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Kodava Hockey Festival

The Kodava Hockey Festival is a unique hockey event organised in kodagu district of Karnataka state in India. The land of Kodavas, Kodagu district is famous for being the cradle of Indian hockey in the recent years. The Kodava Hockey Festival was incepted in the year 1997 and is organised by the Kodavas, on a regular basis. It is a kind of family festival where more than 200 families participate every year. The festival is reckoned as one of the largest field hockey tournaments in the world and has been referred to the Guinness Book of Records as well. It has already got special mention in the Limca Book of Records, which is recognised as an Indian variant of the Guinness Book.

Origin of Kodava Hockey Festival

The Kodava Hockey Festival was the brainchild of Mr. Pandanda Kuttappa, a former first division Hockey referee in Karnataka. Aware of the passion for Hockey in Kodagu, Kuttapa reasoned that organising an annual hockey festival would be a great idea to bring all the Kodava families together. Another reason behind his choosing hockey as the main theme of the festival was to further facilitate the upbringing of the junior hockey players of Kodagu. 60 families participated in the first edition of the festival. Mr. Kuttappa also framed some rules for the tournament.

After successfully organising the inaugural tournament, an academy named ‘The Kodava Hockey Academy’ was established to govern all activities related to the tournament. The Kodava Hockey Festival gained popularity year by year. It saw the participation of highest number of 334 teams in the Kulletira Cup, held at Napoklu in 2018. The maximum number of women players participated in the Cheppudira Cup, which was organised at Ponnampet in 2000. 30 women took part in the tournament. The winners and runner-ups of the tournament are presented cash prizes, along with traditional Kodava ornaments like Thodang, Pommale, Thookbolcha, Kuthibolcha, etc. The man of the series also receives a special prize.

Features of Kodava Hockey Festival 

The principal rule of the Kodava Hockey festival is that all the members of a team must belong to the same family (surname) and participate in full hockey attire. The women members of a family were also allowed to be a part of the team.

Each year, the Kodava Hockey Festival is organized by different families and the tournament is named after the organising family. The organising family is responsible for arranging the finances and infrastructure needed for the festival and the cost is recovered from the sponsors and raffle tickets. Apart from the organising family, the other families participating in the tournament also bear a part of the cost, depending on their capacity. The inaugural edition of the festival was named as Pandanda Cup, after the organisers, Pandanda family.

Apart from organising the hockey tournament, the Kodava Hockey Festival is also quite famous for its extraordinary opening and closing ceremonies. A special guest inaugurates the tournament by doing a pass-back of the hockey ball using a silver hockey stick. In the opening and closing ceremonies, the Kodavas demonstrate various forms of dances and martial arts and entertain the spectators. The festival also boosts the economy of the area by large, as several people setup stalls for business purposes around the venue. The festival attracts many tourists as well, who come and enjoy the excitement of the matches. !!

Families hosting the cup

Kodava Hockey Festival by year table
No. Year Name Held at Number of teams Winner Runners Up
1 1997 Pandanda Cup Karada 60 Kaliyanda Anjaparavanda
2 1998 Kodira Cup Kadanga 116 Kullettira Koothanda
3 1999 Ballachanda Cup Kakotparambu 140 Koothanda and Kullettira
4 2000 Cheppudira Cup Ponnampet 170 Koothanda Nellamakkada
5 2001 Nellamakkada Cup Ammathi 220 Koothanda Cheppudira
6 2002 Chekkera Cup Hudikeri 252 Kullettira Nellamakkada
7 2003 Kaliyanda Cup Napoklu 280 Nellamakkada Konerira
8 2004 Maleyanda Cup Madapur 235 Koothanda Nellamakkada
9 2005 Biddanda Cup Madikeri 222 Nellamakkada Koothanda
10 2006 Kallichanda Cup Ponnampet 217 Palanganda Machamada
11 2007 Mandettira Cup Kakotparambu 186 Mandepanda Anjaparavanda
12 2008 Alamengada Cup Ponnampet 216 Anjaparavanda Koothanda
13 2009 Mandepanda Cup Ammathi 231 Nellamakkada Machamada
14 2010 Maneyapanda Cup Ponnampet 214 Palanganda Mukkatira(Bonda)
15 2011 Machamada Cup Ponnampet 228 Palanganda Kaliyanda
16 2012 Iychetira Cup Ammathi 217 Palanganda Kaliyanda
17 2013 Madanda Cup Balugodu 225 Anjaparavanda Palanganda
18 2014 Thathanda Cup Virajpet 242 Kaliyanda Palanganda
19 2015 Kuppanda Cup Virajpet 255 Palanganda Chendanda
20 2016 Shantheyanda Cup Madikeri 299 Kaliyanda Palanganda
21 2017 Biddatanda cup Napoklu 306 Chendanda Paradanda
22 2018 Kulletira cup Napoklu 334  Chendanda  Anjaparavanda
22 2019 Not held due to Natural disaster of floods across kodagu
22 2020 Not held due to Pandemic of COVID 19