Kannada, Karnataka,Kannadiga Topics
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GI Tags from Karnataka

Karnataka, the land of history and heritage has the highest number of GI Tags in India. A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The use of a GI may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
Byadagi chilli
Byadagi chilli (Kannada: ಬ್ಯಾಡಗಿ ಮೆಣಸಿನಕಾಯಿ) is a famous variety of chilli mainly grown in  Karnataka. It is named after the town of Byadagi which is located in the Haveri district of Karnataka. The business involving Byadagi chillis has the second largest turnover among all chilli varieties of India. An oil, oleoresin extracted from these chillies is used in the preparation of nail polish and lipsticks. Byadagi chilli is also known for its deep red colour and is less spicy and is used in many food preparations of karnataka. They are also known as kaddi (meaning stick-like) chillies. The quality of chilli varieties is measured in terms of the extractable red colour pigment; this colour is measured in ASTA colour units. Byadagi Chilli has an ASTA colour value of 156.9. The higher the ASTA colour unit, the better the quality of chilli and therefore the higher the price. The Byadagi chilli has negligible capsaicin content making it less pungent than other chilli varieties.Byadagi chilli is an important ingredient in spicy preparations like Bisi bele bath, sambar, chutneys and other food items of South India and is widely used in the Udupi cuisine. It is also used in meat preparations because of the bright red colour that it imparts to the meat.Earlier Byadagi Chilli was grown mainly for the purpose of using it in food items as a spicy ingredient but recently, it has also been grown for the extraction of oleoresin, a red oil from the pods. Oleoresin is used in the preparation of nail polish and lipsticks.

Udupi Mattu Gulla Brinjal
Mattu village is famous for a particular variety of brinjal (eggplant) that is grown only in this village. The brinjal grown here is light green in colour and is spherical, unlike the usual purple-coloured variety. The first brinjal harvested is offered to Lord Krishna at Krishna Matha, Udupi. The seeds for growing this type of brinjal is said to be given by Shri Vadiraja swamiji. This village is also famous for a bridge named as Annekatta which connects this tiny village to Katapady. This village lies in the midst of Arabian sea in the west and a small river in the east side. Shree Vadhirajacharya, a monk, was daily offering food to Hayagreeva or Hayavadhana (Narayana in Horse's face). He used to close the door and a horse steps up on his shoulder to eat it. Vadhirajaru used to return empty vessel always. This enraged other brahmanas, and in turn they mixed poison, thinking that Vadhirajaru has eaten it, as usual he offered food, the horse came and ate fully without leaving a trace. But to their surprise, other Brahmins saw Shri Krishna, Udupi's Idol turning blue in color. So other brahmnas felt guilty and went to Vadhirajaru for pardon. Vadhirajaru with his divine powers gave some seeds of Brinjal to Mattu Brahmins to sow it. The brinjal grown there is bought and being offered to Krishna as Nayvedhya. Slowly the blueishness vanished away. So even now "Mattu Gulla" is famous for non-septic in nature.

Malabar Arabica Coffee
Monsooned Malabar is a process applied to coffee beans. The harvested beans are exposed to the monsoon rain and winds for a period of about three to four months, causing the beans to swell and lose the original acidity, resulting in a smooth brew with a practically neutral pH balance. The coffee is unique to the Malabar Coast of Karnataka . The blend is heavy bodied, pungent, and considered to be dry with a musty, chocolatey aroma and notes of spice and nuts.The origins of Monsooned Malabar date back to the times of the British Raj, when, during the months that the beans were transported by sea from India to Europe, the humidity and the sea winds combined to cause the coffee to ripen from the fresh green to a more aged pale yellow. Legend has it that in the past, when wooden vessels carried raw coffee from India to Europe, during the monsoon months taking almost six months to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, the coffee beans, exposed to constant humid conditions, underwent characteristic changes. The beans changed in size, texture, and appearance, both as beans and in the cup. Modern transportation reduced the length of this journey and better protected the beans from weathering and humidity. However, the Europeans noticed that the coffee beans now arriving in their ports lacked the depth and character of the coffee beans received in days gone by.It was determined that in the past the coffee beans had been transformed by exposure to the sea air and monsoon winds and rain. An alternative process was implemented to replicate these conditions, so that these coffee beans could be enjoyed once again. It was observed that a typical ambiance could be simulated along the coastal belt of southwest India during the monsoon months bringing about the same characteristic transformation to the ordinary cherry coffee beans. Thus was born the ritual called "monsooning." Arabica variety with this process is called Malabar Monsoon Arabica Coffee.

Monsooned malabar robusta
Another Coffee Variety of same Process is monsooned malabar robusta

Coorg Green Cardamom
A fragrant spice, used in most chai recipes, cardamom is one of the mildest but most effective digestive stimulants. Removes excess Kapha from the stomach and lungs, and combined with fennel, it acts a soothing digestive for nervous stomach disorders in children. The queen of spices (just ask the spice mistress), cardamom stimulates the heart and mind and offers clarity and joy. The Coorg Cardmom has more unique features.

Devanahalli Pomelo
Devanahalli is also known for its pomelo-a fruit whose local flavour is not found anywhere else in India. Interestingly, the Devanahalli Chakotha or Pomelo was on the verge of extinction a few years ago, Soaring land prices and the location of the new Bengaluru international airport had almost sounded the death knell of this wonderful fruit. Chakotha is a thick, yellow-skinned fruit. It is the largest citrus fruit in the world and belongs to the Rutaceae family. It is known in the West as pomelo, Shaddock, Batavia lemon and its scientifically name is Citrus Grandis. The fruit is consumed as it is and is also used in cooking to make desserts and jellies. It can weigh up to 10 kg. What makes it imperative to preserve the Devanahalli Chakotha is that the type of Pomelo grown here cannot be grown anywhere else. The unique nature of Devanahalli soil-loamy, clay and neither too dry nor moist- disallows the fruit from being taken to other locations in the state for cultivation. The Chakotha of Devanahalli is unique in the sense that its outer rind is thick and light yellow in color and its flesh is pinkish and mildly juicy.

Appemidi mango
The appemidi is not just any old mango. It is at the heart of the mango pickle industry and Karnataka's food culture. Its fragrance is so strong that adding just a few midis to an ordinary mango pickle can change its taste and smell. Among the tens of varieties of mango pickle, appemidi pickles are the most sought after as they remain fresh for years. In the land of their origin, appemidis are also used to make gojju, sasve, appehuli, chutney and thambli, which is a good digestive. he appemidi is a native of the forests of the Western Ghats, where there are natural plantations of centuries-old mango trees in the valleys of the Aghanashini, Kumudvati, Kali, Varada, Bedthi and Sharavathi rivers in Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts. The trees are also found in places like Chittoor and Khanapur in Belgaum and parts of Chikmagaloor district. A wild appemidi tree can yield several tonnes of tender mango, with features varying from tree to tree. The appemidi can have as many names as its diversity demands. But being a soft-wood variety, the appemidi treeis ideally suited for building fishing boats. In the last five decades, the forests in the area have been cut down to make way for hydroelectric projects and construction, and for timber. In the process, thousands of appemidi trees have been felled.

Kamalapur Red Banana
Banana cultivation is known to be difficult. Lot of inputs like compost, water, labour costs make this crop an expensive one to grow. In arid areas like Gulbarga, banana cultivation is not known to be profitable. But one special variety of banana, has been grown in the district, and a lot of farmers are concerned about saving this traditional variety. This is the red banana, grown in and around Kamalapur of Gulbarga district. Although a small town, Kamalapur has gained recognition thanks to this variety of banana. Red banana cultivation is entirely different from other varieties. Plantation starts in June to August and requires a large quantity of compost. The banana is being grown in this area from hundreds of years. he red banana has medicinal properties and many nutrients.

Bangalore Blue Grapes
Bangalore Blue, characterized by its 'foxy flavour', is exclusively grown in Bangalore Urban, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts. Its cultivation has been going on for the past 150 years in about 5,000 hectares. The livelihood of over 15,000 farmers in the Nandi Valley depends on their cultivation. Authentic Bangalore Blue grapes need to be grown in red sandy loam soil at a day temperature of about 35-37 degrees Celsius and night temperature of 12-15 degree Celsius which is unique to Bangalore and its surrounding areas. The grapes develop their typical colour and slip skin nature (thin skin) at this temperature.

Coorg Oranges
Coorg orange has global recognition and has attracted the attention of the customers at the global level due to its colour and taste. In 1960s, oranges were grown in 50,000 to 60,000 hectare land. However, over the years, disease attacked orange plants. As a result, the land under orange cultivation was reduced to 3,000 to 4,000 hectares. After the price of coffee rised in the international market, orange estates have disappeared in Kodagu.

Mysore Betel Leaf
Tambula is a enlightening tradition of India since ancient time from ordinary people to the Maharajas. After their dinner, people chew tambula, consisting of betel leaves, areca nut and lime with necessary perfuming ingredients. Mysore betel leaves are special for tambula because of its special taste.

Nanjangud rasabale
A popular variety of banana locally known as Nanjangud Rasabaley has also made Nanjangud famous all over the region. The fruit evokes tremendous appreciation for its taste among the older generation of the region. A variety of banana that offers a distinctive taste, "Nanjangud rasabale" has tickled the taste buds of people from far and wide. The "Nanjangud rasabale," which has unique characteristics, is identified by its distinct aroma when it ripens fully. The fruit is also characterised by its medium size and gall formation in the pulp. A major characteristic of the fruit is its long shelf life, as it survives for around a fortnight after its starts ripening.

Mysore Mallige (Jasminum sambac)
This is the most well-known variety, which derives its name since it is grown mostly around Mysore city and partly in Srirangapatna taluk in Mandya district in Karnataka state. The Jasmine's association with the city of Mysore, the royal city of palaces, patronized by the Wodeyar of the Kingdom of Mysore, because its fragrance is as powerful as the famous Dasara festival held every year in the city during October. Mallige grows in profusion in the open areas either in exclusive farmland, in front or at the backyard of houses.
Mysore Mallige, mostly grown in and around Mysore city is a viable crop for small farmers. Farmers reap two crops of this seasonal flower.

Hadagali Mallige (Jasminum auriculatum)
Hadagali Mallige is known for its rich fragrance and shelf life. Locally known as “Vasane Mallige”, (fragrant Jasmine), it is grown mainly in Hoovina Hadagali and surrounding areas in Bellary district of Karnataka.

Udupi Mallige (Jasminum sambac)
The cultivation of Udupi Mallige is of relatively recent origin. Cultivation of this variety of jasmine started in Shankarapura in Udupi district about 100 years ago. It is found extensively in Bhatkal, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada, and has been found more economically viable among all the three varieties. The flower is in high demand in places such as Mumbai, besides the coastal region. Every home in this region has 0.5 to 1 acre (2,000 to 4,000 m2) of land in front of the house for Jasmine growing.

Dharwad Pedha
Dharwad pedha (Kannada: ಧಾರವಾಡ ಪೇಡ) is a sweet delicacy unique to the state of Karnataka, India. It derives its name from the city of Dharwad in Karnataka.This sweet's history is around 175 years old. origin to Thakur family which migrated from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to Dharwad after the dreaded plague broke out there sometime in early 19th Century. With meagre funds, Shri. Ram Ratan Singh Thakur (first generation sweet maker) started making ‘pedhas’ and selling them and gradually, it started becoming popular.

