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Indian Test Wicketkeeper batsman Budhi Sagar Kunderan
Regions with significant populations

Other regions:

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Related ethnic groups

Ambiga,Bestha,Bovi,Gangamatha, Hariakanthra, Kharvi, Kabbaliga(Koli),Mukkuvan, Sapaliga

Mogaveeras are the major fishing community in coastal Karnataka, India. They form one of the largest communities in the Tulu ethnic group. The word 'Mogaveera' is a modernised version of the old word 'Mogeyar'.

They dominate the fishing and marine business in coastal Karnataka. Native to the district of Kasaragod in North Kerala and the districts of South Canara and Udupi in Karnataka, many have migrated to Mumbai, Bangalore and other parts of India and beyond. Mogaveeras were the first people from South Canara/Udupi to visit Bombay and the coasts of Gujarat & Saurastra in the north and Colombo in the South.[1] The Mogaveera youth are traditionally known for bravery. The naval force of the famed Queen Abbakka of Ullal consisted of brave Mogaveera youth. With the support of the strong navy she could mount a valiant attack against invading Portuguese during the sixteenth century.



The Mogaveeras (also spelt Mogavira) represent the native fishing community of the Karavali Karnataka. In the Udupi area they are also known as Marakalas. To the south of Ullal they are known as Bovis. In the southern Karavali from Brahmavara southward they speak Tulu and in the north they speak Kannada or Konkani towards Karwar. Edgar Thurston describes them as Mogers, the Tulu speaking fishermen of South Canara reported that ‘these fishermen are called Mogeyar and are a caste of Tuluva origin.[2]

The Mogeyar are boatmen, fishermen, porters and palanquin bearers … Some Mogaveers are… taken to agriculture, oil pressing and playing on musical instruments.’ “The common caste title for Mogaveers in Udupi region is 'Marakala' or 'Marakaleru'. In Kundapura taluk, the title ‘Naicker’ is preferred.” [3]

In Uttara Kannada mostly Kannada or Konkani speaking fisher-folk are known as Harikantra, Kharvi and Bovi. In the interior Karnataka, they are Kannada speaking fisher-folks known variously as Ganga-mathastha, Besta, Ambiga or Koli. In Kerala fishing community is known as Mukkuvar. In Andhra fishing communities are known as Agnikula-kshatriya, Vadabalija, Suryavamsi, and Pallekaru etc. Fishing communities living in different areas may not be related owing to geographic and ethnologic separations.


They are known for community living, where disputes are settled within the community by a group of elders. The group leader is known as 'gurikara'.As all other Tuluvas, Mogaveeras also follow Aliya Kattu, where inheritance of from Uncle to Nephew.[4]

Mogaveeras live in community fishing settlements, called "Pattanas". The village Bhajana Mandali forms the centre of their social life.Bobbariya is one of the popular spirits traditionally worshipped by the Mogaveeras.

Mogaveera Pattana

The 150 km long coastline of undivided Dakshina Kannada district is home to hundreds of fishing villages. These villages have commonly come to be known as 'Mogaveera Pattana'. The Mogaveera community traditionally lives in coastal habitations called ‘Mogaveera Pattana'(=town). These Pattanas numbering about two hundred are located in the coastal talukas of Dakshina kannadsa viz. Kundapur, Udupi and Mangalore and also Kasargod taluka, now a part of Kerala State. A visit to these pattanas in their picturesque surrounding is delightful to the eyes. The infinite expanse of the Arabian sea with numerous fishing boats afloat, countless waves rising , falling and breaking into sprays, rows and rows of coconut palms waving with the wind leaves the visitor spell bound! It is in this enrapturing surroundings that the Mogaveeras struggle for living defying the waves and often encountering raging storms and tidal waves.

The self governed fishery townships or Pattana may be an ancient feature of common to Dravida culture, since even the coasts of Tamilnadu have similar historically old habitations called Pattanas.[5]Ibn Battuta, a traveler from Morocco mentions, alighting at a port called Pattana, for some time, while returning from Honavar, along the west coast of India. Ibn Battuta possibly was referring to Bokkapattna, the fishing village and port in Mangalore during the Vijayanagara regime of 14th Century.


