Coorg was a state, before its merger with Karnataka in the year 1956, with an elected chief minister and The Legislative Assembly. At present it is a part of Mangalore Lok Sabha Parliament Constituencyand three MLAs [One each from Mercara, Virajpet and Somwarpet] are elected from Coorg to Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
Coorg consists of three taluks or administrative units viz Madikeri or Mercara, the District Head Quarters, Virajpet and Somvarpet. Coorg borders Mysore district to its east, Dakshina Kannada district on the west, Hassan district in the north and the sate of Kerala to the south.
The largest river here, River Cauvery, which the local people worship, rises on the eastern side of the Western Ghats. Its tributaries drain the greater part of Coorg. Besides these there are several large streams that take their rise in Coorg.
Coorg is the largest producer of Coffee in India. Pepper, Cardamom and oranges are grown extensively in this part. Coorg is one of the major places that get heavy rainfall in India. The yearly rainfall may exceed 160”. In the dense jungle tract it reaches from 120” to 150”; in. the bamboo district in the west from 60” to 100”. Coorg, which is blessed with thick forest shelters Sandal wood, Rose wood and numerous variety of trees.
The loftiest peak, Tadiandamol, has an altitude of 5729 ft.; Pushpagiri, another peak, is 5626 ft. high. Coorg has an average temperature of about 60 F; the extremes being 52 and 82. Coorg holds a Guinness record for the largest family sports tournament in the world. Every year the kodava families play each other for the Family Cup and over 300 family teams participate in it. Some of the teams even include women players, who have the choice to play either for their husband or their father’ team. All the participants aging from 6 to 60 are related by blood. Climatically, Coorg can be divided into three seasons,
Climatically, Coorg can be divided into three seasons:
- Winter Season : December To February
- Summer Season : March To May
- Rainy Season : June To November
History of origin:Coorg or Kodagu (originally called Kodaimalenadu) means 'dense forest on steep hill'. Coorg, dubbed as the Scotland of India, lies on the Western Ghats.
There are many versions behind the origin of the name Kodagu. According to the Puranas, Kodava is the redifned name of Krodhadesa, meaning 'Land of Anger', said to have been inhabited by the Kodava tribe.
While for some, it is believed to hve been named after the River Cauveri, where 'kod' means 'give' and 'ava' means 'mother' - which means Cauvery is the 'mother to the people'. Few believe the name originated from the Kannada kudu which means 'dense forest' on a steep hill. It is said that the history of Coorg dates back to as early as 888 AD.
The kingdom was ruled by many dynasties, starting with Gangas of Talakad, Kadambas, Cholas, Kongalvas, Changalvas, Hoysalas and Nayakas. Information on its early history has come primarily from the various inscriptions on stone and copper plates of 9th - 10th century.
The Haleri dynasty was the last noteworthy dynasty to rule the whole of Kodagu. It came into power around mid-16th century and was founded by a young price from Ikkeri. It was the first dynasty in the history of Kodagu, whch spanned 234 years and ruled the entire region.
Coorg or Kodagu Taluks/ProvincesCoorg or Kodagu being the tinest district of Karnataka consists of few majour cities or large towns viz, Mercara/Madikeri, Virajpet, Somwarpet, Kushalnagar, Gonicoppa and Ponnampet. Out of which Mercara, Virajpet and Somwarpet are the only 3 taluks/provinces of Coorg District.
Madikeri Taluk/Province:Madikeri or Mercara is the district capital. It is also called as the 'Scotland of India' and ' The Kashmir of Karnataka'. It is blest with romantic earlymorning mist, lofty mountains, the picturesque serene, eye catching water falls. Mercara is one of the best place to relax. Mercara attracts lakhs of people from all over during Dushera festival.
