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Kalachuri Connection

The earliest Kalachuris of North India were descendants of the nomadic Scythians of
Central Asia. Over two thousand years ago, the nomadic tribes lived on the plains around
the Caspian Sea. In old Serbian and Slavic Scythian means wanderer. One of the Scythian
tribes, Saka, in search of green pastures for raising livestock drifted to southeast into
Afghanistan and Iran before the first millennium. Their initial introduction to India was in
85 BC when the Scythian King, Maues, conquered parts of Pakistan and Kashmir ending the
reign of the Indo-Greek king, Mitriidatus II. In the first century AD, the second Scythian
tribe, the Kushans invaded Pakistan and Northwestern India, and pushed the Sakas to
Saurashtra, North Konkan and the western Malwa. The Kushan king, Kanishka (126-
151AD) ruled North India, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tazikistan and Iran from Peshavar. He
appointed Sakas as Kshatraps of Malwa, Saurashtra and the northern Maharashtra;
Kshatrap means land protector or governor in Zoroastrian, the ancient Iranian language. At
the end of the second century AD, during the rule of the Kushan King Vasudeva, the
Kshatraps or Satraps (in Persian), became independent and ruled Malwa and Saurashtra
from Junagadha and Ujjain. In the fourth century the rule of Satraps or Sakas was
interrupted by the Gupta Dynasty.

The ancient Scythians employed stag or male red deer to drag their carts. In the Scythian
language stag was called Salwa. The Saka tribe living in Western India was nicknamed
Salwa, by the Kushans in the first or second century AD. The Kshatrapas of Khambhat,
the rulers of Kathiawar region (Cambay peninsula) were the original Salwas. The
Kalachuris of Rajputana were the descendants of the Kshatrapas of Khambhat. Along with
the Kalachuris of Rajputana, the Zaat sect in Punjab inherited the nickname, Salwa, from
their Saka ancestors. The gradual adoption of the Indian traditions and religions by the
Salwas gave rise to new Indo-Scythian ethnicity. Similar to their Scythian ancestors, the
Salwas worshipped the sun god and Swastika was the iconic rendering of the sun. The

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naturalization process on the new soil led Salwas to accept Vedic gods. They considered
themselves belonging to the Sun Dynasty which is unrelated to the mythological Surya
Vamsha of Ramayana. There are no evidences or artifacts to support that the Scythian
nomads had any interest in the folklore of Ramayana or Raghuvamsha. In Mahabharata
Salwa kings are mentioned on a few occasions. However, the mythological reference of
undated Mahabharata is not adequate to support the historical hypothesis of the Salwa

During the first two centuries of the first millennium, the Salwas under the dominance of
Kushan rulers practiced Budhism, but in the third century, they leaned towards Jainism.
Throughout the Saka and Kushan periods religions flourished in Western India. They built
Buddhist monasteries in Peshawar, Mathura, and Ujjain. The concept of cave sculptures
was introduced when Scythian drifters carved living quarters in the steep rocky edges of
Hindu Kush in the second century BC. The engraved cells of Bamia and Uyghur in
Afghanistan and the western China remain as the swaying relics of ancient Scythian
craftsmanship in rock carving. Cave sculpting by the Buddhist and Jain monks spread into
India in the third century. The caves such as, Ajanta, Elora, Girinar, and Elephanta thrived
during the Satrap, Kalachuri, and Rashtrakuta periods between the fourth and ninth
centuries. Similar to Scythians, Kalachuris grew beard and long mustache but their long
robes were shortened to adjust to the Indian climatic conditions. They worshipped swords
and spears and paradoxically worshiped Tirthankaras and practiced Jainism, the religion of
nonviolence. The acceptance of Jainism was part of the transformation process of the Salwas
(Indo-Scythians) in the new environment of spiritual orthodoxy.

