William Wilson Hunter.

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place is named.

Condavid. — Town in Kistna District, Madras Presidency. — See



Conjevaram {Kdnchivaram ; Kdnchipiiram ; Klen-chi-pu-lo of Hwen
Thsang). — Tdlnk of Chengalpat District, Madras Presidency. Area,
447 square miles. Houses, 30,411. Population (1881) 185,649,
namely, 91,909 males and 93,740 females. In no other taluk in the
District are the women in excess of the men. Classified according
to religion, there were in 1881 — 176,506 Hindus; 3814 Muham-
madans; 5205 Christians, nearly all Roman Catholics; and 124
' others.' A low-lying tdluk^ with a stony soil, and only wooded by
scrub-jungle. Watered by the Palar and Cortelliar rivers. Land
revenue demand, ;£39,2 79. The tdluk, which is subject in civil
matters to the jurisdiction of the mimsifs court at Trivellore, contains
3 criminal courts, with 1 1 police stations {tJuhids) ; strength of police
force, 1 6^ men. f

Conjevaram {Kdnchivaj^am). — Town and head-quarters of Conje-
varam tdluk, Chengalpat District, Madras Presidency. Lat. 12° 49'
45" N., long. 79° 45' E. Houses, 7179. Population (1881) 37,275,
namely, Hindus, 35,989; Muhammadans, 1172; Christians, 28; and
'others,' 86. Area of town site, 5858 acres. About 11 per cent, of
the population are Brahmans, and 17 per cent, weavers of a caste
peculiar to this portion of the District. Municipal revenue for
1881-82, ^2412 ; incidence of taxation, about 8d. per head of rateable
population. Situated on the Trunk road 46 miles south-west of Madras.
The branch line of the South Indian Railway from Chengalpat to
Arkonam passes through the eastern extremity of the town. As the
head-quarters of the tdhik, Conjevaram contains the usual subordinate
magisterial and revenue courts, jail, dispensary, school, etc. But it is
chiefly interesting as being a place of special sanctity. Conjevaram is
one of the seven holy cities of India, and has been called the ' Benares of
the South.' Hwen Thsang speaks of it as the capital of Dravida. It
was then a great Buddhist centre ; but about the 8th century began a
Jain epoch, and traces of this religion still exist in the neighbourhood.
To this succeeded the period of Hindu predominance, and the Vija-
yanagar Rajas (who had treated the Jains liberally) endowed the sacred
places of their own religion with great magnificence. Two of the
temples, the largest in Southern India, were built by Krishna Raya
about 1509 ; and for many smaller pagodas, choultries and agrahdrams
(Brahman resting-houses and alms-houses), the town is indebted to the
same family. The lofty gopuras (pyramids), the thousand - pillared
temple, with its splendid porch and fine jewels, attract the chief atten-
tion of visitors {see Chidambaram). The great annual fair held in
May is attended, in prosperous years, by as many as 50,000 pilgrims.
' Kanchipur ' was an important city of the Chola kingdom, and in the
14th century the capital of Tondamandalam. After the fall of the
Vijayanagar family in 1644, it was subject to the Muhammadan


kings of Golconda, and at a later date became part of the Arcot
dominions. In 1751, Clive, returning from Arcot, took the town
from the French, but had, in the same year, again to contest its
possession with Raja Sahib. In 1757, the French, beaten off in an
attack upon the pagoda, set fire to the town. In 1758, the British
garrison was temporarily withdrawn, on account of the expected advance
of the French upon Madras, but was soon sent back with reinforcements ;
and during the siege of the capital, and the subsequent wars of the
Karnatic, this town played an important part as a depot and canton-
ment. A few miles distant, at Pullaliir, is the battle-field where General
Baillie's column was cut to pieces in 1780 by Haidar All,

Contai {Kd7ithi). — Sub-division of Midnapur District, Bengal, lying
between 21° 37' 15" and 22° 10' 30" n. lat, and between 87° 27' 15"
and ZZ° i' 30" e. long. Area, 849 square miles, with 2385 villages or
towns and 55,418 occupied houses. Population (1881), Hindus,
457,722; Muhammadans, 24,176; Sikhs, 42; Christians, 20; and
'others,' ^^d: total, 481,996, namely, males 242,277, and females
239j7I9 ; average density of population, 568 persons per square mile ;
average number of houses per square mile, 71 ; persons per village, 202 ;
persons per house, 87. The Sub-division, which was created ist January
1852, comprises the 6 police circles {ihdnds) of Contai, Raghunathpur,
Egra, Khejiri (Kedgeree), Pataspur, and Bhagwanpur. In 1883, it
contained two revenue and two magisterial courts, with a regular police
force 158 strong, besides 1352 village w^atchmen.