The fishing communities at Pattana level are well organized into ‘Grama-sabha’ (village council) with a group leader called ‘Gurikara’. The Gurikara was a hereditary leader and traditionally wore a steel or gold bangle around his wrist and a single ring on his ear, as insignia of the leadership. The role and authority of Gurikaras is diminishing with rise of democratically elected bodies. The group leader of a fishing team is called ‘Tandela’. Under the masthead of Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahasabha (established in 1923), there are 146 Gramasabhas that have been federated into ten Samyukta sabha-s.the pattanas were affiliated to sanyukta pattanas or the union of villages known as "nalku pattana" "elu pattana"and "hadninaru pattana" and these in turn were 325 gramasabhas in three hobalis in dakshina kannada known as "mangalore hobali" "barkur hobali" and "bagwadi hobali"with an apex body known as "sarva hobali mahasabha"


Day to day affairs of the village were looked after by village headmen or Gurikaras until about 1950, when elected committees were instituted in most of the villages. These representative bodies regulated fishing, social and religious activities of the Mogaveera community. In addition, all civil disputes between members of the community were settled by the committee. A well defined system allowed submitting written statements both by the plaintiff and the defendant and producing witnesses in support of their respective claims. The head-man or President of the committee extensively questioned the litigants and the witnesses to bring out the truth.[6]

The statements are made in a place of worship where the meetings generally took place. If the judgment is not considered acceptable, the litigants are allowed to go in appeal to the higher forums such as the Sanyukta Pattanas, Hobali or the Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha. In the olden days decision arrived at the Mogaveera Kula Maha Sthree Amma Temple, at Bennekuduru, Barkur was considered final as it was the ultimate seat of justice. Mogaveera kulaguru or the High Priest Known as "Mangala Poojarya" had his head- quarters here.


Some members of the Mogaveera community have adopted to other occupations during the evolutionary history and these have been recognized as sub-communities of the Mogaveera group.

Sapaliga or Sapalya sub-community represents those adopted to musical professions connected with temple culture in Tulunadu. Ganiga sub-community represents those resorted to the profession of extracting (coconut)oil.

Bovi represents those who adopted to the menial profession of carrying palanquins in the historical period.

Oral traditions describe that the early Tuluvas could be found as navigators on all the seven seas (‘Sapta Sagaras’) or literally all over the world. The traditional marine fishing is a valiant profession that demands energy, skill, perseverance and above all boldness. In the earlier days when shipping technology were in nascent stage, marine fishing on country boats entailed exceptional bravery. The adversities of the profession made Mogaveera community a well knit and organized society that respected brotherhood and community feelings.

Fish in Indus seals

It appears that a cult of Fish God worship existed during the Indus valley civilization. Seals recovered from the excavation of Indus valley (3000-1900 BC) contain pictograms of fish that have been variously explained. Asko Parpola proposed that these pictograms possibly represent the cult of Fish God. Later in the history (ca.500 BC) the Fish-God (Matsya) was adopted as the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Apart from the theological implications, the fish pictograms point to the familiarity of the fish in the Indus society. Fish catching as well as consumption of fish as a food appears to have been in vogue during the Indus period.

Migration of Tulu tribes

Presence of Tulu words in Rigveda point to the existence of Tulu tribes in Pirak region of Northwestern Indian subcontinent during ca.1900-1500 BC. Following adverse environmental conditions, ca. 800 BC, Tulu tribes along with many others migrated into Indian mainland. The Moolasthana concept originated or prevailed in the NW Indian subcontinent, as evidenced by existence of places like Multan (mool-taan >.Moolasthana).

Daasha Raja

During the composition of Mahabharata, ca.500BC, fisher-folks were conspicuous by their presence. The writer-composer of Mahabharata, Veda Vyasa was the grandson of Daasha Raja, a fisherman who ferried people across the River Yamuna. (The surname ‘Dasa’ still exists among some of the Tulu Mogaveera.

Early Historical Period


Mogaveeras follow the Moolasthana system of Tulu lineages (Bari system). The origin of Moolasthana notion dates back to some ca.700-600 BC or earlier corresponding with the migration of Tulu tribes in the Pirak region of NW Indian subcontinent.The initial places of settlements became their new Moolasthanas in Karavali. Thus many of the surnames of Mogaveeras refer to location of their initial settlements (Moolasthanas) like Bangera (<. Bengare), Suvarna (<.River Swarna), etc. The bootha (spirit deity) shrines worshipped by Tulu people consist of small single room structures called ‘sana’ or ‘saNa’. The Tulu word ‘sana’ carries same meaning as the Sanskrit word ‘sthana’. The ‘moolasthana’ or ‘moolasana’ is actually the primary or the original (‘moola’) ‘sana’ for the particular family which became a lineage during the course of time Tulu people do not marry within the same lineage. For example, A boy from bangera ‘bari’(=lineage) is not permitted to marry a girl of the bangera lineage. They are supposed to be brother and sister in relationship, being derived from the same bloodline or lineage.

