A land of chivalry and pride, a life of solitary splendour, rich food and spices is in short termed Coorg. Smell the coffee, taste the oranges, flavour with cardamom and savor the honey. Popularly termed as the Scotland of India

Saturday, 22 March, 2008

Kodava Hockey Festival

The clan of Kodava in the Indian state of Karnataka have a long history of association with the game of Hokey. The district of Kodagu which is the land of the Kodavas is considered as the cradle of Indian hockey. More than 50 People from kodava community have represented India in international hockey tournaments, out of which 7 have also participated in Olympics.B P Govinda, M P Ganesh, M M Somaiya, C S Poonacha and Arjun Halappa are some of the prominent Kodavas who have represented India. The passion for hockey in Kodagu is so much that more than 200 families participate in an annual hockey festival. This festival is recognised as one of the largest field hockey tournaments in the world and has been referred to the Guinnes Book .However it has already found a mention in the Limca Book of Records, which is an Indian variant of the Guinness Book.
The Kodava hockey festival was started in the year 1997 and was the brainchild of 69 year old Pandanda Kuttappa who was a first division hockey referee and an ex-employee of Stat Bank of India. He conceived the idea of creating a platform in which the different Kodava families can get together. Realising the passion of hockey in Kodagu, he decided that a hockey festival would be a good event to bring Kodavas together. He also chose the hockey festival because he was disturbed about the growth of junior hockey players from Kodagu.The finances required for the inaugural tournament were provided by Kuttappa himself. The response however was lukewarm and this tournament held at Karada and called as Pandanda Cup attracted only around 60 families. Some rules were framed which included that all the team members must belong to the same family (surname) and participate in a full hockey attire. Even women could be a part of the team and it was left to the woman to decide whether she wants to represent the father's family or that of the husband's.
After the inaugural tournament, an academy called as The Kodava Hockey Academy was started to oversee and have the final say in all matters related to the future tournaments. Each subsequent tournament would be organised annually by a different Kodava family and the name of the family was given as the name of the tournament. The organising family was mainly responsible for arranging the finances and infrastructure needed for the festival. The cost was recovered from the sponsors and raffle tickets. Kodava families which participated in the tournament also shared a part of the cost depending on their capacity and will. The response to the tournament grew year by year and reached a maximum in the year 2003 in which 280 teams participated for the Kaliyanda Cup at Napoklu. The maximum women participation was in the year 2000 when 30 women took part in the Cheppudira Cup held at Ponnampet. The opening and closing ceremonies are held with pomp and splendour and various dances and martial arts of Kodavas are demonstrated. The tournament is inaugurated by a guest by doing a pass-back of the hockey ball using a silver hockey stick. Stalls setup around the venue do brisk business because of the large crowds that come to view the matches. However, unsavory incidents like roughing up of referees and clashes between players and supporters of opposing teams have marred this tradition a bit.

Bhagamandala is a pilgrimage place in Kodagu, Karnataka, in India. It is situated on the river Kaveri in its upstream stretches. At this place, the Kaveri is joined by two tributaries, the Kannika and Sujyoti rivers. It is considered sacred as a river confluence (kudala or sangama, in Kannada and Sanskrit respectively).
It is a common practice for pilgrims to take a dip in the sangama and perform rituals to their ancestors before proceeding to Talakaveri, the birthplace of Kaveri. During Tula Sankramana which falls on October 17th or 18th, pilgrims assemble here in large numbers.
A short distance from the sangama, there is a famous temple known as Sri Bhagandeshwara temple, where Bhagandeshwara (Ishwara), Subramanya, Mahavishnu and Ganapati are installed. Thus this is also known as Bhagundeshwara Kshetra, from which the name Bhagamandala is derived. The temples in this area are built in Malayali style which is also similar to the temples in Nepal.
During 1785-1790, the area was occupied by Tipu Sultan. He renamed Bhagamandala to Afesalabad. In 1790 King Dodda Vira Rajendra took Bhagamandala back into an independent Kodagu kingdom.
Bhagamandala is located about 33 km from the district headquarters Madikeri and is connected by paved roads from Madikeri, Virajpet and nearby places in Kerala. Government and private buses are available all of these routes.
A short distance from Bhagamandala is the temple at Padi,which houses the deity Lord Igguthappa,considered by many Kodavas to be the most sacred shrine in their homeland.
Mt.Thavoor is a towering peak overlooking Bhagamandala,and Mt.Koppatti,which may be considered it's twin peak,is nearby,and both these serve as fantastic trekking routes for anyone wishing to savour the mesmerising beauty of the Shola forest range.

