Chowta (also Chauta) is a common surname of the Tuluva Bunt people of Karnataka and Kerala, India. It is also the name of the Jain dynasty[full citation needed] who ruled certain parts of the Tulu Nadu region for several centuries (12th- 18th). They succession to the throne was as per the Bunt custom of matrilineal inheritance (Aliyasantana). They initially ruled from their capital at Ullal and the first known king of the Dynasty was Tirumalaraya Chowta I (reign 1160-1179). His successor, Channaraya Chowta I (reign 1179-1219), moved it inland to Puttige.[Note 1] Bhojaraya Chowta II (reign 1470-1510) was the greatest of the Chowta rulers. He visited the court of Krishnadevaraya, the Vijayanagar emperor, and received royal insignia from him.
The principality of Chowta split in 1544, with two separate capitals, one at Ullala, under the renowned Queen Abbakka Chowta, and another at Puttige. Ullal branch seems to have become extinct and c. 1603, the Chowta moved their capital to Moodabidri. In succeeding years Chowta power had greatly diminished due to invasions by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan with whom they signed treaties.Chandrasekhara Chikkaraya Chowta V was the last Chowta king who had some authority. He reigned from 1783 to 1822. Following the conquest of South Canara by the British the Chowtas lost all their power except that they received a small pension from the then government. Descendants of the chowta rulers still survive and inhabit the Chowtara Aramane (Chowta Palace) of Moodabidri, which is known for its ornate carvings such as the Nava Nari Kunjara (Nine Damsel Elephant).
- There are four places in Karnataka and Kerala whose modern name is Puttige or similar. None seems to have ever been larger than a village. Another candidate for the place is Puttur, a town which is the seat of a modern taluk (which also includes one of the villages called Puttige). An unsourced statement in the corresponding article in Kannada Wiki calls Puttur "the capital of a dynasty of kings" (Kannada: ವಂಶದ ಅರಸರ ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಾಗಿತ್ತು).
- Rai. "Surnames of Bunts". www.sulekha.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Shetty, Gunasheel. "Surnames of Bunts". www.uaebunts.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
- Hegde, Indira. "Bantaru: Ondu Samajo-Samskritika Adhayana (Bunts : A Socio - Cultural Study)". Kannada Book Authority.
- 34:XVIII,10; Bhatt, Tuluva:68-78; Mahalingam, Mackenzie MSS:II,491-496; Ramesh, A History of South Kanara:159-160; Stuart, South Canara:257; Sturrock, South Canara:54-56,73,75,83,189
- M.K. DHARMA RAJA. "Enchanting Woodcraft of a Medieval Palace in Karnataka". January 2002. India Perspectives, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
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