The bari (lineage) concept is similar to the ‘gotra’ in Brahmin communities. Many of the bari names may have come from the place of their early settlement. The Bangera bari appears to have been named after ‘bangare’ or ‘bengare’ (= the sandy barrier spit along the coast), near Hoode, the estuary of Swarna and Sita rivers north of Udupi town. Similarly, the bari Suvarna might have been named after the river Swarna. Both these names indicate geographical locations where the tribes settled initially. The ‘kunda’ in ‘Kunder’ refers to an earthen or stone pillar or a place like the present Kundapur. ‘Suvarna’ means gold and similarly ‘Kanchan’ also refers to gold. The adjective gold may signify the gold extractor (gold panning expert) or simply may indicate the golden skin colour of the founder person of the lineage. Incidentally. The Sanskrit surname ‘Shriyan’ refers to ‘shri’ or wealth. ‘Kotian’ refers to one who maintained the ‘koti’ (= the storehouse), if not the ‘kote’ (=the fort).‘Salian’ stands for the annual whereas ‘Thingalaya’ means the monthly.

Lineage Surnames

Mogaveera families have acquired lineage surnames based on Moolasthana or the place of their original settlement. The following lineages based surnames are commonly found among the Mogaveera group of communities (in alphabetical order): Amin, Bangera, Chandan, Gujaran, Kanchan, Karkera, Kotian, Kunder, Maindan, Mendon, Pangal, Puthran, Salian, Shriyan, Suvarna, Thingalaya etc. Some of Mogaveera of earlier generation had the word ‘Tulu’ in the name/surnames, suggestive of their ancient Tulu heritage that migrated from North.

Prior Natives

While projecting the immigrant nature of Tulu tribes (ca. 750-500 BC) it should be clarified that a component of the present Mogaveera community is made up original inhabitants of the Karavali. Some of the ancient surnames may have vanished with time, yet surviving Mogaveera surnames like Tholar suggest derivation from one of the Early Munda tribes, who were natives to the Karavali since ca.3000BC. Assimilation of native and immigrant fishing tribes occurred in the historical past.

Early Alupa Period

Barkur : Barkur region appears to be one of the early settlements of immigrant Tulu tribes in particular. Many of the Moolasthanas are located on the sea coast of Barkur, around Hoode and Bengare. The island of Benne-Kuduru, near Barakur, formed one of the centres of Mogaveeras. The temple of chief deity of Mogaveera community Kula Mastree Amma is located at Benne-Kuduru. Barakur was a center of royal administration since remote historical dates. Some of the Kings/chieftains that ruled from Barakur could have been from Mogaveera community. Rich Mogaveera merchants owned merchant boats/ships in the earlier days. The ‘pandi’ was the usual word that referred to large boats used for carrying goods in the sea. The owner of a pandi is likely to have been called a ‘Pandia’ or ‘Pandya’. Several ‘Pandya’ chieftains ruled Barakur and Mangalore during the period 2nd to 14th century CE.

Alupa Kings : One of the questions frequently posed is whether the Alupe (Alupas) Kings were fishermen in origin. What is known about these kings is scanty. Earlier the word Alupa was analysed in a number possibilities. Now, it is deduced that they belonged to and ruled from Alupe, a cosy suburb near Kankanady in the Eastern Mangalore. Geological studies reveal that the Arabian Sea had transgressed over coastal land areas during ca.500-200 BC and the Mangalore estuary and Port at that time had extended up to Alupe village.

The original Community background of the Alupa chieftains is disputed. But it is known that they were of 'Nalannaya' lineage ('bari'), which means that they had matrimonial relations with persons of four different lineages. Further, it has been deduced that the surname 'Alva' (now a part of Bunt-Nadava community) has been derived from the word 'Alupa'.

Kadamba Period

Sapaliga : During 4th century CE, a new Kannada dynasty was established based on Banavasi (now part of Uttara Kannada) by Kadamba King Mayura Varma. He established new temples in Tulunadu dedicated to Shiva, Ganesha etc. within his territory that included Tulunadu. At that time the culture of temples was new to Tulunadu and only different forms of spirit worship and the cult of Buddhism prevailed until then. The Alupe Kings who ruled Tulunadu, were chieftains under the Kadamba king. The newly established temples were manned by Brahmins brought from Ahicchatra. The location of Ahicchatra has been disputed; it may be either on the banks of Godavari or near Bareily, in Uttar Pradesh. The temple proceedings demanded musical artists to orchestrate the pooja and other ceremonies. A set of Mogaveera youth were trained, in parts of ancient temple towns of ancient Tamilnadu like Kanchi and Madhurai, to play instruments like Nadaswara, drums and other musical instruments, now vogue in the temples. These musical artists were later designated ‘Sapaliga’ or ‘Sapalya’. The word ‘sappala’ means sound. The families of these musical artists were settled around agrahars around the temples and these with time became a sub-community known as Sapaliga-s.

Ganiga : (pronounced gaaniga). The Karavali being a region replete with coconut palms, the extraction of coconut oil was a special profession, some of the Mogaveeras ventured into since early history. The oil extraction unit was known as gaaNa; hence those worked with gaaNa became Ganiga-s.]These have become an independent sub-community but maintain equivalent relations with Sapalya sub-community.

