Thursday, January 19, 2012


After his exciting "adventures" in Malayalam land Narnappaya returned to Padubidri leaving the businesses there to his sons, who between them managed the hotel ventures in Kollam and Alappuzha with reasonable success. The Badettil was renovated and further properties were acquired nearby. Narnappaya had an ambition to start a business in Padubidri-Udipi area and his dream materialized when he got an occasion to set up a grocery store at Padubidri in partnership with one of his son's in-laws. Though he worked hard to make it a flourishing activity, expecting substantial gains soon, unfortunately the business came to a grinding halt due to unsustainable financial losses. 

The imagination and the urge to make it big in business was such that he ventured into a rare area, that is organizing and running a movable tent house theater at Padubidri. Not much is known about the logistics of running such a theater and how long he managed to run the same but it did not last much when he decided to close the same probably for want of a viable viewer base. Lot of information gap exists regarding his other activities there after. It is also known whether Narnappaya did any supervision of the business activities in Kerala (remote controlling), though it can be presumed that there was not much discordant voices against him. Probably his success can be attributed in hind sight to his imposing personality and cunning nature that invited the nickname "The Fox" or "Kudikke"  by the local people. 

It appears Narnappaya had gained considerable status as a regional "satrap", commanding attention, adulation and even fear to some extent from the local community in and near Padubidri. People approached him to settle disputes, general as well as personal and he seemed to have performed his duties with considerable skill and fineness. Most of these disputes pertained to land ownership, internal family wranglings and local groupism. The episode at Brahmasthana when he transformed the Pingara flower into horse gram, threatening to throw them to cause small pox disease if the two warring groups in Padubidri did not bury their hatchet is still remembered with awe!  

Though he had unquestioned control over his pious, God-fearing wife and his six sons, as he grew old he did realize the realities of life and the nature of human desire to establish individual identity and partitioned his movable and immovable assets, one supposes equitably among his sons. As it happens often, his old age was not much to speak as he lost his control over his sons and after the demise of his wife he spent his time among the families of his sons in Kerala. Finally he could not resist the "call of his land" and at the fag end of his life returned to Padubidri to spend his remaining time in the Badettil with one of his sons to whom the property was bequeathed. His end came in a bizarre manner after he was affected by dementia, unstable behavior forcing him to be confined to bed breathing his last without completing the coveted century, missing it by just 2-3 months. His standing among the shivalli brahmin community is reflected by the presence of Revered Swamiji of Admar Mutt during his Sahasra Chandra Darshana Ceremonies. 

Answer to the last Quiz:

Dr P. Vedavyasa Rao, first son of late Subbaraya Rao, was the first Doctorate who obtained his Ph.D and went on to become a Senior Officer under the Central Government. To day he leads a contented retired life at Alappuzha and being the eldest member of Badettu family guides the younger generation members with his wisdom and experience. 

Quiz of this Issue;

Who was the first engineering graduate in Badettu family?


Monday, January 16, 2012


Badettu Narnappaya started his career by shifting his activities during his early days to Thripunithra, the erstwhile capital of the old Royal Kochi State where he was fortunate enough to get the patronage of the Royal family and was engaged for doing priestly service to the temple there. The Royal families of both Kochi as well as Travancore were enlightened rulers attracting many Shivalli brahmins from Mangalore-Udipi region for gaining employment as priests, locally known as "pottys" or "embrandiris" with responsibilities of doing pooja or "shanti" in some of the important temples in these two royalties. It is however not clear as to how many years he spent in Malayalam land though it is assumed it could be about a decade.   

After returning to Padubidri, Narnappaya tried his luck in hotel business at Udipi but could not achieve any thing substantial. In 1929 ( or earlier?)He returned to Malayalam land for trying to start hotel business some where in Travancore. What made him to select Kollam as his base is not very clear though this town was an important trading port with its known Light House for sea navigation on the Arabian Sea. The first Hotel was started in the name and style of "Sri Krishna Bhavan, Brahmins Hotel"  at Chinnakada, a busy market place and was successful in raising enough volume of business to sustain himself. He brought his sons who helped him to consolidate the business and also to start another hotel at Allappuzha, a port town near Kollam, reputed to be established by the renowned warrior Raja Keshavadasan, the Dewan of Travancore, during 1789 under the rein of Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. This hotel established around 1932 (or earlier?) was working till 2007, though it could not flourish as one would have expected probably because of rigid conservatism, labor aggressiveness and emergence of "nativism" among local population. What is remaining to day to remind about the achievements in Hotel Sector by the Badetty family descendants from both the branches are the reputed Hotels in Ernakulam owned by the children of late Govinda Rao of Srinivasappaya family branch and a small sized restaurant in Allapuzha owned by one of the sons of late Venkat Rao.

