Apr 8, 2017

Toponymy across Karnataka

The history of names is an interesting subject. I'd started my own little research a year or two ago but did not make much progress as such. On and off there were incidents which gave bits and pieces of info. For example;  while climbing Watagal, a boulder heap hill, I asked my companions about the name's origin. Pushpa was the one say that originally the hill might have been called Wattida Kallu, meaning heap of stones. The phrase might have evolved to the Wattidagallu and finally to Watagal. There are few straight examples like- 1. the village Kappagallu was named so because of its proximity to a hill which has a face of black stones; 2. Jaladurga - Jala means water and Durga is fort; this fort is situated on an island in river Krishna hence the name. Having visited many places ending with kallu or gallu, I realized most places had histories dating back to Neolithic times. During a quiz, one of the questions was about Allahabad - that's where I learned that 'abad' was a Persian suffix cities. Also, on our trips, guides at historical spots would narrate interesting stories about place names.

So, the study of place names, their origins and meanings is Toponymy. Toponym is the common name for any geographical place. There are specific types of toponym such as 'hydronym' for a water body and 'oronym' for a hill or mountain.

The study also includes corruptions by rulers of different religious community or foreigners or even by local folks. There's a Devadurga in Raichur district which is corrupted to Deodurga. A village between Dharwad and Saundatti is commonly called as Haribidi - its original name is Harobelavadi. People find shortcuts even in pronouncing. We all know the long lasting effects of British, French and Portuguese on our place names. One beautiful name that's twisted badly is Srirangapattana. Search for it and you'll be seeing lot of results with Seringapatam. A British political agent has spelled Kalyani as Kullianee - spelled as pronounced.

Then there are names like Maski, Byadgi, Mudkavi, Lalguli, Gubbi, Kanakumbi, Muddebihal, Jamkhandi, Sondur, Kushtgi, Manvi, Roudakunda, Piklihala, , and many more for which I have no clue what the names mean or how they came into being.

You might not have heard of Talgatpura. Its a village on Bengaluru-Kanakapura. I'd asked the meaning of the name to person from this village. He wasn't sure and a common acquaintance's thought was- Talgat can be split into Talae + ketta.  "Talae ketta" means "out of one's mind." The conclusion was that, if were lot of mad people in this village at some point of time.. this was said in a jovial tone, no offense meant. The curiosity to know the history of the name remains..

Here's a list I could put together. Surely, I expect this list to grow.

