Bunt (community)

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Total population
((approx) 1,500,000[1])
Kannada (Kundagannada dialect)
Om symbol.svg Hinduism
JainismSymbolWhite.PNG Jainism
Related ethnic groups
Jain Bunt
Samantha Kshatriya

Bunt (/ˈbʌnt/, previously spelled Bant and also known as Nadava[2]) is a community from Tulu Nadu, Karnataka, India. They are traditionally found in the coastal and Kodagu[3] districts of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala.[4] The Bunts are described as being the landed gentry and military class of the cultural region known as Tulu Nadu.[5] Majority of Bunts traditionally followed the Hindu religion with a minority being Jain.[3] The Bunts are also noted for following a matrilineal system of inheritance called Aliya Santana[3]


The word Bunt means powerful man or warrior in the Tulu language.[5] The word Nadava is a synonym for the Bunts used in the northern region of the erstwhile South Canara district.[6] Krishna Iyer mentions that the Canarese (Kannada) speaking Bunts are called Nadava or Nad Bunts[3]


According to S. D. L. Alagodi, the Bunts "... originally belonged to the warrior class. Being the martial race of Tulu Nadu, they served the ruling chiefs which brought them considerable benefits and allowed them to become the landowners and nobles of the region."[5][7]

The Bunts claim Kshatriya descent from the Nagavanshi lineage.[8][9]

Some notable Bunt clans who were sovereign of these states were the Honneyakambalis of Hosangadi,[10] Samantha Rajas of Mulki,[11] Bhair Arasas of Karkala,[12] Arasas of Kumbla,[13] Ajilas of Venur,[14] Tolaharas of Suralu near Udupi,[15] Heggades of Vitla,[16] Chowtas of Ullal/Moodabidri,[17] and the Bangas of Bangadi.[18] The feudal life and society of Bunts began to disintegrate in the succeeding colonial British Raj period and the Bunts today are a largely urbanized community.[19]


There are about 90 clans found among the Bunts. These clans claim descent either from the Alupas or Perumal kings.[20][page needed][21][page needed]

Traditional houses[edit]

The Khamb-Wooden pillars in a traditional Bunt house called Guthu Mane
The Kodialguttu joint family of Bunts. Most members are seen in traditional attire though some male members have taken to western attire (circa 1900)

Traditional Bunt houses can still be seen across the Tulu Nadu region. One of the more well-preserved houses, Kodial Guthu, stands at the centre of Mangalore city.[22][23] Other examples can be seen at Badila Guthu[24] in Kannur, Dakshina Kannada and Shirva Nadibettu near Udupi.[25]


There are many organisations that cater to the needs of the community. These include the Bunts Mathr Sangha based in Mangalore.[26][27] Since the 20th century when Bunts began to emigrate out of their native region various organisations have been formed elsewhere, such as in Mumbai,[28] Kuwait,[29] and the United Kingdom.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aji, Sowmya (16 January 2007). "Abhi could be ghar jamai!". The Times Of India. 
  2. ^ Kāmat, Sūryanātha (1973). Karnataka State Gazetteer: South Kanara. Director of Print, Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. p. 108. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Iyer, L. A. Krishna (1969). The Coorg tribes and castes (reprint ed.). Gordon Press Madras and Johnson. pp. 67–70. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  4. ^ International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, Volume 14. Department of Linguistics, University of Kerala. 1985. p. 92. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Alagodi, S. D. L. (2006). "The Basel Mission in Mangalore: Historical and Social Context". In Wendt, Reinhard. An Indian to the Indians?: on the initial failure and the posthumous success of the missionary Ferdinand Kittel (1832–1903). Studien zur aussereuropäischen Christentumsgeschichte 9. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 143. ISBN 978-3-447-05161-3. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  6. ^ J. Sreenath, S. H. Ahmad (1989). All India anthropometric survey: analysis of data. South Zone. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 41. ISBN 9788185579054. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Hegde, Krishna (1990). Feudatories of Coastal Karnataka. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 10. Coastal Karnataka was home to number of feudatory rulers. All of them being Bunts following matrilineal inheritance called Aliya Santana and favouring both the Hindu and Jain Faith 
  8. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh. Volume 30 of People of India: States series. pp. 387–391. ISBN 9788179911006. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  9. ^ The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land By K. R. Subramanian, K. R. Subramanian (M.A.) p.21
  10. ^ Udaya, B (2000). The Honneyakambali Rulers of Hosangadi. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 131–145. 
  11. ^ Vasanta Madhava K.G (2000). The Savant Rulers of Mulky: An Analysis. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 203–221. 
  12. ^ Bhat, Padekal Vishnu (2000). The Bhaira Rulers of Karkala. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 38–66. 
  13. ^ Bhat, Uppangala Rama (2000). Kumble Dynasty. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 96–130. 
  14. ^ Poojary, Tukaram (2000). The Ajilas of Venur. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 222–237. 
  15. ^ Shetty, Jagadish B (2000). The Tolahas of Sural. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 9–19. 
  16. ^ Bhat, Pundikai Ganapayya (2000). The Domba Heggade Chieftains of Vittal. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 189–202. 
  17. ^ Prabhakar, Peter Wilson (2000). The Choutas of Puttige-Moodbidri. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 146–188. 
  18. ^ Shenoy, Y. Umanath (2000). The Bangas of Bangadi. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 67–95. 
  19. ^ Raghuram, M. "Bunts feel at home wherever they are". Daily News and Analysis. 
  20. ^ P.Gururaj BhatAntiquities of South Kanara (1969), Prabhakara Press., 1969
  21. ^ P.Gururaj Bhat Studies in Tuluva history and culture: From the pre-historic times upto [sic] the modern (1975)
  22. ^ Monteiro, John. "Mangalore: Kodial Guthu House Restored to Glory". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  23. ^ Monteiro, John. "Mangalore: Once a Place of Pride, Kodialguttu Now under Siege". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  24. ^ Team Mangalorean. "Badila Guthu House - a Century old Heritage". Mangalorean.com. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  25. ^ Siraj, M. A. (3 March 2012). "You can go back in time here". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Daijiworld Media Network- Mangalore (RS/SP). "Mangalore: Bunts Sangh Felicitates Achievers from Various Fields". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  27. ^ Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore. "M'lore: Prof B M Hegde Exhorts Bunt Elders to "Walk their Talk"". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  28. ^ "Bunts Sangha Mumbai". Bunts Sangha Mumbai. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  29. ^ "Welcome to Buntara Sangha Kuwait (BSK)". Kuwaitbunts.org. Retrieved 2014-06-08. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Rao, Surendra (2010). Bunts in History and Culture. Rastrakavi Govind Pai Research Institute. ISBN 9788186668603.