A group of Sakas or Salwas of Western India was nicknamed as Kalachuris around the
third century AD. The initial allusion of Kalachuri was made to the ruling Salwa tribe of a
tiny forest kingdom in Malwa that did not have anything more than the local importance.
The brand name Kalachuri was created from two words; Kalli referred to curved imperial
mustache and Churi signified axe or sword. In the fourth century, the Kalachuri tribe living
in the Vindhya Mountains of the eastern Rajputana invaded the territories of the Gupta
Empire. Samudragupta and also his son, Chandragupta II, suppressed the relentless
Kalachuris who shortly after became feudatory of the Guptas. At the end of the fifth
century when the Gupta Dynasty was on decline, Kalachuri chiefs mushroomed in Central
India. The Kalachuri clan that ruled from Mahishmati (550-609 AD), situated on the
southern bank of the Narmada River, migrated to Maharashtra. Later on, they became the
Southern Kalachuri wing that ruled from Kalyan in the twelfth century and also the Salwa
dynasty of Vijayanagara in the fifteenth century.

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Krishnaraja (550-575 AD) established the Kalachuri Kingdom in Mahishmati and stretched
the kingdom to include Malwa, Saurashtra, and Northern Konkan. The Elephanata or
Gharapuri caves near Mumbai were built during his reign. It is also debated that the
Elephanta caves were built by the Rashtrakutas with the help of the Konkan Shilaharas in
the ninth century. However, the archaeological survey dates the cave construction back to
the sixth century. Furthermore, the seventh century Badami Chalukya inscription found in
Aihole, Karnataka mentions Puri (Elephanata caves) as the holy place for Jains. The
sculpture of Trimurti which is a twenty feet high monolithic granite carving is displayed in
the Elephanta caves. The main sculpture, three-faced statue of Trimurti in Puri, suggests
that Krishnaraja was the follower of Jainism. Trimurti, also known to Hindus as Dattatreya
was the representation of all three members of the Vedic Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and
Ishwara. A rare sculpture of the sun god was also carved in the honor of Saka ancestry of
Kalachuris but was destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. According to the
Puranic or Vedic writings of the tenth century, Dattatreya was the son of sage Atri and
Ansuya. The name Dattatreya was derived from two words; in Sanskrit, Datta means gift
and Atreya implies from Atri or the name means, gift from Atri. He was born with the
essence of the Vedic trinity. Brahma created life, Vishnu nurtured, and Shiva liberated the
soul from the body is the religious belief of Hindus and Jains. The statue of Trimurti
symbolized the complete cycle of life.

The Trimurti statue in the Elephanta caves presents Vishnu in the center, Shiva on the left
and Brahma on the right. Jains, who originally created the configuration of the trinity, gave
prominence to Vishnu. The Vedic Trinity was conceptualized in the fourth century BC
during the time of Chandragupta Maurya, a follower of Jainism. The Maurya Dynasty built
the oldest Trimurti Temple in the fourth century BC near Lahore, Pakistan and now only
the foundation of the temple barely exists. The carvings of the temple were sold to the
curators of museums around the world. The ancient Trimurti Temples are found in the old
settlements of Jains, mostly in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Not so long ago, Vaishnavas and
Shaivas disputed for the rights of the Dattatreya temples in Girinar, Gujarat and Mount
Abu, Rajasthan. The two wings of the same religion blindly ignored the very concept of
creation of Dattatreya to honor the plurality of Vedic religions.

Mangalesha, the Badami Chalukya King, conquered the Kalachuris in 599 AD, but failed to
annex the Kalachuri territory. He was attracted by a Kalachuri princess and parted from
Mahismati on cordial terms. Later in 609 AD his nephew, Pulikesi II, defeated Budharaja
and relegated Kalachuris with the feudatory commitments. In the seventh century, the
Kalachuris assisted Pulalkesi II to suppress the Mauryan descendants of the southern
Maharahtra and Konkan. Kalachuris gradually moved to the southern Maharashtra. After
Rashtrakutas usurped Chalukyas, the Kalachuris took the back seat. The intimacy between

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Rashtrakutas and Kalchuris was strained by the bitter expressions of Kalachuris over the
success of Rashtrakutas. Kalachuris frequently struggled with the Rashtrakutas but also
marriages between the two clans were pretty common. Kalachuris were devoted followers
of Jainism whereas the Rashtrakutas were bit relaxed on religion. The common faith in
Jainism brought the two sects together and the aggressive warrior spirit pulled them apart
many times along their southern passage to Karnataka.

