Kodagu district

Kodagu (also known by its former name Coorg) is an administrative district in Karnataka, India. Before 1956, it was an administratively separate Coorg State,[3] at which point it was merged into an enlarged Mysore State. It occupies an area of 4,102 square kilometres (1,584 sq mi) in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. In 2001 its population was 548,561, 13.74% of which resided in the district's urban centre, making it the least populous of the 30 districts in Karnataka.[4]

Kodagu District
From the top clockwise:
Morning mist in Coorg, Cauvery River arial view, Stream near Somwarpet,Omkareshwar Temple in Madikeri, Mallalli Falls near Somwarpet.
Scotland of India, Coffee capital of India, The land of Worriers
Location in Karnataka
Coordinates: 12.4208°N 75.7397°E / 12.4208; 75.7397
Country India
TalukasMadikeri, Somwarpet, Virajpet
  Deputy CommissionerAnees Kanmani Joy
  MPPratap Simha
  Total4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi)
900 m (3,000 ft)
  Density140/km2 (350/sq mi)
  RegionalKodava, Arebhashe
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
571201 (Madikeri)
Telephone code
  • + 91 (0) 8272 (Madikeri)
  • +91 (0) 8274 (Virajpet)
  • + 91 (0) 8276 (Somwarpet)
Vehicle registrationKA-12
Lok Sabha constituencyMysore Lok Sabha constituency
Karnataka Legislative Assembly constituencyMadikeri, Virajpet
ClimateTropical Wet (Köppen)
Precipitation2,725.5 millimetres (107.30 in)
Avg. summer temperature28.6 °C (83.5 °F)
Avg. winter temperature14.2 °C (57.6 °F)


The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Kasargod district of Kerala to the west, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and the Wayanad district of Kerala to the south.

Kodagu is located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. It has a geographical area of 4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi).[5] The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kasaragod district in west and Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and Wayanad district of Kerala to the south. It is a hilly district, the lowest elevation of which is 120 metres (390 ft) above sea-level. The highest peak, Tadiandamol, rises to 1,750 metres (5,740 ft), with Pushpagiri, the second highest, at 1,715 metres (5,627 ft). The main river in Kodagu is the Kaveri (Cauvery), which originates at Talakaveri, located on the eastern side of the Western Ghats, and with its tributaries, drains the greater part of Kodagu.

Administrative divisions


The district is divided into the three administrative taluks:


Two members of the legislative assembly are elected from Kodagu to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, one each from the Madikeri and Virajpet. M P Appachu Ranjan represents the Madikeri constituency while K. G. Bopaiah represents the Virajpet constituency; they are from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kodagu, formerly part of the Kodagu-Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) constituency, is now part of the Kodagu-Mysore Lok Sabha parliamentary constituency. Shri Pratap Simha, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, represents Kodagu-Mysore Parliamentary constituency.

The Codava National Council and Kodava Rashtriya Samiti are campaigning for autonomy to Kodagu district.[6][7]


The Kodavas were the earliest inhabitants and agriculturists in Kodagu, having lived there for centuries. Being a warrior community as well, they carried arms during times of war and had their own chieftains. The Haleri dynasty, an offshoot of the Keladi Nayakas, ruled Kodagu between 1600 and 1834. Later the British ruled Kodagu from 1834, after the Coorg War, until India's independence in 1947. A separate state (called Coorg State) until then, in 1956 Kodagu was merged with the Mysore State (now Karnataka).

Coorg in British India

In 1834, the East India Company annexed Kodagu into British India, after deposing Chikka Virarajendra of the Kodagu kingdom, as 'Coorg'. The people accepted British rule peacefully. British rule led to the establishment of educational institutions, introduction of scientific coffee cultivation, better administration and improvement of the economy.[8]


According to the 2011 census of India, Kodagu has a population of 554,519,[4] roughly equal to the Solomon Islands[9] or the US state of Wyoming.[10] This ranks it 539 out of 640 districts in India in terms of population.[4] The district has a population density of 135 inhabitants per square kilometre (350/sq mi).[4] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 1.13%.[4] Kodagu has a sex ratio of 1019 females for every 1000 males,[4] and a literacy rate of 82.52%.[4]

Kodava Takk is the spoken language native to Kodagu. Are Bhashe, a dialect of Kannada, is native to Sulya in Dakshina Kannada. Both use Kannada script for literature.[11] According to Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy (Karnataka's Kodava Literary Academy), apart from Kodavas, and their related groups, the Amma Kodavas, the Kodava Peggade (Kodagu Heggade) and the Kodava Maaple (Kodava Muslims), 18 other smaller-numbered ethnic groups speak Kodava Takk in and outside the district including the Iri (Airi, or the carpenters and the village smiths), the Koyava, the Banna, the Kodagu Madivala (washermen), the Kodagu Hajama (barber, also called Nainda), the Kembatti Poleya (household servants and labourers) and the Meda (basket and mat weavers and drummers).[12]

