Location of the district in Karnataka
|Talukas||Madikeri, Somwarpet, Virajpet|
|• Deputy Commissioner||Anurag Tewari,IAS (2013)|
|• Total||4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi)|
|• Density||140/km2 (350/sq mi)|
|• Other||Kodava takk, Are bhashe dialect|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Telephone code||+ 91 (0) 8272|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Mysore Lok Sabha constituency|
|Climate||Tropical Wet (Köppen)|
|Precipitation||2,725.5 millimetres (107.30 in)|
|Avg. summer temperature||28.6 °C (83.5 °F)|
|Avg. winter temperature||14.2 °C (57.6 °F)|
Kodagu also known as Coorg, is an administrative district in Karnataka, India. It occupies an area of 4,102 square kilometres (1,584 sq mi) in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. In 2001 its population was 548,561, 13.74% of which resided in the district's urban centres, making it the least populous of the 30 districts in Karnataka. Kodagu is well known in the world for coffee and its "brave warriors".
Madikeri (English: Mercara) is the headquarters of Kodagu. The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and the Wayanad district of Kerala to the south.
Kodagu is home to the native speakers of Kodava language. The native Kodavas who now form only one-fifth of the total population of Kodagu as most of them have moved to the cities, like Bangalore and Mysore, and even abroad, to countries like North America, are however still the largest group in Kodagu. According to Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy, apart from Kodavas, Amma Kodavas and Kodava Heggade, 18 other ethnic groups speak Kodava Takk in and outside the district including Iri, Koyava, Banna, Madivala, Hajama, Kembatti, and Meda.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Kodagu Culture
- 4 Representation
- 5 Agriculture
- 6 Flora and fauna
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Economy
- 9 Festivals of Kodagu
- 10 Tourist attractions
- 11 Transport
- 12 Education
- 13 Notable people
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
The Kodavas were the earliest agriculturists in Kodagu, having lived there for centuries. They carried arms during times of war. During this time, South Indian dynasties such as the Kadambas, the Gangas, the Cholas, the Chalukyas, the Rastrakutas, the Hoysalas, the Vijaynagar Rayas and Kodagu was a separate kingdom. Despite the Kodavas being known in India as "brave warriors" and members of the Indian warrior caste, Kodagu did not have indigenous rulers for long they appointed outsider as an administrator still answerable to the Kodava chiefs.
Kodagu is located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. It has a geographical area of 4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi). The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada district to the northwest, Hassan district to the north, Mysore district to the east, Kasaragod district in west and Kannur district of Kerala to the southwest, and Wayanad district of Kerala to the south. It is a hilly district, the lowest elevation of which is 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea-level. The highest peak, Tadiandamol, rises to 1,750 metres (5,740 ft), with Pushpagiri, the second highest, at 1,715 metres (5,627 ft). The main river in Kodagu is the Kaveri (Cauvery), which originates at Talakaveri, located on the eastern side of the Western Ghats, and with its tributaries, drains the greater part of Kodagu.
In July and August, rainfall is intense, and there are often showers into November. Yearly rainfall may exceed 4,000 millimetres (160 in) in some areas. In dense jungle tracts, rainfall reaches 3,000 to 3,800 millimetres (120 to 150 in) and 1,500 to 2,500 millimetres (59 to 98 in) in the bamboo district to the west. Kodagu has an average temperature of 15 °C (59 °F), ranging from 11 to 28 °C (52 to 82 °F), with the highest temperatures occurring in April and May. The principal town, and district capital, is Madikeri, or Mercara, with a population of around 30,000. Other significant towns include Virajpet (Virarajendrapet), Kushalanagara, Somwarpet and Gonikoppal. The district is divided into the three administrative talukas: Madikeri, Virajpet and Somwarpet. Virajpet is the largest Taluk and comprises the towns Virajpet, Gonikoppal, Siddapura, Ponnampet, Ammathi, Thithimathi etc.
