Friday, October 30, 2015


1. Place: Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) Appellation : Sankari Peetham Part of the body fallen : Heart Shakti :- Sankari devi

Shankari Devi temple is located on a hill top. Trikoneshwara temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. “Ravana Veddu” is the other name for the hill on which Lord Trikoneshwara temple is situated.

Trikoneshwara is one of the four important Shiva temples in Sri Lanka. The other three are in Keetheswaram, Muneeswaram and Galle.

The deity was worshipped more than 2500 years ago, even before Prince Vijay one of the first Kings who is said to have landed in Sri Lanka during 300 BC. The Trikoneshwara temple at its height of glory was one of the richest temples in the South. The ancient Shiva temple was a large structure on the rock. According to Archaeological and literary evidence, there were at least three temples on the hill top. The Gopurams of the temples were taller than one another and the tallest gopuram overseeing the Indian Ocean, had the main deity. The main temple itself was a huge structure with nearly 1000 pillars supporting the huge hall and many small mandaps.


Shakti Peetha 1

The Shakti Peetha (Sanskrit: शक्ति पीठ, Śakti Pīṭha, seat of Shakti) is a place of worship consecrated to the goddess Shakti or Sati, the female principal of Hinduism and the main deity of the Shakta sect. They are sprinkled throughout the Indian subcontinent.

The history of Daksha yagna and Shakti's self immolation had immense significance in shaping the ancient Sanskrit literature and even had impact on the culture of India. It led to the development of the concept of Shakti Peethas and there by strengthening Shaktism. Enormous stories in Puranas & other Hindu religious books took the Daksha yagna as the reason for its origin. It is an important incident in Shaivism resulting in the emergence of Shree Parvati in the place of Shakti Devi and making Shiva a grihastashrami (house holder) leading to the origin of Ganapathy and Subrahmanya.
Shakti Peethas are shrines or divine places of the Mother Goddess. These are places that are believed to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered throughout Aryavartha in sorrow. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. Each temple has shrines for Shakti and Kalabhairava, and mostly Shakti and Kalabharava in different Shakti Peeth have different names.

Some of the great religious texts like the Shiva Purana, the Devi Bhagavata, the Kalika Purana and the AstaShakti recognize four major Shakti Peethas (centers), like Bimala (Pada Khanda) (inside the Jagannath temple of Puri, Odisha), Tara Tarini (Sthana Khanda, Purnagiri, Breasts) (Near Berhampur, Odisha), Kamakhya Temple (Yoni khanda) (Near Guwahati, Assam) and Dakhina Kalika (Mukha khanda) (Kolkata, West Bengal) originated from the limbs of the Corpse of Mata Sati in the Satya Yuga

Apart from these four there are 51 other famous Peethas recognised by religious texts. According to the Pithanirnaya Tantra the 51 peethas are scattered all over India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Pakistan. The Shivacharita besides listing 51 maha-peethas, speaks about 26 more upa-peethas. The Bengali almanac, Vishuddha Siddhanta Panjika too describes the 51 peethas including the present modified addresses.

Monday, October 19, 2015

1000 Pillar Temple - Moodabidri

Thousand Pillar Temple, Moodabidri Near Mangalore

Moodabidri is a center for Jainism and is calledJain Kashi. A quiet town, 35 km from Mangalore houses 18 Jain temples or basadis.Most prominent among these is the Thousand Pillar Temple (also called Saavira Kamabada Basadi and Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi), situated at the center of the town. Established in 1430, this temple is an architectural wonder. The temple is dedicated to 8th theerthankara of Jains, Chandranatha.Panchaloha(made up of 5 metals) statue of Chandranatha is worshipped here by the

Pillars of the temple contain some fine carvings. Episodes from the life of Jaintheerthankaras, Lord Krishna, Lord Shri Rama are the subject of most of the carvings. Moodabidri was also an important trading center during 15th century. Figures of giraffe and dragon carved in the temple, provide ample proofs for that and indicate ties with Africa and China. Ceilings of the temple also have some beautiful carvings. Also, one can see stone inscriptions in Halegannada (old form of Kannada). In front of the temple, there ismaana sthambha which is a monolithic pillar and dhvaja sthambha, seen also in Hindu temples. Roofs of the temple which are red in colour, reminded me those of the Buddhist monasteries.

The temple is inside a fort like structure built at that time. View from the fort walls gives you the full picture of the famous temple, as you would have seen in tourist guides. The temple does not come under any Government organization and is managed by a Jain trust. They do not even charge entrance fees for the visitors. So, when I enquired about taking photographs of the place, I was asked to pay Rs.100/- as donation to the trust. One of the guides there, explained me about the history of the temple and the important carvings like Shri Rama pattabhisheka, figure of dragon and carvings made on giant doors of the temple.

