Coorg Experiences

Lifescapes

June 22nd, 2010 by Deepti John

Kodava Hockey Festival

Hockey holds a special significance for the Kodavas, who have a rich and lengthy history of being connected with this exciting sport.

Hockey Players on the Field

Hockey is also a unique aspect of the Kodava culture, reflecting their martial spirit. Interestingly, the district of Kodagu, home to the Kodavas, is considered the ‘cradle of Indian hockey’. Some of India’s distinguished hockey luminaries hail from Kodagu. The much awaited Kodava Hockey Festival takes place in Kodagu each year, where it is the most sought after occasion. Over 200 families take part in this festival, reflecting the Kodava passion for this sport. The importance of this festival is outlined by the fact that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized it and it is the biggest field hockey event held across the globe!

A Family Occasion!

The Kodava Hockey Festival began with the idea of creating a common platform for the diverse Kodava families to come together. The festival was also envisaged to boost this National Game of India. An interesting rule of the game includes the fact that a team ought to comprise members who are part of the same family (who possess the same surname). The stakes are high, being the reputation of the families participating. Surprisingly, women who are part of the team are free to decide whether they wish to represent their fathers’ family or that of their husbands’. What’s exciting is that a different Kodava family organizes the tournament each year.

A unique feature of this event is that it’s named after the family that arranges it. This family is responsible for organizing the necessary infrastructure and finances for it. The sponsors help recover the cost, which is also made up through the sale of raffle tickets. The families that take part in the event also share part of the expenses, depending on their will and ability to do so. The response to the tournament grew each year and reached its summit in 2003 when an astounding 280 teams took part in the Kaliyanda Cup held at Napoklu. The 14th such tournament was hosted by the Maneyapanda family in Ponnampet this year between the 18th of April and the 9th of May.

The Defining Moment!

The ceremonies held at the beginning and at the end of the festival are celebrated in great splendour with a demonstration of various dances and martial arts indigenous to the Kodavas. The festival produces high levels of participation from the audience. It is therefore most definitely an event to be eagerly awaited each year.

Kodava Hockey Festival
Deepti John
Deepti, based out of Bangalore, works as Assistant Manager (Marketing) at Orange County Resorts. Possessing Master’s degrees in Psychology and in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics, she enjoys spirituality, music, nature, and children.



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