Puthari Kol – Building Kinship and Community

At Kenjerene Ur mand (Urë mandë), Kunjila Village, the day after the ritual harvesting of the newly ripened rice crop, clans gather to dance puthari kol (putari kōlë) dances. The open-air community space, bordered by rice fields and coffee plantations was donated by the Kannambira okka. The dances are led by the Kundyolanda okka who are designate ur takkas (headmen & spokespersons). Historically Kundyolanda, Kandanda, Kannambira, Ketolira, Bottolanda, Kaliyanda, Appachira and Kumbara okkas met and participated in puthari celebrations on this mand. This dance at the ur mand is preceded by several days of meeting to practice together, strengthening community and previously established networks of support and solidarity.

Dancing together at the local mand (open air community space) was an important way of re-affirming kinship ties and building links with neighbouring okkas (patrilineal descent groups),as well as communities other than Kodava. This was an essential part of the principles of inclusivity on which Kodava society functioned. In this short film, the young men are all close kin, or from okkas that have had links with each other for generations. The close association is evident in the easy camaraderie between them. The puthari kol is a joyful occasion which brings both young and old together to participate in a celebration of the success of the cycle of planting, cultivating and harvesting rice, and the reassurance of full granaries. At some locations, like this one, women do not go to the mand, whereas in other parts of Kodagu they turn out in full strength.

The living puthari traditions described above were documented on 8th December, 2022 at Kenjerene Ur Mand.

Video Credits: Vaishali Bhatia Images.