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Introduction

Kota hail from the Kundapur and surrounding areas of Udupi district in Karnataka, Bantwal and Puttur Taluk in Mangalore District and Kasargod District in Kerala. Originally thought to have been brought to Kota (Udupi Taluk)and surrounding areas from northern India by Parashurama, they speak a Kannada different from the other regional dialects. Kota Brahmins who had been originally concentrated in the villages of Kota, Saligrama Koteshwara and Kundapura of Udupi district have apparently spread to other areas also mentioned above. One of the famous Kota Brahmins is Dr.Shivarama Karantha (Jnanapeetha award winner) who hailed from Saligrama, of Udupi Taluk.


Origin of Kotas

The origin of Dakshina kannada Brahmins, which includes Kota Brahmins, is given by Mr. Neria Harish Hebbar, MD in his Article.

The Kota Brahmins come originally from a village near Udupi, and did not convert to Vaishnavism; they remained as bhasma (ash)-dharis and followers of the Smarta sampradaya. The other sects were influenced by Sri Madhvacharya to become Vaishnavites, e.g., Koteshwara Brahmins and Madhva Shivalli Brahmins.


Guru Narashima

Kota or Koota Brahmins do not believe in any sort of human guru or religious heads. Instead, they consider the Lord Narasimha, one among the ten incarnations of the Lord Vishnu, to be their Guru. Hence, the deity in Saligrama temple is referred to as Guru Narasimha.


Geographic Distribution

Though originally inhabiting the villages in and around Kota near Brahmavar of the present day Udupi district, various families emigrated to Shivamogga, Chikkamagaloor, South Canara, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other regions in due course of time. Before India's independence, and the subsequent partition of states on linguistic basis, this place was included in the Madras state, and not the adjoining state of Mysore. Hence, many families migrated to Madras State for education, business, and other purposes. A large number of Kota brahmins migrated to Kerala and took up the temple priesthood there in the twntieth century. They are called 'Potty' in South Kerala and Embrandiri in other parts of Kerala. Today, Bangalore has a significant share of Kota Brahmins, where the community thrives in such sectors as hotel/catering business, banking, medicine, life insurance, software and related engineering professions etc. There are villages having predominantly Kota brahmin population in Shimoga and Chikmagalur Districts also.


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