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Tulu Nadu

Tulu Nadu ( ತುಳು ನಾಡು)
—  region  —
Location of Tulu Nadu (തുളുനാട് , ತುಳು ನಾಡು)
in Karnataka, Kerala
Coordinates 13°00′N 75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40
Country  India
State Karnataka, Kerala
District(s) Dakshina Kannada , Udupi and Kasaragod
District(s) 3
Largest city Mangalore
3957,071[1] (2001)
356.1 /km2 (922 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area 9,425.01 km2 (3,639 sq mi)[2][3]

Tulu Nadu (Tulu: ತುಳುನಾಡು), is the Tulu speaking region of Karnataka and Kerala, India. It consists of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts and the northern parts of the Kasaragod district of Kerala up to the river Chandragiri. Tulu Nadu is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Uttara Kannada to the north, Shivamogga to the north-east, Chikkamagaluru to the east, Kodagu and Hassan to the south-east and Kerala to the south. Tulu is the primary spoken language in the region, but other languages like Konkani, Kannada, and Beary are also spoken. Tulu Nadu spans an area of 8,441 km2 (3,259 sq mi), roughly 4.4% of the total geographical area of Karnataka. The population of this region was 3,005,897 in 2001.[1] Mangalore and Udupi are the chief cities in Tulu Nadu.



Historically, Tulu Nadu included the two separate lands of Haiva and Tuluva. The Ballal Kings of Sullia had ruled this area around 1100 years back. The Bunt/ Nair, Brahmin migration to Tulunadu might have happened during the lifetime of the Kadamba king Mayuravarma at 345 AD. Madhvacharya in the 13th century built the eight monasteries (Matha) in Udupi.

During the rule of Vijayanagara Tulu nadu was administered in two parts – Mangaluru Rajya and Barakuru Rajya. Tulunad was the original homeland of the dynasty that founded the Vijayanagar Empire based in eastern Karnataka. Tulu Nadu was governed by feudatories of the Vijayanagara Empire until the 17th century. The longest reigning dynasty of Tulu Nadu was the Alupas. They were the feudatories of the prominent dynasties of Karnataka. The Kadamba dynasty of Banavasi was the earliest, under which the Alupas flourished. Later the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, Chalukyas of Badami, Chalukyas of Kalyani, Hoysalas of Durasamudra and Rayas of Vijayanagara were the overlords. The Alupas, however, were independent and their subordination was nominal at best. They ruled until the Vijayanagara kings totally dominated the Tulu Nadu from 14th to the 17th centuries. The region became extremely prosperous during Vijayanagara period with Barkur and Mangalore gaining importance. After the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Keladi Nayakas of Ikkeri controlled much of Tulu Nadu.

A typical red tile-roofed house in Tulu Nadu

Over the following many centuries, more ethnic groups migrated to the area. Konkanis and Goud Saraswat Brahmins arrived by sea, as Mangalore was a major port that served not only the Portuguese but also the Arabs for maritime trades. Jains were already a prominent group and even today are uniquely preserved in Tulu Nadu. Though small in number, the Jains left behind indelible reminders of their glory with temples (bastis) in (Moodabidri) and monolithic statues of Bahubali, the gomateshwara, in Karkala, Venoor and Dharmasthala. In the 16th century there was a large influx of Catholics to Tulu Nadu from Goa. They built excellent educational institutes and contributed to the development of education in the region. The Muslim community of Tulu Nadu were basically Arab traders who married local women and settled there. Some of them speak the Beary language, which is a mix of Tulu and Malayalam and others speak Urdu.

Under Portugal, the region was called the Missao do Sul (Mission of the South).In the 18th, it was conquered by Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore. After the British defeated Haidar's successor Tipu Sultan in 1799, the region was attached to the Madras Presidency before being reverted to the state of Mysore in the aftermath of independence. Mysore has since been renamed Karnataka. At the end of 18th century, Haider Ali and Tippu Sultan controlled the region. Mangalore played a prominent role in Tippu’s battles with the British. The British gained full control in 1801, after the defeat of Tippu in 1799. The British ruled the region with Madras (now Chennai) as its headquarters. Tipu Sultan conquered the region and the British conquered it from him. Under the British, the region was organized as the Districts of North Canara and South Canara.

When the states were reorganised on linguistic basis in the 1956, Tulu Nadu (South Canara) which was earlier part of Madras Presidency & North Canara which was part of Bombay Presidency became part of the newly formed Mysore state which was later renamed as Karnataka. Kasargod became part of the newly formed Kerala state.


Tulu Nadu village scene

Tulu Nadu lies along the Malabar Coast, at 13°00′N 75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40Coordinates: 13°00′N 75°24′E / 13.00°N 75.40°E / 13.00; 75.40 [4] and shares a number of geographic, culinary, and social traits with the neighbouring Konkan and Kerala regions. Like them, Tulu Nadu is bounded on the west by the Arabian Sea and on the east by the Western Ghats. check out Tulu NetWork WTN ""


Yakshagana artist

The Yakshagana is a night-long dance and drama performance practiced in Tulu Nadu with great fanfare.[5][6] Piliyesa is a unique form of folk dance in the region fascinating the young and the old alike, which is performed during Marnemi (as Dussara is called in Tulu) and Krishna Janmashtami.[7] Karadi Vesha (Bear Dance) is one more popular dance performed during Dasara in Tulu Nadu.[8] Bhuta Kola or spirit worship, which is usually done at night is practised here. Kambala or buffalo race is conducted in water filled paddy fields. Korikatta (Cockfight) is another favourite sport for the people. Nagaradhane or Snake worship is practised in the Tulu Nadu according to the popular belief of the Naga Devatha to go underground and guard the species on the top.[9]

Tulu is a Dravidian language of India with over three million speakers[10]. Most of its speakers are native to the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the west of the state of Karnataka and Kasargod district of northern Kerala. Besides Tulu, Kannada (by virtue of it being the state language) and Konkani are also widely spoken in the area. Also, a sizeable population of Muslims, Bearys, speak Beary bashe an offshoot of Malayalam. The Tulu speakers are known as Tuluvas. The Tulu script, also known as the Tigalari script, bears partial similarity to the Malayalam script.

