The Kunchitigas, referred as Kunchitiga Vokkaligas in Karnataka have socially, culturally, religiously, politically and economically contributed to our State and Country's development significantly. In today's political and social setup they are grouped with other Vokkaliga communities and they easily identify with them. The Kunchitigas are both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. Their mother tongue is Kannada. They are settled in different parts of Karnataka and neighboring states. They are concentrated noticeably in many southern districts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and in Maharashtra state.
The cultural history of Kunchitiga Vokkaliga was researched based on historical, cultural documents, evidence that are available today. The research sheds some light on the important historical events related to Kunchitiga community. It mentions about ï¿½Veera Keturayaï¿½ and 'Mahasati Veera Nagamma'(married to Sri Veera Nagappa , son of Sri Veera Keturaya), as two personalities with divinely qualities, as people who were in touch with the God. The Kunchitiga community's past, the happier moments and the times of sorrow are an interesting stuff to read and know about. In the past, they ruled parts of todayï¿½s Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The rulers were quiet seriously disciplined, religious, had good social responsibilities and looked after their people well.
The SRI VEERA KETU RAYA's son SRI VEERA NAGAPPA married to MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA were living happily. In an unexpected way, SRI VEERA NAGAPPA was killed by enemies from neighbouring territory, bringing MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA's youthful marriage to an end. This leaves MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA mourn endlessly about her unfortunate life. The MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA disappointed with her fate and LORD SHIVA's , decides to sacrifice her life too, to perform SATI, to embrace death along with husband VEERA NAGAPPA. The sorrow incidents in SRI VEERA KETU RAYA's family may have happened because of a curse, could be LORD NAGA DEVA's, the serpent god, to be troubled by his enemies. The ETERNAL GOD LORD SHIVA , CHIRANJIVI , not too pleased with turn of events and unfateful suffering of his innocent follower/disciple MAHASATI VEERA NAGAMMA decides to help MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA out, to bless her family with life. The LORA SHIVA permits her family to return to SRI VEERA KETU RAYA. The MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA returns to SRI VEERA KETU RAYA's home as per LORD SHIVA's wishes, to live a peaceful and happy married life. The MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA's pure and sincere belief in her god LORD SHIVA, made her win over death, to become a divinely personality, re-borned as LORD SHIVA's daughter. The community surprised by divinely play of events, worships MAHASATI DEVI VEERA NAGAMMA, daughter of LORD SHIVA, for best wishes. The MAHASATI VEERA NAGAMMA settles down at VARAPURA or VADDAGERE bringing her people, believers, happiness and prosperity.
The Kunchitiga Vokkaliga community has 48 'Kulas' and 12 'Kaiwadas'. There are 18 'Panakattina' people as depicted in Kunchitiga Purana. This is evident in the folk songs ('pada') and noted poet Kempananjaiah's yakshagana plays too. 'Sri Vijayee Veera Keturaya' was blessed to 'Padumavva' and 'Bichappa' couples by Lord Shiva [courtesy: Vishwarupa]. He was born to protect his community and society from the evil forces. He was a brave warrior, desciplined ruler and a noble man. He builds his empire to rule the state peacefully and to defeat the enemies of the mankind and good things. The poet Kempananjaiah writes this as a 'Veera Kathe' or in 'Veera Rasa', in a tone that high light the qualities of a King or a Warrior.
The story of 'Veera Keturaya' and 'Mahasati Veera Nagamma' has some bearings on the history too. The issues they tackle aren't just limited to personal lives of 'Veera Keturaya' or 'Mahasati Veera Nagamma' or Kunchitiga community but were matter of serious significance to the rest of the society/ state/ country. The 'Veera Keturaya' and 'Mahasati Veera Nagamma's yakshagana play mentions about few of the historical events, things like Orangal/Warangal/Orugal Pratapa Rudra, Penukonde, Nelamangala's powerful king Bicha, Devagiri, Devagiri's 'Patte Sire', Maddikere, Sirivala/ Shetturu, Tammadi Halli, Devara Halli, Chinakojra, Tadi, Basti Pattana, Vaddagere/ Varapura, Tumbadi, Etthugundana Halli, Neghalal, Sompura, Sunnavadi, Kodagadala, Heddla, Yeramanjana Halli. Few of these places are historically significant since and before the times of Hakka-Bukka of Vijaya Nagara period. The archaeological evidence like a copper inscription/ script found in 'thadi' and 'heddla's martyr stone/ 'Veeragallu' helps us roughly approximate Veera Keturaya's period in the history. It is approximately around 12th century. The ï¿½Veera Keturayaï¿½ was a contemporary of Penukonda's ruler Jagaraya or Jaga Devaraya. The powerful Penukonda/'Maha Nadu' rulers dominated the parts of South, roughly during and after the fall of Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, and much before the uprise of Vijaya Nagara empire. After ruling Warangal for 12 years, the 'Veera Keturaya' who was on a look for peace and happiness in his life, reacting to a divinely call, moves and settles down in Varapura/Vaddagere, Tumkur. The Ittihasa Parishat/ Archaeological department has found a stone inscription in 'nandana-hosuru' having some information about the 48 gothras of Kunchitigas. Few of the books written about Kunchitiga community shows the prominent role Kunchitiga socialites played during the Mysore Wodeyar dynasty's period in Mysore state. There are some hints about Kunchitiga community's historical connections with Poona.
The 'Kunchitiga Purana' talks about foreign invasions on India, Delhi's 'Chapa', 'Khan' and their influence on local culture and society. It briefs frequent conflicts between the locals and the foreign aggressors. It talks about bronze carts, how noisy they were and later shift to wooden carts!, used by Kunchitigas of past. The Kunchitigas moved to south of India in 48 carts leaving behind their birth places. This is mostly attributed to frequent foreign invasions, harassment and stealing of community's cattle by foreign invaders, in spite of them being repulsed by Kunchitiga community. The reason for migration could be something else too. Please note, then the south of India was a home to powerful resistance against outside cultural aggression. They sing on the way in front of the bullocks carrying the carts that had Kunchitigas. The 'Jaladi Bapparaya' sacrifices his life to goddess 'Gange' to please her and to help his community cross the overflowing river Yamuna.
As per another theory, the Kunchitiga Vokkaligas were Chalukyan warriors who conquered vast areas of South and North India. They seem to have spread all over Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra during an expedition or ASHWAMEDHA YAGA. Their settlement pattern proves this, a moving army's way of setting up outposts on their way. Some Kunchitiga Vokkaligas trace their origin to Poona too, probably people of Rashtrakuta origin. Rashtrakutas are the break-away group of Chalukyan kingdom.
The word Chalukyas could be a phonetic of SELEUCUS, a great greek warrior and commander of Alexander, a contemporary of Mauryas. The KUNCHITIGA name stands as KUNCHA + ITI, a person with a spear['ITI' or 'BARJI'] and a KUNCHA, may be a brushy helmet of an ancient Greek
Some authors term Kunchitigas as people with Mediterran looks and classifies them as part of ancient Indian militia. They may have had marital relationship with locals to become community whatever they are today.
The 'Ammaji' or Mahasati Veera Nagamma's temple is located in Vaddagere/ Varapura, Koratagere Taluk, Tumkur Dist. Many of the Kunchigita gothras visit this temple every year. The temple has followers in other faith/ caste people/ social groups, and other socio-economic sections.