ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Kunde Habba

The Profane and the Sacred

Kunde Habba is a way for the indigenous Kodava community to show their resistance to the exploitation of their resources, land and bodies by the planters of Coorg.


Local festivals are an important aspect of Coorg (Kodagu) districts culture. They honour the legends of the land and are celebrated by both, the tribal community and the settler-planters. The region reknowned for its serene beauty and rich heritage is home to various ethnic groups such as the Eravas, Kurubas, Poleyas, and Kudiyas. Together they are called indigenous Kodavas while the rest are settler-planters. Some prominent festivals celebrated by these two communities include Kaveri Sakramana, Puttari, Kailpodh, and Kunde Habba.

Kunde Habba, also known as the Bum festival, is an annual festival celebrated by the Yerava and Kuruba communities in Devarapura, South Kodagu. They have their distinct language, customs and traditions, and are nature worshipers who act as protectors of the land. The Eravas are traditionally regarded as custodians of the forests and considered the lowest of the jungle tribes of Coorg in the social hierarchy. During this festival, tribal men move freely, dress in predominantly female costumes, and engage in provocative dance steps and abusive language against their masters and gods. The festival is celebrated for three days and begins at the Devarakadu, a sacred grove dedicated to Lord Ayyapan and Goddess Bhadra Kali. The festivals origin myth tells the story of Ayyapan and Bhadra Kali betraying the tribal people, leading the latter to abuse the gods in revenge. The tribals dress up in costumes and hurl abusive songs (Kunde songs) at the gods, cross-dressing and collecting money for their use and that of the temple. They also collect some of the communitys rice, hens, and money and engage in heavy drinking, dancing, and singing.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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