Mysore silk
Karnataka produces 9,000 metric tons of mulberry silk of a total of 14,000 metric tons produced in the country, thus contributing to nearly 70% of the country's total mulberry silk. In Karnataka, silk is mainly grown in the Mysore district. The growth of the silk industry in the Kingdom of Mysore was first initiated during the reign of Tipu Sultan. Later it was hit by a global depression, and competition from imported silk and rayon. In the second half of the 20th century, it revived and the Mysore State became the top multivoltine silk producer in India. The story, how sericulture took roots in these parts lay buried deep in history, relics sparse.  Every saree produced here comes with an embroidered code number and a hologram to prevent misuse. Mysore silk sarees are also undergoing an innovating change with the use of kasuti embroidery, thickly woven pallus (the part of the saree worn over the shoulder), bandhini techniques and new colours like lilac, coffee-brown and elephant-grey.

Molakalmuru Silk Sarees
Molakalmuru is best known for its hand-woven silk sarees of exquisite design and craftsmanship. Weaving is a major occupation of the people in this region.  Molakalmuru sarees have prints of fruits, animals and birds on them. It is said that Nalvadi Krishnarajendra Wodeyar appreciated the finesse of these sarees during his visit to the place during 1914. The beautiful floral designs and the rich pallu make these sarees attractive and gorgeous. The long border sarees have a contrast border and the traditional touch is their speciality. The small or narrow border sarees are popular, and are woven with peacock, mango, bugudi and chakra border designs. The peacock border saree is made from pure mulberry silk and this design is a replica of the Maharaja peacock design. Sarees with multicolour checks are of Molakalmuru origin and have a contrast border. These sarees are woven under three shuttle looms. Sarees with the abstract temple motif is the speciality of Molakalmuru silk weavers. The border of the saree interlocks with the shell saree to give a temple design. Temple border sarees are woven with plain pallu and have a contrast colour combination. Butta sarees, of Molakalmuru origin, are woven under dobby looms and have a melange of both traditional and computer designs. The buttas are there on both sides of the border. There are also double border sarees which are available in two contrast colours. One is a silk brocade saree with jari that makes it a beautiful wedding saree. Designer sarees with ethnic multi-design and different colour combinations may take nearly 40 days to weave.

Ilkal saree
Ilkal saree (Kannada: ಇಳಕಲ್ ಸೀರೆ) is a traditional form of saree. Ilkal saree takes its name from the town of Ilkal in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, India. Ilkal sarees are woven using cotton warp on the body and art silk warp for border and art silk warp for pallav portion of the saree. In some cases instead of art silk, pure silk is also used. Ilkal was an ancient weaving centre where the weaving seems to have started in the 8th century AD. The growth of these sarees is attributed to the patronage provided by the local chieftains in and around the town of Bellary. The availability of local raw materials helped in the growth of this saree.
The uniqueness of saree is joining of the body warp with pallav warp with a series of loops locally called as TOPE TENI technique. The weaver will gait only 6 yards, 8 yards, 9 yards warp due to above TOPE TENI technique. KONDI Technique is used for weft through inserting 3 shuttles (లాళి).
Pallau portion-Design: “TOPE TENI SERAGU” Normally in tope teni seragu 3 solid portions would be in red colour, and in between 2 portions in white colour.
Tope Teni seragu has been regarded as a state symbol and was greatly respected during festival occasions.
Traditional Borders: (i) Chikki, (ii) Gomi, (iii) Jari and (iv) Gadidadi, and modern Gayathri are unique ones in Ilkal sarees - width ranging from 2.5” to 4”
Border Colour Uniqueness: Red usually or Maroon dominates.
The peculiar characteristic of the saree is joining the body warp with the pallu warp which is locally called as TOPE TENI. This technique is only used exclusively at Ilkal. If anyone requires Ilkal saree one must prepare a warp for every saree. Warp threads for body is prepared separately. Similarly pallu warp is prepared separately either with art silk or pure silk depending upon the quality required. Thirdly border portion of warp is prepared as like the pallu warp either art silk or pure silk and the colour used for pallu and on border will be one and the same. In general, the length of the pallu will range 16” to 27”. The pallu threads and body threads are joined in loop technique, a typical method which is locally called as TOPE TENI.
The distinctive feature of Ilkal sarees is the use of a form of embroidery called as Kasuti. The designs used in Kasuti reflect traditional patters like palanquins, elephants and lotuses which are embroidered onto Ilkal sarees. These sarees are usually 9 yards in length and the pallu of the Ilkal saree (the part worn over the shoulder) carries designs of temple towers. This pallu is usually made of red silk with white patterns. The end region of the pallu is made up of patterns of different shapes like hanige (comb), koti kammli (fort ramparts), toputenne (jowar) and rampa (mountain range). The border of the sari is very broad (4 to 6 inches) and red or maroon in colour and is made of different designs with ochre patterns. The saree is either made of cotton, or a mixture of cotton and silk or in pure silk. The colors traditionally used are pomegranate red, brilliant peacock green and parrot green. The sarees that are made for bridal wear are made of a particular colour called Giri Kumukum which is associated with the sindhoor worn by the wives of the priests in this region.
The design woven in the length wise borders are mainly three types :-
Gomi (more popularly known as Ilkal dadi)
Paraspet (Sub-divided into chikki paras and dodd paras)
Main Body design
Other Differences
With above broad parameters the Ilkal sarees differ in matters of size, nature and quality of yarn used for different portion of saree as also colour combination and combinations of designs on the borders and main body of the saree. The beauty of Tope-teni seragu is further enhanced at times by weaving in its middle portion, yet another design known as ‘Kyadgi’.

Kasuti (Kannada: ಕಸೂತಿ) is a traditional form of embroidery practiced in the state of Karnataka, India. Kasuti work which is very intricate sometimes involves putting up to 5,000 stitches by hand and is traditionally made on dresswear like Ilkal and Kanchivaram sarees.Kasuti work involves embroidering very intricate patterns like gopura, chariot, palanquin, lamps and conch shells. Locally available materials are used for Kasuti. The pattern to be embroidered is first marked with charcoal or pencil and then proper needles and thread are selected. The work is laborious and involves counting of each thread on the cloth. The patterns are stitched without using knots to ensure that both sides of the cloth look alike. Different varieties of stitches are employed to obtain the desired pattern. Some of the stitches employed are Ganti, Murgi, Neyge and Menthe. Ganti is a double running stitch used for marking vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, Murgi is a zig-zag stitch, Neyge is a running stitch and Menthe is a cross stitch resembling fenugreek seeds.

Sandur Lambani embroidery
A unique facet of the costume of the Lambadi woman is its elaborate embroidery. This is usually combined with mirror work to produce the glitter and colour that are integral parts of the Lambadi costume. The clothes of the Lambanis reflect their love of life and evolved across the centuries to suit local climatic and social conditions. Traditionally this embroidery was done on personal items of girls to be married. It was done elaborately on different household accessories that went into the bride's trousseau. The traditional costume of the Lambadi woman glitters with small pieces of mirror, coins and costume jewellery.
The Lambani women's costume comprising of Lehenga, Choli and Odhni are embroidered with bright rainbow-coloured fabrics covered with a mosaic of patchwork mirrors. Their work is sought after by collectors for its vibrancy of pattern and colour, and for the unusual technique of sewing hundreds of small mirrors into the compositions. Each piece depicts an aspect of the Lambani creation myths.
This style of embroidery has been handed down from mother to daughter through many generations. Thus making every daughter of the house a lambani artist.
Some of the most important features of the Lambani embroidery are:
Exquisite needle work which is done on different kinds of fabric to create interesting patterns is done by nomadic women of the Banjara tribe only.
Banjara embroidery is a unique combination of intricate appliqué, patchwork and also fine embroidery.
This embroidery is done with mix of different kinds of rawmaterial like mirrors, shells, alluminium buttons and jewellery pieces.
Lambani embroidery also to a large extent comprises of the quilting technique which is done on the edge of the garment and is called "katta".
The colours on their garments signify their lifestyle. The most commonly used colours are red and yellow. Red signifies marriage and fertility while yellow signifies vitality and strength.
The distinctiveness of the lambani embroidery is the random designs and bright colours that is so traditional to this tribe.
Using intricate methods of embroidery, the mirrors, shells, jewellery piece etc are affixed to cloth, which is made into dresses, bags, pillow cases, wall hangings, table mats etc. Exquisite purses, dresses, bed spreads and wall hangings are made with intricate needlework. These articles come from the experienced and deft hands of traditional craft women.

Navalgund Durries
Navalgund is is famous as birth place of 'jamkhanas', the floor covering woven using cotton ropes or carpet. Weavers at Navalgund make Jamkhane (durries for daily use) with Pagadiatte - Chaupad motif and Jainamaaz (prayer mats) to be used by Muslims.

Mysore painting
Mysore painting (Kannada: ಮೈಸೂರು ಚಿತ್ರಕಲೆ) is an important form of classical South Indian painting that originated in and around the town of Mysore in Karnataka encouraged and nurtured by the Mysore rulers. Painting in Karnataka has a long and illustrious history, tracing its origins back to the Ajanta times (2nd century B.C. to 7th century A.D.) The distinct school of Mysore painting evolved from the paintings of Vijayanagar times during the reign of the Vijayanagar Kings (1336-1565 AD) The rulers of Vijayanagar and their feudatories encouraged literature, art, architecture, religious and philosophical discussions. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire after the Battle of Talikota the artists who were till then under royal patronage migrated to various other places like Mysore, Tanjore, Surpur, etc. Absorbing the local artistic traditions and customs, the erstwhile Vijayanagar School of Painting gradually evolved into the many styles of painting in South India, including the Mysore and Tanjore schools of painting.
Mysore paintings are known for their elegance, muted colours, and attention to detail. The themes for most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The most famous of the manuscripts detailing the various nuances of the Mysore school and listing out the various Gods and Goddesses, is the Sritattvanidhi, a voluminous work of 1500 pages prepared under the patronage of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. This pictorial digest is a compendium of illustrations of gods, goddesses and mythological figures with instructions to painters on an incredible range of topics concerning composition placement, colour choice, individual attributes and mood. The ragas, seasons, eco-happenings, animals, and plant world are also effectively depicted in these paintings as co-themes or contexts. Other Sanskrit literary sources such as the Visnudharmottara Purana, Abhilasitarthacintamani and Sivatatvaratnakara also throw light on the objectives and principles of painting, methods of preparing pigments, brushes and the carrier, qualifications of the chitrakar (traditional community of painters) the principles of painting and the technique to be followed. The ancient painters in Mysore prepared their own materials. The colours were from natural sources and were of vegetable, mineral or even organic origin such as leaves, stones and flowers. Brushes were made with squirrel hairs for delicate work but for drawing superfine lines a brush made of pointed blades of a special variety of grass had to be used. Due to the long-lasting quality of the earth and vegetable colours used, the original Mysore paintings still retain their freshness and lustre even today. Mysore Paintings are characterized by delicate lines, intricate brush strokes, graceful delineation of figures and the discreet use of bright vegetable colours and lustrous gold leaf. More than mere decorative pieces, the paintings are designed to inspire feelings of devotion and humility in the viewer. The painter’s individual skill in giving expression to various emotions is therefore of paramount importance to this style of painting. The first stage of Mysore Painting was to prepare the ground; paper, wood, cloth or wall grounds were variously used. The paper board was made of paper pulp or waste paper, which was dried in the sun and then rubbed smooth with a polished quartz pebble. If the ground was cloth it was pasted on a wooden board using a paste composed of dry white lead (safeda) mixed with gum and a small quantity of gruel (ganji). The board was then dried and burnished. Wood surfaces were prepared by applying dry white lead, yellow ochre and gum, and walls were treated with yellow ochre, chalk and gum. After preparation of the ground a rough sketch of the picture was drawn with crayon prepared from the straight twigs of the tamarind tree. The next step was to paint the furthest objects such as sky, hill and river and then gradually animal and human figures were approached in greater detail. After colouring the figures, the artists would turn to elaboration of the faces, dress and ornaments including the gesso work (gold covering), which is an important feature of Mysore painting.

