kodava Mappila.[12]

In 1788, Dodda Vira Rajendra of Haleri, who had been taken prisoner, escaped and defeated Tippu and recovered his kingdom. In 1790 Dodda Vira Rajendra signed a treaty with the British, who promised to protect his kingdom against Tippu’s onslaught. In 1792 Kodagu became independent of Mysore once again. In addition to the kings' samadhis (tombs), samadhis were built for the Diwans. Samadhis were built for army chief Biddanda Bopu, who was the commander-in-chief for the army of Dodda Vira Rajendra, and his son Biddanda Somaiah. On the samadhi of Biddanda Bopu, there is a plate carved in Kannada praising him for his bravery shown in the wars fought against Tipu Sultan.[13]

Coorg in British IndiaEdit

Later the British ruled Kodagu from 1834, after the Coorg War, until India's independence in 1947. A separate state (called Coorg State) until then, in 1956 Kodagu was merged with the Mysore State (now Karnataka).[10][13]

In 1834 the last of the Haleri Rajas Chikka Vira Raja fell out of favour with the British East India Company who then intervened by invading Kodagu. A short but bloody campaign occurred in which a number of British men and officers were killed. Near Somwarpet where the Coorgs were led by Mathanda Appachu the resistance was most furious. But this Coorg campaign came to a quick end when the Raja sent his Diwan Apparanda Bopu to surrender to the British and lead them from Kushalnagar into Madikeri. Thereafter Kodagu was annexed by the East India Company into British India, after deposing the Raja who was exiled.[14] Apparanda Bopu and Cheppudira Ponnappa were retained as the Dewans of Coorg.[13] British rule led to the establishment of educational institutions, introduction of scientific coffee cultivation, better administration and improvement of the economy.[15]

Guddemane Appaiah Gowda along with many other freedom fighters from different communities revolted against the British in an armed struggle which covered entire Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada. This was one of the earliest freedom movements against the British[16] called Amara Sulliada Swantantrya Sangraama[17] (Amara Sulya Dhange[16] formally called the 'Coorg Rebellion' by the British) started in 1837.[18][19][20][21]


Kodagu is located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. It has a geographical area of 4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi).[22] The main river in Kodagu is the Kaveri (Cauvery), which originates at Talakaveri, located on the eastern side of the Western Ghats, and with its tributaries, drains the greater part of Kodagu.

The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kasaragod district in west and Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and Wayanad district of Kerala to the south. It is a hilly district, the lowest elevation of which is 120 metres (390 ft) above sea-level. The highest peak, Tadiandamol, rises to 1,750 metres (5,740 ft), with Pushpagiri, the second highest, at 1,715 metres (5,627 ft).


Kodavas, 1875, from: "The people of India: A series of photographic illustrations..." (New York Public Library).

According to the 2011 census of India, Kodagu has a population of 554,762,[5] roughly equal to the Solomon Islands[23] or the US state of Wyoming.[24] This ranks it 539 out of 640 districts in India in terms of population.[5] The district has a population density of 135 inhabitants per square kilometre (350/sq mi).[5] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 1.13%.[5] Kodagu has a sex ratio of 1019 females for every 1000 males,[5] and a literacy rate of 82.52%.[5]

Kodava Takk is the spoken language native to Kodagu. Are Bhashe, a dialect of Kannada, is native to Sulya in Dakshina Kannada. Both use Kannada script for literature.[25] Less frequent are Tulu speakers Billavas, Mogaveeras, Bunts, Goud Saraswat Brahmins.[26]

Kodava speakersEdit

According to Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy (Karnataka's Kodava Literary Academy), apart from Kodavas, and their related groups, the Amma Kodavas, the Kodava Peggade (Kodagu Heggade) and the Kodava Maaple (Kodava Muslims), 18 other smaller-numbered ethnic groups speak Kodava Takk in and outside the district including the Iri (Airi, or the carpenters and the village smiths), the Koyava, the Banna, the Kodagu Madivala (washermen), the Kodagu Hajama (barber, also called Nainda), the Kembatti Poleya (household servants and labourers) and the Meda (basket and mat weavers and drummers).[26]

Among other Kodava speaking communities are: the Heggades, cultivators from Malabar; the Kodava Nair, cultivators from Malabar; the Ayiri, who constitute the artisan caste; the Medas, who are basket and mat-weavers and act as drummers at feasts; the Binepatta, originally wandering musicians from Malabar, now farmers; and the Kavadi, cultivators settled in Yedenalknad (Virajpet). All these groups speak the Kodava language and conform generally to Kodava customs and dress.[25]

Kodagu Aarebashe Gowda peopleEdit

The Arebhashe gowdas,[27] or Kodagu Gowdas, and Tulu Gowdas, are an ethnic group of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. They live in Sulya (in Dakshina Kannada) and in parts of Somwarpet, Kushalanagar, Bhagamandala and Madikeri.

