The Bunts (Tulu: ಬಂಟರ, Kannada: ಬಂತವರು, Malayalam: ബന്ടര്), are a largely Tulu speaking Hindu community of erstwhile nobility, feudals and gentry from the region of Tulu Nadu in the south west of India which comprises the districts of Udupi and Mangalore in the Indian state of Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk of Kerala. According to the system of Varna Bunts belong to the Nagavanshi (Serpent Lineage) order of Kshatriyas (Warriors). Bunts traditionally follow the matrilineal system of descent and kinship like their related communities of Samanta Kshatriya, Tulu Jains and Nairs.
The First mention of Bunts in Tulu Nadu is from a 9 century C.E. inscription where the Bunt warriors of Chokipali near Udupi are described along with the Shivalli Brahmins. Historian Edgar Thurston describes the Bunts as follows: “Men and women of the Bunt community belong to a beautiful race of asia. Men have a broad forehead and a parrot nose. Mostly they are of fair complexion. Even today they are of independent nature, short tempered, self respected and have muscular body, which tells about the history of belonging to warrior families”. As a warrior class, the Bunts, attained their greatest glory during the rule of Vijayanagara Emperors belonging to the Tuluva Dynasty which was founded by a chieftain Bunt called Tuluva Narasa Nayaka. After the fall of the dynasty the Bunts again concentrated themselves in Tulu Nadu where they took to large scale agriculture in the vast area of land they still possessed and also served as administrators and warriors in the various minor Hindu and Jain kingdoms that controlled various parts of the region from time to time. The Alupa rulers of coastal karnataka were Bunts and according to one of the various theories regarding the origin of Kadamba Kings, they are connected to the Bunts since one inscription states the kadambas belonging to the Nāga or the serpent lineage to which Bunts also belong and many Bunt families hold the surnames of Kadamba and Varma which were the titles of the Kadambas.
Since the beginning of the 20th century Bunts slowly gave up on their above stated traditional occupation and positions and today are mostly involved into entrepreneurial activities as well in the hospitality industry and banking sector.
The word Bunt is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Bhata' meaning powerful man or a soldier, the Tulu equivalent is 'Bunte' or 'Bunter' (plural) which means protector.
Bunts are also referred to as 'Nayaka', 'Shetray' and 'Nādava' which means leader, nobility and landlord respectively in Tulu. The word 'Shetray' anglicised as Shetty is the most common of all Bunt surnames followed by Rai. In fact in certain parts where the community has migrated like Mumbai, the community is simply referred to as the Shettys.
Bunts are highly multilingual and are generally well versed in languages other than their mother tongues of Tulu and Kundagannada (a dialect of Kannada or Kanarese highly influenced by Tulu). Tulu is the mother tongue of majority of Bunts who originally inhabit or hail from Kasaragod uptil Brahmavara (north of Udupi city). Bunts in Kundapura taluk (north of Brahmavara) speak Kundagannada as their mother tongue. Tulu speaking Bunts are called Tuluva Bunts and Kundagannada speaking ones are called 'Nādava' or 'Nada Bunts'. Tuluva Bunts generally call Nada Bunts as 'Badakaydagul' which translates into "our people in the north". There is also term called 'Thenkaydagul' which refers to Bunts who live south of the Payaswini river in Kerala. Is it a reference to the Samantha Kshatriyas or Nairs is unknown since there is traditionally no Bunt presence south of Payaswini.