In the beginning of the eleventh century, the Kalachuri King, Uchita, ruled Mangalaweda in
Maharashtra as a tributary of the Kalyani Chalukya Dynasty. The Kalachuri King,
Jagadekamaalla Paramadi, was married to the sister of the Chalukya King, Someshwar III.
Paramadi, with his swift Kalchuri cavalry, came to Banavasi Nadu to subdue the rebellious
feudatories. Kalachuri devotion to the Chalukyas provided much needed support to
suppress the upheaval instigated by the feudatories on the West Coast. The Hoysala King,
Vishnuvardhana, and the Kadambas of Goa were trying to move away from their loyalty to
the Kalyani Chalukya throne. In 1127 AD, Paramadi strategically deterred both Hoysalas
and the Kadamba incursions to reinstate the Chalukya supremacy in Banavasi Nadu. The
Hoysala presence was pushed back to south beyond Hangal. The son of Paramadi, young
Bijala II, was appointed as the governor of Banavasi in 1130 AD. It was the earliest
institution of the Kalachuri authority in Banavasi Nadu, which is the present-day Uttara
Kannada. Kalachuris possibly governed Banavasi from the Adlur region that stretched
along the northern bank of Gangavali, for many years.

The concentration of almost nine hundred years old Jain relics around Adlur near Ankola,
Karnataka suggests that Paramadi and Bijala were based in the ancient fort located in the
mountains of Adlur. Bijjala as the feudatory of Chalukya ruled much of the northern
Karnataka region including South Konkan from Annigeri, Belgaum till 1962 AD. According
to the Bombay Presidency Gazetteer of 1884, an inscription pertaining to Bijalas
establishment in Annigeri was found in Ablur. Bommayya Nayaka (Bommarasa), the son-
in-low of Bijala was the appointed governor of Banavasi Nadu in 1161-62 AD. In 1162 AD,
Bijala claimed independence from Chalukyas. In 1163 Kasyappa Nayaka who was a relative
of Bijala was the governor of Banavasi Nadu. Hirinayaka and Kirinayaka, the sons of
Bijalas brother, Mailugi also later became the governors of Banavasi. Hirinayaka and
Kirinayaka might not have been the actual names of Bijjalas nephews. Kalideva, the son of
Hirenayaka called his uncle Kiriyayya. The actual name of Kirinayaka or Kiriyayya was
Soma. However, the authentic name of Hirinayaka wasnt found. Vishnuvardhana was
constantly looking for an opportunity to conquer Banavasi and to protect it from invaders
Bijala always appointed his trusted family members to govern Banavasi Nadu.

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During medieval times, Banavasi Nadu included the contemporary Uttara Kannada, and
parts of Belgaum and Dharwar districts. Banavasi was the capital city during the Kadamba,
Badaimi Chalukya, and Rashtrakuta dynasties. In the beginning of the second millennium,
cavalry became the focus of war strategies and intensified the speed of attack. The
fortification methods and structures of the early medieval times became obsolete due to the
velocity and flexibility of cavalry. The antiquated Banavasi fortress was replaced by safer
and strategic defensive centers. The regional chiefs and governors sought rugged hideout
places to suit their own individual war strategies. After the eleventh century, for the next
six hundred years, Kalyani Chalukya, Kalachuri, Vijayanagara and Adil Shahi dynasties
decentralized the control of the Banavasi Nadu and built many new forts in strategic
locations. The sea-trade with Arabia, and later during Vijayanagara with Portugal became
prevalent. Many forts were built along the coastal line of the Banavasi Nadu to protect the
ports and merchant ships.

The Kalgod region, especially the area surrounding Adlur, was the original settlement of
Kalachuris in Uttara Kannada. One of the earliest Kalachuri settlers of Kalgod came from
Terdavadi, situated in the north of Bijapur. They were notoriously known for destroying
the Shaiva temples in Belgaum and Kolhapur regions, and replacing with Jain Basadis.
Perhaps, the pioneers of building Jain structures in around Adlur could be the Terdwadi
Kalachuris. Old citadels and Basadis found in the thick forests around Adlur are the
evidences of the Kalachuri presence during the twelfth century in the Kalgod region. A
ruined fort on the top of a hill in the thick forest of Adlur remains as a noteworthy
testimonial of the Kalachuri stronghold in Kalgod. An ancient underground fortress or
large cellar-like structure chiseled through tough porous rocks is concealed in the jungle of
Kodlagadde, five miles from Adlur. The ancient fortress occupies over 8,000 square feet of
burrowed underground area with many well-planned vertical ventilation shafts. The
subterranean dwelling structures were introduced in India in the fourth century when the
Satraps (Sakas) built Ajanta and Ellora.

