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Preparations on for Kodava family hockey festival

By Jeevan Chinnappa

MADIKERI, MARCH 27. Summer heralds a torrid time for the people of Kodagu. But, the Kodava family hockey festival being organised by various Kodava families every year is looked forward to by all eagerly during April and May. It is called a festival because all members of a Kodava family, irrespective of age and gender, can represent it in the tournament.

Biddanda Cup

The Biddanda family takes the pride in organising the festival, ninth in the series, in Madikeri from April 15. So far, 220 Kodava family teams have confirmed their entries. The organisers of "Biddanda Cup 2005" have come up with two grounds at the Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College here for the tournament. Work on a gallery to accommodate spectators is on. Shopping malls, fun and frolic will be added attractions, according to the organisers.

The Kodava family hockey festival has found a place in the Limca Book of Records for many reasons. It is the largest ever hockey event to be organised in any part of the world at one stretch. Even if a team managed with 16 players, about 220 teams would make a formidable over 3,500 players in all. There are 30 recognised hockey umpires officiating in the festival. A couple of them are international umpires. The Kodava Hockey Academy, which came into existence after the launch of the Kodava family hockey festival in 1997, has the final say over all matters related to the tournament.

There are novel concepts behind starting the Kodava hockey festival. Thanks to Pandanda Kuttani and his brother, Kashi, for organising the first "Pandanda Cup" in 1997 at Karada in which 60 Kodava family teams participated. The Kaliyanda family won the cup. The Kodira Cup was organised in 1998 at Kadanga. As many as 116 teams participated in it and the Kullettira family clinched the cup.

In the Ballachanda Cup organised in 1999, 140 teams participated. The Koothanda family and the Kullettira family were declared joint winners. However, the Koothanda family went on to win the next two editions. The Cheppudira Cup, in which 170 teams participated, was organised at Ponnampet in 2000. The Nellamakkada Cup (220 teams) was organised at Ammathi in 2001.

The Chekkera Cup at Hudikeri drew 252 teams in 2002. The then Governor, Rama Devi, attended the finals. The Kullettira team bagged the cup. The Kaliyanda Cup was organised at Napoklu in 2003. As many as 280 teams participated in it, and the number is the highest so far. The Nellamakkada family won the cup. The Maleyanda Cup was held at Madapur last year in which 235 teams participated. The Koothanda family re-established its supremacy in the hockey festival by winning the cup for the fourth time.


The festival has helped foster unity among the Kodava families. Many Kodava families could meet at the ground on the pretext of the matches. Hockey players, who have represented India in international matches, are evincing interest in the festival, giving it not only a competitive look but also a professional edge. The sagging economy of Kodagu, owing to the fall in coffee prices, has not deterred the Kodavas from organising the festival every year.

Minor incidents have marred the fair name of hockey in the recent years. Roughing up umpires has resulted in suspension of a few players. A champion team such as Kullettira did not participate protesting the action against a few of its players last year.

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