The 17th century Brahmin -inspired Keralolpathi of the Malayali brahmins and the Grama Padhati of Tulu brahmins describes the Nairs of Kerala and the similarly matrilineal Bunts of Tulu Nadu as descendants of Kshatriyas who accompanied the Brahmins to Kerala and Tulu Nadu respectively from Ahichatra/Ahikshetra in northern Panchala..the remains of this city have been found in Ramnagar village in Aonla tehsil of Bareilly district in current Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
The Manual of Madras Administration Vol II (printed in 1885) notes that the Nadavas are the same people as the Nairs of Malabar and the Bunts of southern Tulu Nadu:
“ They appear to have entered Malabar from the North rather than the South and to have peopled first the Tulu, and then the Malayalam country. They were probably the off-shoot of some colony in the Konkan or the Deccan. In Malabar and south of Kanara as far as Kasargod, they are called Nayars and their language is Malayalam. From Kasargod to Brahmavar, they are termed as Bunts and speak Tulu. To the north of Brahmavar, they are called Nadavars, and they speak Kanarese. ”
The Nairs have disappeared as an entity from Tulu Nadu but the inscriptions found in Barkur from the medieval period as well as the Grama Padathi, which gives the history of Brahmin families in Tulu Nadu, have made several references to the Nairs. They seemed to have intimate connections with the Brahmins and acted as their protectors, perhaps brought to Tulu Nadu by the Kadamba kings in the 8th century. Kadamba king Mayuravarma, who is credited with bringing Brahmins from Ahichatra (from the north), also settled Nairs in Tulu Nadu. Yet, there is no written proof for this occurrence and the only mention of the Nairs in the inscriptions comes after the Alupa period (early part of 14th century). Like some of the kings of Malabar some South Kanara princes also have Nair ancestry. For example, the last ruler of Kanajar in Karkala Taluk was a Nayar Hegde. The royal house in Kowdoor (adjacent to Kanajar) is known as "Naayara bettu" which still exists. Also "Nayara" is one of the Bunts surname. It is postulated that the Nairs in Tulu Nadu were later absorbed into the social stratum of the Bunt/Nadava community. It is also postulated that the Nayars of Malabar originally migrated from the Tulu nadu
It is to be noted that the traditions and cultures of Nairs and Bunts are same to a large extent. Currently the Nairs who can trace their descent back to Tulunadu are concentrated in the Malabar region.
Bunts are orthodox Hindus who primarily worship Adi Shakti and can be termed as Shaktas, but Bunts are not exclusive Adi Shakti worshippers, they worship all gods of the Hindu pantheon including Shiva and Vishnu as aspects of the divine mother Adi Shakti. Other favoured deities of the Bunts include Ganesh, Subrahmanya, Krishna and Mariamma. Bunts believe that all gods of the Hindu pantheon are nothing but various aspects of Adi Shakti. In her spiritual form Adi Shakti is attributeless and is sometimes referred to as Ullaya or Ullaldi in Tulu and Parambrahma in Sanskritised Tulu which means impersonal god, Bunts therefore are monotheistic but at the same time worship all gods of the Hindu pantheon without any difference. Bunts believe that the way to moksha or liberation is through bhakti of any aspect of the divine mother. They are therefore followers of Vedanta philosophy, therefore throughout Tulu Nadu there are numerous temples dedicated to various Hindu gods patronised by Bunts. Also believed is that the first temple to be build in Tulu Nadu was that of Adi Shakti in Kunjarugiri near Udupi by Lord Parshurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu and a great Shiva devotee. Parshurama is credited to have created Tulu Nadu which is part of Parashurama Kshetra or Kerala, mentioned in the Puranas by reclaiming land from the sea god Varuna by throwing his divine axe or parashu, hence Tulu Nadu is also referred to in the Puranas as Parashurama Shrishti, "The world created by Par[a]shuram".
Bunts greatly revere the serpents, specifically the cobras, which are considered to be sacred creatures and embodiment of serpent deities. Naga Dever (serpent gods) are usually worshipped in sacred groves called 'nagabana' which are usually situauted adjacent to traditional Bunt homes called Guthu da ill. Nagabana shrines contain serpent images carved on pieces of stones. There are many serpent idols in a shrines owing to the belief that there are lakhs of sepent gods like Ananta, Vasuki, Thakshak and Karkotaka, which are mentioned in the Puranas. The main serpent deity of the Bunts is Nagaraja Vasuki who is considered the king of all serpents. The elaborate rituals of serpent worship that is practised in both Tulu Nadu and Kerala began with the advent of Bunts and Nairs in these regions. A paddana, an oral legend in Tulu, mentions Bunts as Kshatriyas (warriors) of Nagavamsha (serpent dynasty), the original Nagaradhakas (serpent worshippers) who migrated from the serpent kingdom of Achichatra Madastana in the north to Tulu Nadu. Serpent worship rituals observed by Bunts is of three types: Naga Tanu and Ashlesha Bali rituals done under the priesthood of Shivalli Brahmins and organisation of rituals dances of Nagamandala, which involves two ritual dancers. One from the Nagapatri subcaste of Shivalli Brahmins and the other dancer who belongs to a small community of ritual dancers called Bolli Pambadas. The pomp and grandeur with which Bunts observe these rituals can only be matched by the Sarpam Thullal of Kerala.
