What makes a place even more interesting than it already is is its history. The Kodavas have a very interesting history indeed. Kodagu, the native non-anglicized word for Coorg, is located in the Southwest part of Karnataka. Though surrounded by the districts of Karnataka and Kerala, Kodavas have maintained a very unique form of culture and tradition.
Kodavas, the indigenous people of Coorg, were known for their bravery in battle. They were known as Kshatriyas and had a very martial tradition. They even worshipped their weapons. Apart from being zealous in battle, they depended largely on agriculture for their livelihood. Many were also hunters, and were given heroic titles for hunting difficult or dangerous animals, like the tiger for example.
The Kodava people have a rich oral tradition as they had no script of their own for a very long time. The Pattole Palome, a collection of Kodava folksongs, is supposedly one of the earliest collections of folklore of the Indian community. These folklores are supposed to carry important information about Kodava history. The people of Coorg now use the Kannada script to write. Very few others use the Coorgi-Cox alphabet, developed by a German linguist named Gregg M. Cox.
Kodava history is filled with battles to preserve their homeland. Fighting external forces that came to conquer the small country, the Kodava people went through many centuries of battles to stop intruders from completely taking over their tiny state in South India. Just before the British came to India, the Kodavas fought hard against Mysore to keep them from invading their territory. Tipu Sultan finally came upon them with his large forces and was successful in dividing their region into districts of Mysore. But within a short while thereafter, the British helped push out Tipu Sultan’s regime and handed back the district of Coorg to its locals. The British later took over the region after several generations of treacherous Rajas ruled the region to its own destruction.
The effect of such a history is seen in the folklore, culture, and tradition of the Kodavas. The knife for example is an integral part of the Kodava traditional clothing for men. Interestingly, Kodavas are the only people of India allowed to acquire guns without a license.
The Kodavas are very good with celebration. Their food is really one of a kind. The way they make their food is comprehensive and is the full time job of many housewives. It’s true that a people’s culture is highly influenced by their past. And the Coorgis did have a very interesting past; their culture is reflective of this.