The fatherly duties of Narnappaya were evident when history tells us that he settled his three sons at Kollam while the other three were brought to Allapuzha to run the business. The profits generated were shared among the family members and during his life time itself all his sons were able buy their own properties while the Badettil was renovated and made a comfortable family home for all his sons and their families to enjoy. Lot of land owned by Narnappaya were leased out to farmers around on a "crop sharing" system for the mutual benefit of both the "Vokkaledawaru" (tillers) and the "Dhanikkulu" ( the owners. This symbiotic relationship was rudely disrupted by the irrational "land to the tiller" political philosophy of one of the chief ministers of Karnataka which destroyed the family harmony and fortunes of many brahmin families in south canara region pushing many of them into penury and poverty. It speaks well of Narnappaya's foresight in forking into business that paid rich dividends after the landed properties were taken away by the government. To day no single member of Badettu family is suffering from the past mishaps that happened in Padubidri due to the above episodes.

Answer to the last quiz:

The first chartered accountant in Badettu families of both branches was the much respected late V Sethuram who held aloft the pride of the family for a long time as one of the few successful professional in the finance and accountancy field. Of course he has been the inspiration for a few others in the family to follow his foot prints. Incidentally Sethuram's descendants are mostly settled in Bangalore, Karnataka, settled comfortably in life.

Quiz of this issue:

Who was the first Ph.D in the Badettu family?   


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Narnappaya is the central character of the story of Badettu family settled in Padubidri. He has often been described as a pious, well built person with charismatic personally and none of his descendants could match his physique that made him a compulsive overlord of all he surveyed during his life time. He married at a relatively young age and the bride was Radhamma, also popularly known as Radhakka lo the local people who considered her a matriarch of considerable wisdom. Radhakka was practicing strict religious rituals with no compromise earning respect from one and all. Narnappaya and Radhakka were practically the wisest people to the local tribal community as well as to all Shivalli brahmin families in Padubidri Village 

He is supposed to have renovated the old Badettu House, after his return from service with the Royal Family of Travancore and established himself as a Patron for all activities in the village. His role in renovating the famous/historical Mahalingeshwara temple is remembered even to day and his service as Moktheshwar or Manager of this temple for a number of years spread its fame far and wide. The Garbhagriha portion of the Ganapathi Temple, which is even to day is considered one of the four sacred temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha in the region of south canara, was redone under his guidance and the Badettu family considered this temple as one closely linked to its fortunes. The ancient practice of serving all devotees with "Panaka", a sweetened drink made from Lemon ( Sherbet) and butter milk, during the annual festival at Mahalingeshwara Temple, is a tradition started by him and this is continued even to day by the  present day residents of Badettu House. 

Narnappaya's fame and reputation were further consolidated by his active association with Brahmasthana, the sacred grove where Vana Durga (Khadgeshwari) is supposed to reign as the undisputed Goddess for the people of Padubidri and surrounding areas. This is a unique worshiping place where no buildings or structures are permitted as per the wishes of the presiding deity and even to day it is a landmark, untouched by modern civilization, preserved in all its natural glory. The Kornaya family members are only chosen to perform "Thambila" and "Dakke Bali", the first one any day of the year while the latter is conducted once in two years. Those selected by Goddess to perform these rituals are possessed during the time of the ritual and it is believed they can do amazing wonders as a medium of the Goddess. Badettu Narnappaya performed this role for a number years as senior "Pathiri" at Brahmasthana earning tremendous respect and admiration from communities in and around Padubidri.