Gesso work was the hallmark of all traditional paintings of Karnataka. Gesso refers to the paste mixture of white lead powder, gambose and glue which is used as an embossing material and covered with gold foil. The gesso work in Mysore paintings is low in relief and intricate. Gesso was used in Mysore painting for depicting intricate designs of clothes, jewellery and architectural details on pillars and arches that usually framed the deities. The work was taken up in the morning when the base of the gold work on the painting was still moist so as to hold the gold foil firmly. After allowing the painting to dry, glazing was carried out by covering the painting with thin paper and rubbing over it with a soft glazing stone known as kaslupada kallu. When the thin paper was removed the painting shone brightly and looked resplendent with the combination of gold and a variety of colours.

Mysore Rosewood Inlay work
British writers mention the existence of thousands of workers in Mysore involved in inlaying etched ivory motifs into rosewood to create intricate wood work. Even now an estimated 4000 people in Mysore are involved in rosewood inlay work though other media like plastic have replaced ivory. This intricate work involves many stages. The first step is to design and draw the images and patterns on the rosewood. Then the rosewood is cut into proper shape by carpentry. The motifs that have to be inlaid are then carefully handcut to shape. The areas where the motifs have to be inlaid on the rosewood, are carefully scooped out. Next the motifs are inlaid and fixed. The wood is then smoothened using sandpaper and polished to give a bright look.

Mysore sandal soap
In the early 20th century, the Mysore Kingdom in India was one of the largest producers of sandalwood in the world. It was also one of the major exporters of the wood, most of which was exported to Europe. During the First World War, large reserves of sandalwood were left over because they could not be exported due to the war. In order to make good use of these reserves, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the king of Mysore established the Government Soap Factory in Bangalore. This factory, which was set up in 1916, started manufacturing soaps under the brand-name Mysore sandal soap using sandalwood oil as the main ingredient. A factory to distill sandalwood oil from the wood was set up at Mysore in the same year. In 1944, another sandalwood oil factory was set up at Shimoga. After the unification of Karnataka, these factories came under the jurisdiction of the Government of Karnataka. In 1980, the Government decided to merge these factories and incorporate them under a company named Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited. Sharabha, a mythological creature having a body of a lion and the head of an elephant, was chosen as the logo of the company. This was because the creature represents the combined virtues of wisdom, courage and strength and symbolizes the company's philosophy. The company has since diversified and manufactures incense sticks, talcum powder and detergents; apart from soaps.

Mysore Sandalwood oil
Mysore Sandalwood oil are most valuable & demanded all over world in comparison to the Sandalwood oil manufactured in any part of the world, India meets 80% demand of sandalwood oil in the world because of the best quality.

 Mysore Agarbathi
The state of Karnataka, referred to as the Capital of Agarbathi (Incense Sticks),[8] is the leading producer of the agarbathi in India, with Mysore and Bangalore being the main manufacturing centres.[9] The Mysore region is recognised as a pioneer in the activity of agarbathi manufacturing and this is one of the main cluster activities that exist in the city. This is due to the fact that it has a natural reserve of forest products especially Sandalwood, which provide for the base material used in production.
Ganjifa Art
Ganjifa or Ganjeefa was a popular card game in ancient India. Played extensively in the Mughal period, Ganjifa is now known more for the art work on the cards than the game itself. Cards made for royalty were inlaid with precious stones and were also made of ivory, mother-of-pearl and wafers of lac. In Mysore, this game was known as "Chadd" (God's play). One of the finest exponents of Ganjifa Art, Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhatta is a resident of Mysore and has set up an International Ganjifa Research Centre at Mysore. The cards are generally circular and sometimes rectangular in shape with lacquered backs with exquisite paintings on them

Kinnal Craft
Kinnal Craft or Kinhal Craft (Kannada: ಕಿನ್ನಾಳ ಕಲೆ ), is a traditional wooden craft local to the town of Kinhal, or Kinnal, in Koppal District, North Karnataka, India.The town is famous for Kinhal toys and religious idols.
Kinhal has an immensely rich artistic heritage. It was once a flourishing centre for crafts, the most well-known being exquisite carvings in wood. The famous mural paintings in the Pampapateshwara Temple, and the intricate work on the wooden chariot at Hampi, are said to be the work of the ancestors of the Kinhal artisans of today. Old paper tracings found in the ancestral house of one of the artisans further substantiates this belief.
The artisans are called chitragars. Lightweight wood is used for the toys. The paste used for joining the various parts is made of tamarind seeds and pebbles. Jute rags, soaked, slivered into pieces, dried, powdered, and mixed with saw dust and tamarind seed paste is made into kitta. A mixture of pebble powder paste with liquid gum is used for embossing the ornamentation and jewellery on the body of the figure. Once the components of the figure are assembled, kitta is applied by hand all over, and small pieces of cotton are stuck on it with the tamarind paste. Over this is applied the pebble paste which forms the base for the application of paint.
Previously, toys depicting people involved in various occupations were popular; now the preference is for figures, animals, and birds. Garuda, the epic bird, has 12 components while Lord Ganesha on a throne has 22 components. The styling is realistic and the designing and chiselling has a master touch. In the festival season, clay toys and images are made, often out of cowdung and sawdust.

Channapatna toys
Channapatna toys are a particular form of wooden toys (and dolls) that are manufactured in the town of Channapatna in the Bangalore Rural district of Karnataka state, India. This traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. As a result of the popularity of these toys, Channapatna is known as Gombegala Ooru (toy-town) of Karnataka. Traditionally, the work involved lacquering the wood of the Wrightia tinctoria tree, colloquially called Aale mara (ivory-wood).
The craft has diversified over time; in addition to the traditional ivory-wood, other woods—including rubber, sycamore, cedar, pine and teak—are now used as well. Manufacturing stages include procuring the wood, seasoning the wood, cutting the wood into the desired shapes, pruning and carving the toys, applying the colours and finally polishing the finished product. Vegetable dyes are used in the colouring process to ensure that the toys and dolls are safe for use by children. As of Oct 2006, more than 6,000 people in Channapatna, working in 254 home manufacturing units and 50 small factories, were engaged in the making of these toys. The Karnataka Handicrafts Development Corporation (KHDC) provides assistance with marketing efforts.

Bidriware (Kannada: ಬಿದ್ರಿ ಕಲೆ ) is a metal handicraft that originated in Bidar, Karnataka, in the 14th century C.E., during the rule of the Bahamani Sultans. The term 'Bidriware' originates from the township of Bidar, which is still the chief centre for the manufacture of the unique metalware. Due to its striking inlay artwork, Bidriware is an important export handicraft of India and is prized as a symbol of wealth. The metal used is a blackened alloy of zinc and copper inlaid with thin sheets of pure silver.
The origin of Bidriware is usually attributed to the Bahamani sultans who ruled Bidar in the 13th–15th centuries. Abdullah bin Kaiser, a craftsman from Iran was invited by the Sultan to work on decorating the royal palaces and courts. According to some accounts, Kaiser joined hands with local craftsmen and gave birth to Bidriware. Since then, the craft has been handed down succeeding generations mostly among the local Muslim and Lingayat sects.

Karnataka Bronze Works
Metal works in Karnataka is not confined to any particular area or city. While some regions are famous for bronze casting, others are known for bell metal works. Metal work industry is an important part of Karnataka people as numerous families are involved actively in it. Many articles for religious purposes are made of metal. Karkala, famous for Jain statues and Udupi are the major centers for such works. Mangalore is famous for the bell metal works and Nagamangala is famous for bronze casting. Most attractive pieces of bronze work are the human figures made out of it.

Earliest Full Length Kannada Inscription

Although  Kannada words in abundance have been found in edicts and inscriptions prior to the Christian era in places like Ashoka Edicts  and as far as Egypt, The Earliest Known Full length inscription in kannada is said to be Halmidi Inscription. Full length inscription means inscriptions in sentence and paragraphs in Kannada not just few words.  Halmidi inscription is put at around 450 AD. We are now becoming aware of inscriptions which are challenging the earliest known Full length inscription in Kannada Tag. Dr.S Shettar claims that there are five to six inscription in kannada that are older than Halmidi. Let us see them

Halmidi Inscription

The inscription was discovered in 1936 by Dr. M. H. Krishna, the Director of Archaeology in Mysore (Karnataka state of India), in Halmidi, a village in the Hassan taluk. The inscription is written on a stone pillar 4 feet high. The Inscription written in pre-old-Kannada or Purvada Hala Kannada. The content refers to king Kakusthavarma of the Kadamba dynasty. Further it makes a mention of a war between the Kadambas and the Pallavas in which a brave soldier Vijarasa distinguished himself. He was given a grant of two villages Halmidi and Mulavalli as Balgalchu. It is a form of a gift in which the sword used by the hero for killing the enemies is ceremoniously cleaned and worshipped and the grant made thereafter.The Insc Text is given below the post and there is lot of information on the net, so we are not going in details into this inscription.

Tamatekallu inscription

5th century Inscription in Tamatekallu in Chitradurga dist is one more in contention. Govind Pai observed the extensive use of sanskrit words in Kannada Stanza inscribed there and hazards a guess prior to the adoption of Sanskrit words there must have been a fairly long period of literary composition when native kannada in vogue.


Chandragiri Inscription

Dr.M.G.Manjunath, epigraphist, an authority on "Nishadi"(Sallekhana Samadhi or Nishadi Memorials) inscriptions deciphered "Gunabhushitana nishadi Shasana" one of the 271 inscriptions on Chandragiri hill outoff 800 odd inscriptions in sharavanabelagola. He Concluded Nishadi is the oldest known kannada inscription dating to 400AD. After a detailed study and based on palaeographical and linguistic inferences, Dr.Manjunath dated the inscription to first half of 400AD. Dr.Manjunath figured out after in-depth study that the inscription contained Prakrit, Sanskrit and Purvada Halegannda words. There are no prakrit words in Halmidi inscription. The four lined inscription is in satavhana brahmi and Aadi Ganga Script. M.Chidanandamurthy, kannada Scholar agrees with the findings and puts the inscription older than Halmidi inscription by 50 to 100 years.