Contai {Kdnthi). — Head-quarters of Contai Sub-division, Midnapur
District, Bengal, and of a police circle {thdnd). The village contains
the usual sub-divisional buildings, two munsifs courts, and a higher-
class English school.

Coompta {Kumpta). — Sub-division and town, Kanara District,
Bombay Presidency. — See Kumpta.

Coonoor {Kumlr). — Town and sanitarium in the Nilgiri Hills Dis-
trict, Aladras Presidency. Situated in lat. 11° 20' n., and long. 76° 50'
E., 6000 feet above the sea-level, at the south-east corner of the Nilgiri
plateau, and at the head of the principal pass (the Coonoor Ghat)
from the plains; distant t^Gt, miles by rail from Madras, and 12
from Utakamand (Ootacamund). Houses, 1450. Population (1881)
about 4778, being 3247 Hindus (chiefly Pariahs), and the remainder
Europeans, with their establishments, a fluctuating number. The
municipal limits extend over about 7 square miles ; the municipal
revenue realized in 1881 w^as about ^2000; incidence of taxation,
about 2s. 7d. per head of population. A carriage road, 21 miles long,
connects Coonoor with the station of Mettapalliem, the terminus of
the Nilgiri branch of the Madras (South-Western) Railway ; but a Righi
railway to Coonoor from the terminal station is about to be constructed.

28 ' COORG.

Coonoor contains a sub-magistrate's court, etc., hospital, four places
of worship (i Roman Catholic, i Church of England, and 2 of other
denominations), and many schools, a library and shops and hotels for
the convenience of Europeans. In the neighbourhood are several tea
and coffee estates. Coonoor is one of the principal sanitaria of the
Presidency, and second only to Utakamand (Ootacamund) in natural
advantages. The town is built on the sides of the beautiful basin
formed by the expansion of the Jackatalla valle}^, at the mouth of a
great gorge, surrounded by wooded hills. It possesses a cool and
equable climate, the mean annual temperature in the shade being
62° F. In the warmer months the thermometer fluctuates between
55° and 75° ; in the colder months, between 38° and 68°. The
average annual rainfall is 76 inches, distributed in normal years over
112 days. The rate of mortality is remarkably low, and no particular
ailments can be said to be characteristic of the place. The town
is well kept, but owing to increase of population, etc., the drainage
is in much need of improvement; it has about 20 miles of ex-
cellent roads and beautiful pleasure drives, along the sides of wdnch
grow hedges and roses, while the fuchsia, dahlia, and heliotrope attain
the proportions of shrubs. Altogether, it forms one of the most lovely
hill stations in India, and commands magnificent views of mountains,
precipices, great stretches of hill forests, and the plains spreading out
in a vast expanse of fertility beneath. The European settlement is on
the upper plateau ; the native quarter on the lower slopes of the valley.
Coorg {Kiirg ; Kodagu, lit. 'steep mountains'). — Territory or
Province in Southern India, under the administration of the Supreme
Government, through the Mysore Resident, who is also Chief Commis-
sioner of Coorg; situated between 11° 56' and 12° 50' n. lat., and
between 75° 25' and 76° 14' e. long. Total area, according to the most
recent estimate of the Survey Department, 1583 square miles, the greatest
length from north to south being 60, and from west to east 40 miles.
Population, according to the Census of 1881, 178,302. The chief town
and seat of administration is Merkara, in 75° 46' n. lat, and 12° 26'
E. long. ; population (t88i) 8383, including 2156 returned as being in
the cantonment.

Coorg is bounded along its entire western frontier by the mountain
chain of the Western Ghats, which separates it from the Madras
Districts of Malabar and South Kanara. This range curves somewhat
inland, so as to serve also to some extent as the northern and southern
boundary. On the north, Coorg is partially separated from the forest
highlands of Mysore by the rivers Kumaradhari and Hemavati. On
the east it merges in the general table-land of Mysore, the boundary
for some distance being marked by the river Kaveri (Cauvery).

History, — Coorg has always been known in history as the home of a

CO ORG. 29

brave and independent race of mountaineers, who maintained their
freedom against the outnumbering forces of Haidar Ah', and only
yielded to the British power after a sharp struggle, the English Govern-
ment conceding to them the maintenance of their civil and relifrious
usages, and respect for their national characteristics. At the present
day the native tribe of Coorgs, though only numbering some 27,000
souls, preserve all the marks of a dominant race. They cultivate their
hereditary lands on a feudal tenure, bear arms at their pleasure, and
treat with British officials through their head-men on terms of honour-
able equality. No people in India have given more decisive proofs of
their loyalty to the British crown.