Bovi : During the regime of ancient Kings and chieftains, one of the menial professions was carrying palanquins of royal persons. Fishermen adapted to this job were known as Bovis. Now the members of Bovi sub-community are concentrated in the Ullal to Manjeswar region in the southern part of Karavali. Similarly, in Uttara Kannada, there are Konkani speaking members of Bovi sub-community Kharvi fisher folks.

Early Brahmins : Kadamba King imported male Brahmin Priests from Ahicchatra to conduct Pooja rituals in the newly built temples of Karavali Tulunadu. Some of the immigrants were uncomfortable in the new environs and wanted to return. Therefore, the King allowed them to marry with the Tulu tribes and settle in the agraharas around temples. Oral anecdotes among the Mogaveera people, suggest that the young Brahmin priests were married to girls of fisher-folk community.[7][8] Consequent on the event, the descendants of earlier generation of Tulu Brahmins acquired lineage surnames characteristic of native Tulu communities. The event may be of relevance to human genetic haplotype studies and interpretations.

Vijayanagar Period

Matti Brahmins : During the fourteenth Century CE, it is said that Vadiraja Acharya of Udupi Mutt converted Mogaveera families of Mattu village into Brahmins.[9] The descendants of the community continued to follow some of the marriage practices native to Mogaveera heritage. Buchanan reports that these Matti Brahmins have a Bobbariya gunda in their village like other Mogaveeras.


Alupa Period

Mogera : It appears that the fisher-folks of the Karavali Tulunadu were originally known as ’Mogera’. Manjeswara Govinda Pai had suggested that the word ‘mogera’ was derived from the word ‘mudgara’. Conversely, it also may be true that mudgara is a subsequently Sanskritized version of the original word ‘moger’ or ‘mogera’, (since the Sanskrit was introduced into the region during Kadamba period after 4th century CE.) Francis Buchanan has used the term ‘Mogeyar’ in his description of castes of south India. The word was used in the literature of British period to represent the fisher-folks of Canara (Karavali) and Malabar (Kerala). Buchanan reported that Mogeyar people worship Shiva, Vishnu or Mastriamma (<.Maha Stree Amma.>) The Tulu word ‘moger’ represents the low lying flood plains by the side of rivers. Possibly, the term was applied to people who initially inhabited in riverbanks and side plain lands and pursued professions of fishing and boating. Most of the original settlements or the ‘Moolasthanas’ of ‘Mogaveera and other related Tulu people, are located on the river banks, estuaries or beaches. Alternately, the word may be related to the verb ‘mogepu’ that means to swish or paddle in water.

‘Mogeyar’ is essentially a Kannada word possibly coined during the Vijayanagar reign of Barkur a region of Tulunadu. There is a view that the northern part of Karavali were originally Tulu speaking areas that became Kannada areas partly during the regime of Kadamba kings (Uttara Kannada) and later during Vijayanagar kings(Udupi to Kundapur area). The word ‘Mogeyar’ represents those who swish or paddle in the water. Incidentally, the Malayalam equivalent word for the community, ‘Murukkan’ also has the similar meaning. Now, consequent upon socio-political changes over the years, the Mogaveera of Dakshina Kannada speak Tulu, whereas those in areas North of Kalyanpur and Brahmavar speak Kannada.

The word Mogaveera

Hoige-bazar Mohanappa Thingalaya, a freedom fighter, is credited with. Coining the new word ‘Mogaveera’, in the early years of twentieth century, to replace the old fashioned ‘Mogera’ or ‘Mogeyar’. (Ramachandra Baikampadi, 2006). Accordingly, the Mumbai Sangha was named as Mogaveera Vyavasthapaka Mandali (MVM), registered in the year 1929. The first Kannada monthly published from Mumbai, from the house of MVM was named ‘Mogaveera’. Now the name Mogaveera has almost completely replaced the old words Mogera and Mogeyar.

Mogaveera in local usage becomes Mogera though it has nothing to do with another local community Mogera/Muggera/Mugera/Mera (all synonyms),[10] which is a Scheduled Caste, written as Moger in government records. The SC Moger are basically agricultural labourers seen in Kasaragod, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts in large numbers. They are also found in Wayanad (in Kerala) and Kundapura districts of Karnataka.