Tagarthi Inscription

Tagarthi inscription by Gangas in Shimoga District is dated prior to Halmidi by Dr.S.Shettar.  According to Shettar, the Ganga dynasty controlled most of southern India, including current-day Shimoga, by the middle of the third century. “The inscription found at Tagarthi in Shikaripura taluk of Shimoga district dates back to the same period,” Shettar said. “Tagarthi is well within the Gangavadi region.” Targarthi is a mix of three different scripts, Brahmi, Nagari and Kannada scripts.Dr. S Shettar claims that Tagarthi inscription is much older than Halmidi inscription, dating back to 350 AD. Dr.Shettar says that Tagarthi inscription is in kannada form  earlier than purva-hale-Kannada. 


Kadamba Coins

Some early Kadamba Dynasty coins bearing the Kannada inscription Vira and Skandha were found in Satara dist in Maharastra.  A gold coin bearning three inscriptions of Sri and an abbreviated inscription of king Bhagiratha’s name called bhagi (390-420 CE) in old Kannada exists. These coins prove that Kannada was Administrative language in 4th century Itself. We have seen another article on kannada being third Indian admin language after Prakrit and Sanskrit. We have abundant number of Pre-Kadamba coins in Karnataka in Prakrit.

Satavahana Coins

The coin was discovered recently by numismatist Mukunda Prabhu of Mangalore. On one side of the coin, there is an inscription ‘Srimanaragi’ in Kannada script and on the other side, the symbol of Ujjayini is inscribed, says Dr Gopal, director, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History. According to him, the letter ‘Srimanaragi’ is perhaps the name of a king or a title given to somebody. This is one of the oldest copper coins discovered having the inscription in Kannada script, he says. Notably, it is believed that Banavasi had a ‘Tankashale’ which produced coins having Kannada script.

Recent discovery of a copper coin dated in Banavasi, Uttara Kannada district with the Ujjain Symbol one side and inscription Srimanaragi in Kannada script proves that Kannada had become an official language of Chutus, Satavahana times as well. While Chutu dynasty was restricted to South India. Ujjain Symbol shows that the coin can be Satavahana / Satakarni Coins, who controlled much of India. Which could mean Kannada was official language of Whole of India. We need to search for inscriptions in  Kannada by Satakarnis / Satavahanas especially in Maharastra / Goa area.

Indology scholars have been saying Kadambas and Gangas are the first Kannada Dynasties becuase they used Kannada. But here we have proof that Chutus, Satakarni / Satavahanas have used kannada in administration born by proof of this coins.  This also proves that Kannada words in Ashoka Edicts in Karnataka is no fluke, but due to admin language of the area being Kannada. It has to be noted that apart from Prakrit, Greek and Aramic words, only other language word  in Ashoka Edict is Kannada none else not even Sanskrit.

Halmidi Inscription

The pillar on which the inscription was written stands around 4 feet (1.2 m) high. Its top has been carved into an arch, onto which the figure of a wheel has been carved, which is probably intended to represent the Sudarshana Chakra of Vishnu.The following lines are carved on the front of the pillar:

1. jayati śri-pariṣvāṅga-śārṅga vyānatir-acytāḥ dānav-akṣṇōr-yugānt-āgniḥ śiṣṭānān=tu sudarśanaḥ
2. namaḥ śrīmat=kadaṁbapan=tyāga-saṁpannan kalabhōranā ari ka-
3. kustha-bhaṭṭōran=āḷe naridāviḷe-nāḍuḷ mṛgēśa-nā-
4. gēndr-ābhiḷar=bhbhaṭahar=appor śrī mṛgēśa-nāgāhvaya-
5. r=irrvar=ā baṭari-kul-āmala-vyōma-tārādhi-nāthann=aḷapa-
6. gaṇa-paśupatiy=ā dakṣiṇāpatha-bahu-śata-havan=ā-
7. havuduḷ paśupradāna-śauryyōdyama-bharitōn=dāna pa-
8. śupatiyendu pogaḷeppoṭṭaṇa paśupati-
9. nāmadhēyan=āsarakk=ella-bhaṭariyā prēmālaya-
10. sutange sēndraka-bāṇ=ōbhayadēśad=ā vīra-puruṣa-samakṣa-
11. de kēkaya-pallavaraṁ kād=eṟidu pettajayan=ā vija
12. arasange bāḷgaḻcu palmaḍiuṁ mūḷivaḷuṁ ko-
13. ṭṭār baṭāri-kuladōn=āḷa-kadamban kaḷadōn mahāpātakan
14. irvvaruṁ saḻbaṅgadar vijārasaruṁ palmaḍige kuṟu-
15. mbiḍi viṭṭār adān aḻivornge mahāpatakam svasti
The following line is carved on the pillar's left face:
16. bhaṭṭarg=ī gaḻde oḍḍali ā pattondi viṭṭārakara


Govind Pai By M. Thirumaleshwara Bhat, Neerkaje Thirumaleshwara Bhat
Halmidi -The earliest Kannada inscriptionHistorian’s study pushes earliest record of Kannada writing back by a century 
Mysore scholar deciphers Chandragiri inscription
5th Century copper coin found at Banavasi
Coin Network 
Two hero stones of Chitradurga 

Related Posts

Early Rashtrakutas

When dealing with History, Suddenly we see Rashtrakutas defeating Chalukyas and forming an empire. An Empire at one time stretched from Himalayas to  Srilanka. Is it possible for someone to build an empire immediately coming to power. So we start digging and we come across Early Rashtrakutas.

History from Plates
Undikavatika grant (Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay)of Abhimanyu residing at Manapura calls himself Rashtrakuta and also gives geneology. Indology scholars confused these early rashtrakutas with kings of Sarbhapura and for decades disimissed the Rashtrakuta rule.

Then Pandarangapalli plates (Mysore Archeological Survey) were discoverd in Kohlapur. It gives geneology of Mananka, Devaraja, Avidheya. Dr.Krishna of Mysore Archeological Survey identified Avidheya as the third son of Devaraja. He also said that Devaraja, son of Mananka has three sons. Avidheya, Jayaraja, Bhavisya. Between the sons the extensive Rashtrakuta empire stretching from Mahanadi and Tapti to Bhima comprising of three Maharastras were divided. Jayaraja was ruling over parts of Mahanadi, Bhavisyas over Northern Maharastra and Avideya over Southern Maharastra and Northeastern Karnataka.

Krishna son of Indra and Govinda who are mentioned as defeated by chalukya jayasimha and Pulakesin II of Badami belong to this family. Overthrowing them Pulakesin II become lord of three Maharastras.

However Altekar of Bhandarkar Institute dismissed the vast empire of Rashtrakuta, claiming that many kings do not call themselves Rashtrakutas and other kings such as Nalas, Mauryas, Kalachuris and kadambas were ruling many areas of Maharastra.

Rashtrakuta Empire in 5th century AD ?
First the identification of sarbhapurias of Chattisgarh with Rashtrakutas was disimissed.
Identification of Manamatra with Mananka and Sudevaraja with Devaraja was dismissed.
The Paleography of Inscriptions suggested that Rashtrakuta inscriptions are in Western variety of Brahmi script similar to Satavahana-Kadamba script and Sarbhapuria Inscriptions were box headed script of central India similar to Gupta inscriptions
The Royal emblems are Lion facing Rightside and figure of standing lakshmi with elephant on either side pouring water on her.
Once these identification and differentiation was done, then it became easy to identify the Rashtrakuta Kings. The King Avidheya of Pandaranganapalli and King Abhimanyu of Undikavatika plates belong to same dynasty. They have same geneology starting with Manaka, Devaraja as son (described as lord of Gods (Indra)), Inscribed in Similar Characters, Emblem of Lion facing Right. One gives the family as Rashtrakuta other is silent. But that is not rare.

Extend of Empire
Now where they ruling different regions. Avidheya was ruling southern Maharastra and Northern Karnataka. Bhavisya was ruling over Northern Maharastra and southern Madya pradesh. The Pandaranganapalli plates gives Mananka as glorious ruler of Kuntala, Conquered Asmaka(godavari Valley) and Vidarbha. The Capital was Manapura, which is today Man(satara Dist), throughwhich Manganga(tributory of Bhima) flows. Another Copper plates from Sisodra in Goa mentions Devaraja father of Chandravarman of gomins. There are many theories on this. This devaraja may be different from Rashtrakutas, Rashtrakutas were originally Gomins etc. This record shows that Devaraja held sway over South Konkan also. So the theory of big Rashtrakuta Empire in 5th century AD  is tenable.

Period of Rashtrakuta rule
Mr. Krishnamacharlu who edited Sisodra Plates says the characters resemble Mayidavolu plates of Pallava Sivaskandavarman. He also draws to certain Prakrit expressions found on the grant. Which puts the plates to 3rd or 4th century AD. Now Pandaranganapalli and Undikavatika plates are put at 5th century AD. The grants themselves gives jovian year of Bhadrapada. This does not happen after 5th century AD in South India. So Rashtrakutas started as contemproaries of Trikutakas(ruling over North Konkan, Gujarat and North Maharastra) and Vakatakas (ruling Vidarba). They were lords of Kuntala, because Mananka started as ruler of Kuntala.

 Dejja Maharaj is also from this family, who gave Gokak Plates grant in Belgaum. This record was issued 845 years of Aguptayika Kings expired. This date corresponds to 532-33 AD. There was inscription from Madhavavarman which was also clubbed to Rashtrakutas. But it now certain, it belong to Vishnukundin Madhavavarman. Kalyani Chalukya records reveal Jayasimha of Badami Chalukyas defeated King Indra son of Krishna. We know Govinda who invaded with his troops of elephants at the time of accession of Pulakesin II belong to Rashtrakutas. Aihole inscription state that Govinda Immdiately obtained reward for the services. But Pulakesin soon annexed all the territories upto Narmada. So the Rashtrakuta empire is replaced by Chalukya Empire.

Lords of the Kuntala
Vindhyashakti II of Vatsagulma Vakataka in Ajanta caves Inscription claims to have defeated Lord of Kuntalas. Mananka is found have conquered Vidarbha. So may be it is a battle with no clear victors. So if we put mananka as Contemproary of Vindyashakthi II, then he flourished around 4th century AD. Prithvisena II father Narendrasena Married Ajjhitabhattarika, daughter of Lord of Kuntala. This princess may be of Rashtrakuta Lineage. Harisena last known Vakataka ruler records victory over Lord of Kuntala. This may also be Rashtrakutas. If we identify Rashtrakutas as lord of Kuntala, then Kadambas of Banavasi as being identified as lords of Kuntala goes. Also we find no record of Kadambas in Kuntala.

 Certain passages of Kuntaleshwaradautya, a sanskrit work ascribed to Kalidasa, which has been cited by Kavyamimasa of Rajashekara, Chandragupta II Vikramaditya of Guptas sent Kalidasa as an ambassador to the court of Lord of Kuntala. Kalidasa was not well received here, but he gradually gained kuntaleshwara favour and stayed in the court for sometime. When he returned to Vikramaditya Court , he reported kuntaleshwara spending time in enjoyment throwing responsibility and governance on vikramaditya. This Kuntaleshwara is identified as Vakataka Pravarasena II, But this appears plausible as Vakataka did not rule kuntala, they raided few times sure.