What is unique to all communities in Tulu nadu which includes the Bunts as well is their reverence of various spirits which are of both puranic and local origins, in addition to the established gods of Hinduism. Daivas or bhutas as they are referred to do not have a set form of physical representation. Symbolically a piece of rock is sanctified and considered as Daiva/Bhuta. Figurines made of wood or metal, are also used as symbols of Daiva/Bhuta, Planks of wood or stone pillars with a niche and a conical or a flat stone on its top also are symbols of the spirit. Some of the stronger spirits have more elaborate stone pillars and may even have temple-like permanent abodes called Daiva Saana or Boota Atte. These shrines can be both elaborate or simple. simple structures are usually with single cells with projecting thatched roofs. Elaborate ones resemble temples built according to the Dravidian style of temple architecture. Both elaborate or simple Spirit shrines are built according to the guidelines of Vastu Shastra. A number of weapons, made of metal, are kept in the Daiva Sanaas. Some of the more revered Daiva/Bhuta have ornaments made from oblations of devotees. These ornaments (called abharana) are displayed during the yearly festival called Bhuta Kola or Dharma Da Nema, when the spirits are propitiated by the devotees. Ritual Dancers belonging to the Pambada ,Nalike or some other castes adorn make-up and dance to the tune of recitations called Paddanas. These songs tell the story of the particular spirit and its relationship with the people that it protects. Each Daiva/Bhuta has its own unique costume and style of make-up. The Ritualdancer dances away at night to the beat of drums and other musical instruments Called Panchavadyam, Some time later the Ritualdancer goes into a trance and is overwhelmed by the spirit's power.At this time He makes predictions or suggests solutions to the devotees problems. The Bunts and other communities of Tulu Nadu seek protection from these good natured spirits. These spirits are classified as belonging to the whole village, or to a particular community or caste, or of a family. Some spirits are favored by certain communities, e.g. Bobbariya has a special place in the heart of the mogaveera community of Tulu Nadu. Jumadi,Jarandaya,Pilichamundi are considered as kingly spirit and are worshipped by many Bunt families as their family deity. Some of them spirits are of puranic origin e.g. Vishnumurti , Brahmer,virabhadra who are identified with Vishnu, nagabrahma and Virabhadra of the Puranas .Others are spirits of departed souls who were prominent figures in the community and had done good deeds while they were alive and attained moksha. e.g. Annappa Panjurli,Jarandaya etc. Yet some are of Totemic origins who are considered as lord Shivas, attendants or ganas like Pili-chamundi (Tiger), Nadigone (Bull), Mula Mysondaya (Buffalo) etc. There are hundreds of spirits named in Tulu nadu.Worship of the Daivas/Bhuta gives Tulu Nadu a distinct flavor. It is thought that before bhakti Hinduism was introduced to the region, the spirits were the Protector deities worshipped by the local people. Shaktism and shaivism were the main religious branches of Hinduism and since spirits are naturally associated with Shiva who is called Bhutha natha (Lord of the divine spirits). With the advent of Vaishnavism, the spirits attained a secondary role to the numerous other gods of Hindu pantheon. Yet, these spirits did not lose their place in the history of Tulu nadu, as they are worshipped even today with great reverence. Vaishnava Shivalli Brahmins, accepted the spirit's divinity and facilitated their worship in Tulu nadu. It is not uncommon to see the yearly ceremonies for the spirits conducted in the households of Bunt landlords, attended by the local village people including the vaishnava brahmins who seek the blessings of these spirits. The shivalli brahmins also worship these spirits as their family deities.Similar rituals called Theyyam are practiced by Malayalis in North Kerala.