Coorg or Kodagu HistoryThe early accounts of Coorg are purely legendary, and it was not till the 9th and 10th centuries that its history became the subject of authentic record. At this period, according to inscriptions, the country was ruled by the Gangas of Talakgd, under whom the Changalvas, kings of Changa-nad, styled later kings of Nanjarayapatna or Nanjarajapatna, held the east and part of the north of Coorg, together with the Hunsur talk in Mysore. After the overthrow, in the 11th century, of the Ganga power by the Cholas, the Changalvas became tributary to the latter...
Coorg or Kodagu PeopleThe Coorgs or the people of Coorg are known for their great hospitality and sense of humour. Their friendly nature makes visitors travel to Coorg over and over again.
The KodavasKodavas are the main community of Coorg or Kodagu. The word 'Kodagu' is said to be derived from this community. The kodavas are a distinctive race of India known for their bravery since ages, are the only race in India that has been permitted to acquire guns without a licence. Women folk, both beautiful and highly educated, occupy a predominant place in the family while the men folk, tall and handsome, look after the coffee estates.
The Kodava MophlasThe Mapillas (historically called Mophlahs) are the other major community of Coorg. They are the earliest known Indian Muslim community, basically Arab merchants who settled in the Malabar coast in the 8th century
The Kodagu GowdasArebhashe gowdas or Kodagu Gowdas or Coorg Gowdas and Tulu Gowdas are another major ethnic group in the Coorg . They are found maily in Virajpet and Somwarpet taluks. The Valaga-Dance is quite famous and frolic for Gowdas during ceremonies
The BearysOccupying mostly the main town, Mercara, they are another major community of Coorg. Byaris, both humours and fun loving, differ from the other Muslim community in their life style. They are fun loving and friendly
Coorg or Kodagu Festivals & Events
Madikeri or Mercara DasaraMercara Dasara, second only to the Mysore Dasara, is celebrated in a unique way with decorated tabloos (Dasha Mantapas or The Ten Tabloos). Traditonal dancers, singers, fun games, archestra, cultural programs are held round the clock. Mainly celebrated at night Mercara Dasara is the right time to rejoice. Music of all kind blend through hill station inducing everyone to dance it out.
Cauvery SankramanaCelebrated on an auspicious day of Tula Sankramana in the month of October, this festival marks the emerging (taking birth / Theerthodbhava) of Goddess Cauvery (The River) at a place called Tala Cauvery in Bhagamandala. Devoties throng to the holy place from various parts of India.
Kunde Habba - A unique tribal festivalThe annual “Kunde Habba”, which in local language means “Festival of abusing god”, is a traditional festival of the tribal people in Kodagu District. It is celebrated with fervour at Devarapura area near Thithiamthi Village in Virajpet taluk of Coorg.
Coorg or Kodagu Traditions & Rituals
Kakkada PadinettMany rituals associated with the ancestral traditions are steadfastly observed in Kodagu. Such annual rituals are observed according to the set time and if one misses out on that, the wait would go on for one more year.
“Kakkada Padinett”, 18th day of “Kakkada” month in Kodava calendar in Kodagu, is one of the significant days (2009, August 3, Monday). People throng the places where “Aati soppu” or “Madd toppu” or “kurunji toppu”, as it is called in Kodava language, "Aati choppu" in Beary language, is sold. They buy the leaves that come along with slender stems.
On the 18th day of “Kakkada” month, the leaves are said to contain 18 varieties of herbal medicine. Leaves grown in the wild are plucked and soaked (some boil) in water to get the aromatic juice, which has a thick and unique flavour in dark violet colour. Women make cakes out of the juice and also sweet porridge. The belief is that the plants contain 18 types of medicine. On the 18th day of “Kakkada”, the plants start emitting a sweet aroma that is not found on them earlier. The aroma starts waning after the 18th day.
“Kakkada koli” (chicken) is also a special delicacy in the district on this day. Monsoon is associated with several such rare occurrences in Kodagu. It is the time when mushrooms emerge from the ground. “Baimbale” (bamboo shoot) or “kanile” is the other delicacy that is enjoyed by the people of Kodagu. It is believed that “mushrooms” and “Baimbale” help balance the body temperatures during the monsoon season.