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Content Copyright © 2012 by Kushal.Mucon. All rights reserved.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Kodagu Nayakas: Part III


-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)


Kolhlhakongi Nayaka 

Kolhlhakongi Nayaka was the ancestor of the Nayakanda clan of Kadiyatnaad. In Konhanjageri village was the Kochamanda house, where now lays the Biddanda house. Near this house was a Bhagwathi (village goddess) temple. Now Kolhlhakongi Nayaka captured  the idol of that Bhagwathi temple forcefully and got it installed in the Bhagwathi temple near his house at Kirundad. This upset the villagers of Konhanjageri  and it’s chieftains the Kochamanda. So thereafter there used to be skirmishes between the villagers of Kirundad and Konhanjageri.

The Raja's Dalavoi (General), Pardanda Ponnappa, took advantage of  this feud and spent the night in the Kochamanda house where his men were fed well and given place to rest. In the wee hours of the next day Ponnappa and his  men awoke and went to the house of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka in Kirundad. The house is situated in what is now Kai-Kaadu village. The mansion of the chief was a mud  house guarded by a deep Kadanga (a simple fortification consisting of a ditch dug out between two mud walls). The house members were still asleep when Ponnappa and twenty five men knocked on the entrance door. The unwary residents  opened the door unarmed and then Ponnappa and his men barged in. The womenfolk cried out loud: ‘Enemies have entered’. Then the Nayaka and his brothers quickly  picked up their broad swords (called the Oidekatti) and rushed towards the intruders. They had a fierce fight until Kohlhakongi and his men were killed. Very few of Ponnappa’s men, who outnumbered them many times, sustained severe injuries.

Pardanda Ponnappa

When he heard of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka's death, Achchu Nayaka strengthened his defences and deepened his Kadangas. So Pardanda Ponappa and his men devised a  plan. A few of them disguised themselves as mendicants and went about Anjigheri naad, the land of Achchu Nayaka, in Kiggat naad. It was the Kail Polud (an important Kodava festival) season  and everybody were just too busy to notice the beggars who wandered at that time. Beggars often visited the place during times of festivity to be able to get some leftovers. Ponnappa's men surveyed the land and then went away. The Coorgs of the region were busy hunting. So one night when Achchu Nayaka and his men were away on a hunt Ponnappa and his men scaled the village walls and then entered the house of Achchu Nayaka. They had got into the house when the Nayaka's men returned and fell  upon the intruders. A battle ensued in which Achchu's men were mostly killed. Achchu Nayaka and Ponnappa fiercely fought each other by sword and sustained  serious injuries some to the head. Ponnappa fell unconscious while Achchu Nayaka who was outnumbered had his weapon taken away and was captured. They were all  taken away alongwith Achchu Nayaka's family to the Madikeri palace. Here Achchu Nayaka was treated as a guest and kept under house arrest. Anjigheri naad accepted the rule of Dodda Virappa (1657-1736) upon learning about the fall of their leader. Meanwhile Uththa Nayaka escaped  to Vayathur (Baithur) in Kerala.

The descendants of Uththa Nayaka and of Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka were called the Nayakanda of Beppoo naad and of Kadiyat naad  respectively, both are unrelated. Achchu Nayaka died in Madikeri and his eldest son went to the Malabar to learn Tantra. The Namboothiri Brahmins of Malabar were masters of Tantra, but a few of the  Coorgs (like Kaliatanda Ponnappa before Achchu Nayaka's son) who went there, learnt the art from them and returned into Kodagu to be revered all their life. According to Richter (who wrote in 1870), in around 1810, the family of Achchu Nayaka was exterminated. The house name of Achchu Nayaka's father was Katte (Kattera), a hero of this family of Kiggat nad was mentioned in the ancient Palame. This must have been the Kattera family of Kiggatnad, which is now extinct, probably due to the extermination ordered by the Kodagu Raja. However other branches of the Kattera clan is still existent and living in other parts of Kodagu. The Ajjikuttira family claim descent from Achchu Nayaka, some claim that his uncle was Ajjikuttira, others claim that his tantric son was called Ajji Kutty.

Coorg Patelas/ Palegaras





Royal Seal in 1790 (Courtesy: Richter, 1870)
Between the years 1782 and 1789, conflict arose between the Coorgs and the Mysore Sultans. The Haleri Raja dynasty members were imprisoned by Mysore. The Coorgs engaged the Sultanate in a guerrilla war and they kept  declaring themselves independent each time after the Sultan marched through Kodagu to secure it. 12 Coorg Palegaras (also called Patelas) led the Coorgs; four among them were more important, they being: Kuletira Ponnappa, his brother Kuletira Machchayya, Appaneravanda Achchayya and Pattacheravanda Boluka. Another Patela was Uththa Nayaka of Kadnoor. They led the Coorgs and later got the members of the Haleri dynasty to escape from confinement in Periyapatna.


Bibliography:
  1. Chinnappa, Nadikerianda. 2006. Pattole Palame (Translated by Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa) Delhi : Rupa.
  2. Chinnappa, N. 2006 [1924]. Pattole Palome (Kannada), Madikeri: Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Akademi.
  3. Krishnayya, D. N. 1974. Kodagina Ittihasa (Kannada), Mysore: University of Mysore.
  4. Muthanna, I. M. 1971. The Coorg Memoirs (The Story of the Kodavas), Mysore.
  5. Richter, Rev G. 1870. Gazetteer of Coorg Mangalore : Basel Mission.
  6. Rice, B. L. 1914. Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 1 . Madras: Madras Government Publications.

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