List of Kodavas

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Kodava People
Total population
((approx) 0.16 million)
Regions with significant populations
Kodava language
Related ethnic groups
Amma Kodava, Kodagu Gowda, Kodagu Heggade, Kodava Mappilla

The following is a list of prominent Kodavas (also known as the Coorg or Coorgi community).

Freedom fighters[edit]

  • Pandyanda Belliappa, freedom fighter and Gandhian.
  • C M Poonacha (Cheppudira), Indian National Congress, freedom fighter, Chief Minister of Coorg State (1952-'56), later State Minister in Mysore, Member of Parliament (initially Rajya Sabha and later Lok Sabha representing Mangalore), Union Minister (Railway Minister and other portfolios), Governor of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. He was instrumental in merging Kodagu with Karnataka, action which still many Kodavas believe was against the interest of people of Kodagu.


  • Sadguru Appayya Swami (1885–1956), (born of Kodava parents) founder of Kaveri Ashram, a Hindu monastery in Virajpet, born as Palanganda Appaiah, ordained into Sannyas (monkhood) by Guru Ramgiri.[1]
  • Swami Narayanananda, (born of Kodava parents) founder monk of a Hindu Ashram (monastery) in Denmark.
  • Swami Shambhavananda, (born of Kodava parents) a Hindu monk who was the head of the Ramakrishna Mission, Ponnampet monastery, known for his efforts to promote malaria eradication and beekeeping.

Armed forces[edit]

NKB commander, Brigadier General C B Ponnappa (left, with FC Gen. Santos Cruz in Congo) © MONUSCO
  • Field Marshal K M Cariappa (Kodandera family), OBE, first Indian Commissioned Officer, later became first Indian General and then first Commander-in-Chief of India. High Commissioner (Ambassador in the Commonwealth) of India in Australia and New Zealand, Field Marshal in 1986. Residency Road and a park in Bangalore has been renamed after him.[2]
  • General K. S. Thimayya (Kodandera), DSO, secured Ladakh for India during the Kashmir War of 1948, General and Chief of the Indian Army, after retirement he led the UN peacekeeping forces during when he won International acclaim, Chairman of the Repatriation Committee after Korean War, died in Cyprus, his statue was set up in Singapore Wax Museum, the Cyprus Govt. issued stamps in his honour. Richmond Road in Bangalore has been renamed after him.[3]
  • Lt General A. C. Iyappa (Apparanda), MBE, as a captain, he saw action in Malyan campaign in 1942 against the Japanese in World War II when he was also made a Prisoner-of-War. He was the first Indian Signal officer in chief. He was made Master General of Ordance. He was the first Indian to be colonel commandant of the corps of signals. He was then deputed to Bharath Electronics Ltd (BEL) where he became chairman and held the post till 1972. Iyappa park has been named after him in Bangalore.
  • Air Marshal C D Subbaiah, also known as Cheppudi 'Devaiah Subbia' (Cheppudira), VrC, PVSM, World War II fighter pilot.
  • Air Marshal K C Cariappa (Kodandera), PVSM, VM, Prisoner-of-War during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.
  • Brigadier C B Ponnappa (Cheppudira), was in the first batch of commissioned Indian officers (along with Cariappa) and was a World War II veteran.
  • N. N. Bheemaiah (Nadikerianda), Vir Chakra, 1947 war hero.
  • Flight Officer M A Ganapathy (Mandepanda), later Squadron Leader, Vir Chakra Awardee.
  • Squadron Leader A B Devaiah (Ajjamada), who shot down an enemy aircraft before presumably dying in Pakistan during the 1965 war. He is the only Air Force officer to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.[4]
  • Major M C Muthanna (Mangerira), killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Shaurya Chakra awardee.
  • Captain B M Cariappa (Baleyada), Vir Chakra.
  • 'Brigadier General' Bansi Ponnappa, UN Peacekeeper, Congo.
  • Major Puttichanda Somaiah Ganapathi , (known as the 'Major who kept his cool') awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, during the Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka[5]


Rohan Bopanna


Kodavas have a long history of association with the game of field hockey. The district of Kodagu is considered as the cradle of Indian hockey.[6][7] More than 50 Kodavas have represented India in international hockey tournaments, and seven have also participated in Olympics.[6] The passion for hockey in Kodagu is so much that more than 200 families participate in an annual Kodava Hockey Festival. This festival is recognised as one of the largest field hockey tournaments in the world and has been referred to the Guinness Book of Records.[6] However it has already found a mention in the Limca Book of Records, which is an Indian variant of the Guinness Book.[6]

  • M.P. Ganesh (Mullera), former Indian hockey team captain, Olympian and coach, 1973 Arjuna Awardee
  • B.P. Govinda, Indian hockey player, Arjuna Awardee (from Kodagu)
  • M M Somaiya (Maneyapanda), former Indian hockey team player, captain, Olympian, Arjuna Awardee 1985, Hockey Gold Medalist 1980
  • Len Aiyappa (Ballachanda), hockey player
  • S. K. Uthappa (Sannuvanda), hockey player
  • S. V. Sunil, hockey player (from Kodagu)

Other sports[edit]

Reeth (with her coach V.R. Beedu)




  • Biddu Appaiah (Chendrimada), music composer and producer
  • Nikhil Chinapa (Kalengada), RJ, VJ and popular presenter on MTV India, married DJ Pearl
  • A.T.Raghu (Apadanda), Kannada, Kodava and Malayalam languages Film Director


Politics (After Independence)[edit]

Appachu Ranjan as guest speaker

Civil office[edit]

Law and order[edit]

  • Rao Bahadur IGP P.K.Monnappa (Pemmanda), IPS Officer, DGP of Madras, helped suppress the Nizam's rebellion in Hyderabad in 1950 as part of the Police Action led by Sardar Patel, IGP of Hyderabad then of Mysore, also first police chief of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.[9]
  • B. B. Ashok Kumar (Biddanda), police officer






  1. ^ Kamath (1993). Karnataka State gazetteer, Volume 20. Bangalore: Director of Print, Stationery and Publications at the Government Press,. p. 659. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Weis, Edel (2002). Field Marshal Cariappa: The Man who Touched the Sky. Rupa Publications,. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Belliappa, C. P. (2008). Nuggets From Coorg History. Rupa Publications,. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Maha Vir Chakra Awardees". Indian armed forces. Bharat Rakshak. 
  5. ^ Kodava people
  6. ^ a b c d "Time-out". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2004-06-13. Chennai, India: 2004, The Hindu. 2004-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  7. ^ "Coorg: A nursery of Indian hockey". Online Edition of The Deccan Herald, dated 2006-04-04. 2005, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  8. ^ Belliappa, C. P. (2008). Nuggets From Coorg History. Rupa Publications,. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Kumar, Satinder (2000). Encyclopaedia of South-Asian tribes, Volume 1. Anmol Publications. p. 1470. Retrieved 11 October 2014.