Saturday, 7 July, 2007

Nagarhole National Park

The place derives its name from the winding river - Nagarhole meaning "snake river" - which flows through the park. The 640 sq km of gently undulating terrain at the foothills of the Brahmagiri hills is covered with thick tropical forest, grassy swamps and numerous rivers and streams. The park and animal life is part of the country's first "bio-sphere reserve". The Forest Department conducts tours along well-defined routes for tourists, in the early mornings and evenings. One can be sure of seeing the bison, elephant, spotted deer, sambhar, barking deer, wild boar, mongoose, peakcock, jungle fowl and many other birds and animals.
Lucky people may see a tiger or panther or even a King cobra. Both trekking and going by private vehicles is allowed, though permission has to be taken first. Huts have been built for those who wish to stay in the wilds. It has recently been renamed 'Rajiv Gandhi National Park.' Gentle slopes and shallow valleys surround it on all sides. Huge herds of Asian Elephants flock here together and it is blessed with wildlife abundance. You find a variety of trees and shrubs often making it a sanctuary for illegal timber traders. Among reptiles, the marsh crocodile, monitor lizard, rock python and several other species can be found. Aquatic and terrestrial tortoises, frogs, toads and tree frogs and a myriad insects, including some very colourful butterflies, adorn this lovely southern jungle of India.


Talacauvery t he worshipping Goddess of Kodagu is Mother Cauvery and the birthplace of the River Cauvery, stood shrouded in mist even at midday. That combined with the reverence with which the clutch of pilgrims who had turned up went about the place gave it a very mystic atmosphere.Here emerges river Cauvery and gushes her way through Karnataka and Tamilnadu, sanctifying lakhs of hectares of land around her, ending her 760 km journey at Poompuhar in Tamilnadu to join Bay of Bengal.The Auspicious day 'Tula Sankrama' falls on October 17th every year, where the holy cauvery appears by a sudden upsurge of water in the 'Kundike' - the pond, while the pilgrims take a holy dip. There is no separate worshiping idol for Goddess Cauvery. The pooja is performed for the holy water in the holy 'Kundike". In Talacauvery stands the "Shiva Linga" installed by Sage Agasthaya. About 300 steps leads to the top of Brahmagiri Hill where the exquisite view of mother nature can be experienced.Kumkum, holy Threetha Prasadam etc. are available for the devotees here. Visitors are not allowed after 6. Night stopover is prohibited. There are quite a few buses plying from Madikeri - Bhagamandala- Talacauvery. The winding curves of the roads prompts one for cautious driving.

Wednesday, 4 July, 2007


The Coorg bride wears a traditional brocade sari draped in the typical Coorgi style. The bridal sari is handed down from generation to generation as an heirloom since it is supposed to bring good luck. A veil covers the bride's head. The groom wears an ornamental robe on top of a calf-length under garment. He also puts on a churidaar, fitting trousers. The turban on the head imparts a majestic look.Marriage ceremonies are performed without a Brahmin or puja. The elders bless the newly married couples.The dowry system is an unknown concept here. A unique characteristic is the serving of non-vegetarian dishes and liquor in the weddings of the Kodava community, which is rare among the Hindu community.The Coorg wedding is perhaps the only Hindu wedding ceremony where alcohol, dancing and meat eating, especially pork, are a must.A traditional Kodava wedding will have all the youngsters and the young at heart attired in the Kupya dress, dancing to beat of drums. Special Pork or Pandhi Curry and liquor keep the spirits high.The Kodava or Coorgi Wedding is unique and cannot be compared with any other community in the country. This is just the breaf information and there is lots and lots more that happens on the wedding day.