Kodagu district
Coorg district, Kodava Naad (Kodava language)
Clockwise from top-left: Tadiandamol, Tibetian Golden Temple, Resort view from Tadiandamol , Kumara Parvatha, Harangi Elephant Camp & Tree Park and Abbey Falls
Land of Kodava Language, The Land of Warriors, Coffee Cup of India
Location in Karnataka
Location in Karnataka
Coordinates: 12°25′15″N 75°44′23″E / 12.4208°N 75.7397°E / 12.4208; 75.7397
Country India
State Karnataka
Haleri Dynastyearly 17th century
Coorg ProvinceMay 1834
Coorg StateAugust 15, 1947
Kodagu districtNovember 1, 1956
TalukasMadikeri, Virajpet, Somwarpet, Ponnampet, Kushalanagar
 • Deputy CommissionerVenkat Raja
 • MPPratap Simha
 • MLA
  • A.S.Ponnanna (Virajpet)
  • Dr. Mantar Gowda (Madikeri)
 • Total4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi)
 • Rank26th (31 districts)
(Avg. of 5 taluks)
984 m (3,228 ft)
 • Total554,519
 • Rank31st (31 districts)
 • Density140/km2 (350/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Kodava, Kodagaru, Coorgi
 • OfficialKannada Kodava [3]
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
571201 (Madikeri)
Telephone code
  • + 91 (0) 8272 (Madikeri)
  • +91 (0) 8274 (Virajpet)
  • + 91 (0) 8276 (Somwarpet)
Vehicle registrationKA-12
Lok SabhaMysore Lok Sabha constituency
Karnataka Legislative Assembly constituencyMadikeri, Virajpet
ClimateTropical Wet (Köppen)
Precipitation2,725.5 millimetres (107.30 in)
Avg. summer temperature28.6 °C (83.5 °F)
Avg. winter temperature14.2 °C (57.6 °F)

Kodagu district (Kodava: [koɖɐɡɨ]) (also known by its former name Coorg) is an administrative district in the Karnataka state of India. Before 1956, it was an administratively separate Coorg State,[4] at which point it was merged into an enlarged Mysore State.[5]


Kodagu is located on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. It has a geographical area of 4,102 km2 (1,584 sq mi).[6]


Kodagu is known for its dense forest cover and the exotic flora and fauna found here. It has three wildlife sanctuaries; Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Talakaveri Wildlife Sanctuary and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, one National Park; the Nagarahole National Park and the only private sanctuary of India; the SAI Sanctuary.

Kodagu is home for species endemic to the Western Ghats. It has large Tiger and Elephant population as well. As per the elephant census of 2023, Kodagu with 1,013 elephants, had nearly one-sixth of total elephant population in Karnataka, second only to Chamarajanagar.


Economy of Kodagu is dependent on agriculture. Major crops grown here are Paddy,[7][8] Coffee, Rubber, Pepper, Cardamom, Coorg Oranges and Honey production.[9] Tea, Ginger and Cocoa are also grown in smaller quantities.[10]

Coffee and pepper production

Kodagu is the largest Coffee and Pepper producing district in India. Karnataka produces nearly 70% of the total Coffee production in India, out of which 33% is contributed by Kodagu district alone.[11] Also Kodagu produces nearly a quarter of India's Black Pepper.[12][13]


Two members of the legislative assembly are elected from Kodagu to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, one each from the Madikeri and Virajpet. Dr. Mantar Gowda represents the Madikeri constituency while A.S Ponnanna represents the Virajpet constituency; they are from the Indian National Congress. Kodagu, formerly part of the Kodagu-Dakshina Kannada (Mangalore) constituency, is now part of the Mysore Lok Sabha parliamentary constituency. The current MP for this constituency is Shri Pratap Simha, from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Codava National Council and Kodava Rashtriya Samiti are campaigning for autonomy to Kodagu district which would have made Coorg more prosperous and independent.[14][15]


Main articles: History of Kodagu, Haleri Kingdom, Captivity of Kodavas at Seringapatam, Coorg War, and Coorg State

Map of South Indian states prior to the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. Kodagu (then called Coorg) is in dark green.

The Kodavas were the earliest inhabitants and agriculturists in Kodagu, having lived there for centuries. Kodavas being a warrior community as well, they carried arms during times of war and had their own chieftains.[16]

The earliest mention about Coorg can be seen in the works those date back to Sangam period (300 BCE - 300 CE). The Ezhimala dynasty had jurisdiction over two Nadus - The coastal Poozhinadu and the hilly eastern Karkanadu.[17] According to the works of Sangam literature, Poozhinadu consisted much of the coastal belt between Mangalore and Kozhikode.[18] Karkanadu consisted of Wayanad-Gudalur hilly region with parts of Kodagu (Coorg).[19]

The Haleri dynasty, an offshoot of the Keladi Nayakas, ruled Kodagu between 1600 and 1834. Later the British ruled Kodagu from 1834, after the Coorg War, until India's independence in 1947. A separate state (called Coorg State) until then, in 1956 Kodagu was merged with the Mysore State (now Karnataka).[20][21][22]

Coorg in British India

In 1834, the East India Company annexed Kodagu into British India, after deposing Chikka Virarajendra of the Kodagu kingdom, as 'Coorg'.[23] British rule led to the establishment of educational institutions, introduction of scientific coffee cultivation, better administration and improvement of the economy.[24][25][26] This reference notwithstanding - we should remember that the colonial rule by the British in India was about exploitation of resources and Kodagu provided a lot of scope for economic benefits to a colonising empire.