Kodagu is chiefly populated by its native ethnic group the Kodavas, who were freeholder farmers and militiamen in the ancient past. Besides, other communities that reside in Kodagu District are Gowdas and Muslims include Airi, Meda, Male-Kudiya, Kembatti, Maringi, Kapal, Kolla, Kavadi, Kurubas, Koleya, Koyava, Kanya, Kudiyas, Banna, Ganiga, Golla, Thatta, Yeravas, Malaya, etc. Chief languages spoken are Kodava, Kannada, Are Bhashe, Malayalam, Yerava, Kuruba, Konkani, Urdu and English. They worship arms. Some of the other minor tribes of Coorg find their origin in farm Laborers and Hunter Gatherer Foresters. There are also families of the Brahmin community, most of whom were brought here by the rulers for the purpose of offering poojas at various temples. Kodava oral traditions are very rich, some of the traditional folk songs have been compiled into the Pattole Palome.
The citizens of Kodagu are polytheists and worship a number of deities, some of them being Iggutappa, Bhagwathi, Muthappan, Mahadeva, Bhadrakali, Subramanya and Ayyappa. Various occupations adopted by the ethnic groups of Kodagu are: Pepper and Coffee plantations, Paddy, artisans, basket and mat-weavers, drummers, wandering musicians, farmers, toddy-makers, etc. Agriculture is the most important factor that upholds the economy of Kodagu and the main crops cultivated in this region are rice and coffee. Coorg was rich in natural resources which included timber and spices.
The Kodagu men wear ‘Kupyas’ (knee-length half-sleeved coats) over a full-sleeved white shirt. ‘Chale’ i.e. a maroon and gold sash is tied at the waist and an ornately carved silver dagger known as ‘Peechekathi’ is tucked into it. ‘Odikathi’ is yet another knife that is tucked into the Chale at the back. Furthermore, a chain with a minuscule gun and a dagger hanging onto it give them a martial look. The saris worn by women folk are pleated at the back and the pallu fixed with a brooch is also wrapped in a very unique way. They wear either a full-sleeved or three-quarter sleeved blouse and cover their head with a scarf. A traditional gold beaded necklace known here as ‘Kokkethathi Jomale’ is widely worn by the women of Kodagu.
Two members of the legislative assembly are elected from Kodagu to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, one each from the Madikeri and Virajpet talukas. M P Appachu Ranjan represents the Madikeri constituency while K. G. Bopaiah represents the Virajpet constituency; they are from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Kodagu is part of the Mysore, Lok Sabha, parliamentary constituency. Shri Pratap Simha, from the Bharatiya Janata Party, represents Mysore Parliamentary constituency.
Much of Kodagu is used for agriculture. Characteristically and historically, paddy fields are found on the valley floors, with Coffee and pepper agroforestry in the surrounding hills mainly near Madikeri. The most common plantation crop is coffee, especially Coffea robusta variety. Kodagu is the second coffee production region in India, after the Baba Budangiri hills in Chikkamagaluru district. Coffee revenue helped Kodagu to become one of the richest districts in India. Coffea arabica is also grown in some parts of southern and western Kodagu, the historical area of coffee production. One can go to see the coffee plantation and can understand how sophisticated coffee plantation is and how much perfection and precision it requires it is mandatory to grow coffee in shade so it is grown with the eucalyptus trees and the vanilla. The coffee agro-forestry systems of Kodagu are one of the richest agro-forest in the world, with about 270 species of shaded trees inventoried (see publications of CAFNET project). But the trend is now to replace the native shade trees by exotic ones (such as the Grevillea robusta). In those coffee agro-forests are also cultivated spices like black pepper, cardamon, vanilla. Besides, the other famous agricultural produce of Kodagu is Kodagu Oranges (Citrus sinensis) known for its distinctive taste and shrunken nature. Kodagu is also known for its forest honey.
Flora and fauna
Kodagu is considered rich with wildlife and has three wildlife sanctuaries and one national park: the Brahmagiri, Talakaveri, and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuaries, and the Nagarhole National Park, also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park.