There is original kuntaleshwars of (Chutus)Satakarnis mentioned in Hathimgumpha inscription of Kharvela.  Kharvela has also mentioned to have defeated Rashtrika and Bhojas. Are Rashtrikas the ancestors of Rashtrakutas. We don't know. Rashtrikas and Bhojas are also mentioned in Ashoka edicts. They are roughly ruling the same areas of Maharastra.  Rashtrikas can be pronounced Rattas in prakrit. Rattas as later decendents of Rashtrakutas call themselves. But Rashtrakutas do not link themselves to these Rashtrika.

As Feudatories
Rashtrakutas later moved to Berar where they founded the principality with Acalapura(Elichpur) as their capital. the Tivarkhed Plates of Nannaraja shows family ruling in 631 AD. This gives geneology of Durgaraja, his son Govindaraja, his son Svamikaraja and his son Nannaraja. Altekar gives Approximate dates to them starting with 570AD with twenty years each. When Pulakesin II defeated Kalachuri Bhuddharaja and annexed all territories including, Maharastra, Vidarba, Konkan, Central and Southern Gujarat. He placed his trusted chiefs in thier positions. Sendraka in Gujarat. Similarly he should have placed Svamikaraja in Berar. We can find Nannarja plates resemble Kalachuri records, who preceded them. One thing that has to be noted here is that Early Rashtrakutas were saivites and later Rashtrakutas are Vaishnavites like Chalukyas. The Eagle has replaced Lion as emblem.

(Rashtrakutas of Manpura)
Mananka(Founder) (375-400 AD)
Devaraja (400-425AD)
(Sons - Jayaraja, Bhavisya and Avidheya )
Bhavisya (440-455)AD
Avidheya (455-470)
Indra(520AD) (Defeated by Chalukya Jayashima to establish Chalukya Empire)
Dejja-Maharaja (A.D. 530-550)
Durgaraja (570-590)AD
Govindaraja(Defeated by Pulikesin II)(590-610)

(Feudatory of Badami Chalukyas)
(Rashtrakutas of Acalapura)
Svamikraja (610-620)
Nannaraja alias Yuddhasura (630 -650AD)
Son Indra
Grandson Govindaraja(665-700AD)
karkkaraja(700 -715AD)

Place of Origin of Rashtrakutas
 From the Inscriptions we find Mananka founded the rule at Manapura, Which is todays Man in Satara District. The River Manganga, tributory of Bhima flows through this place. They call themselves as Lattalura-puraveshvara , which means lord of the great city of Lattalura (Latur). Latur is not far away from Satara. They might have originated.
Other Claims of origin we have already dealt in the Origin of Rashtrakutas article.

Building an Empire
Dandidurga who was ruliing in Acalapura defeated his failing overlord Kirtivarman II of Chalukyas of Badami. He also installed his father-in-law Nandivarman Pallava to Kanchi throne. Successors to Dandidurga took their empire to great heights.As one historian puts it, the drums of the Deccan were heard from the Himalayan caves to the shores of the Malabar

The Rashtrakutas of Manapura by V.V.Mirashi ,Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Kamat Potpourri :Coins
Clockwise from centre Lions of Goa Kadambas, Harihara II (1377-1404 A.D) of Vijayanagar, Rashtrakuta, Ganga, Badami Chalukya , Alupas of South Kanara ,Kalachuri 

Origin of Rashtrakutas
Kannada Kings
Rajputs Origin
Kuntala Janapada
Who is Trivaradeva
Date of Kalidasa
Date of Kamasutra
Origin of Marathi

Kannada Inscriptions outside Karnataka - Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu

Sittannavasal Inscription
Inscriptions were found at Jain caves of Sittannavasal in Pudukottai district. These inscriptions contained Kannada words like Gavudi, hosilu, tenku etc. The date of these inscriptions is second century BC according to Iravatham Mahadevan, Mostly these sites are dated to pallava medieval period 7th century AD. Hence occurrence of these Kannada words in distant Pudukottai is significant.


Kanchi Inscription of Vikramaditya
Kannada Inscription in Kannada Script undated it records that after the conquest of Kanchi, Vikramaditya (II) Satyasraya did not confiscate the property of Rajasimhesvara temple but returned it to the God. This edict was written by Anivarita Punyavallabha, under the authority of Vallabhadurjaya.

Melpadi Inscripton of Rastrakuta Krishna III
Two inscriptions belonging to the reign of the Rashtrakuta King, Krishna III, were found at Vallimalai village in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu.
Vallimalai is situated close to Melpadi village, which served as the military encampment of the king during the middle of the 10th century C.E. It is about 50 km from Takkolam, where the king defeated the Chola prince Rajaditya, son of Parantaka Chola I, in a battle in 949 C.E.
The inscriptions — one in Tamil and the other in Kannada — were discovered by archaeologist K. Kumar while visiting Vallimalai two months ago. The Tamil inscription came to light when workers dug up a trench.
The inscriptions record that Krishna III, while camping at Melpadi (“Melpaadikku vanthirunthu,” as mentioned in the Tamil inscription) gifted Mahendrapadi as “jivitham,” after auditing the village accounts and exempting it from all imposts, to “Disai-idang Gaganadeva Appaiyan,” an immigrant from Karanjikheta area in the Krishna valley.
The Kannada inscription says the endowment was made in the presence of Krishna III's feudatories, Rattas and Bitti Raja, who were staying at Melpadi. Krishna III was eulogised as Akalavarsha Deva, Prithvi Vallabha, Maha Rajathiraja, Parameshvara, Parama Bhattaraka and Chaleka Nallathan, indicating that he was yet to accomplish his conquests of Kancheepuram and Thanjavur as recorded in the later-day inscriptions issued by him, according to Dr. Kumar.
The importance of these inscriptions, which are Krishna III's two earliest stone inscriptions discovered so far, mention his presence at Melpadi, a fact otherwise known only through copper plate charters, says Dr. Kumar.
The Karhad copper plates in Kannada from Maharashtra talk about his distribution of the spoils of war among his men at his military camp at Melpadi after defeating Rajaditya in Takkolam.
A small portion of the inscriptions is missing. They contain the image of Goddess Gajalakshmi at the top.

Kodumbalur Inscription of Irukkuvelir Chiefs
There are Kannada inscriptions belonging to 10th century CE at Kodumbalur in Pudukkottai District, which was the headquarters of the Irukkuvelir Chiefs. This shows that the Irukkuvelir chiefs had traditional connections with Karnataka.
Madras Kannada Herostone Inscription
A Herostone inscription was discovered by Madhav N Katti in Kalashetra Campus, Adyar in Madras. The slab Measuring 2.5m in height, 1m in width and 10mm in thickness. The hero in whose memory the stone was set up is portrayed standing with bow in his left hand and dagger tied to waist in right hand . The Face wearing mustache and beard with majestic appearance. The Hair is tied in a knot. The quiver with arrows tied to his right shoulder from behind. The figure appears to be very dynamic and strong person. The Enemy arrows are seen piercing his body, head and left arm etc. Seven more persons are in the panel along with hero. At the bottom an animal OX is shown with mouth open as if crying on the death of its master. In between the legs is a kneeling figure with downcast face. The figure may be his wife who committed sati. This sculpture has been assigned to 9th-10th century AD. The Inscription contains three lines in Kannada in

Kannada Script. It states
Svasti[]Sri yara Sandeya-settiya ma[gan]
kannada[m]ba[]iya poriyamgadol[] tu[ru]go[]
satta palarode-ganda Koattali mutti

It states yara, son of Sandeyasetti, described as Palarodeganda died in a cattle-raid at Poriyamgadu, which was situated in Kannadamballi, after reaching kottali(Kottali Mutti). The fight must have taken place in paoriyamgadu area within he jurisidiction of Kannadamballi and the hero must have continued his fight till he reached Kottali, where he must have collapsed after much resistance. Kannadampalli is today identified as Kannada halli in Krishnagiri taluk, Dharmapuri district.

Hero-stone Inscriptions in Kondaharahalli
Ten memorial stones, six of them with Kannada inscriptions, have been discovered at near the hills close to Kondaharahalli village, six km west of Bommidi in Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu. All the stones have identical sculptural representations and belong to the 10th century AD.

The Kondaharahalli stones were discovered a few months ago by R. Ramesh, assistant archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (Chennai Circle) following information he received from C. Chandrasekar, lecturer, Government Arts and Science College, Dharmapuri. The first stone has a carving of a man holding a bow and a sword. He is shown with arrows piercing his neck and abdomen. On his left, four animals are portrayed, which represent a cattle raid. Above the hero, there is a small sculptural representation that shows him in a seated position with two apsaras on either side. There are three horse riders at the foot of the hero. One of them has an umbrella above his head, denoting that he is a chieftain or a leader, explained Dr. Rajan. An eight-line inscription is found engraved in Kannada characters and refers to a hero called Macayya, son of Hocayya, who (Macayya) had a title called Sarasatti-karakandarpa. He died in a cattle raid that took place when Sabhatukadeva, son of Byaliciradeva, who belonged to the Pallava line and bore titles such as ‘Pallava-kula-tilaka', ‘Sri Piruthuvi-vallabha', ‘Kanchipura-paramesvara', ‘Sri Manipathi-raja' and ‘Jagadeka-malla', was ruling the region.

Professor Rajaram Hegde of Kuvempu University, Shimoga, Nagarjuna, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, ASI and Sathyabhama Badhreenath, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, read the Kannada inscriptions.

Avinashi Temple Inscription in Coimbatore
Avinashi Appar or Avinashi Easwarar temple is located in Avinashi near Tirupur in Coimbatore District. Around the basement of the temple, there are inscriptions in Kannada of which three relate to Vira Balla III or Balla III (1291-1343 A.D.), the penultimate Hoysala king of Dwarasamudra. He held a fest called ‘Kakuthrayan Sandhi’ for Avinashiappar and for the expenses of which he donated Thenpalli village through Perumal Danayakan, feudatory of Balla III.

This List will grow... 

Ancient Kannada Woman Poets

Continuing with personalities who enriched Kannada and Karnataka Literature, we look at Woman Poetess, who did great work and recognized for it. Here is a partial list. I will continue to update as I gather more info.  

Towards the close of 11th century AD, during the reign of Tribhuvanamalladeva (Vikaramaditya VI), a Brahmin lady called Rebbaladeva earned a great repuatation for building  a temple to Keshavadeva at her birth place, Huvina-Hadgali, Bellary, which was noted for its Vedic Lore. She was wife of brave general called Ravideva, who was also very charitably deposed.
Besides donating enough land for the service of the diety, Rebbaladevi established a feeding house for Brahmins. She was well versed in learning and fine arts and was respected by learned Brahmins.

Kanti Kanti (1100AD)
Kanti, the great Kannada poetess adorned the court of the Legendary Hoysala king Ballala I, who was great patron of learning. Nagachandra, who called himself Abhinava, new Pampa and was her contemporary in the same court, thought and others also did the same about him that he had the ability to write as the great kannada poet Pampa.
Some of the verbal contests with Nagachandra are very interesting and can be read in the verses. That she was the poetess of a very high order is also borne by the fact that the poet of later generation, Bahubali (1560AD), praises her in very laudatory terms, and even calls her Abinava vag devi (new goddess of learning).

