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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Achchu Nayaka

Ancient Kodava (Photo by Richter, 1870)
by Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

The Haleri Rajas ruled Kodagu from around 1600 until 1834. Southern Kodagu, or Kiggat nad, remained outside Haleri control until the reign of Raja Dodda Virappa. Previously, Chittiappa Nayaka had ruled Anjigheri nad (‘nad of five villages’), Mathth Mukkati (short form for Maththur Mukkatira family name) Nayaka ruled over Maththur and Machangala (another form of Machangada family name) Nayaka ruled some other parts of Kiggat nad. 

According to the Kannada records, Chittiappa Nayaka belonged to the Katte family (manae) of Kiggatnad. The Kattera (long form of Katte family name) of Kiggatnad were an ancient Kodava clan. The Pattole Palame speaks of one Kattera Chengappa who helped build a temple to one of the 'Anji Deva' (five gods) of Kiggatnad. Likewise, there is a Kattemada family and a Katteyangada family in Kodagu's Kiggat nad. 

Periya patna (now in Mysore district) was under relatives of the Ikkeri Rajas and allies of the Haleri Rajas. Nanjunda arasa ('ruler') 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 became a 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 nad. 

Achchu Nayaka later got a memorial built for his mentor Nanjunda arasa of Periyapatna. The Kattera line ended in Kiggat nad but branches of the family exist in other parts of Kodagu. Hence Achchu Nayaka's property went to his relatives the Ajjikuttira.

A number of Kodavas used to live in Periyapatna in those days. Later after Periyapatna was taken over by the Mysore Wodeyars, those Kodavas left that place and settled among the Kodavas of Kiggat nad. Hence the language and culture of Kiggat nad and surrounding parts have a slightly Kannada influence. The 'H' sound is largely absent in the Kodava language (which uses the 'P' sound instead) but present in the Kiggat dialect due to the Kannada influence. Hence Paal (milk) becomes Haal and Pann (fruit) becomes Hann in Kiggat. Otherwise Kiggat is the same as the rest of Kodagu. 


  • Belliappa, C. P. 2008. Nuggets from Coorg History. New Delhi: Rupa.
  • Chinnappa, Nadikerianda. 2003. Pattole Palame (Translated by Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa into English) Delhi: Rupa.
  • Chinnappa, N. 2006 [1924]. Pattole Palame (Kannada), Madikeri: Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Akademi.
  • Krishnayya, D. N. 1974. Kodagina Ittihasa (Kannada), Mysore: University of Mysore.
  • Moegling, Rev. H. 1855 Coorg Memoirs: An Account of Coorg and of the Coorg Mission, Bangalore: Wesleyan Mission Press.
  • Muthanna, I. M. 1971. The Coorg Memoirs (The Story of the Kodavas), Mysore.
  • Richter, Rev G. 1870 Gazetteer of Coorg Mangalore: Basel Mission.
  • Rice, B. L. 1914. Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 1. Madras: Madras Government Publications.

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