The flora of the jungle includes Michelia champaca, Mesua (Ironwood), Diospyros (ebony and other species), Toona ciliata (Indian mahogany), Chukrasia tabularis, Calophyllum angustifolium (Poon spar), Canarium strictum (Black Dammar), Artocarpus, Dipterocarpus, Garcinia, Euonymus, Cinnamomum, Myristica, Vaccinium, Myrtaceae, Melastomataceae, Rubus (three species) and a rose. In the undergrowth are found cardamom, Areca, plantains, canes, wild black pepper, Cyatheales and other ferns, and arums.
In the forest of the less thickly-wooded bamboo country in the west of Kodagu the most common trees are the Dalbergia latifolia (Black wood), Pterocarpus marsupium (Kino tree), Terminalia tomentosa (Matthi), Lagerstroemia parviflora (Benteak), Anogeissus latifolia (Dindul), Bassia latifolia, Butea monosperma, Nauclea parvifiora, and several species of acacia. Teak and sandalwood also grow in the eastern part of the district.
Kodagu also offers a wide variety of birds, roughly around 300 birds have been sighted and reported over the years.
According to the 2011 census of India, Kodagu has a population of 554,762, roughly equal to the Solomon Islands or the US state of Wyoming. This ranks it 539 out of 640 districts in India in terms of population. The district has a population density of 135 inhabitants per square kilometre (350 /sq mi). Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 1.13%. Kodagu has a sex ratio of 1019 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 82.52%.
Kodagu is home to many communities with diverse ethnic origins, with Kodavas being the main ethnic group. The ancient folk songs (some of them are compiled in the Pattole Palome) sing of the numerous Kodavas and the much lesser-numbered other communities and social relationship with Kodavas, who were the natives of Kodagu. Other communities are the Kodagu Gowda and Muslims. Kodava and Are Bhashe are the spoken languages native to Kodagu; however, both use the Kannada script for literature. Airi, Male-Kudiya, Meda, Kembatti, Kapal, Maringi, Heggade, Kavadi, Kolla, Thatta, Koleya, Koyava, Banna, Golla, Kanya, Ganiga, and Malaya are other castes native to Kodagu who speak Kodava. Many of these communities had migrated into Kodagu from the Malabar Coast region during the Haleri dynasty. There are also a number of tribes such as the Yeravas, Kurubas and Kudiyas, who are of hunter-gatherer forest origin. A large number people of Kodagu, nearly three-fifths, mainly traders, agriculturists and labourers who arrive from the Mysore region, presently speak Kannada in Kodagu. Besides Kodava and Kannada, Arebhashe, Konkani, Malayalam, Urdu and Tulu are also spoken in Kodagu. Kodagu also has a Tibetan Buddhist refugee population as well.
The Kodavas Hindus are traditionally ancestor worshippers with a martial tradition, hence may be called Kshatriyas. In Kodagu, the Kodavas were owners of land, the caste of Kembatti Poleya, were the farm labourers who worked for them. They are not vegetarians, but they do not eat beef. They are polytheists and believe in a number of deities. The chief deities are Bhagwathi (Parvati), Mahadeva (Shiva), Muthappan, Bhadrakali (a form of Parvati as Kali or Durga), Subramani (Subramanya) and Ayyappa. Iggutappa, the most important local god, is an incarnation of Subramani, the god of snakes, rain, harvest and rice. Amma Kodavas live in the southern parts of Kodagu and follow some of the Brahmin customs. They were the progeny of intercaste marriages between Brahmins and Kodavas during former times. They belong to 44 family names and two gothras. Unlike other Kodavas they are vegetarians, they abstain from alcohol, wear the sacred thread and study the Vedas. Otherwise they follow the Kodava habits and customs, dress like other Kodavas and speak Kodava Takk. They are also known as Kaveri Brahmins.
The Yerava also live in adjacent Kerala, where they are known as the Adiya, and are primarily Hindu farm-labourers. They speak their own Yerava dialect. The Kurbas were forest hunter-gatherers who are now farm-labourers. They speak their own dialect and belong to two subcastes – Jenu, who are honey-gatherers, and Betta, who are hill-dwellers and good elephant captors, trainers and mahouts. Among other communities are: the Heggades, cultivators from Malabar; the Ayiri, who constitute the artisan caste; the Medas, who are basket and mat-weavers and act as drummers at feasts; the Binepatta, originally wandering musicians from Malabar, now farmers; and the Kavadi, cultivators from Yedenalknad. The Kudiya are of Malabarese tribe origin, they were toddy-makers. All these groups speak the Kodava language and conform generally to Kodava customs and dress.
