Know About Ancient BARKUR

Posted/Pic by: P.Archibald Furtado, Muscat, 20th July 2002
Place: Barkur Posted Date : 16/09/2012

Dear Readers,

This write-up is prepared on the basis of some clues and various articles, we read and remember …, of course lot of links missing…, many of you maybe knowing better part of  history /  possessing records, of Barkur…, it is in the general interest, we appeal you, to send the same to this Barkur  web-site…

On behalf of Barkur web-site,



One may raise his eyebrows, if he realise this fact  -  ‘Barkur is the oldest capital city and commercial centre of Kanara, developed much before the modern - Mangalore,  Udupi,  Kundapur, Manipal, Karkal etc’!!

Historians believe it was only, during the reign of ‘Vijayanagara’ rule, the huge area coming under Alupas the local kings, ruling from Barkur throne, the capital city, divided the kingdom into two, (for administrative and political reasons) i.e. Barakuru rajya and Maganooru rajya somewhere in 14h Century only.

[Those who are following weekly articles in Udayavani, Kannada daily, can refer columns by Manohar Prasad, Dr.K.V.Ramesh etc.]
Inscriptions and present day archaeological remains prove that the historic town Barkur was divided into TEN keris. They are as follows:
Kote keri, Eradu keri, Muru or Moodu keri, Manigara keri, Chauli keri, Patisala keri, Bhandara Keri, Hosa or Hosala keri, Balegara keri and Rangana keri
Earliest proof to this effect can be seen in Hosala, Durga temple, in an undated epigraph, according to Historian Bhaskara Saletore, who assigned this to 9th Century!
[In other words, it looks the city of Barkur was developed, much before 9th Century and the main port of the west, as there were mention of this place in different but sounding near to - as Bar-thulami-ooru, Barthu-luru, Barakka-nooru, Baraha-kanya-pura, Barseluru, Barakooru etc etc in various olden time records of Indian origin as well as abroad by Roman, Egyptian, Afghan, Kutch and Arabian historical preserves / achieves.]

It also had well organised Municipal Local Govt. well comparable to ancient Greek self-governance consisting of  ‘Haleyavaru’ and ‘Settikararu’ - the former is the group of elderly citizens (say councillors of the town) of ten keries and the latter comprising elected sixteen nobles or heads of trade guilds. It also looks like that there was a general assembly comprising all elders or yajamanaru of each family.

Each keri had a temple, with a special deity of worship [for example, Vinayaka Deva as the presiding god of Chauli Keri, God Markandeshwara of Kote Keri, Lord Somanatha was woshipped in Moodu Keri, Nagara-Matha, Bhandarakeri used to honour deity Keshava] - and as many as twelve huge tanks to provide water for drinking, as well as irrigation. Mention may be made of – Arasi, Chauli, Belthi,  Kote,  Masi, Taware, Moodu kere etc. still are in use.

Citizens seem to believe that certain deities - god and goddesses - watched over them, directed daily life. Each family might have had, household deity (kuladeva) and the Keri used to honour one or more deities with offerings and ceremonies as protectors of the community and held ‘annual festivals’ in their honour.

Further each keri; assigned with specialised ‘profession, trade or occupation’, for instance the mudu keri people had the monopoly of business of saris and fabrics.

Because of certain drawbacks and prevailing conditions, the history of ancient Barkur didn’t got focussed, the way it should have been…

Reasons are many and we feel, to a certain extent, non-popularity of ‘Tulu language’ in this place, once capital of ‘Tulu-nadu’, negligence or lack of knowledge of important historical monuments to general public, non availability of copies of research documents on Barkur, to those keen to learn, of known historians like Dr. P.Gururaja Bhat, Dr.Vasantha Shetty, and others.  (Except that of formers in Milagres College, Kallianpur and the latter in SMS College, Brahmmavar, can be referred for - on the spot reference purpose only) and to a certain extent the ‘aliya Santana kattu’, followed by Bunts society, as male members of these families migrating to wife’s places, to inherit the property, may be few among many causes, we feel, contributed to this sorry state of affairs of wholesome negligence.!!

Now Barkur need a Noel to write a novel ‘forgotten story’. (The way he written on Vijayanagara Empire of Hampi, which inculcated curiosity and great interest among Europeans in the 18th / 19th Century.) Let us hope the History Department of Govt. First Grade College, Barkur, take interest to document this rich legacy of Barkur in days / years to come.

Particularly for us Catholics, what we learned and heard in the schools, and read in the newspapers etc. is / was the only source of knowledge. It needs thorough knowledge of inscriptions, Hindu and Jain religion, art, folk stories, Tulu pad-danas  - as the Temples, Basadis, or may some households may be harbouring some most important source of proofs, preserved valuable age-old hand written records which help to further analyse and reach to logical conclusions.

‘Barkur Web-site Team’ support anyone coming forward and extend all sorts of co-operation, if need be monetary support too.

Whenever, we asked to our elderly citizens, we got few tips and few pieces of ideas, and we herein tried to link them. Further the author of this article is neither a history scholar nor a research student, and opinions tabled here are purely personal, and extracted from different reference texts, and readers are welcome with their version to enlighten us as well as visitors of this web site.

Name of the Keri     Deity of Worship                Name of the Tank

Kote keri                     God  Markandeshwara        Kote kere

Eradu Keri

Muru Keri (mudu)           Somanatha (Somayya)     Mudu Kere

Manigara Keri                  Siddeshwara

Chauli Keri (Chaliva)      Vinayaka Deva                  Chauli Kere

Patisala Keri                    Gopinatha Deva /

Bhandara Keri                   Nagara-Matha Keshawa

Hosa Keri ( Hosala )         Durga Devi                        Belthi Kere                                         

Balegara Keri
Rangana Keri                                                                



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