Vijayanagar Period

Marakala : A sub-community of Mogaveera, especially around Udupi area is known as Marakala. The word Marakala is used almost synonymously with Mogaveera in Udupi region.Origin of the word ‘Marakala’, the caste name used for a subgroup of Mogaveera people in the Udupi area has an interesting history. It is said that during the time of ancient regal wars, the Mogaveera youth were employed as soldiers in the advance force in the Vijayanagar army. These were specialized in the art of breaking fortified wooden main doors of the enemy forts. They were called 'marakala'. The origin of the word is ‘mara’ (=wood, ~wooden fort door) and ‘kalapuni’ (=removing). The 'kaLapuni' is a Tulu usage special to Udupi region). Thus, the experts in the art of ‘mara-kalapuni’ were designated as ‘Marakala’. The word mara-keela (‘keeL’, means to remove, in Kannada) was also in some usage in earlier days.[11] The special word designating war professionals was said to have prevailed during the period of Vijayanagara region in Tulunadu (ca. 14 Century AD). It is also possible that the profession existed before the Vijayanagar rule.

Queen Abbakka’s army

A legendary name that comes to mind when one speaks of Ullal is that of the Chowta queen Abbakka. Though her valiant fight against the Portuguese to protect Tulunadu and Ullal, precedes the legendary Jhansi Rani Laksmi bai and Kittur Chennamma, unfortunately history has not given her due recognition for bravery. When the Portuguese naval fleets resorted to mindless mid-sea extortion of merchant vessels, Rani Abbakka fought valiantly against the Portuguese with the help of Mogaveera youth. Queen Abbakka could confront Portuguese army because of her faithful navy and army.

During the 14th Century CE, Queen Abbakka was ruling at Ullal. Once she was at Surathkal beach to worship at Sadashiva temple. After pooja at the temple she visited the nearby beach. The sea was ferocious and she was almost about to be drowned in the sea. Local Mogaveera youths saved her in time. She applauded their bravery and took some of the youths with their families to Ullal, where she employed them in her navy and army. Mogaveera youth were known for their bravery.

Prominent Community Institutions

Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sabha (DKMMS)

Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sabha (DKMMS) was established in 1923 with 146 gramsabhas. Earlier, gramsabhas were functioning at Mangalore, Barkur (with members speaking Tulu) and Bagwadi (members speaking Kannada). The Mangalore and Udupi area gramsabhas joined to form a federation, whereas the Bagwadi federation functioned separately. This division was basically on the basis of language spoken by the local communities. The Bagwadi federation is called the “Mogaveera Mahajana Seva Sangha” The operational area of the DKMMS ranges from Uppala in Kerala just beyond Manjeshwara south of Mangalore to Manur in Kota – a total stretch of 115 kilometres of coastline.[12]

Mogaveera Vyavasthaphaka Mandali (Mumbai)

This Social body was started in the year 9 August 1902. It is involved in the socio-economic fabric of the Mogaveera community in Mumbai & runs schools, colleges & Banks for the overall development of the community which includes not only its own community members but also other communities as well. The mandali publishes a monthly kannada magazine by the name of "Mogaveera"(first Kannada monthly to be published outside Karnataka) which was started in 1940. They are the first organisation in the country to start a free Night High School in the year 1908.

The Mahalaxmi Co-operative Bank Ltd. (Dakshina Kannada)

The Bank was started for the overall welfare of the Mogaveera Community in Dakshina Kannada & is one of the leading co-op bank of the region.

The Mogaveera Co-op Bank Ltd. - (Mumbai)

The Bank was started in the year 1946 in Mumbai Suburban district, is one of the leading co-operative banks catering to all the sections of the society.

Mogaveera Mahajana Seva Sangha - (Bagwadi Hobali)
Mogaveera Chambers of Commerce - (MCC) - (Mumbai)
Mogaveera Yuvaka Sangha - (Mumbai)
Shree Madhbharath Mandali - (Mumbai)
Mogaveera Sports Club - (Mumbai)
Mogaveera Yuva Vedike - (Dakshina Kannada)
Mogaveera Yuva Sanghatane - (Udupi)
Mogaveera Sangha - (Bangalore)
Mogaveers - (UAE)[13]

Religious faiths

The nature of the religious faiths has changed among the Mogaveeras during the evolutionary period of past 2700 years in the Karavali Tulunadu. In the beginning Mogaveeras worshipped exclusively spirit deities like Bermer, Panjurli etc. Subsequently, several spirits were added to the list like Bobbariya, Korathi, and Haiguli etc.

Spirit worship

Mogaveera worship a number of spirits like Bermer, Panjurli, Bobbariya, Korathi and Haiguli. Some of the places of worship, interestingly also contain idols of Vedavyasa and Atharva Muni.


Bobbariya was a tall and well-built Muslim trader, who was influential among the Mogaveera community of coastal Kapu area. Bobbariya was born of outcasted Brahmins and bought up by Muslim foster parents.Born in Goa and grown up in Kochi according to Pad-danas He was engaged in fish trading and was popular in the region among the local Mogaveera community. He was usually associated with a band of dedicated youth probably drawn from the Mogaveera community. Most of the Mogaveera Pattanas have Bobbariya gunda in them. Mogaveera traditionally believe that the benevolent Bobbariya spirit brings them good luck and ensures safety in a wild Sea.

