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Kodagu / Coorg
Is a small district of Karnataka state in southern India which has three taluks Madikeri, Somwarpet and Virajpet with Madikeri as the district headquarters. Area of Coorg is approx 4100 sq.km with a Length of 100km from Hemavathi river in North to Bhramagiri in South and Breadth of 60 Km from Sampaje in West to Kushalnagar in East.
Flora and fauna
Much of the district is cultivated. Characteristic scenery has rice fields in valley bases, with plantation crops with tree cover in the surrounding hills. The most common plantations are of coffee (especially C. robusta although some parts of south Coorg grow C. arabica); however many other crops are grown, including black pepper, cardamom, & teak. In some regions there is still natural forest, especially toward the forest reserves in the south.
The people of the district are of a number of distinct ethnic or caste origins. However, political and economic domination is with those who bear the name of the area, the Kodava. Other communities of Kodagu or Coorg are the Kodava Mophlas and the Bearys.
The Kodavas
The Kodava community numbers about 100,000 in the district, out of a total population of over 500,000. They are of unknown origin, and are ethnically distinct from the other people of the area. However, they have been long established in the region.
Kodagu / Coorg
Is a small district of Karnataka state in southern India which has three taluks Madikeri, Somwarpet and Virajpet with Madikeri as the district headquarters. Area of Coorg is approx 4100 sq.km with a Length of 100km from Hemavathi river in North to Bhramagiri in South and Breadth of 60 Km from Sampaje in West to Kushalnagar in East.

The names of Kodava people are characteristic and include a clan name. The clan is central to Kodava culture and families trace their lineage through clans. Marriage within a clan is discouraged. Kodavas have many cultural differences from other communities in southern India. Though they are nominally Hindu, Kodavas do not usually accept Brahmin priests, preferring that ceremonies are conducted by their own. The elders of the community play the role of the priests. The importance of fire god found in most of the hindu rituals is predominantly absent in the kodava culture. Usage of slokas and vedic chants is also not present.

There are distinctive dresses, the men wearing wraparound robes called the Kupya (now only seen at ceremonial occasions), and the women with a distinctive style of wearing the sari. They have many distinctive practices such as carrying ceremonial knives, and martial war dances. The culture also includes communal gatherings where drink, dance and special meat dishes seasoned with Garcinia are central attractions.
Other communities
The Yerava, or Ravula, live in Kodagu as well as in adjacent Kerala, where they are known as the Adiya. They are primarily Hindu agricultural workers. Among the other communities of Kodagu are the Heggades, cultivators from Malabar; the Ayiri, who constitute the artisan caste; the Medas, who are basket and mat-makers, and act as drummers at feasts; the Binepatta, originally wandering musicians from Malabar, now agriculturists; and the Kavadi, cultivators from Yedenalknad; all these groups speak Kodava Thak, and conform generally to Kodava customs and dress. Of the Tulu people, the Gaudas, who live principally along in western Kodagu, are the most important; they speak Tulu and wear the Kodava ethnic dress during ceremonies. Other castes and tribes are the Thiyas and Nairs, immigrants from Kerala; the Vellala, who are Tamils; and the Marathi. Of the Muslims the most numerous are the Moplahs [Emigrated from Kerala], and the Shaikhs.
Though Kodava language belongs to the Dravidian family, some have claimed that the Kodava people themselves may not be of Dravidian origin. It is possible that the language is independent of the ethnic origin. Languages can change over a period of time and ethnic groups have been known to shift to another language as their own. Kodavas might have given up their language and shifted to a new language. Such a language shift is a common phenomenon throughout the world. In India, Khasis belong to the Mongoloid ethnic group, but their language belongs to the Austro-Asiatic group. The Gonds are a Dravidian tribe, but a section among them has shifted to the Indo-Aryan language, Chattisgadhi. While the Bhils have been considered sometimes as belonging to the Dravidian family and sometimes belonging to the Munda stock, they speak an Indo-Aryan language called Bhili. These cases of the entire ethnic group switching to another language show that there is no inherent or necessary link between the language group and its ethnicity. It also clearly shows that no group can ever claim to be belonging to a pure race. In a sense, the entire Indian demography is one of racial admixture. It is only the language that may be used to distinguish one group from another.

Linguistically, Kodava shows some deviations from the rest of the Dravidian languages. To cite one example, Dravidian languages have 5 short and 5 long vowels. In addition to these vowels, Kodava has two more vowels, namely, /ï/ high central unrounded vowel and /ë/ mid central unrounded vowel which are also distinguished as short and long. (Balakrishnan, 1976).

These peculiarities and distinctness of Kodava had attracted the attention of the scholars even in the sixteenth century. However, they did not consider Kodava as an independent language. It was always considered as a dialect of Kannada, closer to Tulu (Ellis 1816), or closely related to Malayalam and Tamil (Moegling 1855). It was in early 20th century that the philologists and linguists recognized Kodava as an independent language.

Kodava/Coorgi is also the mother tongue of some other communities such as Airi, Male-Kudiya, Meda, Kembatti, Kapal, Maringi, Heggade, Kavadi, Kolla, Thatta, Koleya, Koyava, Banna, Golla, Kanya, Ganiga, and Malaya, living mainly in the Coorg region. Many of these communities have migrated into Coorg from Malabar during the period of Haleri Dynasty. There is no research done so far to find out the variation in Kodava language in terms of these communities.
As a rural region, most of its economy has been based on agriculture, plantations, and forestry. Kodagu is one of the more prosperous parts of Karnataka. This is based primarily on its production of coffee and other plantation products.

