Malnad: Culture of the Kodavas

By far the finest race, in point of independent bearing, good looks and all the outward signs of well-being. That is how Sir Erskine Perry, an author and anthropologist described the Kodava race.

The 2500-year-old civilization of Coorg (or Kodagu as it is locally known) evolved from a synthesis of peoples that lived at around the fifth century BC in the region of today’s Oman & Yemen, Scythian Greeks and local women whom they married.

Kodavas follow Hinduism but are more liberal and independent than Hindus in performing marriage, divorce, remarriage, festivals, worship, ceremonies, dialect and dress. They worship Karana (ancestors) as family deity, Kaveri as Godmother and Iggutappa as presiding deity.

Dowry system is almost unknown here and marriage ceremonies are with traditional costumes and without a priest or puja or mangalasutra, but with non-vegetarian dishes and liquor are unique of Kodava community.

Puthari (Huttari) the harvest festival known for varieties of folk dances 3 months after Onam in Kerala, Kailpoud the Ayudhapuja with the shooting competition and sports in September and village temples with their own set of dances during the annual fairs are the main centres of cultural activities