Whatever may have been the true character of the earlier history of
Coorg, the Brahmans, on finding their way into the country, enshrouded
the current legends and traditions of Coorg in Puranic lore, in the
Kaveri Furdna, forming an episode of comparatively recent date in
four chapters of the Skdnda or Kdrtikeya Purdtia^ and glorifying the
river Kaveri, the sources of which are in Coorg. Local tradition lends
colouring to the theory that the Coorgs are descended from the
conquering army of a Kadamba king, who ruled in the north-west of
Mysore about the 6th century a.d. The earliest trustworthy evidence
that his house exerted some authority in these parts is manifested by
certain stone inscriptions found in Southern Coorg, which record grants
of land by monarchs of the Ganga dynasty dated in the 9th century.
But it is not probable that the mountain fastnesses of Coorg were ever
permanently subjugated by the rulers of the lowlands. The Muham-
madan chronicler Ferishta, writing at the end of the 16th century,
casually mentions that Coorg was governed by its own princes.
According to tradition, Coorg was at this period divided into 12
komhus or districts, each ruled by an independent chieftain, called a
ndyak. The names of several of the families of these ndyaks are still
held in veneration by the people ; but the chiefs themselves all finally
succumbed to the wily encroachments of the Haleri pdlegdrs, who
founded the line of Coorg Rajas expelled by the British in 1834.

The origin of this Haleri dynasty is obscure. It is certain that they
were aliens to the native Coorgs who now reside in Central and South
Coorg, for they belonged to the Lingayat^ sect of Hindus who are the
chief inhabitants in the portion of Coorg to the north and east of
Haleri, and whose influence was great in the neighbouring country of
Mysore ; whereas the Coorgs retain to the present day their own crude
forms of demon and ancestor worship. However this may be, they
exercised for many generations absolute authority over the people ;
and, despite their bloodthirsty tyranny, they were universally accepted
as the national leaders. It is commonly supposed that the founder of
the dynasty was a younger scion of the family who ruled at Ikkeri in


Shimoga District, known as the pdlegdrs of Keladi or Bedniir. He is
said to have first settled at Haleri, whence he rapidly extended his
power over the whole of Coorg. The history of the Coorg Rajas is
officially chronicled in the Rdjendra-7idina^ a work compiled about
1807 in Kanarese by order of Dodda Vira Rajendra, and translated
into English by Lieutenant Abercromby in the following year. This
interesting native document may be accepted as fairly trustworthy. It
comprises a period of 175 years, from 1633 to 1807.

The most brilliant chapter in the history of Coorg is the resistance
offered to Haidar Ali and his son Tipii Sultan. When all the rest of
Southern India fell almost without a blow before the Muhammadan
conqueror, this warlike people never surrendered their independence.;
but, despite terrible disasters, finally allied themselves on honourable
terms with the British to overthrow the common enemy. At one time
all seemed lost. Haidar Ali had invaded the country, and carried away
the Raja and all the royal family prisoners into Mysore. Tipii followed
in his father's path with more than his father's ferocity. He resolved to
remove the entire race of Coorgs, and actually deported many thousand
persons to Seringapatam, and enforced on the males the rite of Islam.
The land he granted out to Musalman landlords, on whom it was
enjoined as an imperative duty to search for and slay the surviving
inhabitants. It was reserved for a prince of the blood-royal to rescue
the Coorgs from this sentence of extermination. Vira Rajendra, the
hero of Coorg history, and the Coorg model of a warrior king, escaped
from his prison in Mysore, and raised the standard of independence on
his native hills. The Muhammadan garrison was forthwith expelled,
and a successful guerilla warfare kept up until the intervention of Lord
Cornwallis finally guaranteed Coorg from danger. On the restoration
of peace in 1799 by the death of Tipii Sultan, the remaining exiled
Coorgs returned to their country. But new troubles began. Vira
Rajendra himself, and also his successor on the throne, appear to have
been cursed with the senseless ferocity which so often accompanies
irresponsible power. By their subjects they were reverenced almost as
gods, and in their countless acts of cruelty they rivalled the most
sanguinary deities of the Hindu Pantheon. Repeated remonstrances
from the British Resident at Mysore proved ineffectual ; and at last, in
1834, Vira Rajendra having taken umbrage at the shelter given at
Mysore to his brother-in-law Chenna Basapa, Lord William Bentinck,
then Governor-General of India, resolved on armed intervention. A
British force of 6000 men entered Coorg in four divisions. Though
two of the invading columns were bravely repulsed by the Coorg
militia, the rest penetrated to Merkara, and achieved the entire subju-
o-ation of the country. The Raja surrendered himself to the Political
Agent, Colonel Fraser, Vv'ho issued a proclamation dated May 7, 1834,

CO ORG. 31

announcing that, in accordance with the general wish of the inhabitants,
Coorg was transferred to the government of the Company. The people
were assured that their civil and religious usages would be respected,
and that the greatest desire would invariably be shown to augment
their security, comfort, and happiness.

