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Celebrating Tradition: The Kodava Hockey Festival

Celebrating Tradition The Kodava Hockey Festival

The lush hills of Kodagu, affectionately known as Coorg, boast not only of coffee and cuisine but also of a deep-rooted passion for hockey. For the people of this region, hockey is not just a sport; it is a cherished tradition passed down through generations.

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A Legacy of Hockey

Every household in Kodagu seems to have a hockey stick, symbolizing the region’s enduring love for the sport. The annual Kodava Hockey Festival, recently recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest field hockey tournament, embodies this passion.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

Initiated in 1997 by Pandanda Kuttappa and his brother Kashi Ponnappa, the tournament was born out of a desire to preserve hockey’s legacy in its heartland. What began modestly with 62 participating families has now grown into a grand spectacle, with 360 teams and over 4,800 players competing.

A Celebration of Community

Hosted by different families each year, the tournament fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie within the Kodava community. Participants range from Olympians to kindergarten children, with age and gender no bar. The oldest player, aged 91, and the youngest, a five-year-old, both epitomize the spirit of the event.

Bridging Generations and Continents

Families across the globe, from NRIs to those settled in distant lands, come together to partake in this cultural extravaganza. For many, like Arun Achandira from Melbourne, participating fulfills a lifelong dream and connects them to their roots.

Beyond the Field

The tournament has evolved into a carnival, featuring various activities and competitions, all aimed at preserving unity and tradition within the Kodava community. It serves as a reminder of the rich sporting heritage that resides in the hearts and souls of Kodavas.

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