The Indo-Scythians linked prostitution to the divinity of temples. Certain fashionable

prostitutes carried special tattoos on their body and were considered to be the sacred
entertainers of gods. Kamasutra was written at the turn of the third century by Vatsayana
during the Indo-Scythian era. There was no reservation of any kind for exhibiting
Kamasutra artwork in social settings. The walls of Jain and Hindu temples became the
convenient medium to push sex exhibits. The exhibition of erotic sculptures was banned
since the fourteenth century when the Muslim rulers seized power in North India. Many
temples were demolished, or the sculptures were mutilated. Still many temples in
Khajuraho, Rajasthan escaped such Islamic censure. A number of surviving temples still
display erotica on the walls. Two Kalachuri Basadis built during the medieval times are

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barely standing in Maru-Gadde, approximately five miles from Adlur. A semi buried old
temple portrays divine paintings on its walls along with pornographic low-relief artwork
resembling the erotic Kamasutra sculptures of Khajuraho. Maru-Gadde is the key to the
exploration of ancient Kalachuri or Salva habitat in the area. The twelfth century relics left
behind by the Kalachuri settlers of Adlur are scattered from Ramanaguli to Honnebail
along the Gangavali River and most of them still remain unexplored. The British rulers
marked the Kalgod region as an old unknown historic place.

Kalachuris were staunch followers of the Shwetambar sect of Jainism. Bijala II (1130-
1167AD) announced his independence from the Western Chalukyas that lasted for a brief
duration. In the twelfth century, the Kalyani Chalukyas supported the promotion of
Virashaivism with which the Kalachuris, being Jains, differed fundamentally. There are
evidences of frequent Kalachuri conflicts with the Virashaivas, who were backed by the
Chalukya King Jagadhekamalla III (1164- 1183 AD). The influential philosophy of
Virashaivism was very popular and it became difficult for the Kalachuris to thwart the
trend. The trouble was emanating from many regions of the kingdom. The chief minister
Basaveshwara, the founder of Virashaivism wanted to replace the Kalachuri constitution
with the Virashaiva philosophy. Kasyappa Nayaka, a high-ranking commander started the
conspiracy to abdicate Bijala. The chief commander of Bijala, Kalachuri Bommayya Nayaka
joined the Western Chalukyas and shortly after he accepted Virashaivism. The safety of the
Kalachuri Kingdom was beleaguered by the persistent internal friction between Bijala and

It was suspected that Bommayya Nayaka, along with the Chalukyas, plotted the murder of
King Bijala. Jagadeva, a trusted member of the kings staff and the cousin of Basaveshwara,
murdered Bijala in cold blood. The Kalachuri Kingdom was completely drenched in revolt.
The nephews of Bijala, Hiri Nayaka and Kiri Nayaka, the Kalachuri commanders of
Banavasi Nadu went to Kalyan to suppress the uprising, but both the brothers were
murdered on the same gloomy day. Their dead bodies were brought to Kalgod on horses
accompanied by the soldiers of Bijala. They were cremated on the seashore of the Kalgod
region in a village now known as Bhavikeri. Their dead bodies had deteriorated beyond
recognition and both of their wives committed Sati without sighting the corpses of their
husbands on the auspicious day of the Sankranti Festival (Celebration of the Winter
Solstice) in 1168 AD. The old Jain Bera shrines of the Nayakas, and the Sati shrines of their
wives, are still extant as the Kalachuri monuments in Bhavikeri, Uttara Kannada. The
Kalanayakas of Bhavikeri, descendants of the self-immolated wives, dont observe
Sankranti even now.

