-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)
Kiggat nad remained outside Haleri control until the reign of Dodda Virappa. Chittiappa Nayaka ruled Anjigheri nad (‘nad of five villages’), Mathth Mukkati Nayaka ruled over Maththur and Machangala (Machangada) Nayaka ruled some other parts of Kiggat nad. Periyapatna was under relatives of the Ikkeri Rajas and allies of the Haleri Rajas. Nanjunda arasa was the Raja of Periyapatna. Many Coorgs lived in Periyapatna at that time.
A feud arose between Chittiappa Nayaka and Machangala Nayaka. A tiger was killed in the forest, which bordered both their territories, and both claimed to have killed it. Chittiappa’s claim was widely accepted and so Machangala grew jealous. One night, along with his ally Mukkati Nayaka of Maththur, he had Chittiappa’s house burned down and it’s inmates killed. However, Chittiappa’s son Achchu was saved by the housemaid who then escaped to Periyapatna where she sought and obtained refuge. Nanjunda arasa ('ruler') became mentor for Achchu and got him educated in his palace. Upon his coming of age, he returned home and with assistance from Nanjunda arasa he defeated and killed his two sworn enemies who had destroyed his family. Then he annexed their territories and established himself as the Nayaka of Kiggat naad.
Uththa was an orphaned Coorg boy of common parentage. He was made the cowherd of the Buduvanda clan, the Thakkas (traditional local chieftains) in Beppoo naad in South Kodagu. He was noticed and brought up by Muddu Raja who was like a foster parent to him. Being a favorite of the Raja, the Raja gave his daughter Neelammaji in marriage to him, got a fortified palace built in Armeri in Beppoo naad and made him the feudatory Nayaka there. This way the Raja planned that there would be an Haleri stronghold in South Kodagu just as it was there in North Kodagu where the Madikeri palace and fort and the palaces at Haleri and Horamale naad (Appangala) existed.
However the people of Beppoo naad didn't think highly of the Nayaka and would deliberately ignore him. This enraged Uththa Nayaka who was hurt and sought to avenge this insult. So he planned to get the Balliamanes (ancestral houses) of the Bachetti and the Ichetti (Bachettira and Ichettira) clans burned down. The Bachettira and the Ichettira were powerful families of the region. One night Uththa Nayaka, along with his accomplices, crept up to the Bachetti and the Ichetti residences, got the doors locked from outside and burned down the hay-roofed houses. In those days the Coorgs lived in houses which had roofs made from the hay obtained after the paddy was threshed out. The people were trapped inside and they cried as they burnt to death in pain. Anyone who tried to escape, especially the men, were beaten up and killed.
In the Ichettira house, any chances of escaping were very slim, in fact impossible. There were several infants in the house at that time. The household maids, who lived in separate quarters, came toward the house on seeing the fire. The elders called out to the maids, picked up the infants and threw them out of the small high windows. Two of the infant sons survived and were carried away by the maids to safety. They headed to the Ballachanda clan who were close to the Ichettira clan and narrated the incidents the incidents that occurred Feeling pity, the Ballachanda thereafter reared the two boys, one was named Appayya and the other was named Poovanna. They survived into adulthood, got married and had children, thus they are recognized as the founders of Ichetti clan. Meanwhile, in the Bachetti mane one of the pregnant women survived, having been away from the house and at her parents' place. She gave birth to a son who survived into adulthood, got married and had children. He thus regenerated the Bachettira clan and is recognized as the Karana (primal ancestor) of the clan. Later Ichetti Appayya became a Dewan (Prime Minister) of the Coorg Rajas. The Ichettira and the Ballachanda clans don't inter-marry because they recognize each other as brother clans.
Later Uththa Nayaka was an opponent of Dodda Virappa his brother-in-law, son of Muddu Raja and the next king. Dodda Virappa had to fight off attempts that were made by Uththa Nayaka to oust him. Uththa had contrived to get the Kodagu country from him. According to one source, he had even managed to usurp the throne and become Raja for a while, around the initial years of Dodda-Virappa's reign. He allied himself with other dissidents such as Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka and Achchu Nayaka, independent Coorg Nayakas and contemporaries.
When Dodda Virappa was the Raja of Kodagu his relative Nanjunda was the Nayaka of Periyapatna. Nanjunda's officials betrayed him and invited the Raja of Mysore, Chikka Deva Raja, to invade the town and rule over them. Perceiving this threat, Nanjunda fled to his kinsman to espouse his cause and march in his support against Mysore's invading army. He had meanwhile left his son Vira Raja in command of his capital. But the enemy laid siege on the fort and captured it. In desperation, the Raja killed his wives and children, lest they fall into the hands of the enemy and get tortured, then he gallantly fought a losing battle against the enemy and got killed. It was too late before the army of Dodda Virappa could arrive. Thereafter Nanjunda was a broken man who spent the rest of his years in Kodagu. The Coorgs who had settled down in Periyapatna abandoned the place and entered Kiggat naad. Incidentally, Nanjunda had mentored Achchu Nayaka during his initial years as Nayaka of Anjigherinaad (and eventually of Kiggat naad entirely) and aided him in his war for power.
|(Courtesy: Richter, 1870)|
Meanwhile, Uththa Nayaka was still scheming to get the throne. So as he planned, once the Coorg army had marched to face Mysore, he invited the Kote Raja Vira Varma of Waynad to invade Kodagu. Assuming that the Coorg army would be bettered by the Mysoreans, Uththa got a temporary fortress built for the Raja of Waynad and his 5000 Nair soldiers at Tomara. He promised to provide this garrison supplies. But when Dodda Virappa heard of this treason, he sent over a force of 1500 Coorgs to Tomara to lay siege to the place. Hence the garrison and the Kote Raja were cut off from any supplies which Uththa was prevented from provided. Meanwhile, the victorious Coorg army returned from Palpare through Tomara. They destroyed the garrison, slaughtering it's men. Vira Varma, the Kote Raja, surrendered before Dodda Virappa and pleaded mercy but was instead executed.
In 1718, Pardanda Ponnappa of Naaladi village of Nalku Nadu was the Sarva Karyagara (general) of Dodda Virappa. At that time parts of South Kodagu were independent of Haleri rule. Kiggat naad had been independent of the Rajas while Beppu naad was part of the Haleri kingdom but grew independent. Dodda Virappa sent Pardanda Ponnappa along with a hundred men to defeat Kolhlhakongi Nayaka of Kadiyat naad, Uththa Nayaka of Beppoo Naad and Achchu Nayaka of Kiggat Naad.