He was popular in the Mogaveera Pattana of Kapu and was having flourishing business. Gradually, he employed special carpenters from the upland area and commissioned a large boat (‘padavu’) for carrying out sea trade. He had band of sailors consisting of local Mogaveeras and Muslims. Soon he prospered and became a leading figure in the area, on account of flourishing trade through his padvau.

Vedavyasa and Atharvamuni

Some of the Mogaveera worship centres, contain idols of Vedavyasa and Atharva Muni. It is an historically interesting feature since Vedavyasa, born to Matsyagandhi or Satyavathi, was a product of the fishing community. The exact character of Atharva Muni is not clear, since it is believed that the Atharva Veda was compiled by sage Bhrughu and his clan, with inputs from sages of the Angirasa clan. The fact that Mogavirs hold these ancient sages (ca.700-.500BC) in esteem suggests that they were connected in some way in the remote historical past. This may also be suggestive of the migration of Mogaveeras from northwestern India.

Vishnu and Shiva

With advent of mainstream Hindu Gods into Tulunadu during (4th century CE) and after Kadamba period, Mogaveeras adapted to the worship of Shiva, Vishnu.


Mogaveeras had caste priests known as Kulaguru or Mangala Poojari [14] drawn from the Mogaveera community since antiquity. He was traditional chief priest of Benne-Kuduru Kula Mastree Amma temple. Shri Madhava Managala Poojarya, the last Kulaguru of the Mogaveera Community died in the year 1966 and the seat is laying vacant since then. In recent years, several leaders are advocating for the revival of Kula Guru Tradition.

The Mogaveera families pay prescribed amount to Mangala Poojari to maintain the temple of Ammanor(Goddess) or Mahastriamma. The designation of Mogaveera Kulaguru helps us to understand the evolution through the ages. The designation ‘Poojari’(=priest) was imported along with the Tulu immigrants. Earlier Poojaris were the priests for Spirit worship. Later on, Poojaris separated and formed a component of Billawa Group, while Mogaveeras retained a few Poojaris exclusively for Pooja purposes within the community. Mangala is a word commonly used in Buddhist Pali literature and the adoption of the designation ‘Mangala Poojari’ for the community priest of the temple, implies the broad temporal relationship to the Buddhist period ca. 2nd to 8th Century CE.

Some of The Historic Community Temples

Shri Kula Maha Stree Amma Temple

During the early centuries of CE, when Buddhism prevailed in Tulunadu, worship of Tara Bhagavathi was in vogue. Several locally prominent ladies were deified and worshipped during the period. Mogaveeras built a temple for a deified lady known as Kula Maha Stree Amma at Benne Kuduru near Barkur and worshipped her. The temple, recently renovated, is an important centre of worship for the Mogaveeras. Buchanan states that according to some Mastiamma is the Maari, the Goddess of small pox and others say that she is Mohini, a spirit (Buchanan has used the word ‘female devil’ for spirit)

Even before the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire at Barkur, Bennekudru was one among the worship places for the war soldiers. Their worshipping deity was lord Veerabhadhra. According to the legendary story, thousands of years ago, a lady sanyasin from the mogaveera community had come to Bennekudru from the northern side. She with the power of healing touch and enlightenment cured the pain and solved the problems of the people. Due to this, she became very popular and she was honored by the common man and also the ruling kingdom of that period. Along with her, her brother and his wife were treated royally and they also received the same affection. The place were they were dwelling later became the ‘original Home’ or the ‘Guru mutt’. The sanyasin was worshipping goddess ‘Ajjamma’. Since then, the mogaveera community started worshipping ‘Kula Mahastri Amma’.

In the undivided District of Dakshina Kannada, this temple is the only temple which has the profound base of nine generations of ‘Guru Cult’ (also known as chief priest or Kula guru), that came to an end with the demise of its last Kula Guru Shri Madhava Mangala Poojarya in 1966 and till date there has been no successor. In the Guru Mutt, the main deity of the chief priest and his wife was ‘Nandi’ or ‘Haiguli’ and ‘Navadurga’. Everyday pooja was offered to these gods. Special poojas were offered during the navaratri festival. The chief priest was also known as ‘Mangala Pujarya and his wife was referred to as ‘Sarveshri’. The records explain that, goddess Kula Mahastri Amma is bestowed with 5 strengths or ‘pancha shaktis’ and five daivas or ‘pancha daivas’.

The new Temple

The temple got renovated (including the parivara daivas) in line with established customs and usages spelt out in shastras that came out in Ashta Mangala Prashna under the leadership of G.Shankar who is also the president of the renovation committee of the temple. There are other works like rebuilding the sanctum-sanctorum (Garba Griha) in stone with a copper roof, strong pouli around Garbha Griha, Hasala and Koliyara mama Parivara daiva, Guru Mutt, Venkataramana Temple, Dining hall, raja gopura and additional land purchase. Daily Services in the Temple Daily worship in the temple is performed three times, in the morning, noon and in the evening. The puja is accompanied by the playing of several musical instruments. People join by chiming the bells.