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After the Southern Shilaharas in the twelfth century, Salwas (Kalachuri) governed most of
the coastal region of Uttara Kannada as the local chieftains, until they merged with
Vijayanagara. The ports of Haiva (Bhatkal to Gangavali) and Konkan (Gangavali to
Chitakul) were gaining importance due to steadily growing importance of sea trade on the
west coast. In the second quarter of the fourteenth century, invasions of the Delhi Sultanate,
Mohammad Tugalaq was looming in the Southern India. The south Konkan was one of his
targeted territories of expansion. Many Kalachuri families of the south Konkan joined the
Sangama Dynasty in the mid fourteenth century for their own defense. The Kalachuri
presence continued in the settlements of Adlur, Mirjan, Bargi, Bhatkal and Haduvalli
during the Vijayanagara Empire. The historic monuments and relics of Kalachuris found in
Adlur are approximately two hundred years older than the ones found around Haduvalli.
It provides a significant evidence of the Kalachuri migration from Kalgod to Haduvalli that
began in the fourteenth or the fifteenth century. During the Vijayanagara rule, Haduvalli
and Gerusoppa gained importance because of Bhatkal and Honavar ports. Even after the
fall of Vijayanagara, Salwas controlled the Konkan and Malenad regions of Uttara Kannada
during the Sonda, Bilgi and Gersappa kingdoms. In the eighteenth century, during the
Mysore Sultanate Dynasty, Salwas living in the Honavar region moved to the boroughs
around Ankola and Kumta.

The Queen Chennabhairadevi (1552-1606 AD) assumed the responsibility of Gersoppa

Kingdom when Mirjan was its capitol. Three different and conflicting historical
explanations were chronicled on the topic of Virabhadradevis rise to the thrown of
Gersoppa Kingdom. According to one historian she took over the Kingdom from her elder
sister, Bhairadevi. A Portuguese traveler wrote about her, dancing girl (Devadasi) became
queen but Chennabhairadevi was of Salwa origin as mentioned by a few historians.
However, Chennabhairadevi supposedly was an accomplished dancer. The most reliable
historical narrative is that Chennabhairadevi was married Bhairavabhupati, the son of Salva
Krishna Nayaka who was the fraternal uncle of Arasappa Nayaka II of Sonda. She lost her
husband at a young age. She was chosen by the de facto ruler of Vijayanagara, Ramaraya to
take responsibility of the dominion bracketed under the Mirjan Fort. Chennabhairadevi had
amicable relations with Arasappa Nayaka of Sonda. She built Basadis and temples even in
the Sonda territory. The governing families of principalities in Uttara Kannada were related
to the Vijayanagara dynasties. Chennabhairadevi was also known to the people in her
territory as Sannamma. Her reign began in the Mirjan fort which was allegedly built by
her. During the Adil Shahis occupation of Uttara Kannada, she moved to Basti near
Honavara and eventually to Gersappa, Uttara Kannada. Her strategic relocation was to
avoid any kind of danger from the Portuguese rulers of Goa. The Portuguese and Italian
merchants frequently visited her in Gersoppa. They called her Gersoppa Queen or Pepper
Queen (Raina Da Pimenta). When she ruled from Mirjan, probably her kingdom wasnt

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called the Gersoppa Kingdom. It was a principality of Vijayanagara in the same way as
Sonda, Haduvalli and Bilgi were principalities. Soon after the downfall of Vijayanagara in
1565, Ali Adil Shah endorsed her to the status of queen. At the same time the Governor of
Sonda, Arasappa Nayaka was promoted to be the King of Sonda.
Chennabhairadevis feudatory relationship with Vijayanagara during the regime of
Ramaraya was discreet in nature. After the fall of Vijayanagara, the queen seemed to
bolster her bond with Adilishahi which was unusual after two centuries long hostility
between Vijayanagara and Bahamani sultans. Her diplomatic dealings with Ali Adil Shah I
enabled her to establish an autonomous state. Bilgi, originally a principality of Vijayanagara
was subdued by Chennabhairadevi after a skirmish. Then on, it was governed by a Jain
chieftain under the restraint of Chennabhairadevi. Bilgi was one of the five Seemis of
Nadavaras which was known as Menesi Seeme. Chennabhairadevis tactful negotiations
with Adil Shah might have enabled her to give refuge to the Salwas of Hampi in Mirjan.
Even though she moved out of the Mirjan Fort, her deputies resided in Mirjan and Kagal.
She controlled Chittakula, Binaga, Araga, Aversa, Ankola, Honnebail, Kagal, Mirjan and
Honavar ports, which exported spice, coconut, rice and timber to Europe and Arabia. Even
though she didnt trust Portuguese, she maintained diplomatic relations with the governor
of Goa for the sake of flourishing exports to Europe. She was a lady of steely resolve and
was also a shrewd entrepreneur. An English historian compared her to Queen Elizabeth 1