One of the most memorable experiences of the community in Padubidri was the miracle performed by Narnappaya in transforming "Pingara" the tender flower liked by the Goddess during the rituals into horsegram on his palm and threatening to throw the same that would have caused, according to belief, mass incidence of spread of the dreaded infectious disease Small Pox. This was necessitated by the frequent quarrels and disunity among the Shivalli Brahmins in the area causing disharmony in the village. How this action caused the community to forget their differences and unite again, is history and a standing testimonial to the greatness of this man. One of the benevolent practices during his hey days was serving oil for body massage and feasts to local tribal community and fellow Brahmin families every year during his birth day.which was well appreciated by all.  

Later part of the life of Narnappaya provides more interesting episodes and will be published in due course. If there are any mistakes or factually incorrect statements in the above narration, please give the correct version

Quiz: Who was the first qualified Chartered Accountant in Badettu Family? Be free to air your views.   

Monday, January 9, 2012


Considering that there are over 700 descendants of Badettu Family of Padubidri, some senior members thought of the idea of organizing a convention some time in Oct-December 2012 to provide an opportunity for getting to know more about their co-members and create a permanent net work for interaction and mutual benefit. Preliminary to this Convention a smaller get together of the grand children of Narnappaya has been planned at Udipi on March 20, 2012. Further details are given below: 



During the recent obsequies ceremony of Late Govinda Rao of BTH at Ernakulam, it was a sight to see all the members of the family based in Thripunithara congregate and carry out the function in great plomb and decorum. All the second generation members of his family and a few third generation families were there rubbing shoulder with each other to complete the formalities as per Madhwa tradition. Though the family branch of Late Govinda Rao is a parallel branch in the Badettu Group, descending from late Srinivasapaya, the one based in Padubidri established by late Narnappaya has more roots in South Canara region with intimate association/ linkages to Padubidri temple and Brahmasthana and several second generation members have settled down here. It was the desire expressed by several members of Narnappaya family that it is desirable to have a convention of all members of this group to renew old connections and establish bridges to new third and fourth  generation members. An attempt is therefore being made now to organize a preliminary get together of the second generation members with the blessings and guidance of Dr P Vedavyasa Rao, the senior most member of the family on March 20, 2012 at Udipi. The Venue, Time and Agenda for the meeting will be intimated later after getting response from senior members of Badettu family.  


Badettu Family is said to have established its roots in 1861 at Padubidri with Vasudevappaya as the head. After him the mantle fell on Venkatappayava, folowed by Narayanappayy. It was during Narayanappa the Badettu family got the nick name "Kudukka" or Fox. Narayanappa had 6 sons -Vasudeva, Subbraya, Venkata, Ananthrama, Padmanabha and Gopalakrishna and 3 daughters Yamuna, ---, -- . Narayanappa died at the ripe old age of 100 years. his sons were settled in Alleppey and Kollam though their families later shifted to other places. One of the most memorable events at Badettu House was the Shatabisheka celebrations of Narayanappa in 1950 though many other functions like marriages were conducted there till the year 1980. Narayanappa was one of the "Pathris" at Brahmasthana for a number of years and had considerable influence in Padubidri. His role in establishing and renovating Padubidri Temple has been well recognized. Presently descendants of Ananthrama stay in  Badettu House while the families of others stay in different parts of the country. No first generation members are alive to day. The family has transformed from a predominantly temple priest oriented one to a hotelier family through 5 decades but to day it is dominated more by educated professionals, with important positions in many corporate organizations. A congregation of all members of the Badettu family is expected to  give an opportunity for evolving pride and satisfaction amongst the family members for being blessed to be part of this illustrious family.


The objectives are:

-to renew the contacts and relationship amongst the second generation family mambers 
-to get acquainted with all the families of 3rd and fourth generation members
-to create an exclusive Geni data base containing all the details of family members
-to inculcate a feeling of "oneness" and create bon homies amongst the members
-to establish communication linkages for future communication and exchange of ideas
-to share the rich life experience of many senior members with new generation mambers
-to honour achievers and senior family members and inculcate a feeling of pride, besides setting them as model citizens
-to evolve, if found feasible,, a mechanism to channelize ideas and experience of elders to younger members on a regular basis
-to examine the feasibility of holding such a convention periodically, say once 5 years to update the relationship
-to discuss modality for setting up a revolving fund for organizing regularly festivals or religious functions in Padubidri Temple, Brahmasthana, Indrali and Kodangala.
-to set up a mechanism for disseminating news regularly once in 3 months to keep members informed about developments in Badettu family.
-to evolve an institutional mechanism for facilitating alliances and marriages for boy and girls of marriageable age


As a preliminary exercise it is propose to convene a one day meeting of second generation families at Udipi as stated earlier.  An event will be organized for all the interested members to attend. Probably a ratha yatra in Udipi, a special event in Udipi temple, or any other temple with maximum acceptability. Further planning of the entire family gathering can be done at this meeting. Incidentally the famous Padubidri Ratha Yatra falls on March 21 followed by the "chendu" festival the following day.