Kodavas, 1875, from: "The people of India: A series of photographic illustrations..." (New York Public Library).
Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2011 census of India, Kodagu has a population of 554,519,[2] roughly equal to the Solomon Islands[28] or the US state of Wyoming.[29] This ranks it 539 out of 640 districts in India in terms of population.[2] The district has a population density of 135 inhabitants per square kilometre (350/sq mi).[2] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 1.13%.[2] Kodagu has a sex ratio of 1019 females for every 1000 males,[citation needed] and a literacy rate of 82.52%. 14.61% of the population lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 13.27% and 10.47% of the population respectively.[2]

Kodava wedding


Religions in Kodagu district (2011)[30]
Religion Percent
Other or not stated

Hindus are the vast majority. They include the Kodava tribe, other Kodava language speakers, Arebhashe Gowdas, Brahmins, most Yeravas and Kurubas. A huge minority of Muslims dot the Coorg district, especially the towns of Kushalnagar, Virajpet and Mercara. A sizeable of them are the Nawayaths who shifted in the eighties from Bhatkal and Murdeshwar in order to pursue coffee & arecanut plantations and textile business. The numerous mosque dotting the landscape is the testimony of Muslim presence in the district.

A small number of Mangalorean Catholics are also found in Coorg.[quantify] They are mostly descended from those Konkani Catholics who fled the roundup and, later, captivity by Tippu Sultan. These immigrants were welcomed by Raja Veerarajendra (himself a former captive of Tippu Sultan, having escaped six years of captivity in 1788) who realising their usefulness and expertise as agriculturists, gave them lands and tax breaks and built a church for them.[31]


Languages of Kodagu district (2011)[32]

  Kannada (30.91%)
  Malayalam (20.83%)
  Kodava (14.86%)
  Tulu (8.92%)
  Are (5.81%)
  Yerava (4.66%)
  Tamil (4.23%)
  Urdu (2.95%)
  Kurumba (1.74%)
  Telugu (1.55%)
  Konkani (1.16%)
  Others (2.38%)

At the time of the 2011 census, 30.91% of the population spoke Kannada, 20.83% Malayalam, 14.86% Kodava, 8.92% Tulu, 5.81% Are, 4.66% Yerava, 4.23% Tamil, 2.95% Urdu, 1.74% Kurumba, 1.55% Telugu and 1.16% Konkani as their first language.[32]

Are Bhashe, a dialect of Kannada, Tulu and Kodava language are native to Kodagu district. Kodava Language uses the Official Script Invented by Dr IM Muthanna in 1970.[33][34]

Kodava tribe and other Kodava language speakers

Main article: Kodava people

Kodava folk singers

According to Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy (Karnataka's Kodava Literary Academy), apart from Kodavas, and their related groups, the Amma Kodavas, the Kodava Peggade (Kodagu Heggade) and the Kodava Maaple (Kodava Muslims), 18 other smaller-numbered ethnic groups speak Kodava Takk in and outside the district including the Iri (Airi, or the carpenters and the village smiths), the Koyava, the Banna, the Kodagu Madivala (washermen), the Kodagu Hajama (barber, also called Nainda), the Kembatti Poleya (household servants and labourers) and the Meda (basket and mat weavers and drummers).[35]

Among other Kodava speaking communities are: the Heggades, cultivators from shimogga; the Kodava Nair, cultivators from Kerala State; the Ayiri, who constitute the artisan caste; the Medas, who are basket and mat-weavers and act as drummers at feasts; the Binepatta, originally wandering musicians from Malabar, now farmers; and the Kavadi, cultivators settled in Yedenalknad (Virajpet). All these groups speak the Kodava language and conform generally to Kodava customs and dress.[34]

Kodagu Aarebashe Gowda

Main article: Kodagu Gowda

Less frequent are Tulu speakers Billavas, Mogaveeras, Bunts, Goud Saraswat Brahmins.[35]

The Arebhashe gowdas,[36] or Kodagu Gowdas, and Tulu Gowdas, are an ethnic group of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. They live in Sulya (in Dakshina Kannada) and in parts of Somwarpet, Kushalanagar, Bhagamandala and Madikeri. They speak a language known as Arebhashe a dialect of Kannada. Guddemane Appaiah Gowda along with many other freedom fighters from different communities revolted against the British in an armed struggle which covered entire Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada. This was one of the earliest freedom movements against the British[37] called "Amara Sulliada Swantantrya Sangraama"[38] (Amara Sulya Dhange[37] formally called the 'Coorg Rebellion' by the British) started in 1837.[39][40][41][42]


Kaveri River in Kushalnagara
Tibetan Buddhist Golden temple, in Bylakuppe near Kushalanagar

Kodagu is rated as one of the top hill station destinations in India. Some of the most popular tourist attractions in Kodagu include Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Nisargadhama, Abbey Falls, Dubare, Nagarahole National Park, Iruppu Falls, and the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple.[43]

Notable people

Main article: List of Kodavas

Armed Forces[edit]




Civil Services[edit]




See also


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Further reading