Kodava in India

Joshua Project has identified the Kodava only in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Kodagu (also known as the Coorg) live in the Coorg district of Karnataka State, southwestern India. The word kodagu literally means "situated to the west," and their district, Coorg, stands in the ridges of the Western Ghat Mountains. The forested area is rugged and hilly with a high annual rainfall. They speak a South Dravidian language that is also called Kodagu.

The Kodagu, known as a "little nation of warriors," have been praised for their courageous nature, honor, and loyalty. They have always been involved in political movements and fought bravely on the battle fields, gaining much respect for these efforts. It is said that war and agriculture are their twin occupations. For their bravery, the Kodagu have been honored with medals, swords, land, and money, both by the Indians and by the British. They are rugged, athletic, war-like people, who are proud of their lands and their ancestry.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In times past, every Kodagu village was self-sufficient. They had workers in many occupations, such as potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, goldsmiths, and barbers. Their prosperity waned, however, and they have since sought other jobs, such as working on coffee plantations or doing other types of agricultural labor. Both men and women are industrious and disciplined. In addition to their work in the home, the ladies also bear the brunt of the labor on the farms.

Modern individualism is adversely affecting the unity that was once found in Kodagu families. Traditionally, families were led by the fathers. However, today the discontented younger generation is continuing to breakdown this system by becoming more individualistic. It is also becoming more common for families to sub-divide their property in order to help maintain the land and pay the land taxes. In an effort to restore the "community spirit" that once existed, the Indian government has sponsored many community development projects.

Kodagu houses are typically situated beside the rice paddy fields and are surrounded by plantain, orange, and other trees. Their homes are raised off the ground and are always built facing the East. Large "family houses," where families gather for rituals, are built of stone and mortar, with solid, carved wood work. High-walled lanes lead up to these buildings.

The Kodagu traditionally wear long coats with silk sashes tied around their waists, sheathed swords at their sides, and turbans on their head. On ceremonial occasions, knives are also worn at their waists. The women wear scarves on their heads. Kodagu women have a reputation for being industrious and hospitable.

There are innumerable castes within the Indian society, of which the Kodagu are a part. There are different families and ethnic tribal groups in every village that have formed strong ties with one another. Nonetheless, the Kodagu strictly observe the caste hierarchy and do not form relationships with those of other castes. Even food that has been cooked by someone of a lower caste is considered untouchable.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kodagu, like all Hindus, believe in the law karma, which states that every action influences how the soul will be born in the next reincarnation. If one is born into a higher caste, it is believed to have been caused by his good works in a past life. They also practice ancestor worship, particularly the first member of their family who is known as the Karanova. They believe that the Karanova is God himself and that by worshiping him, they are worshiping God directly. In addition, each village has a presiding god to which animal sacrifices are offered.

What Are Their Needs?

There only a few known Christians among the Kodagu. Prayer is the key to reaching these people with the Gospel.

Prayer Points

* Ask God to encourage and protect the few known Kodagu Christians.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Kodagu towards the Gospel.
* Pray that God will raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray that the Lord will raise up long term workers to join the few who have already responded.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Kodava
People Name in Country Kodava
Population in India 110,000
World Population 110,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Coorg, Coorgi, Kodaga, Kodalagiri, Korava
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster South Asian, other
People Name General Kodava
Ethnic Code CNN23z
People ID 17228
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Karnataka, Coorg (Kodagu) District, around Mercara, bordering on Malayalam to the south.   Source:  Joshua Project
Total States on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
Karnataka (110,000) Maharashtra (200) Andaman and Nicobar (60)
Total States on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
Karnataka (110,000) Maharashtra (200)
Andaman and Nicobar (60)
Languages & Dialects on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kodava (100,000) Kannada (6,500) Malayalam (2,500)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kodava 100,000 Kannada 6,500
Malayalam 2,500
For Primary Language: Kodava

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Pavan Muthappa  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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