Basadis apart, Moodabidri is now famous for national level cultural festival, Alva's Viraasat, held every year. This music and dance festival brings together the best of artists from all over India. Moodabidri is also close to other tourist destinations like Karkala (another center for Jainism, 18km), Dharmasthala (Hindu pilgrimage center, 50km) and Udupi(50km).

With its serene surroundings and charming presence of the Thousand Pillar Temple, town of Moodabidri beckoned me for a second visit to the place

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Know How Navratri celebrated in Eastern India.

It's that time of the year for the Bengali, Assamese, Odia, Santhali & Maithili who wake up to the `Dhak`(drum) beats every morning, following the ten-day long festival of Durga Puja. One is lost in worship, and in life and soul. A deep sense of pride and enthusiasm takes over you. You are lost in revelling the cultural bonanza attached to the customary practices of the puja.

Durga Puja is also referred to as Durgotsava, which marks the victory of Durga over the buffalo demon- Mahishasura. It symbolises the victory of good over evil. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Vijayadashami.

The worship of goddess Durga takes place on a grand scale for the people belonging to the eastern part of the country, and you have to witness it to understand the magnitude of this festival.

Mother Durga represents 'shakti', the feminine force which guides us and destroys all the evil from earth. The celebration of Durga Puja is culturally significant and holds emotional value for the people of East India & adjoining areas.

Durga Puja is also about the annual visit of goddess Durga with her children to her ancestral home on earth, and her reunion with Shiva on Vijayadashami i.e, the last day of the Navratri. She is the destroyer of all evil and and embodiment of power.

Throughout the 6 days of this festival, the cities transform and show cultural mileu. Pandals are set up in all the nooks and corner of city, wherever possible. The idols are creatively crafted by the potters, out of clay and the life-size idols of Durga along with her children are installed in the pandals.

Community puja or `Sarbojanin` puja, take up the role of organising the puja in their locality by housing idols in pandals and make-shift temples, each community trying to outdo the other, competing in decoration, themes celebration, food, drink and of course the rituals. The themes again are not ordinary, they keep evolving over the years (animated theme, Harry Potter, Cave, Rocket theme, Space and so
The five-day worship of the goddess ends with a grand procession of immersing the idol in the nearby river. This marks an emotional moment, as she leaves her home to reunite with Shiva, marked by Vijayadashami. This indicates Durga's victory over the evil and in Northern part of the country, it is known as Dusherra which marks Rama's victory over the demon Ravana.

During the five-day celebration, devotees abstain from alcohol, meat, onions, and wheat. This is something similar to people observing fasts during the Navratras.

The end of Navratri calls for an auspicious time for new business or considered lucky for any new work, following a number of rituals which leads to `Shubho Bijoya`. 

After the last day of the Navratri, known as `Vijaydashami`, where idols are taken in grand procession for the immersion-`bhaashan`, Hindu Bengali exchange greetings for a prosperous year and take blessings from elders.

The last day has an emotional significance, as it is always difficult to bid farewell to Maa Durga, after the week long grand celebration and worship.

With Durga Puja just round the corner, lets join in and chant 'Bolo Durga Mai ki Jai'!

Gujarati Culture

Getting into the culture…

Gujarati- as a  common man is much beyond “thepla and khakra” . Gujarat is a state where every day is celebrated as a festival. It is a unique blend of culture: trade with tradition and enterprise with entertainment . From the food they eat to the ‘chaniya- cholis’ and ‘kediyas’ that they wear, from the ‘torans’ hanging on their doorways to the ‘hindolas’ (crafted swings) in practically every Gujarati home, everything reflects vibrant colors.

Their world begins with food and they love eating to their heart’s content. The meal of any Gujarati is incomplete without “aathela marcha” (fresh chilli pickle) and “pappayya nu sambharo” (pickled pappayas). For them a sweet dish and a glass of ‘chaas’, also called ‘Kutchi beer’ or buttermilk is a must. You go to any part of Gujarat, be it the Rann of Kutch or the flourishing Kathiyawad, every single chapati is dipped in ghee. The junk food of Gujarat is also delectable . The colourful ‘dabeli’ dashed with the ‘teekhi and meethi’ (spicy and sweet) chutneys could any day beat the American hamburger. One can also never miss the colourful and exotic ‘golas’ which are sold across Gujarat. Traditional Gujarati food is like a literal blast of flavours in one’s mouth.

Gujaratis love to integrate with their society. Even those who like being all sophisticated and professional during the day time, come out during late evenings to socialise with their near and dear ones. From the young to the old , no one wants to stay back at home in the evenings. Most of the uncles and auntys come together to gossip while the kids are busy playing with each other.