Around the mid sixteenth century, in Tiswadi, Goa Padre F. de Souza, a Portuguese priest
was actively involved in promoting Catholicism. According to his writings, to avoid
baptism 3092 Hindus moved away from Bardez, Solcete in 1560. In 1567, Diogo Rodriguese,
the commander of the Fort Rochol, vandalized 280 Hindu temples in South Goa. The
brutality of Portuguese soldiers towards Hindu women was inconceivable. Some soldiers
married Hindu women but most of the elegant Hindu women were forced to become
mistresses and concubines. The married women were baptized by the Catholic priests to
make them disloyal to their Hindu husbands. Sexual abuse of the underage girls was a
common passage, and the brutal sexual pestering by the Portuguese soldiers was totally
ignored. The illegitimate unions between Portuguese men and young Goan women were
widespread matter. In 1516 the judge of orphanage reported seventy illegitimate births. The
Goan government took care of the babies born with Portuguese fathers. By 1560 the
Brahmin women of the entire islands of Divar and Chorao were converted to Christianity
and the conversion of men was put off. Rape and adultery in Goa were so frequent that the
situation seemed hopeless. Consequently, sexually transmitted diseases reached epidemic

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The grim poverty coupled with harsh Portuguese treatment forced the Goan Hindus to drift
to the neighboring Gersappa Kingdom. Chennabhairadevi recruited skilled Goan workers
trained by the Portuguese, mainly sailors, boat builders, black smiths, and carpenters. As
stories of the compassionate queen spread around in Goa, influxes of Goan refugees
swamped the Gersappa Kingdom to avoid the Portuguese atrocities. The shoreline of the
present-day Uttara Kannada proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Goan refugees
who were seeking a new home to begin a new life free of the Portuguese cruelty. They
perhaps settled around the bustling ports. It is apparent from the concentration of the
Konkani speaking people in the port towns of the south Konkan. Chennabharadevi paid
heavy royalties to Adil Shah to secure her kingdom from the threat of the annoyed
Portuguese. She appointed a Saraswata ambassador to Goa mainly to deal with the
Portuguese trade treaties. Even before Chennabhairadevis era, Saraswatas were advisors to
Vijayanagara in horse trading with Arabia. Chennabhairadevi appointed the Goan
refugees in the ports of Uttara Kannada was an anecdotal story told by the local Konkanis.

Various historians wrote about the Sonda and Gersoppa kingdoms, but their compositions
werent coherent. The border separating Sonda and Gersappa domains was inconsistently
portrayed. Conceivably Honavara, Mirjan and Bhatkal ports were controlled by
Chennabhairadevi. Ankola, Arga, and Chittakula ports came under the Sonda territory. As
stated in Gazetteer 1883, the Bombay Presidency, the Venetian merchant, Caesar Fredrick in
March 1567 visited Ankola and according to his writings Ankola port belonged to
Chennabhairadevi. Hamilton (vague mention) in 1720 wrote that the Ankola was under the
Sonda rulers. Certainly, he wasnt Buchanan Hamilton who visited North Kanara in early
1800s. It is possible that Sonda rulers took over Ankola after the end of Chennabhairadevis
rule. However, Chennabhairadevi was the port authority of all the seaports located on the
shoreline of present day Uttara Kannada. Ankola port had gained importance since the time
of the Sangama Dynasty for the export of raw cotton and textile. Ankola by the end of
sixteenth century had many spinning and weaving mills and a cotton refinement factory.
The cotton grown in the semi-arid regions of the northern Karnataka was exported from
Honavara, Ankola and Karwar ports. After the fall of Vijayanagara in the sixteenth century
the Muslim traders of Goa migrated to Karwar, Ankola, Honavara and Bhatkal to escape
the Portuguese conversions. In Ankola the Muslim refugees settled near the harbor and
sought employment in the maritime shipping industry. Adil Shah sent Persian auditors
(Shia Muslims) to Ankola to manage the tariff on cotton trade. The colony of the Muslim
settlement near the port was named Baburwada (Babur meaning tiger) and the Ankola port
was called Bundar (port) by the Persians of Bijpur. The Parsian names got tainted by the
local language to Babrawada and Bandra respectively.