Special occasions

Special pujas are offered on auspicious days like Tuesday, Friday and Samkramana (first day of the solar month) and on festival days like Navarathri etc. Sacred days of the month are also occasions of special services in the temple.

Shri Mahalaxmi Temple

In 1957 the Dakshina kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha built Shri Mahalaxmi Temple at Uchila on the land gifted by late Shri Udyavara Sadiya Sahuakar on the plea that the existing Mogaveera Temple at Bennekuduru, Barkur is not conveniently located for the people of Mangalore taluka to visit. The builders of the Shree Mahalaxmi Temple had an ambitions plan to conduct educational institutions to be financed from the income derived from the temple.

Shri Mahisa-Mardini Temple

Shankara Acharya revived Hinduism along the Karavali and most of the former Tara-Bhagavthi temples were converted to temples of Shakti worship. Under the influence of regional Shakti worship in the Karavali, Mahisha-mardini (Kundapura) was constructed and consecrated. The temple has a history of more than a thousand years and comes under (The Bagwadi Hobali). This temple is located on the bank of Chakra river on the way to Hemmadi and Vandse road at Kundapura Taluk.

Shri Mariyamma Temple

Mariyamma Temple is about 5 km from Mangaladevi Temple in Mangalore city. This temple was built by the Mogaveera Community around 800 years ago. Dedicated Goddess Mariyamma, It is believed that Mariyamma & Mangaladevi were sisters. Dasara is the important festival celebrated here. In Urwa in the precincts of Mangalore, Legend has it that the Goddess appeared in the dreams of one of the Mogaveeras staying in Urwa and asked for a residing place in the vicinity & so a temple was built for the deity, The Mogaveeras have a unique way of thanks giving for this Goddess they make gold ornaments in the form of different variety of fish & the deity if adorned with it, it is one of the oldest & the best known temples in the district, needless to say it is the favourite Goddess of the Mogaveeras

The history of Goddess Shree Maariyamma can be traced back to nearly about 800 years. As per ancient folklore and the sayings of ancestors, a person from the ‘chulli Gurikara’ family living in the Mogaveera village of ancient Karnataka, had gone to the ghat area on business visit. While returning home, his body started shaking and shivering as if in a trance known as ‘Avesha’ meaning Goddess entering a human body and speaking through him. The ‘Avesha’ soon spread to his family members too. This continued for several days without any respite for him or his family members with the Devi refusing to leave their bodies and releasing them from their agony. The Devi through them kept chanting “I am Goddess Shree Maaridevi. I am ordering you all to perform daily poojas to invoke my blessings and according to the strength of your belief and faith I will grant you the ‘phala’ (fruit).

After several days of agony, as a last resort all the family members and the villagers held a Meeting. And together they decided to pray to the Goddess and did that saying that since they were poor, they could not be able to perform daily pooja. The Devi accepted their wish and then assured them with an Abhaya Lastha … “I have come here to show you all the way, for earning your livelihood. I will show you a suitable place to make the prathishatapana (temple memorial).

Consequently all the members of the seven pattanas of the Mogaveera Samaj held a meeting from Kudroli to Hosabettu. As per the decision taken by all, the Gram Patela (=village head) of Boloor was made their head and he narrated the proceedings of the meeting and he also suggested a suitable place for construction of temple for the Devi. It was a vacant plot of land. In those days the Pottu Kumbaras used to perform poojas to Lord Eishwara (Shiva) in the nearby katte or gudi (monuments). And thus villagers of Mogaveera Pattanas installed the idol of Goddess Shree Maaridevi and started worshipping the Devi in the adjacent plot next to Eishwara Gudi.

Despite their poverty, all the fishermen parted with one share of their income for the development of the Devi Temple. From then onwards, it became a custom to collect vanthige (monetary offerings) from the villagers of the pattanas. As proof of their devotion, their money was then utilized to decorate the Goddess with different varieties of gold coins on her neck. All the women, children without any age bar, co-operated in the construction of the Maaridevi Temple, by joining hands in this noble cause. They even carried bricks, stones and other building materials on their heads and walked all the way for one and half km from Boloor.

From the time immemorial, whenever they faced a scarcity of fishes in the sea or any crisis, all the villagers of the seven paraganas meet at Yogettu and prayed to the Devi for a whole day, and miraculously the very next day they would get a bumper crop of fishes in the seas. To support this belief, they have a lot of evidence too. For instance whenever the sea became wild and rough and they could not venture into it for fishing, they would pray to Goddess Maariyamma and miraculously she would bless her devotees and the tidal waves would recede back into the sea and calm down the waters. Even during heavy rains lashing the seas, the fishermen without caring for their lives would jump into the seas with the belief that Goddess Maariamma would protect them by not allowing any accident to occur and thereby protecting the entire Mogaveera Samaja.