The zest and the mirth with which even an ordinary Gujarati celebrates festivals is spell bounding . The smallest of the huts is decorated with rangolis and diyas on Diwali. Bhari (a sweetmeat) is shared amongst friends and families during the kite festival (Uttarayana) of Gujarat. Navratri, the festival of dance is known all across India. People dance through the night in their traditional costumes with the blessings of Ma Ambe who is said to be the “Kul Devi” of Gujarat. Gujaratis have a special tradition of lighting a lamp in in an earthern pot called “garba” for all the nine days of the festival. These garbas are considred to be a symbolof the goddess Amba and therefore, every family prefers to decorate it on their own. Another very important festival is the Gujarati New Year which is generally celebrated on the very next day of diwali. The delectable “Undhiyu” and ‘Shrikhand‘ are prepared in every Gujarati house as a ritual on this day. People also adorn themselves with new clothes and visit the houses of their friends and families to wish them “Saal Mubarak” (Happy New Year).

A Gujarati is a very fun loving person who tries to find joy in the small things of life. They are also peace loving and keep away from controversies and conflicts. All in all:

“Jya jya vase Gujarati,

tya tya vase sarekal Gujarat”

which means be it Wembley in the U.K.or Hubli in South India, wherever a Gujarati goes, he takes a piece of Gujarat along with him and establishes his own culture there.

patch work quilts from kutch Not all Guajarati’s are the “Patel’s” and the “Shahs” backpacking to the West in order to earn the big Buck. The simple Gujarati is all about vibrance, colors, dance and living life they feel best. Through all adversities, they have formed a big part of our business community (Reliance brothers) and have also fought bravely when the call of the country came with. Funnily, what will never change is the accent of the food that comes out of our manifesto. East to west, North to South, every Gujarati is warm and welcoming with a multitude of colors and handicrafts. The way they wear their clothes helps them to adjust in adverse environment and climatic conditions. Wherever you go, you will always be welcomed with a smile, food to eat, water to drink and warmth to carry home.

That’s what a Gujarati is like, that’s what a Gujarati is about.

Thursday, October 8, 2015



Swagat ba (स्वागत बा) Welcome
Bhojpuri, also known as Bajpuri, Bhojapuri, Bhozpuri, Bihari, Deswali, Khotla, and Piscimas, is a member of the Bihari group of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Its closest relatives are Magahi and Maithili. Bhojpuri is a direct descendant of Sanskrit but there is very little information about its early history due to the absence of written records. Although Bhojpuri is not one of the established literary languages of India, it has a strong tradition of oral literature.

Due to a long history of emigration from the region, Bhojpuri has spread over all continents of the world.

Bihar mapIndia
Bhojpuri is spoken by 37.8 million people in India, primarily in the western part of the state of Bihar and eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and some adjoining areas of  Madhya Pradesh (Ethnologue). Currently it is not an official language, but the government of India is considering changing its status to that of a national scheduled language. Despite its unofficial status, Bhojpuri is used in government and mass media.
In Nepal, Bhojpuri is spoken by 1.7 million as a first language plus by another 74,000 as a second-language.
Bhojpuri is spoken by 336,000 people in Mauritius but Hindi is used in schools and in the media.
Variants of Bhojpuri are spoken by descendants of Bhojpuri-speaking plantation workers in Guyana, Suriname, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago.

Ethnologue identifies four major dialects of Bhojpuri which are mutually intelligible. Although the full range of variation is not firmly established, the differences among the dialects appear to be primarily lexical and phonological.

Northern Standard considered to be the most prestigious dialect of the language
Western Standard
Southern Standard

Sound system
Bhojpuri syllables can begin and end in consonants. Consonant clusters occur in final positions only. It is also possible to have two vowels in a row.

Bhojpuri has six vowel phonemes, i.e., sounds that differentiate word meaning.

The Bhojpuri sound system contains 34 consonant phonemes, depending on the variety analyzed. Most consonants can be geminated (doubled). There is a contrast between aspirated vs. unaspirated consonants. Aspirated consonants are produced with a strong puff of air. In the table above, aspirated consonants are marked by a raised [ʰ]. There is a contrast between and apical vs. retroflex consonants, e.g., /t/ – /ʈ/, /d/ – /ɖ/. Apical consonants are produced with the tip of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth, whereas retroflex consonants are produced with the tongue curled, so that its underside comes in contact with the roof of the mouth.

Stress in Bhojpuri does not distinguish word meaning. Primary stress usually falls on the penultimate (one before last) syllable in two-syllable words and antepenultimate syllable in longer words.

The grammar of Bhojpuri is similar to that of other Indo-Aryan languages. Grammatical relations are marked by inflectional suffixes. Bhojpuri morphology is fusional with a single ending representing several categories, which is typical of Indo-European languages.

Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns
Nouns in Bhojpuri are inflected for the following categories:

number: singular and plural
gender: masculine and feminine (for animate nouns only)
case: direct, oblique, and vocative; the direct case is used to mark subjects of sentences; the oblique case is used in pronouns with postpositions;
Adjectives are not marked for agreement with nouns.
2nd and 3rd person pronouns are marked for several degrees of politeness.
3rd person and demonstrative pronouns are distinguished by degrees of proximity.

Verbs agree with their subjects in person, number and gender. Verbal categories include the following:

The typical structure of Bhojpuri verbs is Stem + Aspect/Tense + Personal ending which represents a combination of person and degree of politeness.
Subject pronouns are frequently dropped.
There are three persons: 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
There are three tenses: present, past, future.
There are two aspects: imperfective and perfective.
There are three moods: indicative, imperative, optative.
Bhojpuri verbs mark 1st, 2nd and 3rd person in imperatives.
There are two voices: active and passive.
Negation is marked by a negative particle placed before the verb.

Word order
The normal word order in Bhojpuri is Subject – Object – Verb. Indirect objects precede direct objects. Determiners and modifiers precede the nouns they modify.

The basic vocabulary of Bhojpuri is Sanskrit in origin. It uses prefixes and suffixes to derive words from basic elements, as well as reduplication and compounding. Over the years Bhojpuri has borrowed words from Hindi, Bengali, and other neighboring Indo-Aryan languages, as well as from English.

Below are a few basic words and phrases in Bhojpuri.

Hello prannam, प्रणाम
Excuse me. maf kara, माफ करा
Thank you. dhanyavad, धन्यवाद
Father babuji, बाबुजी
Mother माई (mayee),  महतारी
Boy laika, लइका
Girl laiki, लइकी
Brother bhai, भाई
Sister bahin, बहिन

Bhojpuri is written in the Kaithi script which is widely used throughout North India, primarily in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Like other Indic scripts, Kaithi is a descendant of the Brahmi script. Kaithi script derives its name from the word Kayastha, one of the social groups of North India. The script can be traced back to the 16th century. It was widely used during the Mughal Empire. Today, the Kaithi script is being replaced by Devanagari.

Kaithi has 35 consonant letters, each letter representing a consonant with an inherent vowel /a/. Other vowels are represented by a variety of diacritics around the consonant. There are also 10 letters representing separate vowels. Geminated consonants and long vowels are represented by different letters than their single counterparts..

Take a look at Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Bhojpuri. Note that the letters are suspended from a continuous top line.

Tulu Language - Its Script and Dialects

Image result for tulu scriptTulu language is one of the five avidian languages of South India (Pancha- Bhasha, others are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam). The four major languages spoken today are dominantly spoken in their respective states (Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala), whereas Tulu is spoken in a small niche, mainly in coastal Karnataka and Northern Karala (Kasaragod district). About 2.5 million people speak Tulu and call it their mother tongue. Tulu nadu is a region where many languages are spoken. While Kannada is the official state language, different ethnic communities in Tulu Nadu speak different languages. Tulu, derived from proto-Dravidian is the predominant language spoken by Hindus of various castes and by the Jains of Tulu Nadu. Konkanasthas and Catholics speak two variants of Konkani. Muslims speak a language of their own that is derived from Tulu as well as Malayalam.

Image result for tulu scriptThere are about 24 Dravidian languages recognized by linguists. Of these the five languages in the South developed into major languages. Tulu is the only developed language that has not received the recognition it is due. However, Tulu language with its near extinct script has been generating much enthusiasm amongst the linguists, as it is now believed to be one of the oldest Dravidian languages.

Tulu 1

The Script
The Tulu language has lost its prominence as a major language. Lack of serious literature in Tulu language has also hampered its claim as a language to be taught in educational institutes. Though it is certain that most of the literature has been lost because of difficulties in preserving palm leaf scrolls, the earliest literature available is from the 15th century. This indeed is a much later work than the language itself, which is thousands of years old. There was also some confusion regarding the script of Tulu language, which closely resembles Malayalam. It was thought that priests from Tulu Nadu went south to Kerala to perform and learn Agama Sastra rituals, where they jotted notes borrowing the Malayalam alphabets. This was the prevailing thought of many researches although now there is a consensus that Tulu language possessed its own script before Malayalam script existed. Perhaps the reciprocal is true that the Malayalam script developed from Tulu script as the language predates Malayalam by more than a thousand years. The priests who went south are now credited with carrying mantras written in Tulu script to Kerala. Like Tamil and Malayalam, Tulu script is derived from the Grantha* script.