A shudra woman, Who became much reputed as the writer of a socio-political composition in Kannada. She was working in the palace of the mysore king Chikka Devaraja. She was evidently the favourite maid servant of the queen Devajamanni. She was educated at the instance of the queen by a well known scholar proficient in the vedas and vedanta, who was also the author of a drama called Mitravinda Govinda. This teacher, Alashingaracharya was evidently so pleased with the ablility of his pupil that he called her the goddess of charming literature. THis praise of a pupil by a teacher impressed the king so much that he told his queen to get a literary piece written by Honnamma. The queen must have communicated the kings wishes to Honnamma, who accordingly wrote a important book called Hadibadeya Dharma, which deals with the duties of chaste woman. It is of value also from the point of view of history, since it gives the genealogy of the Mysore kings upto the seventeenth century.

Among the later poetesses of the Karnatka Country, we may mention Cheluvamba, the queen of Dodda Krishnaraja of Mysore Empire. She is reputed as the author of a long poem called Varanadikalyana. She had written lullaby songs on the greatness of the diety Venkatachala of Tirupati and on the godess Alamelumanga. She had in addition written a prose commentary on the Tulakaverimahatmya

Helavantakatte Giriyamma
From a  place called Helavanakatte was a Brahmana poetess called Giriyamma. She was devotee of lord Ranganatha. She is remembered for her devotional poetry and some oher well known poems deal with popular themes as the marriage of sita, the stories of Chanrahasa and Uddalaka

Related Posts
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Kannada Literature Works
kannada Grammer Works
Lost works of Kannada Literature 
Ancient Technical Publications
List of Kannada Dictionaries
Most Jnanapith Awards
Sahitya Academy and Pampa Awardees

Karnataka and Arabia Since Ancient Times : Arabian Nights

Geographically Karnataka and Arabia are next door neighbors. Naturally they share a lot of history and interactions.  The Persian ruler Khusru-II established diplomatic relations with Arabia (Middle East) and  King Pulikesi-II of the Chalukyas of Badami (535 - 757 A.D.). Some of the Arabs had settled on the West Coast of Karnataka and inscriptions speak of them as Tajjikas. The Rashtrakutas (757-1000 A.D.) had a Tajjika governor at Konkan as testified by Sanjan plates, and Arab travellers also speak of Muslim settlements in the major commercial centres of the Rashtrakuta Empire.  Their guild called Hanjamana (Anjuman) is mentioned in the records of the Kadambas of Goa, Alupas of Dakshina Kannada and Vijayanagara rulers.  This guild  Hanjamana was part and parcel of every town assembly. Arabs also became popular in Karnataka during the Vijayanagara period (1346-1565 A.D.), as the empire employed Arabic soldiers, and all towns and villages in the empire had Arabic residents as testified by Barbosa.  The Bahamanis were the first Muslim rulers to enter Karnataka and to have ruled the Northern areas. They were followed by the Adil Shahis, Barid Shahis, Mughals, Haider and Tipu Sultan.   let us explore the unique relationship. Earliest Contact between Karnataka and Arabia or Middle east is Sumerians.

Sumerians migrated from India to  Southern Mesopotamia around four and half thousand years ago carrying with them the seeds of civilization. It was also suggested that they migrated from the west coast (Ancient Kannada Speaking region of Karnataka and Maharastra) of India. The fact that they were not a local people is suggested by the fact that their language belongs to a completely different and isolated group.  Experts trying to unravel their roots have found two convenient ways. One is the Language similarities and Physical appearance. 

Physical Appearance
Analyzing the bones, skulls and descriptions of them by other cultures indicate these: These people are of medium stature, with slightly dark complexion and hair , to which race they are allied with dark eyes, and oval faces, broad noses, rather feeble jaws, and slight sinewy bodies. This description fits for normal Indian. This description also closely describes the regal person seen on a famous clay tablet from the Indus Valley. These people should have migrated from coastal areas of raising of sea level on the west coast submerging many cities now found under the west coast sea from Dwaraka to lanka around 2500BC.

Language Similarities.
1)Ur or Uru (=city) was a major city during Sumerian civilizatin times. The word Uru or Ooru ( village or township) has got into almost all Dravidan languages including Kannada/Tulu/Kodava. Possibly the the name of the once famous Sumerian city was extended to all civilized settlements later on. It is a common suffix now in most of the place names in southern India. Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mundkur etc.There are also other Sumerian/Dravidian words sharing similar sounding verb -ur. 
2) (= firewood.) has similar words in Tulu, Kannada (Uri- is to burn). 
3)(=to till or grow) has Urpini/Ulpini (Tulu), Ulu(=to till) in Kannada.
4)One of the numbers,"five" in Sumerian was Ia or i (=five).It is ain in Tulu and aidu in Kannada.
5)Sig(=sun burnt clay tiles) has analogous Sike or seke (=sunny sultriness) and Sigadi (=fire place/oven) in Tulu/Kannada.
There may be more such analogous words in Sumerian and Tulu/Kannada.
So Citing these reasons Sumerians  considered to be the earliest known civilization of Middle east is said to be from Karnataka or Kannadiga tribe.

Hurrians (Mittanis) and Kassites
Hittites , Mittanis,and Kassites  are the Indian Tribes which went to West after drying up of the Saraswathi river around 2000BC. Mittanies also called Hurrians(From city of Hurr) by Hittites,  Naharin(of River) by Egyptians, may be due to their presence in Eupharates and Tigries delta. Mittanis had iron weapons like their Hittite counterparts. Mittanis are related to Kassites and had marital relations frequently. Both of them called themselves Uratu(From the Hills). Similar word in kannada means from the city. Mittani and Kassites names are all Indian Name, So no doubt they are Indian Tribe. What we are interested is whether we can trace them to karnataka. There were several clans among Mittanis and they had different dialects.  One point they can be traced is extensive use of Iron technologies and their claims that they are from Hill Country. Which suggest Karnataka roots. After the fall of Babylon empire Hittites, Mittanis, kassites formed an Indian superstate in the Middle east, with another Indian Tribe Hyksos controlling Egypt, they were in complete domination of Middle east. They seem to have definite Karnataka connection.

Trade and Navigation
Navigation was known in Sumer between the 4th and the 3rd millennium BCE, and was probably known by the Indians  before the Sumerians. The Egyptians had trade routes through the Red sea, importing spices . Arabia Maritime trade began with safer coastal trade and evolved with the manipulation of the monsoon winds By making use of the maritime trade routes, bulk commodity trade became possible for the Romans in the 2nd century BCE. A Roman trading vessel could span the Mediterranean in a month at one-sixtieth the cost of over-land routes. The Trade between Western Coast (kannada Speaking regions of Karnataka and Maharastra) and Arabia was in brisk pace.

The replacement of Greece by the Roman empire as the administrator of the Mediterranean basin led to the resumption of direct trade with Karnataka and the elimination of the taxes extracted previously by the middlemen. According to Milo Kearney (2003) "The South Arabs in protest took to pirate attacks over the Roman ships in the Gulf of Aden. In response, the Romans destroyed Aden and favored the Western Abyssinian coast of the Red Sea." Indian ships sailed to Egypt as the maritime routes of Southern Asia were not under the control of a single empire.

The Ptolemaic dynasty had initiated Greco-Roman maritime trade contact with India using the Red Sea ports. The Roman historian Strabo mentions a vast increase in trade following the Roman annexation of Egypt, indicating that monsoon was known and manipulated for trade in his time.By the time of Augustus up to 120 ships were setting sail every year from Myos Hormos to India, trading in a diverse variety of goods. 
Karnataka exports of spices find mention in the works of Ibn Khurdadhbeh (850), al-Ghafiqi (1150 AD), Ishak bin Imaran (907) and Al Kalkashandi (14th century). 

Wootz Steel
Wootz is the anglicized version of ukku in kannada language of the state of Karnataka, a term denoting steel. Literary accounts suggest that the steel from the Karnatka was exported to Europe, China, the Arab world and the Middle East. Though an ancient material, wootz steel also fulfills the description of an advanced material, since it is an ultra-high carbon steel exhibiting properties such as superplasticity and high impact hardness and held sway over a millennium in three continents- a feat unlikely to be surpassed by advanced materials of the current era. Wootz deserves a place in the annals of western science due to the stimulus provided by the study of this material in the 18th and 19th centuries to modern metallurgical advances, not only in the metallurgy of iron and steel, but also to the development of physical metallurgy in general and metallography in particular.A description from the Crusades of the Damascus blades is as follows: One blow of a Damascus sword would cleave a European helmet without turning the edge or cut through a silk handkerchief drawn across it. One sixth century writer describes blades as having a water pattern whose wavy streaks are glistening-it is like a pond on whose surface the wind is gliding. Let us see how this wootz steel is different and unique ot karnataka

Carbon Nanotubes
According to Robert Floyd Curl, Jr., Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry in 1996, Indian craftsmen used nanotechnology in Wootz steel as well as in paintings. More specifically carbon nanotubes, first announced by Russian scientists in 1952, was found in the sword of Tipu Sultan as well as in Ajanta paintings. Carbon nanotubes which are cylidrical fullerenes have extraordinary strength in terms of tensile strength and elastic modulus
This steel making process was practiced in Karnataka since great antiquity. The ancient Indian steel was known as Damascene steel in Persia and was in great demand in the Persian courts of the First Millennium BC. Even Alexander was presented a sword made of such steel. Coze studied the etymology of the terms denoting steel. Taking into account the fact that the names given to steel in different languages have always a technical content (hardness, resistance, etc.), Le Coze traced the transformation of the term Wootz, denoting the Indian crucible steel, through the Arab texts of the 9-12th centuries AD describing the preparation of the crucible steel named fulad. He discovered that fulad had an Indian origin of the word as transformed by Arab travellers. The subsequent success of Arabs in many wars shows that Karnataka's Wootz has played a prominent role. 

There are numerous early literary references to steel from India from Mediterranean sources including one from the time of Alexander (3rd c. BC) who was said to have been presented with 100 talents of Indian steel.During the reigns of the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, Ferrum Indium appears in the list of dutiable articles. 

An ancient Greek chemical treatise entitled "On the Tempering of Indian Steel". Edrisi has noted that "The Hindus excel in the manufacture of iron. They have also workshops wherein are forged the most famous sabres in the world. It is impossible to find anything to surpass the edge that you get from Indian Steel". This passage which has been quoted in the notes to the Periplus on page 71 proves beyond doubt, in the words of a foreign historian, that the art of smelting and casting iron was well developed in ancient India.
Pant , Bronson has summarised several accounts of the reputation of Indian iron and steel in Greek and Roman sources which suggest the export of high quality iron and steel from ancient India.
Zaky pointed out that it was the Arabs who took ingots of wootz steel to Damascus following which a thriving industry developed there for making weapons and armour of this steel, the renown of which has given the steel its name.

In the 12th century the Arab Edrisi mentioned that the Hindus excelled in the manufacture of iron and that it was impossible to find anything to surpass the edge from Indian steel, and he also mentioned that the Indians had workshops where the most famous sabres in the world were forged,. while other Arab records mention the excellence of Hinduwani or Indian steel as discussed by Egerton.