Hence from the ancient times to this day, the Mogaveera Samaja has sacrificied everything at the feet of Goddess Maariyamma. As proof of this Sridevi Maariyamma has ordered the “chulli” family to participate and perform all the religious ceremonies and rituals of the temple even when they have any “Sutakas” (bad omens). All the religious ceremonies even today are being conducted by the Mogaveeras of the seven pattanas in sequence one after the other, annually.

Prominent Mogaveera Surnames

Lineage surnames
  • Amin
  • Bangera
  • Chandan
  • Gujaran
  • Kanchan
  • Karkera
  • Kotian
  • Kunder
  • Maindan
  • Mendon
  • Pangal
  • Puthran
  • Salian
  • Shriyan
  • Suvarna
  • Thingalaya
Other surnames
  • Das
  • Gurikara
  • Marakala\Marakalthi (men and women respectively)
  • Mogavira
  • Naika
  • Rao
  • Sapaliga
  • Tandela
  • Tholar

Prominent Achievers from the Community

  • Late S. K. Amin - Former MLA (Udupi)/Founder of the South Kanara District Co-Operative Fish Marketing Federation
  • Late Malpe. Madhwaraj - Former MLA (Udupi)/Businessman/Philanthropist
  • Dr. G Shankar - Industrialist/Businessman/Noted Philanthropist
  • Pramod Madhwaraj - Politician/Businessman/Philanthropist
  • U.R.Sabhpathy - Former MLA (Udupi)
  • K.Arunprasad - Ex - Zilla Panchayath member of Shimoga dist and writer,first person of shimog dist fisheries organisation.
  • Y.S. Manohar - Managing Director - Paradise Isle Beach Resort, The 1st Beach Resort in the State of Karnataka having 5 Star Ratings.
  • Bhuvanendra Suvarna - Managing Director - Kediyoor Hotels Pvt. Ltd.- A Government Approved Hotel for Tourists having 3 Star Ratings
  • Sarala B. Kanchan - Politician/President, Karnataka State Women's Co-Operative Federation
  • Ganesh Hosabettu - Former Mayor of Mangalore City
  • S.K.Uchila - Former Asst Commissioner of Income Tax
  • Pradeep Uppoor - Reputed Film & Television Series Producer (Movies Like Ardh Satya & Television series like Aahat & CID)
  • Ravi Uppoor - Reputed Film & Television Series Producer
  • Budhananda Shivalli - Author, 'Tulu'Patero: Philology and Grammar of Tulu.
  • K.C. Kundar - 1st ever elected President of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Parishad for the 1st elected body constituted in 1987
  • Ashok Salian - Globally acclaimed fashion photographer
  • Krishnappa Uppoor - Retd.Lecturer,State Award Winner Film Director, Writer & Trustee of Bhairava Ganapathi Temple, Chowlikere
  • Siddhanth Thingalaya - Indian track and field athlete


  1. ^ Daijiworld Online, Thursday, December 11, 2008
  2. ^ * Thurston, Edgar and K. Rangachari (2001) Castes and Tribes of Southern India. Asian Educational Services. p.3366. Original Edition published in 1909
  3. ^ Buchanan, cited in Thurston & Rangachary,(2001)
  4. ^ Analysis of the 1931 Census of India
  5. ^ Ibn Battuta, Morocco (ca. 1343 CE)
  6. ^ •Venkataraja Punimchattaya.(1993)“Mogaveerara Sanskriti”. Karnataka Sahitya Academy, Bangalore, 157p
  7. ^ Shriyan, T.C. ( 2005) The Mogaveeras. ‘Mogaveera’, Mumbai, March 2005. pp 19–23
  8. ^ Ramachandra Baikampadi. (2006).’Tulunadina Adi Brahmanaru moolata Mogaveerare?’
  9. ^ Buchanan, Francis (1807) A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar . T. Cadell and W. Davies, London.
  10. ^ cf. KS Singh 1994)
  11. ^ Narayana A Bangera, Mitrapatna, 2007 ‘Mogaveera’ Mumbai ,2007
  12. ^ • Gururaja Budhya and Solomon Benjamin(2000).The politics of sustainable cities:the case of Bengare, Mangalore in coastal India. Environment and Urbanization, vol.12, No2.
  13. ^ • Uchila, S.K (2005) ‘Mogaveera Institutions’. Mogaveera. Mumbai, December, 2004.pp.37
  14. ^ • Uchila, S.K (2004) ‘Mogaveera Kulaguru’. Mogaveera. Mumbai, November, 2004. pp.17–43.

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