The pledges given on this occasion (1834) have been faithfully
carried out on both sides. In 1837, however, a disaffection originating
with the Gaudas of the Talu country, in South Kanara, spread also into
Coorg ; and a rising against the British Government was planned by the
intrigues of the Brahman Devvan Lakshminarayana, and the impostor
Abhrambara, which was promptly put down by the authorities, aided
by a band of faithful Coorgs, who were rewarded with Jdgirs, pensions,
and gold and silver medals. Coorg has ever since shown a con-
spicuous "example of a brave and intelligent race, ruled by the British
with the minimum of change and interference, and steadily advancing
in material prosperity consequent on settled rule, and the introduction
of coffee cultivation. The Raja retired to Benares, with a pension of
Rs. 6000 (^600) a month. In 1852 he was allowed to visit England,
where he died in 1862. His daughter, the Princess Victoria Gauramma,
was baptized into the Christian faith, with the Queen for her sponsor.
She married an English officer, and died in 1864. At the present day,
a iQ\N descendants of the family reside at Benares, in receipt of small
pensions from Government.

Physical Aspects. — The whole area of Coorg is mountainous, clothed
with primeval forest or grassy glades, and broken by but few cultivated
valleys. The lofty barrier range of the Western Ghats forms the
continuous western frontier for a distance of more than 60 miles.
The highest peaks are Tadiandamol, 5729 feet, and Pushpagiri, 5548
feet above the sea. The western slope of this range drops in a
succession of precipitous terraces towards the sea ; but on the east a
confused network of spurs and minor ridges runs out into Coorg, some
of which attain considerable elevations. The town of Merkara is
situated on a table-land, about 3500 feet above sea-level. But even
this plateau is broken by hills and steep valleys, leaving but little space
for cultivation. The chief rivers of Coorg are the upper waters of the
Kaveri (Cauvery) and its tributaries, the Eakshmantirtha, the Hemavati,
and the Suvarnavati, with its tributaries the Hattihole and Madapur,
which flow eastward into Mysore. On the west, the Barapole and the
Kallahole, uniting their waters on the Coorg frontier, and a (qv/ minor
streams, break their way through the Ghats, and precipitate themselves
on the lowlands of Malabar. None of the rivers are navigable. They
flow in narrow valleys, usually through dense jungle ; and they are little
used for artificial irrigation. The geological formation of the mountains
belongs to the metamorphic class of rocks, chiefly granite, syenite, and


mica schist. The weathering of these rocks, under the influence of
rain, wind, and sun, has produced a deep surface soil of great fertihty,
which is annually renewed by the decomposition of the virgin forest ;
but after the denudation of so many hill slopes for coffee cultivation,
the deterioration of steep land by the wash of the monsoon rains has
been rapid and ruinous to once flourishing estates. Stone and laterite
are quarried for building purposes, and gold has been found on the
Athol estate on the Perambadi ghat with graphite, and may probably
be found sparsely distributed in the Brahmagiri hills, and in the quartz
reefs in the valley of the Kaveri below Fraser-pet Iron-ore also exists,
but owing to the difficulty of procuring skilled labour, is not worked.
The natural wealth of Coorg is represented by the boundless forests,
which vary in character in different parts of the territory. The mountain
forests, known as 7ndle-kddii^ which clothe the Western Ghats are chiefly
marked by evergreen trees. Conspicuous among these is the pun
(Calophyllum angustifolium), which often rises to the height of loo feet,
and supplies excellent spars for ships. The other timber-trees in this
tract include ebony (Diospyros ebenaster), jack (Artocarpus integrifolia),
iron-wood (Mesua ferrea), and white cedar or tun (Cedrela toona) ; and
the whole scene is diversified by clusters of brilliant flowers and fruits,
gigantic creepers, and numerous varieties of fern. The forests in the
lower hill ranges and passes in the eastern portion of Coorg are known
as kanive-kddu. This is pre-eminently the region of bamboo, teak, and
sandal-wood. The bamboos in the south of Coorg are specially
famous. They form forests of their own, rising in clusters to the
height of 60, and sometimes even 100 feet. The teak (Tectona
grandis) and the sandal-wood (Santalum album) are very local in their
range, the best teak trees being found in the Government reserved
forest of Nalkeri, in the taluk of Kiggatnad. The timber of both is a
valuable monopoly of Government. Other timber-trees are the black-
wood (Dalbergia latifolia), ntaddi (Terminalia coriacea), hone or kino
(Pterocarpus marsupium), dinduga (Conocarpus latifolius), and hedde-
mara (Nauclea cordifolia). Many products of commercial value, such
as wood, oil, fibre, honey, and resin, are collected in the jungle, which
also abounds in wild animals ; and every native Coorg is an enthusiastic
sportsman. Among large game may be enumerated tigers, leopards,
bears, elephants, bison, sdmbhar deer, jungle sheep, and wild hog. A
reward of ;£"5 is now given by Government for the destruction of
every tiger, and ;^3, los. for every leopard. In the days of the
Coorg Rajas, elephant and tiger hunting were regal sports, and several
tiger-cubs were generally kept about the palace. The number both
of tio-ers and leopards is still considerable, but wild elephants have
now become comparatively scarce, and their indiscriminate slaughter
has been prohibited.