Bunts also revere a Avadhuta called Bhagawan Nityananda.His origins are very sketchy,as he rarely spoke and spent most of his time in meditation,but he had great following among the Bunts in particular. He Lived Between 1897 - 1961 and travelled through much of southern India. He initiated many Bunts into the sanyasi order of life
The Bunts also follow a custom similar to Onam festivities of Kerala by welcoming Mahabali a pious Hindu king who was born among asuras in their homes and honour his great devotion to lord Vishnu on bali pratipada during Diwali. It is considered on this day Mahabali attained moksha
Bunts form one of the major tulu speaking communities of Coastal Karnataka. Their cuisine draws inspiration from the local produce and fruits found in this region .Rice is used imaginatively to create a vast rage of delicacies. The all time Bunt favorite is the chicken curry called kori gasee. Jackfruit, Banana, Mango etc., are used in various forms to prepare a wide variety of detectable dishes ranging from Kundapur to Kasargod, the Bunt cuisine contains many variations in use of ingredients and methods of preparation. This has only enhanced the distinctive flavors of each region and lent freshness to the culinary marvels of the community
The cuisine of Bunts is famous all over India especially in and around Mumbai where the community owns a number of famous hotels and restaurants . Bunts specialise both in vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Among non-vegetarian dishes, Kori Rotti, Neer dosa,and Kane Gasee are well known. Vegetarian dishes include Gullāa Chutney and Pāthrode.
Bunts have always had a penchant for rural sports especially Kambala- water buffalo racing.In ancient times Bunt kings used to organise Arasa kambala where people would compete for a huge price money in offer.Nowadays kambala are organised by associations run by Bunts.
Another passion of Bunts is Yakshagana,a form of theatrical opera similar to Kathakali of Kerala.Stories from the Hindu mythology are usually depicted in them.A popular yakshagana play among the bunts is based on the Devi Mahatmyam.
Kori - katta a form of Cock fighting which is banned by the government of India due to pressure of animal activists was something which Bunts loved to organise.
Traditionally Bunts lived in a joint family system wherein generation of maternally related relatives lived in a large single bungalow. This system called Manetana is similar to the Tharavadu system of the Nairs. These Bunt Bungalows are locally known as Guthu da ill or Beedu Mane which translates into house of prestige. Royal Palaces among the Bunts were called ArasaMane. Since Bunts were landlords or small feudatories, the location of the house was generally at the centre of the Landholdings each Bunt family collectively held. The head of each household was the eldest male member known as Yejamanaye. Situated amid picturesque surroundings of paddy fields, coconut and areca gardens, Bunt homes generally followed a distinct pattern of architecture taking into account the guidelines of the Vastushilpa-The traditional Hindu system of architecture. These houses have an entrance through a large door called the Hebba Bakil. The Hebbakil generally made of teak wood had intricate carvings on them. The hebbakil gives way to an open yard called the Angala. Angala is walled on all the four sides and the walls are generally carved. Following the angala is the Chawadi or the main courtyard where the landlord met his tenants or solved matters pertaining to village disputes etc. The chawadi is decorated with wodden pillars called Khamb which are carved which images from Hindu mythology etc. Chawadi had to be elaborately decorated, the more the decoration of a chawadi, that much affluent a particular household was considered. Inside the Chawadi is the Nadu mane or the middle portion of the house, which was used only by the members of the house and entry to it was restricted to non Bunts. Some houses have a small well created in the nadu mane for use of family members. Besides the Nadu mane a separate room is reserved for Daily worship called Devarakonaye. Apart from this there is another room Called gundakonaye where paraphernalia related to rituals of nagaradhane or bhuta kola was kept. Sometimes even the jewels belonging to the main Hindu temple of the village were kept here. These jewels belonging to the village deities were displayed only once in year during the annual temple festival called Ayana. Besides these there are several other rooms used for storing agriculture produce as well as bedrooms etc. Kitchen called adpil was located in the south east. A little distance from the house is the sacred grove called Naga Bana which are basically serpent shrines. The serpent shrines generally consisted of many stones on which Serpent images were carved. Special Pujas as held at these shrines every month on Sankranti. Other rituals of Nagaradhane are also performed but they do not follow a distinct time pattern. Further away from the nagabana is the Daivasaana (temple of the spirit deities). Annual ritual dances of the Bhuta Kola are held at these shrines. Such traditional Bunt houses can still be seen across the Tulu region. One of the well preserved houses called Kodial Guthu stands majestically at the centre of Mangalore city. Some other well preserved of these houses that display traditional architecture can be seen at Kolnadguthu near Mulki, Nayarabettu near kowdoora and Kodethuru Guthu near Kateel. Royal houses of the Bunts called Arasamane can be seen at Kutyar and Mulki.