Rice is cultivated in the valleys. A variety of other agricultural crops are also grown. Plantations of coffee became a characteristic of the district through the 20th century. They are typically planted on hillsides too steep for rice growing, and using the shade of existing forests. It has provided much of the source of local wealth.

In recent years tourism of various types have started to become more important. In particular, plantation houses have been converted to take visitors, and walking and trekking holidays have become common.
The name
The name is Kodagu in standard transliteration. The name has alternative derivations. In one, it is said to be derived from the Kannada kudu, meaning steep or hilly. In the Puranas, Kodagu may be the land called Krodha desa, meaning 'Land of Anger' - the Kodavas here are described as Mleccha, meaning foreigners or barbarians. It is also said that Kodagu is derived from the word Kodava, Kod means 'give' and avva means 'mother', i.e mother Kaveri, the river Kaveri.

The form often used by Europeans, Coorg is derived from this, by a transformation of the retroflex '?' to 'r' (cf. Ma?ikeri to Mercara).

The people are called Kodava (sometimes pluralized as Kodavas in English). The people may also be called Coorgs or Coorgi in English. The name of the language is Kodava Takk.
The people are traditionally agriculturists and most of their rituals, traditions and festivities center around agriculture. Originally almost six months of their lives were spent in the fields, cultivating and harvesting and the rest of the six months was spent in hunting as a community sport, and also in guarding their fields from destructive wild animals. It is in this context that weapons have become an integral part of their culture.

There are three main festivals; the Festival of Arms or Kailpoldhu, Kaveri Shankaramana, and the harvest thanksgiving at Puttari (puthari). These three festivals fall during the period of September to December.
Kailpoldu is celebrated in the first week of September.. The priests in consultation with their temple documents determine the exact date of celebration, which falls between the 2nd and 4th of September. Kail means weapon or armory and Pold means worship. The day signifies the completion of "nati"- meaning the transplantation of the paddy crop.

Normally, during the months in which the family is engaged in the fields, all weapons are deposited in the "Kanni Kombre" or the prayer room. The festival also signifies the day that men should prepare to guard their crop from wild boars and other animals. Hence, on the Kailpoldu day, the weapons are taken out of the Pooja room, cleaned and decorated with flowers. They are then kept in the "Nellakki Nadubade" - the place of community worship.

All the members of the family have a bath and worship the weapons. Feasting and drinking follow. The eldest member of the family will hand over a gun to the senior member of the family, signifying the commencement of the festivities. The whole family assembles in the " Mand " (a open ground), where physical contests and sports including shooting are conducted. In the earlier days hunting and cooking of the wild animals was part of the celebration, but, these days the shooting skills are tested by firing at a coconut target in a tree.
Kaveri Shankaramana
This festival normally takes place in mid October. It is associated with the river Kaveri, which flows through the district, from its source at Talakaveri.

At a pre-determined time, a fountain from a small tank and fills the bigger holy tank at Talakaveri. People throng in thousands, and take a holy dip in this water. This water is filled in bottles and reaches every house in Kodagu and this is treated as Theertha - meaning holy water. This water is preserved in all Kodava houses, and a spoonful of this water is fed to the dying, in the belief that they will attain moksha (emancipation) and gain entry to heaven. - On the day, married women wearing new silk saris, perform puja to a vegetable cut in the form of the goddess Kaveri. This is decorated with flowers and gold ornaments. This is called the Kani Puje. Three sets of betel leaves and areca nut is kept in front of the goddess, with bunches of glass bangles. All the members of the family pray to the goddess by throwing rice and prostrating before the image. The elder members of the family ceremonially bless the younger. Then an older married woman draws water from the well and starts cooking. The menu of the day is dosa and vegetable curry ( usually pumpkin curry (kumbala kari) ) and payasa. Non-vegetarian food is not cooked on that day. This is the only festival wherein non veg is not prepared.
Puttari means new rice, and is the rice harvest festival (also called huttari in adjacent Kannada speaking country). This takes place in late November or early December. Celebrations and preparations for this festival, starts a week in advance.

On the Puttari day, the whole family assemble in their ain mane ( the common family house ) which is decorated with flowers and green mango and banana leaves. Specific foods are prepared(thambuttu puttari mean kari poli poli). Then the eldest member of the family hands a sickle to the head of the family, and one of the women leads a procession to the paddy fields, with a lit lamp in her hands. The path leading to the field is decorated. A gunshot is fired to mark the beginning of the harvest, with chanting of "Poli Poli Deva" (prosperity) by all the people present there. Then the symbolic harvesting of the crop starts. The paddy is cut and stacked and tied in odd numbers, and is then carried home, to be offered to the gods there. The younger people then burst crackers and revel, symbolising prosperity. Group of youngsters then visit the adjoining houses and show their dancing skills, and earn monetary gifts. A week later, these monetary gifts are all pooled and a community dinner of the entire village is celebrated. All the family members would gather for the dinner. Dinner would normally consist of meat dishes such as pork and fish curry. Alcoholic drinks are also served at such feasts

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