Population. — \n 1836, shortly after the British occupation, the
population of Coorg was returned at only 65,437 souls. The first
regular Census, conducted by actual counting, was effected on the
night of 14th November 187 1, and gave a total of 168,312. The
second regular Census was taken on the 17th February 1881, when the
population numbered 178,302 persons, showing an increase of 6 per
cent, during the past decade. The following table exhibits the area,
population, and density in each taluk of the Province as returned by
the Census of 1881 : —


Area in Population in
Square Miles. 1881.

Density per
Square Mile.

Kiggatnad , .

Padinalknad, ....
Nanjarajpatna, ....
Merkara, .....
Yedenalknad, ....
Yelsavirshime, ....


201 -45








1,582-81 178,302


The Province contains 502 villages, and but one town of over 5000
inhabitants; 22,357 inhabited and 3233 uninhabited houses; which
gives the following averages : — Villages per square mile, -31 ; houses per
square mile, i6-i6; number of persons per occupied house, 7-97.
Classified according to sex, there are 100,439 males and 77,863
females; proportion of males, 77-5 per cent. This undue preponder-
ance of males is explained by the fact that more men are employed as
labourers on the coffee estates than women. The disproportion would
have been greater had the date of the Census been a month or two
earlier, for at the time it was taken the picking season was over, and many
of the labourers had returned to their homes in Mysore. Classified
according to age, there were, under 15 years of age, 30,986 boys and
28,911 girls; total, 59,897, or -^y^ per cent, of the total population.
The division of the people according to birthplace shows — 154 Euro-
peans, 2 Americans, i Australian, and 129 Eurasians; 103,437 natives
of Coorg, 24,895 of Madras, and 48,688 of Mysore; 318 imrnigrants
from Haidarabad, 593 from Bombay, 68 from Bengal, and 17 from
Kandahar. The occupation tables are scarcely trustworthy ; but it
may be mentioned, as indicating the importance of the coffee industry,
that 64,087 persons, or 35-95 per cent., are returned as labourers, as
compared with only 33,957 agriculturists, or 19-0 per cent. Classified
according to religion, the population is composed of — Hindus (as
loosely grouped together fo-r religious purposes,

VOL. IV. c

and including


Coorgs), 162,489, or qi'i per cent.; Muhammadans, 12,541, or
7"o per cent; Christians, 3152, or 17 per cent; and 120 'others,'
including 21 Parsis and 99 Jains. The Brahmans number 2445,
chiefly belonging to the Smartta or Sivaite sect Of those claiming
to be Kshatriyas, the Rajputs number 351, and the Rajpinde, or
connections of the late ruling family, 129. The Vaisyas, or trading
caste, are 225 in number, almost exclusively Komatis. Other castes of
good social standing number 83,834, among whom the most numerous
caste is the cultivating Wokaliga (16,808), including many coolie
immigrants from Mysore; the Lingayat (10,443) and Jain (99)
castes, being engaged in trade, and many of the former in agriculture.
Low castes number 21,100, and the wild tribes are returned at
54,630, but many belonging to the lower castes have been erroneously
classified as such.

The native tribes of Coorgs or Kodagus, who were once the
dominant race in the country, are only 27,033 in number, or 15 "6 per
cent of the total population. They and the members of other castes
known as the Gavada, Mopla, Heggade, Aimbokal, Bautar, and Ayeri,

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 4) → online text (page 4 of 58)