The Arebhashe gowdas, or Kodagu Gowdas, and Tulu Gowdas, are a major ethnic group in some parts of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. They live in Sulya and in parts of Somwarpet, Bhagamandala and Madikeri. Guddemane Appaiah Gowda along with many other freedom fighters revolted against the British in an armed struggle which covered entire Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada. This was one of the earliest freedom movement against the British called "Amara Sulliada Swantantrya Sangraama" ("Amara Sulya Dhange" formally called by the British) started in 1837.
Kodagu is home to a sizeable population of Muslims. Those who speak Urdu and are of Persian (or sometimes Arab or Afghan) origins call themselves Sheikhs but are locally known as the Turks (Turqa). They settled when the Mysore sultans ruled in Kodagu. Those of South Indian origins are either known as the maaple or Kodava maaple (not to be confused with the Kerala Mappilas). Kodava Hindus converted by Tipu Sultan into Islam are called Kodava maaple, or Jamma Maaple . Some of the Kodava Maaples have married with Malabar Mappila and Tulu Bearys,so they communicate to use Kodag Malayalo (ಕೊಡಗ್ ಮಲಯಾಳೊ), which is a different type of Malayalam slang in Coorg .It is generally use to write in Kannada script. Kodag Malayalo has different word for things which happens in Coorg only. ('puli for orange,Orotti for rice roti' etc.).It is a different type of Malayalam slang,(some differece from kasaragod Malayalam) influenced with Coorg language and kannada.. A small number of Muslims from the "Malabar coast"[Kerala Mappila]s, have also been present as in Virajpet "South part of Kodagu"[merchant|traders].  A small number of Mangalorean Catholics are also found in Kodagu. They are mostly descended from those Konkani Catholics who fled the roundup and later, captivity by Tippu Sultan. These immigrants were welcomed by Raja Virarajendra (himself a former captive of Tippu Sultan, having escaped six years of captivity in 1788) who realising their usefulness and expertise as agriculturists, gave them lands and tax breaks and built a church for them. There is a sizeable population of the Lingayat people and the majority of them are in the taluk of Somwarpet.
Kodagu is a rural region with most of the economy based on agriculture, plantations and forestry, as well as one of the more prosperous parts of Karnataka. This is due primarily to coffee production and other plantation crops. Rice and other crops are cultivated in the valleys. Coffee plantations, situated on hillsides too steep for growing rice, and taking advantage of shade from existing forests, became characteristic of the district in the 20th century. Coffee is now a major cash crop. Coffee processing is also becoming a major economic contributor. In recent years tourism has also begun to play a role in the economy. Eco-tourism, such as walking and trekking tours, take advantage of plantation buildings converted into guest-houses.
Festivals of Kodagu
Kailpodhu, celebrated on 3 September, signifies the completion of "nati", or the transplantation of the rice crop. Officially, the festival begins 18 days after the sun enters the Simha Raasi (the western sign of Leo). Kail means weapon or armoury and Pold means festival.
The festival signifies the day when men should prepare to guard their crop from wild boars and other animals, since during the preceding months, during which the family were engaged in the fields, all weapons were normally deposited in the Kanni Kombare, or the prayer room. Hence on the day of Kailpoldu, the weapons are taken out of the Pooja room, cleaned and decorated with flowers. They are then kept in the Nellakki Nadubadec, the central hall of the house and the place of community worship. Each member of the family has a bath, after which they worship the weapons before feasting and drinking. The eldest member of the family hands a gun to the senior member of the family, signifying the commencement of the festivities. The whole family assembles in the mand (open ground), where physical contests and sports, including marksmanship, are conducted. In the past the hunting and cooking of wild game was part of the celebration, but today[when?] shooting skills are tested by firing at a coconut tied onto the branch of a tall tree.