Several European travellers including Francis Buchanan and Voysey from the 17th century onwards observed the manufacture of steel in Karnataka and Deccan by a crucible process.
By the late 1600s shipments running into tens of thousands of wootz ingots were traded to Persia. This indicates that the production of wootz steel was almost on an industrial scale in what was still an activity predating the Industrial Revolution in Europe.

Marco Polo has mentioned that iron and Ondanique was sold in the markets of Kerman in Iran. The word Ondanique has been interpreted as a corruption of the Persian word Hundwaniy which meant 'Indian Steel'.
Indeed the word wootz is a corruption of the word for steel ukku

Indo scythian
When parts of Karnataka/Maharastra were under western satraps and Middle east under scythians, there were large trade between two parts of the world.

Marsh Arabs
The society of the Marsh Arabs was divided into two main groups by occupation. One group bred and raised domestic buffalo(Similar Life style to Karnataka) while others cultivated crops such as rice, barley, wheat and pearl millet; they also kept some sheep and cattle. Rice cultivation was especially important; it was carried out in small plots cleared in April and sown in mid-May. Cultivation seasons were marked by the rising and setting of certain stars, such as the Pleiades and Sirius. Same crop as Karnataka.
The origins of the Maʻdān are still a matter of some interest. British colonial ethnographers found it difficult to classify some of the Maʻdān's social customs and speculated that they might have originated in India, while it was rumoured amongst neighbouring tribes that they had Persian origins.

Many scholars have proposed historical and genetic links between the Marsh Arabs and the ancient Sumerians, based on shared agricultural practices and methods of house building. There is, however, no written record of the marsh tribes until the ninth century AD, and the Sumerians were absorbed by the Akkadians (Assyrians-Babylonians) by around 1800 BC, some 2700 years before. Norwegian explorer, archaeologist and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl wrote:
“ In the veins of the Ahwar Arabs there runs Sumerian blood more than that in the veins of any other Arabian tribe. Only those Ahwar Arabs are the grandchildren of the ancient civilization. ”
—Thor Heyerdahl 
The case seem to point to Indian Origin of  Maʻdān.

Chalukyas and Arabs 

The  Arab writer Tabari speaks of Persian envoys visiting the court of the Chalukyas of Badami King Pulakeshi-II and the diplomatic exchanges.

Pulikesin defeated Arab Invasion
In the early years of Vikramaditya's  II reign, Arab invaders who had established themselves in the Sindh made a push into the Deccan. According to Navsari Plates, Avanijanashraya Pulakesi, a son of Vikramaditya I's brother Jayasimhavarman who was the governor of the Lata branch (Gujarat) fought and stopped them in 739 CE. Vikramaditya II so appreciated his valour, he conferred the title of Avanijanasraya (refuge of the people of the earth) on Pulakesi. The Rashtrakuta King Dandivarman or Dantidurga also fought along the Chalukyas against the Arabs. The result was not only Arabs beaten back, but also Gurjara was brought under direct control of Badami Chalukyan Empire.The Indian Numerals travelled to Arabia during Chalukya rule with extensive contacts between the two.

Siddharaja protects Arabs
The Muslim Historian Awfi recorded that Siddharaja, the Chalukyan king punished his Hindu subjects of Cambay for Rioting against the Muslims and gave Muslim merchant community funds to rebuild their mosque which had been destroyed  in the riots.  

Rastrakutas resist Arab incursions
The very Arab attack on India had taken place  in Sindh in the year 715 C.E. These Muslim invaders were Arabs led by Mohammad Bin Qasim. They had displaced Raja Dabir who ruled Sindh from his capital Deval (near modern Karachi). The actual reason for this invasion was that Raja Dabir was aiding the Iranian (Zoroastrian) princes in trying to overthrow the Arab Rule in Persia. This seems to be a fact as many Sassanian nobles from Iran had taken refuge in Sindh and were plotting for the liberation of their country from the Arab yoke. But the pretext given by Arab historians for the Arab invasion of Sindh is that Raja Dabir's navy had detained an Arab merchant ship. To avenge this detention of a merchant ship, the Arabs overran the entire kingdom of Raja Dabir as also the neighbouring kingdom of Mulasthana (Multan). They even unsuccessfully tried to attack Malwa (Malibah in Arab records). After this invasion which was limited to Sindh, for a period of 300 years all further Muslim attacks were thwarted by Prathihara kings and Gujarat branch Rastrkutas. 

Rastrakutas Trade with Arab
Karnataka has long straight coastline of 254 km with different types of natural harbours. we should also include Konkan coast.  Estuaries have played an important role in maritime activities. The important ports of Karnataka are Karwar, Bhatkal, Honnavar, Basrur, Barkur, Gangolly, Malpe, Udyavara and Mangalore played an active role in establishing the trade contacts with outside countries. The sea trade of Karnataka constituted a significant part of her economic activities and secured for her a niche in the oceanic trade of the western coast of India from the earliest times. The literary and archaeological evidence indicates that its sea trade extended up to Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java, Cambodia on the southeast and Arab countries Persia and Egypt on the west. 

In the "Silsilatuttavarlkh" , a history written by an Arab trader Sulaiman, in A. H. 237 (V. S. 908-A.D.
851) and modified and completed by Abuzaldul Hasan of Siraf, in A. H. 303 (V. S. 973=A.D. 916), it is thus stated : 

"The Balhara is the most eminent of the princes of India, and the Indians acknowledge his superiority. Every prince in India is master in his own state, but all pay homage to the supermacy of Balhara. The representatives sent by the Balhara to other princes are received with most profound respect in order to show him honour. He gives regular pay to his troops, as the practice is among the Arabs. He has many horses and elephants, and immense wealth. The coins which pass in his country are the Tatarlya dirhams, each of which weighs a dirham and a half of the coinage of the king." 

The above statement seems to be a sketch of the reign of Rastrakuta Amoghavarsha I. when this book was written and who had also attacked Rashtrakuta king Dhruvaraja I of Gujrat. The kingdom of the Rashtrakuta king Dhruvaraja 1 of the Deccan extended from Rameshvara in the south to Ayodhya in the north. In the Chronology of Nepal it is stated that in Shaka 8. 811 (V. 8. 946 A.D. 889) Kyanadeva, the founder of the dynasty of Karnatik, having conie up from the Deccan, took the whole of Nepal and for (> generations his descendants ruled there. In Shaka Sannat 811 Krishnaraja II was the king of Karnatik ; and seventh in descent from him was Karkaraja II from whom Tailapa II of the Chalukya dynasty seized the kingdom of the Rash^rakutas. So, it is probable that the descendants of Dhruvaraja 1 of Manyakheta, having progressed beyond Ayodhya, might have captured a portion of Nepal and afterwards Krishnaraja II, having advanced farther, taken the whole of the country. As the boundaries of China and Nepal are adjacent, Sulaiman might have, for thip reason, recorded the extent of their kingdom to be upto the Chinese frontier.

They are dated from the year in which the dynasty acquired the throne. They do not, like the Arabs, use the Hijra of the prophet, but date their eras from the beginning of their kings' reigns; and their kings live long, frequently reigning for fifty years. The inhabitants of the Balhara's country say that if
their kings reign and live for a long time, it is solely in consequence of the favour shown to the Arabs. In fact, among all the kings there is no one to be found who is so partial to the Arabs as the Balhara; and his subjects follow his example/'  "Balhara is the title borne by all the kings of this dynasty. It is similar to Chosroes (of the Persians), and is not a proper name. The kingdom of the Balhara commences on the seaside, at the country of kukam (Konkan)on the tongue of land which stretches to China. The Balhara has around him several kings with whom he is at war, but whom he greatly excels. Among them is the king of the Jurz
In the book "Kitab-ul-Masalik-ul-Mumalik", written  by Ibn Khurdadba, who died in A. H. 300 (V. S. 969= A. D. 912), it is thus stated:  "The greatest king of India is Balhara, whose name imports "king of kings." He wears a ring in which is inscribed the following sentence : "What is begun with resolution ends with success." The book named "Murujul Zahab", written by Al- Masudi about A. H. 332 (V. S. 1001A.D. 944), contains the following:  "The city of Mankir(Manyakheta), which was the great centre of India, submitted to a king called the Balhara, and the name of this prince continues to his successors who reign in that capital until the present time (332 A.H.)." " The greatest of the kings of India in our time is the Balhara, sovereign of the city of Mankir. Many of the kings of India turn their faces towards him in their prayers, and they make supplications to his ambassadors, who come to visit them. The kingdom of the Balhara is bordered by many other countries of India. . .The capital of the Balhara is eighty Sindi Parasangs from the sea, (and the Parasang2 is equal to eight miles). His troops and elephants are innumerable, but his troops are mostly infantry, because the seat of his government is among the mountains. . .Bayura  who is the king of Kanauj, is an enemy of the Balhara, the king of India The inhabitants of Mankir, which is the capital of the Balhara, speak the Kirlya(Kannada)  language, which has this name from Kira(karnataka)  the place where it is spoken." 

Al Istakhr :  who wrote the "Kitabul Akalim", in A. H. 340 (V. S. IGOo A.D. 931) as also Ibn H iukal,e
who came to India between A. H. 331 and 35b (A.D. 943 and 968) and wrote the "Ashkal-ul-Bilad" in A. H. 366 (A.D.=976), say: "From Kambaya1 to Saimur2 is the land of the Balhara, and in it there are several Indian kings. The city in which the Balhara resides is Mankir, which has an extensive territory."

 From the above extracts, taken from the writings of the Arabian travellers, we conclude that at that time the power of the Karnataka Empire under Rashtrakutas had reached its zenith. The Rahshtrakuta Dantidurga defeated Solanki (Chalukya) 'Vallabha' Kirtivarman and assumed the title of 'Vallabharaja which was also attached to the names of all his successors.  

Arabs about Rastrakutas
In all Indian kingdoms the sovereign power resides in the royal family, without ever departing from it, and the heirs of the family follow each other in regular succession. In like manner, there are families of learned men, of physicians, and of all the artificers concerned in the various arts; and none of these are ever mixed with the family of a different profession. The several states of the Indies are not subject to one king, but each province has its own; though the Balhara is considered in the Indies as king of kings. The Chinese are fond of gaming and all manner of diversions; but the Indians condemn them, and have no pleasure in such employments. They drink no wine, neither do they use vinegar, because it is made from wine; although this abstinence does not proceed from any religious duty: but they allege that a king given to wine is not worthy of being a king; for how should a drunkard be able to manage the affairs of a kingdom, especially as wars are so frequent between the neighbouring states. Their wars are not usually undertaken to possess themselves of the dominions of others, and I never heard of any except the people bordering on the pepper country that seized the dominions of their neighbours after victory. When a prince masters the dominions of a neighbour, he confers the sovereignty upon some person of the royal family of the conquered country, and thus retains it in dependence upon himself, under the conviction that the natives would never submit to be otherwise governed. 

