The clan of Kodavas in the Indian state of Karnataka have a long history of association with the game of field hockey. The district of Kodagu which is the land of the Kodavas is considered as the cradle of Indian hockey.
More than 50 Kodavas have represented India in international hockey tournaments, out of which 7 have also participated in Olympics. B P Govinda, M P Ganesh, M M Somaiya, C S Poonacha are some of the prominent Kodavas who have represented India.
The passion for hockey in Kodagu is so much that more than 200 families participate in an annual hockey festival. This festival is recognised as one of the largest field hockey tournaments in the world and has been referred to the Guinness Book of Records.
However it has already found a mention in the Limca Book of Records, which is an Indian variant of the Guinness Book.
The Kodava hockey festival was started in the year 1997 and was the brainchild of 69-year-old Pandanda Kuttappa and Pandanda Kashi Ponnappa.
Pandanda Kuttappa was a first division hockey referee and an ex-employee of State Bank of India.
He conceived the idea of creating a platform in which the different Kodava families can get together. Realising the passion of hockey in Kodagu, he decided that a hockey festival would be a good event to bring Kodavas together. He also chose the hockey festival because he was disturbed about the growth of junior hockey players from Kodagu.
The finances required for the inaugural tournament were provided by Pandanda Kuttappa and by his brother Pandanda Kashi Ponnappa. Pandanda Kashi Ponnappa was a renowned hockey player represented Mysuru University at a very young age and well known teacher. The response was very good and this tournament held at Karada and called as Pandanda Cup attracted around 60 families.
Some rules were framed which included that all the team members must belong to the same family (surname) and participate in a full hockey attire. Even women could be a part of the team and it was left to the woman to decide whether she wants to represent the father’s family or that of the husband’s.