ಪದname ends withmeaningplaces
ಕ್ಯಾಂಪ್campcampAmareshwara Camp, Burma Campfound mostly in Raichur and Gangawati districts; these were supposedly temporary settlemets which have been around for many years
ಪುರpuracityChikkaballapura, VijayapuraUsually a well planned city is named as Pura or Puram.
ಕೊಳ್ಳkollacleft, valleySiddana Kolla, Shabari KollaThese are ancient Hindu shrines concealed in rock clefts with a stream flowing by it. Kollas are found in northern part of Karnataka, particularly in Bagalkote and Belgaum districts.
ಸಂಗಮsangamaconfluenceKudala SangamaHinduism considers confluences as holy spots and usually temples are built at the confluence; as the temple gains popularity people settle nearby forming a village or small town
ಅಬಾದ್abadcultivated placeShahabad, Firozabadcities on plain land namedby Muslim rulers
ಕಾಡುkaduforestTalakaadu, Yercad
ದುರ್ಗ durgafortChitradurga, Savanadurga, HosadurgaDurga means fort. Fortified hills under Hindu kings usually had names ending with Durga.
ಕೋಟೆkotefortHosakoteKote means fort. Fortified towns' ruled by Hindu kings had names ending with Kote.
ಘಡ್gadfortVallabhgad, PanhalgadGad means fort in Marathi. Fortified hills under Maratha kings had names ending with gad.
ವತಿvatigirlBhadravati, Gangavati
ಹಟ್ಟಿhattihamletHullollihatti, ShirahattiHamlets which grew into villages or towns
ಪಾಳ್ಯpalyahamletGummanayakanapalya, Kanakanapalya
ಕೊಪ್ಪkoppahamletKoppa, Shuntikoppa, Shiralkoppa
ಗುಡ್ಡguddahillKappathgudda, BachinguddaAncient hill top settlements which have moved to the base of the hill still retain the original name.
ಗಿರಿgirihillMadhugiri, BrahmagiriThese are usually ancient Hindu shrines or forts on hills. gudda, giri, betta, parvatha are types of hills.
ಬೆಟ್ಟbettahillAnjanadri Betta, Thenginkal Betta, Chamundi BettaThese are usually ancient Hindu shrines or forts on hills.
ಕೊಂಡkondahillPenukonda, GolcondaForified hills or citadels.
ಗುಂದgundhillNavalgund, Naragund, Hunagundthe first and two places mentioned here are towns situated next to hills
ಕ್ರಾಸ್crossjunctionKibbanahalli Crossa junction on a highway, one of the roads leading to a town or village, the junction grew into a permanent settlement
ಕೆರೆkerelakeArasikere, Davanagere, TarikereProbably these were originally settlements close to a lake and caught on to the name of the waterbody. 'gere' is another form of 'kere'.
ದೋಆಬ್doabland between two converging riversRaichur Doabthe term was used in Muslim kingdoms
ವಾಡಾwadamansionDharawada, Koliwada, Yadwad
ಕಟ್ಟಿkatti / gatti / kattemeeting platformYeragatti, Kurubagatti, HunashikattiPossibly ancient trading posts which convereted into permanent settlements. Hunashikatti litreally means 'tamrind platform'. Probably it was a tamrind market post once.
ಗುಂಟguntanearYeragunta, Chintalakuntagunta is a suffix to denote near, example- near the house. similarly it being suffixed to a landmark which becomes a name.
ಗೂಡುgudunestNanjanagudu, Arkalagudu
ಗುಪ್ಪೆguppepileBidaraguppe, Vandaraguppe
ಗುಂಡಿgundipitAnegundi, Kemmanagundi, MavinagundiA settlement near a large natural or man-made pit. Kemmangundi is actually Kempu Mannina Gundi means red soil pit. The place is a former iron ore mine, presenty a tourist spot.
ಕುಂಡಿkundipit?Lakkundi, Yekkundiprobably a variation of gundi
ಹೊಳೆholaeriver or streamAihole, Yennehole, Naagaraholeplaces situated next to a river or a stream.
ಹಾಳ್halruinsYerebudihal, Budihal, Pashupatihal, Kanginhal
ಅಂಗಡಿangadishopBeltangadi, Uppinangadiprobably the origin of the place can be traced to a shop that existed here
ಕೋಡಿkodisluice or outletChikkodiprobably a settlement near a large lake with an outlet
ಕಲ್ಲುkallu / gallustonePattadakallu, Kappagallu, Anekal, Watagal, IlkalA landmark stone or boulder would be the origin. Usually such places have a log history, often going back to Neolithic times. 'kallu' has variations such as kal, gal or gallu.
ಬಂಡೆbandestone or boulderGudibandeprobably a variation of kallu / gallu
ಕೇರಿkeristreetHukkeri, Madikeri
ಊರುoorutownBengaluru, Mysuru, Tumkuru, Belurooru is one of the oldest and frequently heard suffix for place names
ಪೇಟೆpattanatownChannapattana, Srirangapattanalooks like pattana has originaited in Mysuru kingdom
ಪಟ್ಟಣpetetownHosapete, Virajpete, Somwarpete
ನಗರnagartown or cityNavanagar, Hosanagar, Vijayanagara
ಗಾಂgaonvillageBelgaon, Shiggaon, Madgaonthis form is usually found in north-west Karnataka, Goa and Maharastra
ಹಳ್ಳಿhallivillageDevanahalli, Tirthahalli
ವಳ್ಳಿvallivillageMalavalliprobably a form of halli
ಪಲ್ಲಿpallivillageBagepalli, palli is the older form of halli used mostly in border districts of Karnataka and mainly in Andhra Pradesh
ಬಾವಿbaviwellMadanbavi, Amminabaviplaces history points to a well, usually a large deep well
ಗದ್ದೆgaddewet farm landMandagadde, Naradagaddeusually hamlets in a remote locations such as a jungle or an island
ಈಶ್ವರ್eshwarSankeshwar, Muradeshwar, Laxmeshwara
ಲೈಮ್limBicholim, Sanquelimeffect of Portugese
ಮಂಗಳmangalaNelamangala, Ayyamangala, Betamangala
ಸಾಂದ್ರsandraKyathasandra, Thimmasandra, Singasandra
ಗೋಡ್godMundgod, Murgod
ಬೆನ್ನೂರ್bennurRanibennur, Santhebennur, Motibennur
ಘಟ್ಟghattaSidlaghatta, Bannerghatta



Nikhil said...

you may also want to include gam/gamve/gave/game like for Balligave, Balgavi etc..

siddeshwar said...

yes, Sir. will certainly add Balligave. Thank you :)

Amithash said...

I was told by one of my Kannada professors that 'sandra' ಸಂದ್ರ is the tat-bava form of 'samudra' which meant big water body or lake. (Ex: Dwara Samudra was the old name of Halebidu). I was also told that the lakes back then may have been named after people who got it created.

siddeshwar said...

Thank you, Amithash.