Tax on Arabs
We learn from the copper grant,2 dated V. S. 1161 (A.D. 1104), of Govindachandra, found at Basahl, that it was Chandradeva of the Gahadavala branch of the Rashtrakuta family, who had restored order by suppressing the anarchy that had resulted on the deaths of kings Karna and Bhoja. It also refers that Govindachandra had granted in charity the village of Basahi (Basahl) together with the 'Turushkadanda (cess levied upon the Mohmmedans), which shows that just as the Mohammedan kings levied 'Jaziya' upon the non-Mohammedans, in the like manner, Madnapala levied a tax upon the Muslims. This proves his power and glory.

Bahmani sultans
Even-though Bahmani sultans based out of Gulbarga promoted Persian as the court language , Arabic was also used, which led to interactions between Kannada and Arabic.  They made  many Arabic Inscriptions in Karnataka

Adil Shah II
The Dakhani language, an amalgam of Persian-Arabic and Kannada, developed into an independent spoken and literary language. Under the Adil Shahis many literary works were published in Dakhani. Ibrahim Adil Shah II's book of poems and music, Kitab-e-Navras is in Dakhani. The Mushaira (poetic symposium) was born in the Bijapur court and later traveled north. The Dakhani language, which was growing under the Bahamani kings, later came to be known as Dakhan Urdu to distinguish it from the North Indian Urdu. Ibrahim Adil Shah II was scholar in Kannada as well. 

Hyder and Tippu
Hyder and Tippu natives of karnataka though patronised Persian, gave patronage to Arabic as well. Interaction between Arabic and Kannada reached zenith during this period.. 

Sultan Jamaluddin
Ibn Batuta, who was entertained by the Sultan Jamaluddin, ruler of Hinavr (Honavar in North Kanara), but a feudatory of the Hindu king "Haryab", has left an interesting account of a coastal Muslim dinner. Sitting on a chair, he was served food on a copper table called khawanja, in a copper plate talam (thali), by jariya (beautiful or slave girl) wrapped in a silk sari. She would ladle out rice from a big copper vessel, pour ghee over it, add pickles of pepper, green ginger, lemon and tender mangoes. The second helping consisted of rice with cooked fowl. The third serving was another variety of chicken, also with rice. Then followed different fish preparations with rice. Thereafter vegetables cooked in ghee, and milk dishes were served with rice. The meal was rounded off with kushan or curded milk. Hot water was drunk after the meals, as cold water would be harmful in the rainy season . The food habits of the aristocracy followed a regional pattern; except for the religious taboos, there was no marked difference between Hindu and Muslim repasts. The Nalachampu gives a vivid description of a wedding feast or buvaduta with all its regal magnificence

Conversation between Arabic and Kannada
Arabic Words in Kannada
This is specifically true of many words dealing with army, trade and commerce. Words such as PVju, (army) trAsu (weighing balance), tEji (horse) had crept in to Kannada by twelfth century itself.

From the fifteenth century onwards these words found their way in to the South Dravidian through Dakkhini Urdu. Village officials dealing with land records used many administrative terms relating to land revenue and legislation, which have become part of the common language.” (‘Dravidian Languages’ by Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, 2003, Cambridge University Press) .
Many of the words borrowed like this were not replaced during the British rule and they are being used even today. However the process of borrowing new words has stopped.

Most of the words borrowed like this have taken up a vowel at the end like Kannada. (shumAr=sumAru, jamIn=jamInu, vasUl-vsUli etc) Some times the final ‘aa’ changes to ‘e’ (KajAnA=KajAne, tamASA=tamASe, ravAnA=ravAne etc.)

 A list of some words borrowed from Persian and Arabic is given below.
Persian: rAstA=raste=road, shumAr=sumAru=approximately, shiPAras=shiPArassu=influence, dastAvej=dastAvEju=document, sibbandi=staff, sIpAyI=sipAyi=soldier, jamIn=jamInu=arable land, gumAsta=clerk.

 Arabic: anAmat=anAmattu=all together, jaPti=search, nAjuk=nAjUku=delicate, mAmUl=mAmUli=as usual, bribe, daPtar=daPtaru=file, sAvkAr=sAhukAra=rich man, CAkU=cAku=knife

            Incidentally many of these words are more are less similar in Kannada.  Persian and Arabic words are found in many ancient literary works of Kannada such as ‘Shabdamanidarpana’ by Keshiraja, ‘Basavapurana’ by Bheemakavi, ‘Chennabasavapurana’ by virupakshapandita, and Jaimini Bharatha by Lakshmeesha.

            This is not merely a contact between two sets of languages but the linguistic inter change is a sub product of a cultural exchange. This amalgamation of cultures has done a lot of good to the arts and crafts of Karnataka and Arabia. It is not fair to identify the Perso-Arabic languages and culture exclusively with Islam. As Sisir Kumar Das obseres, ‘ The legends and tales that reached India thorough Persian and Arabic were not neccessarily reflections of sectarian attitudes, many of them were of pre-Islamic oroigin........And the beautiful poems of Rumi, Sadi, Omar Khayyam or Hafiz defy all religious labels. ......It needs to be emphasised that Perso-Arabic element was never considered an exclusive property of the Muslims in India, or a conspicuous feature of Urdu poetry only, it was used with power and feeling by many non-Muslims and it penetrated languages other than Urdu.” (Sisir Kumar Das, History of Indian Literature, Sahitya Academy, New Delhi)

Borrowings with minimal word Constraint
Kannada and Arabic share a peculiar aspect as respect to borrowings words from other languages.  Kannada Speakers germinate a single Consonant after what is a lax(short) vowel in English as in Bed, Bus to make a super-heavy syllable. But if the English word already has a super-heavy syllable, then no germination of final consonant occurs. Thus Arabic like Kannada appears to obey constraint on minimal word size.  In Arabic the words are rhymed to keep the minimum word constraint.
Test -> Testu
Road -> Roadu
Bus -> Bassu
bed -> Beddu

teen -> tiin
base -> bees
road -> rood

bus -> baas,bass
bed -> baad,badd

Arabic Inscriptions
Many Arabic Inscriptions are found, chiefly by Bahmani Sultans, Adil shahis  and Hyder-Ali Tipu Sultan.

            This can be corraboarated by the fact that the Rubayiyath’ of Omara Kahyyam was translated in to Kannada by no less than three important poets. 

Dakhini Urdu
Dakhini was the lingua franca of the Muslims of Deccan, chiefly living in Hyderabad state, Mysore state and the Hyderabad–Karnataka Region. The Language chiefly developed in the courts of Bahmani sultans, Adil Shahis and Hyder Ali-Tipu Sultan. Deccani urdu has large borrowings from Kannada.

Kannada Lands through Arab Eyes
Al Beruni
Al beruni gives vivid accounts of karnataka especially under Rastrakutas. When he tells about warrior  Kannadigas (Kanaras), he goes on to add they were employed by Ghazni as well. He says so much about karnataka ,we need special article on this.

Al Idrisi
He was an Arabian traveller who went through India and wrote  Najhjul-Mushtaq describing the Rastrakuta, Chalukya   states. Some observations may be false or coined by himself,but he gives important information about commercial ties of India with China and Persia. He divided Indian Societies in seven sections such as Kulin, Brahmins, Soldiers, peasants, Craftsmen, Muscians and Entertainers.

Shiekh Fak Abu Abdullah Mohmmed bin Batuta
He is a Moroccon arab travelling various countries reached India at the time of Mohmmad bin tuglaq was appointed qazi of Delhi by sultan. For 8yrs he worked post,  he stayed for a time in southern India under the protection of Jamal-ud-Din, ruler of the small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the Sharavathi River next to the Arabian Sea. This area is today known as Hosapattana and lies in the Honavar administrative district of Uttara Kannada. Following the overthrow of the sultanate, Ibn Battuta had no choice but to leave India. 

Rafiuddin Shiraz
His book Tajkirat ul Muluk deals with Adilshahi rulers of Bijapur. He gives vivid accounts of Karnataka

Suleiman (9th century AD)
He was an Arabian Traveller who visited India and China through persian gulf. In his travel account he described rastrakuta, Pala , Pratiharas .

Albila Duri   (9th century AD)
This Arabian traveller in his book entitled Futuhul Buldaan described the arab invasion of India and its impact. His descriptions tell us that the Chalukyas and Rastrakutas tried to check the expansion of the Muslims in India in an organized manner. As a result the arabs were forced to leave many regions which they had conquered.

Al Masudi (915-917AD)
In 10th century AD, he came to visit India from Baghdad. He wrote a book entitled Muruj ul Jahan describing in an interesting manner the political rivalry  between Pala, Pratihar and Rastrakutas.  He says King of Pratihar was a natural enemy of king of south Rastrakutas. He has a big army. He state was encircled with many small states whose kings were ever ready and determined to wage  a war.

Influx of Arabs in Karnataka
Coastal Karnataka had trade relations with Arabian merchants through the oceanic route even before the founding of Islam in the seventh century A.D. Arab followers of Islam came to Karnataka either via Landroutes from Sind-Gujarat or the costal cities of Karnataka like Mangalore and Karwar. Some Arab writers have spoken about the presence of Muslim subjects during the regime of Rashtrakutas. There are conclusive evidences about the spread of Islamic community in the west coast of Karnataka by the 11th century. Written documents are available to substantiate the fact that horses imported from Arabia, Persia and Turkey were sold and bought during the later centuries. 

The Beary is a small Muslim community concentrated mostly in Tulu areas, which includes coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada &  Udupi in Karnataka State and Kasargod in Kerala State.  The Bearys are Muslims in faith. The Beary language is a mixture of Arabic , Tulu and Kannada. 

The Bearys are the earliest Muslim Community in the area and one among The earliest Muslim population of India with a clear history of more than 1200 years.  Tulu folk song 'PADDANAS' and many other records explain their incorporated relation to Tulunadu & its Culture. The Word 'BEARY' is said to be derived from the Tulu word 'BEARA', which means trade or business. Since early times a majority of these people were involved in business activities. 

This Theory of Arab social interchange with Southern Coast leading to the emergence of new communities is supported by prominent Scholars like Tarachand. Thomas Arnold, Saletore & Many Historians.  The MANNERS COLLECTIONS (Padthanas) 1886 refers to two groups of Bearys Viz., Jathi Neethi Bearys & Jathi Setty Bearys. Jathi Neethi Bearys were highly honoured by the local people. They followed Islamic faith & discipline. But, other group, Just pronounced the KALIMAH ( Oath of Islam) and adhered to the community without islamic practices. Their names also resembld the local names such as Andu, Seku, Bappa, Sadu, Saidu etc. Beary community shows the depth of interaction between Karnataka and Arabia.

Arabic Dictionary
Al Muzhir Arabic Dictionary , Arabic -Kannada dictionary in Kannada by Abdul Shaheed Azharyand M.S.M Abdul Rasheed Zaini Kamil.

 ‘kannaDadalli PArasi, urdu shabdagaLu’, D.K.Bheemasena Rao, Kannada Sahitya Parishath Patrike, Volume 22.
Pratiyogita Darpan: General Studies Indian History
Tracing the Origin of Ancient Sumerians By: Dr. Ashok Malhotra
Linguistic theory in second language acquisition  By Suzanne Flynn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Social Life in Medieval Karnataka  By Jyotsna Kamat

Classical Kannada
Karnataka Beary Sahithya Academy
Sumerian Dictionary

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