Welcome Kongu people and others to this exclusive blog on Kongunadu
Ancient name : Gangavadi
Ancient capital : Gangeyam (Kangeyam)
Ancient language : Gangeya Bhasai(Kangee or Gangee)
Ancient dynasty : Gangas(Kongas)
What is Kongu?
Kongunadu is at present the region the north western frontier of the southernmost Indian state Tamil Nadu. This region is otherwise called the 'Coimbatore zone' or the 'West zone'. Let us see the historical frontiers of the region.
Valasundara Kavirayar, probably a seventeenth century poet, hailing from Vijayamangalam (near Perundurai) versifies the borders of the Kongu mandalam during the Vijayanagara empire in his book Kongumandala satakam (1) :
|வடக்கு நந்திகிரி வராககிரி தெற்கு
குடக்கு பொறுப்பு வெள்ளிக்குன்று
களித்தன்டலை மேவு காவிரிசூழ்
நாடு-குளித்தன்டலை அளவு கொங்கு.
Thus the borders of Kongu of the seventeenth century are :
Northern : Nandigiri (Nandi hills in Kolar and Tumkur dists. of Karnataka located seventy kilometeres to the north of today's Bengaluru).
Southern : Varahagiri (Panrimalai mountain in the Palani-Kodaikkanal ranges, Panrimalai is referred in it's Sanskrit name).
Eastern : Kudagu and Vellikundru (Kodagu in the Madikeri dist. of Karnataka and Vellingiri hills near Coimbatore which form the border with Kerala).
Western : Kulithalai (Karur dist. located on the Karur- Tiruchirappalli highway).
Further he adds that the region is like a basin (Kavirisoozh) and surprises us with his geographical knowledge through expressing Kongu as the entire Kaveri catchment basin, the Kaveri valley. I have drawn an approximate map, from google earth of the desccribed region. This region comprises of the following modern districts of the following states.
Tamilnadu : Coimbatore, Erode, Udagamandalam, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem, Namakkal, Karur, Dindigul (excluding the Nattam, Nilakkottai and southward slopes of Kodaikkanal taluk), Vellore (Tiruppattur taluk only), Villuppuram (Kalrayan hills only), Perambalur (Pachamalai hills only) and Tiruchirappalli (Pachamalai hills, Turaiyur taluk's western parts and Musiri panchayat union).
Karnataka : Madikeri, Chickmagalur, Hassan, Tumkur, Kolar, Bangalaore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Mandya, Mysore and Chamrajnagar.
Kerala : Wayanad, Palakkad (villages with a majority Tamil speaking population now only), Malappuram (Bhavani river valley only) and Idukki (Amaravati river valley only).
One thing which got clear beyond doubt after my research which is also commonplace knowledge is that the Kongu region, from the dawn of history is always connected to the southern part of the Karnataka state which is given, which is also called in Karnataka as Mysore Karnataka or Hoysala Karnataka. The Kongu region has always been along with this region from the dawn of history to the collapse of the Mysore Kingdom and the arrivel of the British.
Thus I also broadened my postmodernist research and found many revelations. The first was that the original name of Kongunadu as mentioned in the Komaralingam copperplates (2)inscriptions give the name of the region as Kanku (கங்கு). When we go in detailed research, the name of the Gangas appear. These local cheiftains are mentioned in the Sangam Akananooru (verse 44 ) as Gangan (கங்கன்). These must have probably the feudatories of the Cheras at the beginning. Suddenly as a gust of luck or predestined intervention, I noticed the name of my mother's cousin Suriyakangeya Sukumar (a famous ophamologist in Erode). He is named after his Grandfather Suriyakangeya Gounder. Then I got information that there is another branch of my mother's clan Kalamangalam Kannan koottam who got the pattam of Morur Kangeyar. I could also find that these branches had been fanned out from the village of Kannivadi (Kangivadi?) due to their friction with Vanniar (Kalabhras) who came as an influx into Kongunadu. (to be cond.)
Kongu Nadu,the nomenclature: There has been a lot of controversy regarding the name of Kongu.It is a fact thet Kangars(the Tamil version of Gangas)according to Kongu Desa Rajakkal from the lapse of Mahabharata and the starting of Kaliyugam(3106B.C) ruled Kongu Nadu for some period.Some people had concluded that the region ruled by Gangars was initially called `Ganga Nadu` and with the passage of time,it began to be called `Kongu Nadu`,as mentioned by Thirumathi T.K. Sathi Devi, in her book `Kongu Vellalar Varalaaru`. There has been mass hype over the name Kongu where Dravidian Tamil bygots say it to be Kongu honey,Kongu flower and even Kongu meaning mentally deranged! According to inscriptions,it is mentioned as கங்க,which is read by Tamil bygots,as the people who reside in the edge கங்கு.This means that the region is on the edge but if you see any map Kongu always has been strategically located.The importance of Kongu has given Tamilsayings :
|கொங்கு செழித்தால் எங்கும் செழிக்கும்.
கொங்கில் வாழான் எங்கும் வாழான்.
It has always been the centre of wealth because ancient Kongu had the only gold mines of all south asia, Gold fields which in the Kongu Mandala Shatakam which are said to have given all the gold to the roof of the Chidambaram Natarajar temple. Kongu Nadu still contributes 2/3 revenue of the state of Tamilnadu.
The borders of Kongu Nadu : The borders of Kongu Nadu(Ganganadu) according to the Jain period poet of Vijayamangalam.