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Salwa Narayana Nayaka, a commander of Chennabhairadevi built many temples. In the

Gersappa kingdom, temples belonged to the state-owned enterprise. The state took
advantage of religious faiths and orthodoxy of its people. The thriving temples were
revenue centers generating income for the state, which in turn led to the construction of
new temples in every town. Narayana Nayaka built temples of Surya Narayana, the sun
god and Yaksha the spirit of nature near the ports along the shoreline from Bhatkal to
Chittakul. Jains believed in the spirit of Yaksha taking care of their wealth and health. At
times they were afraid of Yaksha taking the form of Rakshasa (mean minded ghost). Jains
out of fear instituted Yaksha statues in many Basadis. Worshiping the sun god and nature
spirit prior to embarking merchant ships was a ritual in the Gersappa Kingdom. However,
only a few temples of Surya Narayana and Yaksha exist in Uttara Kannada. Possibly, with
the changing times temples were dilapidated due to lack of patronage and were refurbished
and rechristened under different identity to go with the contemporaneous trend. The
Gersappa navy to protect merchant ships recruited Mogaveer and Kharavee soldiers. It was
controlled by Timmanna Nayaka. Chennabhairadevi was a follower of Jainism, but she
successfully maintained a secular state, which was one of the reasons for the longevity of
her reign. The realm of Gersappa ended abruptly after her loss to Venkatappa Nayaka of
Keladi. Jain-Nadavara (Salwa) presence in Gersappa, Kuchinad, Mirjan, Bada and Kagal
continued even after the reign of Chennabhairadevi, under Keladi kings. The shrine of
Chennabhairadevi, Sannamma Temple is still revered by many Nadavara families.

The Southern Kalachuris were rigidly affixed to the Jain faith. Their religious inflexibility
led them through a prolonged hostility with Virashaivas. The last known Kalachuri
confrontation with the Virashaivas took place in the eighteenth century in Agsur, Uttara
Kannada. Perhaps, Virashaivas were still angry with the Terdawadi Kalachuri family
settled in Adlur, for destroying Shiva temples centuries ago. The Virashaiva mercenaries
had brought with them two men of the Dalit caste and wanted to wed them to the Jain-
Nadavara women of Kalgod region (Adlur). However, the planned persuasive marriage
did not take place. Both sides arrogantly declared victory. For centuries the Nadavaras of
Bhavikeri, Uttara Kannada have been telling the heroic stories of their victory over the
Virashaivas in the forest of Agsur to their youngsters. The story may be slightly slanted to
emotionally satisfy their ego. The factual narrative was that the Agsur encounter
culminated centuries of hostility between Nadvaras and Virashaivas and they jointly settled
for peace and, more importantly, both sides decided to respect each others beliefs in a good
faith. As a mark of mutual gratitude, Nadavaras built the Shiva Temple and erected a large
Shiva Linga, which is the iconic representation of god Shiva resembling a concave-down or
inverted paraboloid, in Kalgod and in return a Virashiava Jangama (Yogi) lived as the
devotee of the Venkataramana Temple, Ankola within the temple premises. The Yogi
resided in a small quarter with in the sanctuary as helper to the Chitpawan Brahmin priest

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of the temple. He fell in love with a local Maratha woman and raised a family under the
Vaishnava faith.

