top of page

The Macedonians of Madikeri

Kodava Couple, Coorg -

Legend has it that they are the remnants of Alexander’s army, who stayed on in India, when the conqueror marched back to Macedonia. The Puranas claim that the Kodavas are the children of the river goddess, Cauvery, whose waters irrigate the very soul of Coorg. Whatever their provenance, these hardy sentinels of the hills are legendary warriors whose martial spirit lives on to this day. Nowhere else are the implements of war so revered with the traditional gun and sword still being ritually worshipped in ceremonies and festivals. The birth of a male child is marked by a solitary gunshot, announcing, as it were, the arrival of a brand new warrior. And warriors, there have been plenty, with Coorg producing some of independent India’s finest soldier statesmen like Field Marshal K.M.Cariappa and General K.S.Thimmaiah. While on the matter of famous names, the Kodavas habitually append the clan name to theirs, so one instantly knows the lineage of the person you’re just meeting. Comes in handy in ensuring good behavior, as you wouldn’t wish to pick a quarrel with an entire clan. Especially when you run the risk of not being invited to their homes to partake of the divine pandi curry and kadumbuttu, and potent brews served with a large measure of backslapping bonhomie. The hardiness of the Kodavas is only matched by their generosity of spirit, and we guarantee it won’t take long before you arrive at a rather profound discovery: that you’re in no hurry to go back home. Just like the Macedonians of yore.

Photograph: Balan Madhavan Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



bottom of page