BANGALORE: The Coorg community has fascinated many for a long time now. Be it their Neanderthal features, their distinct traditional attire or even their pride, they stand apart and tall. Their culture too is dipped in a different colour.
P T Bopanna, a freelance journalist recently launched a website solely dedicated to the various kinds of jewellery and costumes that are a part of this legendary community. The website is equipped with in depth detail and knowledge about ornaments for both men and women, along with how to drape the Coorg saree.
Dayana Erappa, Femina Miss India (Miss Photogenic 2011) poses as the muse for the website.
Coorg or Kodava jewellery is distinctive. Coorg style bracelets (kadagas) have become popular with non- Coorg women in cities like Mysore and Bangalore.
Though in the past traditional Kodava jewellery was made only in Kodagu, nowadays many jewellers in Bangalore also make them. An interesting aspect of some of the Coorg jewellery is that they are hollow and lac is filled inside to give them a sturdy appearance. The repousse work commonly used in Coorg jewellery, uses a small quantity of metal, beaten to paper thinness, to convey an impression of weight and solidity, and a threedimensional effect.
According to the website, the traditional Coorg jewellery is very distinctive, yet the influence of neighbouring States is evident. The jewellery is inspired by nature, in the form of flowers, fruits, serpents, the moon, sun, and stars.
The website is also armed with details about the various types of ornaments.
For instance, the ‘Karthamani’ and ‘Pathak’ are both symbols of marriage in Coorg. The former, fine black beads strung on a gold chain, is sometimes made with as little as two grams of gold.
The ‘Pathak’ is usually a half sovereign, or a larger gold coin, engraved with Goddess Lakshmi or Queen Victoria, framed by rubies, surmounted by a cobra, with hanging fresh water pearls, and a chain of gold and coral beads on a twisted strand of black glass beads. Baring the neck pieces, one can also find adequate information on bangles or the Kadagas, the Pimbale the simpler gold bangles; the head ornaments, silver jewellery for the feet and of course, the earrings or the jhumkas.
Apart from these, the website also speaks about the various kinds of brooches used while wearing a saree. There is also a section of the website that is devoted to Coorg wedding, which are a colourful affair and an occasion that allows women an opportunity to show off their sarees and jewellery.
For the men, there are notes on the Coorg costume and accessories that include briefs on the Kupya and the significance of its colours — the collarless short sleeved coat. There are also snippets on the significance and prominence of the Chele (waistband), the Vastra (headgear) and the ornamental dagger — Peeche Kathi among others.