The earliest piece of literature, Tulu Mahabharata is from the 15th century written in Tulu script. Another manuscript that was discovered Tulu Devimahatme, a prose work like the Mahabharata, is also from the 15th century. Two epic poems written in 17th century namely Sri Bhagavata and Kaveri have also been found. Madhvacharya’s eight matts established in Udupi in the 13th century were centers of Tulu literature during his lifetime and thereafter. However, very little of this has survived. So it is not inconceivable (as it is claimed) that Madhvacharya himself did all his writings in the Tulu script. Other inscriptions discovered are Sanskrit mantras transliterated in Tulu script. It appears as though the Brahmins used the script mainly for this purpose.

In the first half of 19th century the German missionaries undertook a renaissance of the language. Unfortunately, they published Tulu literature and materials related to Christianity in the Kannada script as they had established printing presses in that language in Mangalore. In addition the German missionaries also produced Tulu lexicon and Tulu-English dictionary. They are also credited with transcription of Tulu folklore, Tulu proverbs and works on spirit worship in Tulu Nadu. Printing material in the Kannada script led to further disuse of the original Tulu script. By late 19th century Tulu script became remote and was endangered. Today there are no books or literature in the Tulu script and there are only a handful of Tuluvas who can read the script.

All the classic literatures discovered thus far are written only in one of the four dialects of the language, namely the Brahmin dialect. The dialect spoken by Brahmins in the southern part of Tulu Nadu is used in these manuscripts. The priests belonged to a sect of Tuluva Brahmins called the Shivalli Brahmins. (Only the Shivalli and the Sthanika sects in Tulu Nadu spoke the Brahmin dialect.) Tulu script was used by these Brahmins to write mantras. The Brahmin dialect also has imported many Sanskrit words into its dialect and lexicon. The Common dialect, which is spoken by the non-Brahmin class, was not used in writings of Tulu. However, the Common dialect is used in many of the folk songs, proverbs and riddles. The folk songs called the Paaddanas are treasures reflective of the rich culture of Tulu Nadu. They also allow a glimpse into the society of Tuluva people. These were never written down and have been passed on through generations as oral traditional songs.

The Language and its Dialects
Research in Tulu language and script has been sorely lacking. In 1856 Robert Caldwell undertook a systematic study of the Tulu language with his monumental work, “A Comparative Grammar of Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages.” Caldwell called Tulu one of the most developed Dravidian languages. In 1872 J. Bigel wrote, “Grammar of The Tulu Language.” Then in the 20th century S. U. Panniyadi and L.V. Ramaswamy Iyer published more books about its grammar. These authors contended that the language was well developed, and was one of the earliest off-shoots of proto-South Dravidian language, with many dialectal variations. (Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada also were derived from it, whereas Telugu was derived from proto-Central Dravidian). There is renewed interest in the language as evidenced by the fact that many universities both in India and abroad are promoting more research of Tulu language.  Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Research Center in Udupi has encouraged such research. Dr. D.N. Shankar Bhat and Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya have been doing commendable, ongoing research in the field.

From Encyclopedia Britannica
Different regions within Tulu Nadu developed its own dialect of the language. The language developed with various dialects and peculiarities, unimpeded by the proximity of the regions. Five main such geographical divisions with dialectal variations can be seen.
1. Southwest: comprising of Kasargod District of Kerala
2. Southeast: Includes Sullia and Kodagu
3. South Central: comprising of Puttur, Belthangady and Bantwal
4. Northwest: area including Mangalore and Udupi
5. Northeast: includes Karkala.
Other languages have influenced some of the dialects in these regions. Thus Malayalam may have influenced Tulu in the Southwest (Kasargod), whereas in other areas Kannada has influenced it. The differences in the society also influenced the dialects. Brahmins developed their own dialect influenced by Sanskrit that they were proficient in. Four main social dialects have developed.
1. Brahmin Dialect
2. Jain Dialect
3. Common Dialect and
4. Harijan/Tribal Dialect
Brahmin Dialect - spoken by Shivalli and Sthanika Brahmins - is the language used in writing the few classical literature discovered thus far. They also borrowed Sanskrit words and pronunciation of words. Even the local Dravidian words were enunciated with retroflex words (unusual in Dravidian languages, where non-retroflex sounds are used).

Jain Dialect spoken by the Jains in the northern part of Tulu nadu. They have a distinct dialect where the initial t and s have been replaced by letter h. As an example the word tare (head) is pronounced as hare. Saadi (path) is haadi.

Common Dialect is spoken by the majority of people (non-Brahmins) of Tulu Nadu, and is the dialect of commerce, entertainment and art. It is the language of the Paaddana. It is subdivided into more than five groups as spoken by Bunts, Billavas, Mogaveeras, Gowdas and Kumabaras etc. Due to the similarity in these dialects, they are grouped under the common heading of Common Dialect or Common Tulu. The borrowed Sanskrit words in this dialect are invariably altered to a non-retroflex sound unlike in the Brahmin dialect where the words are pronounced just as in Sanskrit.