Less frequent are Tulu speakers Billavas, Mogaveeras, Bunts, Goud Saraswat Brahmins. [12]

Other Kodava speakers

Among other Kodava speaking communities are: the Heggades, cultivators from Malabar; the Kodava Nair, cultivators from Malabar; the Ayiri, who constitute the artisan caste; the Medas, who are basket and mat-weavers and act as drummers at feasts; the Binepatta, originally wandering musicians from Malabar, now farmers; and the Kavadi, cultivators settled in Yedenalknad (Virajpet). All these groups speak the Kodava language and conform generally to Kodava customs and dress.[11]

Kodagu Aarebashe Gowda people

The Arebhashe gowdas,[13] or Kodagu Gowdas, and Tulu Gowdas, are an ethnic group of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. They live in Sulya (in Dakshina Kannada) and in parts of Somwarpet, Kushalanagar, Bhagamandala and Madikeri. They speak a language known as Arebhashe a dialect of Kannada. Guddemane Appaiah Gowda along with many other freedom fighters from different communities revolted against the British in an armed struggle which covered entire Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada. This was one of the earliest freedom movements against the British[14] called "Amara Sulliada Swantantrya Sangraama"[15] (Amara Sulya Dhange[14] formally called the 'Coorg Rebellion' by the British) started in 1837.[16][17][18][19]

Muslims and Christians

A huge minority of Muslims dot the Coorg district, especially the towns of Kushalnagar, Virajpet and Mercara. A sizeable of them are the Nawayaths who shifted in the eighties from Bhatkal and Murdeshwar in order to pursue coffee & arecanut plantations and textile business. The numerous mosque dotting the landscape is the testimony of Muslim presence in the district.

A small number of Mangalorean Catholics are also found in Coorg. They are mostly descended from those Konkani Catholics who fled the roundup and, later, captivity by Tippu Sultan. These immigrants were welcomed by Raja Veerarajendra (himself a former captive of Tippu Sultan, having escaped six years of captivity in 1788) who realising their usefulness and expertise as agriculturists, gave them lands and tax breaks and built a church for them.[20]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

Notable people

See also


  1. "Kodagu district Profile". DSERT. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  2. http://www.census2011.co.in/census/district/259-kodagu.html
  3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Coorg" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 91–92.
  4. "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  5. "Districts of India". Government of India. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  6. "Codava National Council sets up global forum". The Hindu.
  7. "Dharna staged for Kodagu State". The Hindu.
  8. Belliappa, C P (4 August 2015). "Call for freedom from a tiny village" (Bangalore). Deccan Herald. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  9. US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 1 October 2011. Solomon Islands 571,890 July 2011 est.
  10. "2010 Resident Population Data". U. S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 23 August 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. Wyoming 563,626
  11. K S Rajyashree, Kodava speech community : An ethnolinguistic study
  12. "Will Kodava find a place in Eighth Schedule". The Hindu.
  13. Herbert Feis (December 1926). "The Mechanism of Adjustment of International Trade Balances". The American Economic Review. American Economic Association. 16 (4): 593–609. JSTOR 1.
  14. Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  15. South Kanara, 1799–1860 By N. Shyam Bhatt
  16. http://www.thehindu.com/2004/10/31/stories/2004103102280300.htm
  17. http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/19/stories/2005051901540300.htm
  18. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/316458/account-uprising.html
  19. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/316455/fate-insurgents.html
  20. Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians, Alan Machado Prabhu, I.J.A. Publications, 1999, p. 229
  21. Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901

Further reading

  • Belliappa, C. P. Tale of a Tiger's Tail & Others Yarns from Coorg. English.
  • Belliappa, C. P. Victoria Gowramma. English.
  • Bopanna, P. T. Kodagu: Mungaru Maleya Vismayada Nadu/ Discover Coorg. Kannada/ English.
  • Bopanna, P. T. Coorg State: Udaya-Pathana / Coorg State. Kannada/ English.
  • Ganapathy, B. D. Kodagu mattu Kodavaru. Kannada. 1962.
  • Ganapathy, B. D. Nanga Kodava. Kodava. 1973.
  • Murphy, Devrala. On a Shoestring to Coorg.
  • N Prabhakaran. Kutaku kurippukal (Coorg Notes). Kannur: Kairali Books.
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