Most communities in the Tulu nadu follow a system of matrilineal inheritance to family property, in which succession is followed along the female line i.e. succession does not take place from father to son but from uncle to nephew (one's sister's son). Called aliya santana, it is similar to marumakkatayam that is followed in certain class of people in Kerala namely the nairs. It is a law that has been followed by predominantly the Bunt community and the Tulu Jains. It is well established that the rulers of the feudatory states (like the Chautas, Bangas, Savantas, Ajilas, and Tolahas), followed the aliya santana system of inheritance. There is also evidence that the Alupas, before the rise of the Vijayanagara Empire, followed the system of matrilineality.
The law was recognized by the modern courts as far back as the British India in 1843. The rules of aliya santana were first published as the English translation in 1864, by the German Press Mission in Mangalore (printed in Madras Journal of Literature and Science).
The aliya santana commandments were decreed by a legendary figure of unknown antiquity, Bhutala Pandya (77 A.D.?). His uncle named Deva Pandya was the ruler, when certain important cargo with a newly built naval fleet was set out to sea. King of the demons, Kundodara, demanded sacrifice of the king's son if he wanted any protection of the valuable cargo that was sea bound. The king's wife refused to part with any of her seven sons, and Deva Pandya was distraught. The king's sister Satyavati, finding her brother lonely and dejected, offered her own son Jaya Pandya for the sacrifice. The demon Kundodara was impressed with this sacrifice. He not only spared the young boy's life but also bestowed upon him the kingdom of Jaya Pandya's father Veerapandya in the city called Jayantika. The demon also gave the name Bhutala Pandya on the brave young man and sat him on a throne.
Later another similar demand was made by the demon, when Deva Pandya's ships had run aground in Kalyanapura. In order to slake the demon's thirst for human sacrifice, the king made another request from his wife to spare one of their sons. But his wife refused to comply again and publicly renounced all inheritance of the kingdom for her own sons and left the kingdom to live with her parents. Bhutala Pandya was summoned by the people, who wisely propitiated the demon Kundodara as Mahishasura, and built him a permanent abode in Someshwara. Kundodara then demanded of Deva Pandya that he should disinherit all his sons and name his nephew Bhutala Pandya as the successor.
Bhutala Pandya ruled for a period of seventy-five years in peace and his subjects were prosperous. He had twelve wives with whom he had many children, both boys and girls. He commanded all his subjects to follow his uncle's example of the matrilineal system of aliya santana, and the laws of inheritance were written, as dictated by the demon Kundodara. Subsequently, his nephew Vidyadyumna Pandya came to power and the aliya santana system is said to have been followed ever since. Bhutala Pandya's progeny through aliya santana ruled for seven generations for a total of 259 years.
Of course, there are no historical records of the authenticity of the story of Bhutala Pandya. The first epigraph referring to the system of aliya santana is from the 10th century, suggesting that the system was followed at that time, when a passing reference was made in one of the inscriptions. Following this, several epigraphic inscriptions of later centuries refer to the system routinely and the practice was undoubtedly very prevalent. There is ample evidence to suggest that aliya santana was followed by large segments of the population between the 12th and 16th centuries in Tulu nadu.
