Kodava Hockey Festival

The Kodava hockey festival, an annual inter-family field hockey tournament held in the Kodagu district of Karnataka, is set to return after a four-year hiatus. The festival is organized by a different Kodava family each year and is named after them. This year’s festival will be organized by the Appachettolanda family and will take place in Napoklu, a small town 21 km away from district headquarters Madikeri.

Preparations for the festival

The town of Napoklu is getting ready to host the world’s largest field hockey tournament, which is expected to attract 30,000 spectators. The town has only three mud grounds, and workers were seen preparing the grounds for the tournament. Temporary bleachers have been set up on all sides of the ground where 30,000 spectators can be accommodated.

Multiple galleries, lighting, speakers, and display boards have been set up on the ground. In all, three grounds will be utilized for the hockey tournament, and they will also be used as a backup in case it rains. An estimated ₹1.5 crore have been spent to organize the event by the family.

No age or gender restrictions

The Kodava hockey festival has no age or gender restrictions, and the only requirement is that all members of a team must be from the same family. This unique aspect of the festival ensures that it remains a family-oriented event, where Kodava players from over 200 families come together to play. From every family, young boys and girls, men, women, professionals, and former hockey players who have represented the state or country will be part of the family team.

The Kodava community conducts this inter-family hockey tournament every year, which has morphed into a major sporting event and festival in the country. The festival has emerged as a platform for the community members to discuss trade and business interests besides scouting for marital alliances.

The history of the festival

The late Pandanda Kuttappa conceived the idea of the Kodava family hockey tournament in 1997, and it was organized by the Pandanda family first. The tournament was conceived in a belief that tapping the inherent love among the Kodavas for hockey could help bring the families and the community together. The first tournament saw nearly 60 teams take part. The format of the tournament was such that every year, one of the Kodava families had to host the event. Starting with the first tournament, the numbers have increased, reaching a high of 281 in 2003, where this event became the world’s largest hockey tournament.

The festival also serves as an opportunity for Kodava people living outside the district to return home and take part in the sporting event like a festival. The festival has been held across the district in previous years, and there is no permanent venue. Families apply to the Kodava Hockey Academy expressing interest and are allotted the tournament after evaluation.

Inauguration and cash prizes

The festival will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on March 18, and it will open with an exhibition match between India Junior XI and Karnataka Men’s XI. While the winning team of the festival this year will be given a cash prize of ₹3 lakh, the runners-up will get ₹2 lakh, and the second runner-up will get ₹1 lakh.



1 Comment

  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho

    May 10, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Happy Kodava Hockey Festival to all the participating teams and to their fans.

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