Harijan and Tribal Dialect is spoken by the Mera, Mansa, Harijan and Tribal classes. They closely resemble the Common dialect though in the South they still have maintained their distinction. The sound c replaces the sounds t, s, and c of other dialects. Hence tare is care and saadi is caadi. Onasu (meal) is pronounced onacu. Non-retroflex words are pronounced with retroflex in this dialect. New words like baanaaru (Brahmin), jeerklu/jeerlu (children), dekke/meere/korage (husband) and dikkalu/meerti/korappolu (wife) are also found in this dialect.

There is a common perception that there are only two kinds of Tulu dialects, namely Brahmin and Common. Dr. P Kekunnaya suggests studying the language in four different dialects by combining both geographical variations in the dialects and the different social dialects. Hence the divisions studied are:
1. Sb: Brahmin dialect of Southwest, Southeast and South Central region.
2. Sc: Common dialects of the same regions in the South
3. Nb: Brahmin dialects of Northwest and Northeast.
4. Nc: Common dialects of the same regions in the North.
Some of the differences in the words and sounds used by the Brahmin dialect and the Common dialect in the Northern regions have disappeared or are nearly imperceptible now. However, in the Southern regions, the differences are more commonly maintained and are more apparent.

In conclusion, it is fair to say that Tulu is one of the five major Dravidian languages, the script of which has not received the attention it is due. The Tulu script was mainly used to write Sanskrit mantras by the priestly class. Lack of serious literature before 15th century hampered its claim as one of the legitimate South Indian languages. Some literary works have been unearthed recently. The German missionaries in the early 19th century, perhaps, did much disservice to the Tulu script as they opted to transliterate Christian literature into Tulu language but used Kannada script to do so. But they are also credited with introducing print medium to the language, though in the Kannada script, thus helping in preserving many of the dying stories and folk songs.  The dominance of Kannada print medium led to further disuse of the script. Currently there are no attempts at resurrecting Tulu language or the scripts in the universities and other institutions in the Tulu Nadu. The language and the script had remained a curiosity for researchers until recently but now there seems to be renewed interest in this ancient language. There seems to be some hope for a Tulu renaissance mainly because of works done by Padmanabha Kekunnaya, Drs. U.P and Susheela P Upadhyaya and the diligent work in the Rashtrakavi Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra in Udupi.

There are many households in Tulu Nadu with many Tulu manuscripts and inscriptions, especially in the Brahmin homes. Many have been lost because of lack of interest in attempts to preserving them. Though most of these are Sanskrit mantras written in the Tulu script their numbers must be significantly high.  Much effort and resources need to be spent towards research of the language of Tulu Nadu and its unique script.

Diversity in the Kodagu Land…

The beautiful land of Coorg is home not only to Kodavas, but to other communities as well. These are known by different names. These names come from the area of Coorg they are residing in, or from their occupation.

So who are these other Kodava speakers? Amma Kodavas is one such group who reside in the Southern part of Coorg and follow few Brahmin customs. One might wonder what makes this sect of Kodavas different from the others who are living in other parts of Kodagu. Well, the Amma Kodavas are vegetarians unlike others. Moreover, they are teetotallers and read the vedas. These people are a result of inter caste marriages between Brahmins and Kodavas in the earlier times.
Apart from this group, there are several other Kodava speakers, such as the Heggades who are cultivators from Malabar, the Aiyiris who are artisians, the Medas, whose key occupation is mat weaving, the Binepatta who are wandering musicians and the Kavadi who are again cultivators. All these groups follow Kodava customs and rituals.
The Kudiyas, who lived in the Western Ghats, speak a variation of the Kodava language. The Yeravas are another group of people speaking the Yerava dialect which again is a variation of the Kodava language. These people are largely farm labourers in occupation. There is a group of Kodava Gowdas too. This ethnic group resides in some areas of Dakshin Karnataka. Apart from this, Coorg is home to a number of Brahmin and Lingayat groups too. Added to this, they also have a sizeable Tibetan refugee population.
Reading through this, one might wonder how a small land like Coorg is home to such ethnic diversity! The diversity however, doesn’t end here. India’s very own Scotland has a considerable Muslim and Christian population too. Muslims of South Western origins are known popularly as Maaple.
During the reign of Tipu Sultan, a number of Kodava Hindus were converted into Islam. Such people are now known as the Kodava Maaple. A small, but sizeable number of Mangalorean Christians can also be found in Coorg. Such is the diversity of Coorg. These are just some of the ethnic groups who are living in Kodagu. There are many more, and each of these groups contribute in their own way to the rich culture of Coorg.

