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385. Kāpri-gudda and Kāpri-deva

The heritage land of Tulunadu has preserved many vestiges of ancient cults in the form of Spirit worships. However, during the course of...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

273. Kaprigudda, Mangalore


With regard to ancient place names handed over to us by our forefathers, we normally accept   them without questioning. We generally do not bother ourselves over their meaning, antiquity or origin. Or if we do not like just change them or replace them with some modern stylish sounding alternate place name. Infact, some of these place names are windows to the past and serve as fossil clues to a bygone dark era in the past history of this land.
One such strange placename in Mangalore city is Kaprigudda! It is another positive clue in understanding   the migration of ancient tribes from Africa to India in the remote past and concomitant transfer of their cults and beliefs.
Kaprigudda
Kaprigudda is a residential area east of Attavar or south of Phalnir, more or less corresponding with western part of Highlands. It is usually pronounced as ‘Kyāpri-guDDa’ If you ask someone aound in the area, regarding the meaning or origin of the word ‘Kyāpri’ you may not possibly get any positive answers! Capri is a common surname among Western people, so one of the possibilities   is that it was named after some special person called Capri.  Capri is also an island near Naples, Italy.But there is another clue that leads us to ancient cult of Kepheri prevalent in Egypt and surrounding African countries.
Kapri God
One interesting data recently reported in Kannada TV channels was that fishermen of Karwar were offering seasonal prayers to one ‘Kyapri devaru’ or Kapri God!
Kapri is an ancient Spirit God among coastal tribes of Karavali. The cult is still prevalent in parts of Karawar and surrounding areas. Fishermen, especially from Gaabid sect, in these areas look for the blessings of Spirit God Kapri. Generally, they offer liquor in a coconut shell bowl and lighted aroma sticks (agrabathi) to appease the Spirit that is said to wander in their wards like an old man during night times.
Apart from Kapri some of these tribes also worship a Spirit God called Kuti.
Kapri surname
Kapri is also a surname among Gorkha tribes of Nepal. The ethnonym could have been acquired from ancient migrant tribes from Africa. Bishnu Kapri, a gorkha Nepali, settled in US hosts a  ’ Kapri samaj’ page in facebok.
Kapra-Kampra
Kapra or Kaapira was also a common proper name among Tulu people. Another related proper name was Kampra or Kampara. There is a place known as Kapra-majalu near Vitla and a Kampra-bail in Bantval Taluk. Therefore the cult of Kapra or Kampara was not restricted to the Coastal track alone. Kampara is also a place in Uganda, Africa. These data suggest that Kapra and Kampra were ancient ethnonyms of African origin.

Khepri : An Egyptian God
Khepri is an ancient Egyptian God (the concept dating back to ca 2500 BC) , representing a giant Scarab beetle that can roll the Sun like a ball through the sky each morning so that it becomes morning and roll back into underworld in the evening so that the world embraces darkness! The God Khepri also known as Chepri, kheper, khepera or Kehperi etc was considered as a God of resurrection, overseeing the cycle of life and death. The emblem of Egyptian Khepri God, shows a winged Scarab beetle carrying red sun.
Migration

View of the foregoing discussion, one of the strong possibilities is that the Kapri-gudda near Attavar, Mangalore, might have been named after the Spirit God Kapri (Khepri) by some of the early African tribal settlers in this part of Mangalore. The existence of cults of Kapri Spirit God (though modified through centuries of influence of other cults of Hinduism) in Karawar area serves as a clue for further research in this dark pages of early history and civilization.
Ω
Acknowledgement: 1.Shri Vishnu Bovi for discussion on Kapri devaru of Karavar.
2.Shri Kawdoor Narayan Shetty. 


-With H Vishwanath.

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Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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