Traditional rural sports, like grabbing a coconut from the hands of a group of 8–10 people (thenge porata), throwing a stone the size of a cricket ball at a coconut from a distance of 10–15 paces (tenge eed), lifting a stone ball of 30–40 cm lying at one's feet and throwing it backwards over the shoulders, are now conducted in community groups called Kodava Samajas and Gowda Samajas in towns and cities.
At a predetermined time, when the sun enters Tula Rasi (Tula sankramana), a fountain from a small tank fills the larger holy tank at Talakaveri. Thousands of people gather to dip in this holy water. The water, called tirtha, is collected in bottles and distributed to every home throughout Kodagu to be preserved. A spoonful of this water is fed to the dying, in the belief that they will attain moksha (spiritual emancipation) and gain entry to heaven.
On this day, married women wearing new silk saris perform puja to a vegetable, symbolising the goddess Kaveri. The vegetable is usually a cucumber or a coconut, wrapped in a piece of red silk cloth and decorated with flowers and jewels (mainly 'Pathak' (Kodava Mangalasuthra)). This is called the Kanni Puje. Kanni refers to the goddess Parvati, who incarnated as Kaveri. Three sets of betel leaves and areca nut are kept in front of the goddess with bunches of glass bangles. All the members of the family pray to the goddess by throwing rice and prostrating themselves before the image. The elder members of the family ceremonially bless the younger. Then an older married woman draws water from the well and starts cooking. The menu of the day is dosa and vegetable curry (usually pumpkin curry (kumbala kari)) and payasa (sweet dish). Nothing but vegetarian food is cooked on this day, and this is the only festival among the Kodavas where only vegetarian food is prepared and served.
Puttari means new rice and is the rice harvest festival (also called huttari in the adjacent Kannada-speaking country). This takes place in late November or early December. Celebrations and preparations for this festival start a week in advance.
On the day of Puttari, the whole family assembles in their ain mane (the common family house), which is decorated with flowers and green mango and banana leaves. Specific foods are prepared: tambuttu, puttari, kari and poli poli. Then the eldest member of the family hands a sickle to the head of the family and one of the women leads a procession to the paddy fields with a lit lamp in her hands. The path leading to the field is decorated. A gunshot is fired to mark the beginning of the harvest, with chanting of Poli Poli Deva (prosperity) by all present. Then the symbolic harvesting of the crop begins. The rice is cut and stacked and tied in odd numbers and is carried home to be offered to the gods. The younger generation then light firecrackers and revel, symbolising prosperity. Groups of youngsters visit neighbouring houses and boast their dancing skills and are given monetary gifts. A week later, this money is pooled and the entire village celebrates a communal dinner. All family members gather for this meal. Dinner normally consists of meat dishes, such as pork and fish curry. Alcoholic beverages are also served at such feasts.
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (November 2011)|
Kodagu is rated as one of the top hill station destinations in India. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kodagu include:
Nagarahole: a national park and wildlife resort.
Bhagamandala: situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Kaveri and the Kanika. A third river, the Sujyothi, is said to join from underground. Mallalli falls: 25 km from Somwarpet, downhill of the Pushpagiri hills
Mandalapatti: 28 km from Madikeri. On the way to Abbey Falls, before 3 km from Abbey Falls take right, from there 25 km.
Omkareshwara Temple: A beautiful temple in Coorg. A legend is associated with the temple, built by Lingrajendra II in 1820 CE. The king put to death a pious Brahmin who dared to protest against his misdeeds. The spirit of the dead man began to plague the king day and night. On the advice of wise men, the king built this temple and installed a shivlinga procured from Kashi, North India.
Buddist Golden Temple, at Bylakuppe near Madikeri at Kodagu district, in the Tibetan settlement
Madikeri is well connected by road with Mangalore, Hassan, Mysore, Bangalore and Kannur, Thalassery, and Wayanad of neighbouring state Kerala. There are three Ghat roads for reaching Kodagu from coastal regions of Kerala and Karnataka: the Sampaje–Madikeri Ghat road from Mangalore, the Panathur–Bhagamandala Ghat road from Kasaragod, Kanhangad, Malom and chittarikkal and the Makutta–Perumbadi/Virajpet Ghat road from Kannur and Thalassery through Iritty.