Kodagu/Coorg Deities:

Kodagu/Coorg Deities:

The people of Coorg have great faith in a certain Kaliatanda Ponnappa, or simply Kaliat Ajjappa, the spirit of a Malayalam man, who came to Coorg many generations ago, was naturalized, married a Coorg woman, and established himself at Nalknad. He was a great magician, and long the dread of the Coorgs. At last he was shot near tha Nalknad taluk courthouse. Since his death, his spirit takes possession of men, who give themselves up to the strange arts that he practised. A similar worship is still possibly maintained in honour of Acha Nayak in Chikka Munduru in Kiggatnad.

Higher even than Kaliat-Ajjappa, in the estimation of all Coorg, stands a certain female devil at Kutta called Karingali (Kari Kali), or the Kuttad-amma. Kutta lies at the borders of Wynad. Kuttadamma has no temple, but she is represented by some stones in an enclosure under a tree in the forest. For bloody sacrifices offered there, only fowls are admissible. Large sums of money are annually sent there by people from all parts of Coorg. Many vows are paid to Kuttadamma on behalf of sick people or of the dead. And whether a sick person recover or die, the sum vowed for his recovery must be paid. Liberal presents are also given to her pujari to engage her services against enemies, who, they say, are distressed or altogether destroyed by the demon in answer to the prayers of her priest. There has been, however, a decrease in the influence of Kuttadamma over the minds of Coorgs since the 20th century.

Another annual sacrifice every house used to offer is to a divinity called Gulika. This is an invisible constellation or star, belonging both to the order of planets and to that of the zodiacal stars. It is, as the people say, a son of Shani or Saturn. No mortal eye sees it. The astrologer only knows the Gulika and its power, especially over the sick. A stone is placed for the Gulika at the foot of some tree possessed of a milky juice. There the Coorgs offer fowls, coconuts and a little brandy, in a dish of plantain leaves. In cases of frequent deaths in a family, a second Gulika, called Mrityu Gulika, the Gulika of death, is worshipped.

According to Coorg lore, the cobra di capella lives a thousand years. When it was passed the meridian of its long life, its body begins to shrink, and to brighten till it shines like silver, and measures three feet or less , at the age of six or seven hundred years. Still later, the reptile shines like gold, and is only one foot in length. At last it shrinks to the size of a finger. Then it will some day fly up high into the air, die and sink down upon the ground, where it disappears altogether. The Natas, or spots on which cobras have finished their course of terrestrial life are the object of solemn ceremonies. Should any human being unawares set foot upon the hallowed spot, incurable disease of the skin will break out upon him and the poor wretch will rot away by degrees. To prevent such disasters, the Nata place is marked by a little stone enclosure. During the month of Scorpio (November—December) a lamp is lighted every evening at the Nata, and coconuts are offered.

Coorgs also believe that each bane (parcel of grass or forest-ground) has a presiding divinity, to which an annual sacrifice of pork should be offered. If this sacrifice is not made, or not properly performed, the Ka-devaru, the tending god, i. e., the god watching over the cattle, will withdraw his favour, and sickness and death among the cattle will ensue.

One can also see many groves set apart in each nad in Coorg for some object of worship (chiefly for Ayyappa-devaru). These are called Devara-Kadu which literally means Sacred Forest and are considered to be the abodes or hunting grounds of heroic ancestors. Some of them are - Iguttappa Devara kadu, Joma-male, Iruli-bane.

As among other Dravidian mountain-tribes, so also in Coorg, tradition relates that human sacrifices were offered in former times to secure the favour of their Grama Devatas - Mariamma, Durga and Bhadra Kali, the tutelary goddesses of the Sakti line, who are supposed to protect the villages or nads from all evil influences.

Legend goes that in Kirindadu and Konincheri-grama in Katiyetnad, once in three years, in December and June, a human sacrifice used to be brought to Bhadra Kali, and during the offering by the Panikas, the people exclaimed 'aan, Amma!' (a man, oh mother!). But once a devotee shouted, 'aan alla Amma, aad!' (not a man, oh mother, a goat!), and since that time a goat without blemish has been sacrificed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015



  • The sacred fire, or agni, symbolises the divine presence as a witness of the ceremony. Commitments made in the presence of agni are made in the presence of God. New Delhi, 2009

  • Gaye holud tattva -Is a set of presents for the Bengali bride from the groom’s side. One of the most important gifts is a large 'rohu' (fish) with sindoor (vermilion) & nose ring, accompanied by five little fish to symbolise fertility.