A script called Tulu is used in Tulunadu for centuries.[citation needed] All Tulu classics discovered recently are in Tulu script, and som in other scripts. This Tulu script was being used by Brahmins.[citation needed] Till recently they were using it for writing Mantras, for accounts etc.. (This has been proved in detail by Vidwan P V Puninchathaya in 'Tulu -Nadu-Nudi'). Tulu Nadu cuisine is popular across South India, mostly due to udupi restaurants, which are primarily vegetarian. The Tulu language was also once spoken in Uttara Kannada[citation needed], which for this reason is sometimes considered part of Tulu Nadu as well[citation needed].


The majority of the people in Tulunad belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. Earlier the Tuluvas ruled over a large empire known as Vijayanagar Empire. However with the loss of empire, the Tulu peoples have concentrated in the costal areas. The next largest group are the Konkanis who migrated here from Goa, due to persecution by the Portuguese. Other people who settled here include Kannadigas, Bearys and Malayalis.


Tulu Nadu was once primarily dependent on agriculture and fishing. The main crops grown were rice, bengal gram, horse gram, vegetables and fruits. Plantation crops like coconut, areca nut, cocoa, cashew nut, and pepper are also grown. In the early 20th century, the red clay roof tile industry, cashew nut processing, and the banking industry grew substantially. Tulu Nadu is called "the cradle of Indian banking." Five major banks of India (Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Vijaya Bank and Karnataka Bank) have their origins here. In the early part of the 21st century the area has been transforming itself into a hub of the information technology and medical services industries. This is due to the excellent educational facilities and hospitals available in Tulu Nadu, covering all fields, and the abundance of skilled workers. There has been large-scale decline in agriculture and related industries due to the non-availability of labour and preference for white-collar jobs. Agricultural land is being converted to commercial and real estate properties, and environmental pollution is increasing drastically due to large-scale deforestation and increase in automobile use. A public sector petroleum refinery (MRPL) was established in the 1990s. Some chemical plants (e.g., fertilizers and pesticides) have been established. Tulu Nadu contributes the second highest revenue to Karnataka state after the city of Bangalore. This region has an international airport at Mangalore which is well connected to the rest of India and middle eastern countries. New Mangalore port (NMPT) is one of the major port of India is located at Panambur, Mangalore.

Contribution of people from Tulu Nadu

Four nationalised banks and also a leading private sector bank were started by eminent personalities of Tulu Nadu. Hence undivided Dakshina Kannada district is known as "Cradle of Indian Banking". Dr. Shivaram Karanth whom people of Karnataka call with great love and affection as "kadala theerada bhargava"(ಕಡಲ ತೀರದ ಭಾರ್ಗವ) brought laurels to the language of soil by getting Jnanapeetha Award and also this great personality worked in all fields of society for its overall developement. People from Tulunadu have established various hospitals, educational institutions for the well being of society and thus we can see and experience the service rendered to the welfare of people by the Manipal and SDM (sree dharmasthala manjunatha) & (narayana nethralaya and narayana hrudayalaya) hospitals. People of Tulunadu are considered to be progressive and intellectually strong having a good foresight for the overall progress of society.

Demand for a separate Tulu Nadu state

There is a demand to rename Mangalore International Airport as Tulu Nadu International Airport


The Tuluvas of Southern India are a separate culture from the Kannadiggas within India. From India's independence and the following reorganization of states, the Tuluvas had been demanding official language status for Tulu and a separate state for themselves. Though a bit subdued in between, this demand has grown stronger in recent years. Several organizations like the Tulu Rajya Horata Samiti have taken up the cause of the Tuluvas and frequent meetings and demonstrations are held across towns in Tulunadu (like Mangalore, Udupi etc) to voice their demands.[12][13]

Famous individuals from Tulu Nadu

See also


  1. ^ a b "Census GIS India". Census of India. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Tourism in DK District". National Informatics Centre, Karnataka State Unit. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  3. ^ "Tour to Udupi". Tourism of India. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  4. ^ Patsy Lozupone, Bruce M. Beehler, Sidney Dillon Ripley.(2004).Ornithological gazetteer of the Indian subcontinent, p. 82.Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International. ISBN 1881173852.
  5. ^ "Yakshagana". SZCC, Tamil Nadu.. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  6. ^ Plunkett, Richard (2001). South India. Lonely Planet. p. 53. ISBN 1864501618.,M1. 
  7. ^ "Human `tigers' face threat to health". Times of India. 2001-10-26. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  8. ^ Stephen D'Souza. "What's in a Name?". Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  9. ^ "Nagarapanchami Naadige Doddadu". Mangalorean.Com. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]



  • "History of Travancore from the Earliest Times" by P. Shungoonni Menon.
  • "Studies in Tuluva history and culture: From the pre-historic times upto [sic] the modern (1975)" by Dr. P. Gururaja Bhat

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