The nearest railway stations are Thalassery and Kannur in Kerala and Mangalore, Mysore and Hassan are the nearest in Karnataka.
The nearest airports are at Mysore and Mangalore. Mysore Airport is at a distance of 130 km from Madikeri and 115 kilometres (71 mi) from Virajpet. Mangalore International Airport is located 140 kilometres (87 mi) from Madikeri and 172 kilometres (107 mi) from Virajpet. The greenfield Kannur Airport coming up in Mattanur which is expected to be operational by December 2015, would be closest to Coorg at about 85 kilometers from Madikeri and 55 kilometers from Virajpet.
- Government Engineering College, Kushalnagar.
- College of Forestry, Ponnampet, University of Agricultural Sciences (B).
- Coorg Institute of Technology, Ponnampet.
- Coorg Institute of Dental sciences, Virajpet
- Field Marshal K M Cariappa College, Madikeri
- Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa, first Indian C-in-C, High Commissioner of Australia and New Zealand
- General K. S. Thimayya, head of Indian Army, chairman of Korean Repatriation Committee, head of UN Peacekeeping force
- Lt Gen Apparanda Aiyappa, head of Signals Corps, later head of Bharat Electronics Limited
- C B Muthamma, first woman IFS officer
- Rao Bahadur P. K. Monnappa police chief of three states
- C. G. Somiah, Comptroller and Auditor General of India (1990–1996).
- Diwan Bahadur Ketoli Chengappa, last Chief Commissioner of Coorg
- Squadron Leader Ajjamada B Devaiah, Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous), 1965 Indo Pak War, he was known as 'wings of fire', died in Pakistan.
- Prema, Kannada actress.
- Biddu Appaiah, music composer
- M. P. Ganesh, former hockey team captain, Olympian and coach, 1973 Arjuna Award.
- B. P. Govinda, team hockey player, 1975 Arjuna Award.
- Sommayya Maneypande (M M Somaiya) former Indian Hockey team player, captain, Olympian,Arjuna Awardee 1985, Hockey Gold Medalist 1980
- Arjun Halappa, hockey player
- A B Subbaiah, Indian team hockey player, 1996 Arjuna Awardee
- Ashwini Nachappa, athlete, 1988 Arjuna Award
- C.C. Machaiah, (Chenanda Machiah) former boxer,Olympian and coach, 1978 Arjuna Awardee
- Robin Uthappa, international cricket player
- Rohan Bopanna, tennis player
- Ashwini Ponnappa, badminton player
- Joshna Chinappa, squash player
- Jagat and Anita Nanjappa, former national rally champions
- C M Poonacha, Chief Minister of Coorg State, Member of Parliament from Mangalore, Governor of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh
- Prema Cariappa, former mayor of Bangalore, Rajya Sabha MP
- K.G. Bopaiah (Speaker of Legislative Assembly/ Virajpet MLA)
- M P Appachu Ranjan, Ex-Minister and Member of Karnataka Legislative Assembly
- Shri. Nidyamale Somana, Member, First Lok Sabha (1952–1957), Parliament of India, represented the State of Coorg; MLA (1957–1958), Karnataka State, represented Piriyapatna Constituency
- Dambekodi S. Madappa (Ex-MLA)
- Nidhi Subbaiah, Kannada actress
- Daisy Bopanna, Kannada actress
- Harshika Poonacha, Kannada actress
- Jai Jagadish, Senior actor in Sandalwood
- Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa, eminent research scholars
- Guddemane Appaiah Gowda, the first freedom fighter of Coorg around 1834-1837.
- Baddana Raj Chengappa - Editor-in-Chief, Printer & Publisher, The Tribune; Chandigarh, India.
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- P T Bopanna, author and journalist.
- Prof P S Appaiah, eminent scholar
- A. T. Raghu, Film and serial director
- N.S.Deviprasad (Sampaje Deviprasad), Film Producer and Cultural activist & Activist for 'Praja Vedike'
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||Dakshina Kannada district||Hassan district|
|Kasaragod district, Kerala||Mysore district|
|Kannur district, Kerala||Wayanad district, Kerala|