  • A funny moment at a Gujarati wedding. The mother in law says "watch out and be respectful." Gujarati weddings have a ceremony called Ponkvu or Ponkhana where the groom is welcomed by his mother-in-law, who first performs an aarti and then playfully pulls the groom’s nose. This is a way for the bride’s family to remind the groom that he has come to their doors to marry their daughter and he has to learn to be humble and grateful. Anand, Gujarat 2013

  • The post-wedding ceremonies involve welcoming the bride to her new home. The first step is considered auspicious. The bride first enters the house after kicking a rice filled pot and stepping in a basin of red vermilion water.

  • Ladakhi women wear an attractive headgear called Perak, made of black lamb skin studded with semi-precious turquoise stones, covering the head like a cobra’s hood and tapering to a thin tail reaching down the back. For ceremonial purposes, colourful robes in silk and brocade are worn. The village people come to celebrate and witness the union by adorning the couple and their immediate relatives with the sacred scarf, the Kathak as a symbolic gesture saying “We are witnesses to your marriage”.

  • A bridegroom places a toe ring on the bride’s foot, at a wedding in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The silver toe ring is a sign of marriage in south India. It is not made of gold, which is considered the metal of gods and is traditionally not worn below the waist.

  • This photo shows a snan before a Bengali wedding. The snan literally means bathing. In this case, it stands for the bathing rituals that the Bengali bride and groom must individually follow on the day of the wedding. A few married women apply turmeric and oil on the hair and body of the bride/groom. After bathing, the bride and groom must wear the new set of clothes that have been presented to them by their in-laws. The worn clothes are later given away to a napti (barber). This Bengali wedding was actually in Delhi and turned out to be one of the most interesting I have covered, despite being very simple, or maybe because it was.

  • A Punjabi Christian father and his daughter on their way to her wedding in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The bride was born and raised a Christian by her Sikh father and Christian mother, in the North Eastern state of Mizoram. Rajasthan, 2009

  • A Telugu groom, his toenails painted in colourful nail polish, wears the traditional Khadau, the wooden sandals, used for auspicious occasions, before his wedding in Visakhapatnam. Andhra Pradesh, 2009

  • A happy bride during her Mehendi ceremony in Jaipur. The Mehndi event is a colorful celebration and the guests often dress in bright colours, sing traditional wedding songs, and dance to popular music. The bride and all of her close family members get the palms of their hands and feet decorated by a professional henna artist. The henna is believed to enhance the bride’s beauty. This ceremony usually takes place a day before the wedding. Jaipur, 2010

  • A happy moment after a wedding in Udaipur.

  • A Muslim bride signs the Nikahnama in the presence of the Maulvi (priest) and her close family members and relatives. The bride and groom sign the Nikahnama separately and then the couple are pronounced married. Delhi, 2008

  • Intricate mehendi and high-fashion designer jewellery bangles (choora) decorate the bride's hands. Udaipur, 2011

  • A Nihang Sikh groom on his horse before his wedding in Punjab. The Nihang are an armed Sikh order, also referred to as Akali Nihangs. Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the guerrilla squads of the armed forces of Ranjit Sukkarchak. Early Sikh military history was dominated by the Nihang, known for their victories where they were heavily outnumbered. Punjab, 2004

  • The groom, accompanied by his sister, is seated on a decorated elephant. Udaipur, 2010.

  • The old Kashmiri Pandits reinforced their racial and social identity by refusing to marry outside their community. At a traditional arranged marriage of a Kashmiri Pundit couple, the boy and girl would see each other first time only during the Lagan (the actual wedding ceremony) and exchange glances through a mirror. This old tradition is kept even today even with more liberal families where the couple had a chance to meet prior to the wedding.

  • A cloth veil, placed between the bride and groom during their wedding in Delhi, is removed at the auspicious moment to symbolise their new life as a couple.

  • The musical evening before a Kashmiri Pundit wedding is known as Bach Nagma Jashan. A male dancer known as bachcha (child) accompanies the professional musicians invited for the event. He wears a multi-colored, long-flowing frock, and has painted cheeks to look like a woman. The bachcha takes turn dancing with everyone, including those who are uninterested in dancing. They dance to the same ritualistic song through the night.

  • This photo features a dance party that's taking place during a destination wedding in Jaipur. Many Indian couples living abroad choose to come back to India for their wedding. Organising a destination wedding in India is not only a good opportunity to come back home, but also proves to be cheaper than a wedding in the west. This way, all the relatives and friends who still live in India, can also attend the wedding. Rajasthan, 2010

  • In India, turmeric is known as haldi, and is considered very holy. Its yellow colour is believed to be auspicious, according to Hindu tradition. The Haldi ceremony is one of the most significant traditions of Hindu marriages. The application of turmeric is meant to beautify the bride and groom, and give a glow to the skin. The ceremony is usually performed one day before the wedding as turmeric powder is mixed with milk or almond oil along with sandal wood powder and applied to bride and bridegroom. Jaipur, 2014