The Nadavaras of Uttara Kannada are a homogeneous mix of Kalachuri and Rashrakuta
sects. Subtle differences in religious rituals among Nadavara villages may be suggestive of
their backgrounds; certain Nadavara villages worship the shrines linked to Bijala whereas
some others worship the temple of Kengala Parameshwari and revere shrines of Shantala.
The Nadavaras currently living in Hanehalli (Bankikodla) and Agargon possibly came from
Kuchinad region. The villages, Gerusoppa, Hanehalli (near Gersoppa), Halsanhalli and
Mensi came under the Kuchinad region. In the past Nadavaras from these villages visited
temples in the Kuchinad. It is more than likely that Nadavaras living in Kuchinad during
the regime of Chennabhairadevi were her soldiers. Jain monks are invited to perform
concerted religious ceremonies and weddings but lately, the frequency of the Jain rituals
and participation of monks are declining. For the villages around Torke, Anant Chaturdashi
was an important festival and on that day, they visited Kengala Parameshwari Temple. On
the other hand, fasting on Ashad Ekadeshi and Kartika was important to Nadavaras in
Bhavikeri. Krishnashtami was a big event for the Nadavaras of Bole.

The Kalachuri clan during medieval ages migrated from Rajputana to distant corners of
India with the aspiration of territorial conquest. The Southern Kalachuri clan was related to
the Northern Kalachuris of Malwa. Before moving to Kalyan in Karnataka, the Southern
Kalachuris lived in Mangalweda, Maharashtra. They spoke Maharashtri, a medieval
language similar to Marathi. The historians of Maharashtra believed that both the Northern
and Southern Kalachuris were branches of the same stalk that originated in Maharashtra.
Kalachuris after brief staging in Kalyan lost to Chalukyas and escaped to South Konkan. In
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Kalachuri chiefs, also known as Salwas controlled
south Konkan. The archeological imprints of Jainism found near Adlur, Ankola, Haduvalli
and Gersappa in Uttara Kannada are testimonial for the Kalachuri control of South Konkan
in medieval ages. Around 1340s the Kalachuri rulers of South Konkan willingly merged
with Vijayanagara. Thus far there is no noteworthy connection drawn between the
Southern Kalachuris and the Salwas of Vijayanagara. The history of the Jain Nadavara clan
may help to discover the link between two South Indian Jain dynasties, Kalachuri of
Kalyan, and Salwa of Vijayanagara.

March of Patriots

Who is God Bobru in Bobruvada?

Two hypotheses are put forward to explain the origin of Bobru of Bobruvada.

Bobru statue of Bobruvada was built in the late sixteenth century by the Salvas of Uttara
Kannada. Bobru is a local tribal name for the phantom of the nature, Yaksha. According to
Hindu and Jain religions Yaksha is extra-terrestrial spirit who controls calamities caused by the
nature. Salvas of Gerusoppa kingdom believed that Yaksha took care of their ships in the stormy
seas of Mansoon. Bobru of Haigunda, Honavara (Right) is believed to be the protector of the
people living in the Haigunda island. Prof. N.R Naik mentions about Bobru or Bobriya of
Haigunda in his book on Gamokkalu, a tribe living in Uttara Kannda. Supposedly
Chennabharadevi instituted many Babru statues in all ports from Sadashivgad to Bhatkal. At
present only Babru of Haigunda is existing. The Yaksha (Bobru) of Bobruvada, a priceless
historical statue was destroyed recently after 2000 AD and was replaced by an anonymous statue
(Left). The original Babru statue was carved of black granite. The old Bobru statue of Bobruvada
resembled the statue in Haigunda.

The other hypothesis is that the Bobra statue of Bobravada was an ancient historical statue which
was recently replaced by a modern statue (left). In the sixteenth century the Muslim traders of
Goa migrated to Baithkol, Ankola and Honavara in Uttara Kannada to escape the conversion to
Christianity. In Ankola the Muslim refugees settled around the harbor section and sought
employment in the shipping industry. The colony of the Muslim settlement near the port was
named Baburwada and the Ankola port was called Bundar. In the colloquial language the local
people pronounced Babruwada and Bandra respectively. There are villages in Maharashtra near
Miraj and Sindh (Pakistan) near Khairpur called Baburwada (In Persian Babar means tiger and
Wada means colony). Centuries later the inexplicable large statue was named Babru after the
village Babruvada.

March of Patriots

Kanabera Shrine was founded by the Kalachuris of Adlur in the 12th

century. It was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century after the
Nadavara settlement in Bhanikeri