The Vanishing Kodavas

The Vanishing Kodavas (Eminence Designs, 2013) is a widely acclaimed cultural study that tells the story of the Kodava people in their own voices. The Kodavas, a rustic, militaristic hill people with an oral tradition of cultural transmission are believed to have migrated to and settled in the western ghat region of Kodagu. Structured into patrilineal descent groups, they were ruled through their early history by their own chieftains and later, by a local dynasty of Lingayat kings, supported by a council of chieftains. Using historical records, diaries and letters, folklore, songs, stories and oral histories, the book explores the history of the people, offering new perspectives on Kodava history and culture.

In the period spanning 1998-2013, Kaveri Ponnapa made repeated field trips across Kodagu, documenting village festivals over multiple cycles, witnessing and participating in ancestor propitiations and the life events of a community. Since publication, The Vanishing Kodavas has prompted a widespread revival of interest in understanding the culture and heritage of a numerically small, but distinctive people. This website uses the extensive research contained in the book, and incorporates additional material from ongoing research since 2013, to further expand an understanding of Kodava history, society and cultural heritage.