It will be greatly appreciated if you can furnish brief details about yourself and your family, your off springs and their families and your grand children and their families. Information useful include: Name, full address, age, education, profession, alliance families, etc that will be useful to compile a directory for distribution at the meeting if possible or later.  


A temporary Secretariat has been set up under the coordination of Mr P Krishnan, also known to many as Kichen in Udipi in the following address:
P Krishnan
S.No 154/2,Badagabettu Ashwni
Tapande Cross Rd
Near Hanuman Garrage
Chitpadi, UDIPI 576 101-Tel-0820 2528842; (mob) 09448610973

Mr Krishnan popularly known as Kichen will contact you for any information you want to pass on and all corresponce may be made with him.


Sunday, January 8, 2012


During the early part of 20th Century, the younger brother of Badettu Narnappaya,named Badettu Srinivasappaya, popularly known later as Seenanna, who had his own family, migrated from Padubidri to Thripunithra, in erstwhile Cochin Kingdom to seek his fortunes, independent of his brother. The Padubidri land was shared between these two brothers and after disposing his share to Kombottu family of Hejmadi.he set up his home in the small princely town to lead a quiet life. His off springs and descendants, many of them well to do in life, are settled in and around Kochi District in Kerala.

Most widely known "son" of this family was late P Govinda Rao, who died recently at the ripe old age of 93 at his house at Ernakulam. He was a hotelier par excellence and his establishments Bharat Tourist Home, better known as BTH group are shining examples of entrepreneurship at its best and his noble sons are carrying on his traditions with their Bharath Hotel and Sarovaram, both in Ernakulam famous landmarks in the city. 

Though this branch of Badettu family had settled down in Kerala, there were in the past and are in the present, cordial relations and affections between the descendants of these two branches of Badettu Clan. Contributions to and association with many development works in the Padubidri Eashwara Temple as well as Brahmasthana have been well recognized. In future also this kinship will continue with renewed vigor.     

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Padubidri village, in erstwhile South Canara district, then in Mangalore district and now in Udipi district in the state Karnataka lies almost at the middle point between Mangalore City and the pilgrim town of Udipi. The trijunction at Padubidri has three roads, one towards North to Udipi, another towards East to Karkala and the third one to South to Mangalore. Badettu family had its origin in this serene village, about 300 meters east of the Arabian sea cost. It is reported to be an off shoot of Kornaya Family connected with the sacred Grove called BRAHMASTHANA which lies 150 meters north of the Badettu family house. Brahmasthana is still revered as a deity by the family which was associated with the center of worship during the time of its founders.

The family was supposed to have been established by Sri Vankatraman, the earliest ancestor known to some of the senior members of the family living currently and he seemed to have lived from the year 1842 to 1922 after establishing a dwelling structure. This place was originally inhabited by "Koragas", a tribal community which was a vibrant group happy with their lives. Koragas used to practice beating an indigenous drum called "Bade" or "Pade" after sun set and during the nights under the influence of locally brewed intoxicants. The beating of the drum or Bade gradually got transformed into Bade Bottu and later Badettu, which became the family name of Sri Venkatraman. The house came to be known as Badettil or Badettu Mane or Badettu House in English. The exact year of construction of the house is not known to any one living at present and there are no reliable documented records to rely on. however it is assumed that the period of building the present house must have been in the latter half nineteenth century (1878-1880).

Sri Narayana better known as Narnappaya and Nanu to his friend then is the central character in any story involving Badettu family as he was a person with whom many presently living senior members had close association and family bonding. He and his Six sons and two daughters spawned over 700 members spanning a period of almost 100years, living in different parts of the country and some even in foreign lands. The evolutionary story of Narnappaya and his descendants is both fascinating and intriguing. This blogger will try to uncover some of them during the next few issues