Muslims and ChristiansEdit

During the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1789–1792), one night in 1791, 5,000 Asadulai (convert) Kodava men, who were seized by Tipu Sultan at Coorg and other places, along with their families, all numbering 10,000 people, escaped from captivity in Seringapatam and returned to their native country (Coorg).[28][29] [30] [29] These converts remained Muslims as they didn't reconvert to Hinduism.[12] The descendants of these Muslims, inter-married with Mappilas of Kerala and Bearys of Tulu Nadu. In spite of their change in faith, they maintained their original clan names and dress habits and know Kodava takk, although now they do follow some MappilaBeary customs also. Today, many of them bear Kodava family names in Virajpet.[31][32]

Mangalorean Catholics, mostly descended from those Konkani Catholics who fled the roundup and, later, captivity by Tippu Sultan, were welcomed by Kodagu's king Raja Veerarajendra (himself a former captive of Tippu Sultan, having escaped six years of captivity in 1788) who realising their usefulness and expertise as agriculturists, gave them lands and tax breaks and built a church for them.[33]

Government and PoliticsEdit

The district is divided into the three administrative talukas:

Two members of the legislative assembly are elected from Kodagu to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, one each from the Madikeri and Virajpet. Kodagu, formerly part of the Kodagu-Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) constituency, is now part of the Kodagu-Mysore Lok Sabha parliamentary constituency.

Shri Pratap Simha, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, represents Kodagu-Mysore Parliamentary constituency. M P Appachu Ranjan represents the Madikeri constituency while K. G. Bopaiah represents the Virajpet constituency; they are from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Codava National Council and Kodava Rashtriya Samiti are campaigning for autonomy to Kodagu district.[34][35]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Kodagu district Profile". DSERT. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Kodava-speaking people seek one identity". The Hindu.
  4. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Coorg" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 91–92.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "District Census 2011". 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  6. ^ B. D. Ganapathy (1967). Kodavas (Coorgs), their customs and culture. copies available at Kodagu. p. 28. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Kamath, Dr. S. U. (1993). Karnataka State Gazetteer: Kodagu District. Bangalore: Government Press. p. 160.
  8. ^ K.S. Rajyashree. Kodava Speech Community: an ethnolinguistic study., October 2001
  9. ^ Bowring, L (1872). Eastern Experiences. London: Henry S. King. p. 240.
  10. ^ a b Lewis Rice. Mysore and Coorg gazette. p. 103.
  11. ^ Prabhu 1999, p. 223
  12. ^ a b Cariappa 1981, p. 136
  13. ^ a b c Hunter, Sir W. W. The Imperial gazetteer of India (1907). Great Britain: Oxford. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  14. ^ Richter, G (1870). Manual of Coorg. Stolz. p. 337. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  15. ^ Belliappa, C P (4 August 2015). "Call for freedom from a tiny village" (Bangalore). Deccan Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  16. ^ a b [1] Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ South Kanara, 1799–1860 By N. Shyam Bhatt
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Districts of India". Government of India. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  23. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 1 October 2011. Solomon Islands 571,890 July 2011 est.
  24. ^ "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. Wyoming 563,626
  25. ^ a b K S Rajyashree, Kodava speech community : An ethnolinguistic study
  26. ^ a b "Will Kodava find a place in Eighth Schedule". The Hindu.
  27. ^ Herbert Feis (December 1926). "The Mechanism of Adjustment of International Trade Balances". The American Economic Review. American Economic Association. 16 (4): 593–609. JSTOR 1.
  28. ^ Karnataka State Gazetteer: Coorg. Director of Print, Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. 1965. p. 70. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  29. ^ a b Moegling, H (1855). Coorg Memoirs: An Account of Coorg and of the Coorg Mission. p. 117. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  30. ^ Punganuri, Ram Chandra Rao (1849). Memoirs of Hyder and Tippoo: Rulers of Seringapatam, Written in the Mahratta language (Google e-book). p. 47. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  31. ^ Sandeep. "It's not to Hate Tipu but to Know the Truth". Sandeep Web. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  32. ^ Balakrishna, Sandeep (28 December 2013). Tipu Sultan-The Tyrant of Mysore. p. 108. ISBN 9788192788487. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  33. ^ Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians, Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, 1999, p. 229
  34. ^ "Codava National Council sets up global forum". The Hindu.
  35. ^ "Dharna staged for Kodagu State". The Hindu.

Further readingEdit

  • Belliappa, C. P. Tale of a Tiger's Tail & Others Yarns from Coorg. English.
  • Belliappa, C. P. Victoria Gowramma. English.
  • Bopanna, P. T. Kodagu: Mungaru Maleya Vismayada Nadu/ Discover Coorg. Kannada/ English.
  • Bopanna, P. T. Coorg State: Udaya-Pathana / Coorg State. Kannada/ English.
  • Ganapathy, B. D. Kodagu mattu Kodavaru. Kannada. 1962.
  • Ganapathy, B. D. Nanga Kodava. Kodava. 1973.
  • Murphy, Devrala. On a Shoestring to Coorg.
  • N Prabhakaran. Kutaku kurippukal (Coorg Notes). Kannur: Kairali Books.

External linksEdit