Bari represents the matrilineal lineage of communities in Tulu nadu. Bari is the Tuluva counterpart of the Gotra followed by the Brahmins, influenced by the Brahmin tradition. Every family is identified by its Bari. The name of the Bari may denote a particular personality, symbol, place or name of a well known divinity. It is thought that the Baris in Tulu nadu were organized by chiefs, who were called Ballalas. Ballalas were said to have gained importance in Tulu nadu after the marriage between Hoysala king, Vira Ballala and the Alupa queen Chikkayi Tayi. Bari sets the rules for marriage alliances as well as adoption procedures. There cannot be marriage alliances between the same Baris. There are more than one hundred thirty named Baris established but eighteen of them are recognized from the days of King Bhutala Pandya. They are called aliya santana Baris. A Bunt is identified with his Bari from his mother's lineage rather than the father's, as Bunts are matrilineal
There are fourteen Guttus and sixteen Kattales which lay down the rules of aliya santana. These are commandments of the marriage customs, social positions of each of the Baris, management of family property and the ceremonies to be observed on occasions of births and deaths. They also enumerate laws of the land. Rules regarding social behavior and morality are found in the kattales, especially related to female behaviour. Women are given great importance among Bunts. Punishments and acceptance of women who go astray are laid down in elaborate manner. Rules of widow marriage and marriage of women who have been abandoned or abused by their husbands are detailed in sixteen different commandments pertaining to different ethnic groups of Tulu nadu. The laws according to Guttu and kattale are said to have been enjoined by Bhutala Pandya, as dictated by the benevolent demon Kundodara.
Marriage ceremonies traditionally took place within temple complexes.
The men folk from the bride's family proceed to the groom's house carrying a silver platter laden with betel leaves, betel nuts and flowers. An elder from the family is assigned the task of introducing the two families to each other. This visit is a mere formality to confirm the date and time of the forthcoming wedding. The exchange of betel leaves and nuts is a confirmation of the alliance and the elders are a witness to it. These days the 'nischitartham' might even be a more elaborate occasion, where the bride and groom exchange diamond engagement rings and the family follows this up by hosting a lavish party for close friends and relatives.
This ceremony is held separately in both homes. Traditionally this used to be a very simple ritual where just a dot of 'mehendi' or henna was applied to the bride's palms and finger tips, but has now evolved into a full fledged celebration complete with professional henna artists or 'mehendiwallis' being invited to weave intricate designs on the hands and feet of the bride and her close female friends and relatives. 'Mehendi is applied on the groom as well - but just as a symbolic dot on his palm.
The 'mangalasnana' ceremony is held separately in both homes one day before the wedding. The groom's cousins and other close family relatives apply turmeric and coconut milk on his face, body and arms. The barber gives him a haircut and then his sister's husband or maternal cousin leads him for his bath. A similar ceremony is held at the bride's home, where her cousins apply the turmeric and coconut A Ritual Bathing milk on her face and body. Her brother's wife or any other older lady from the family leads her for her bath. After the bath she completes the ritual by wearing a new sari, gold jewellery, and black bangles. The bride and groom then proceed to their 'puja' rooms and after a brief prayer go to the 'tulsi katta' (sacred tulsi plant) to witness the 'tulsi puja' performed by the Brahmin.
The bride and groom are blessed by their families and close friends This ritual is once again conducted separately in both homes and takes place after the 'tulsi puja'. Primarily a ceremony for receiving blessings, it has however turned into an elaborate function where a 'pandol' or canopy is decorated with flowers and banana palms and owing to the number of invitees, it is not possible to host it inside the homes. The bride's maternal uncle and aunt slip silver toe-rings on her feet. The eldest 'sumangali' (married lady) distributes red and green glass bangles to all the women present. The bride has to wear black, red and green bangles. All the elders who shower her with rice then bless her. The groom goes through a similar ritual - where his maternal uncle's wife or his paternal aunt adorns his feet with silver toe-rings. He too is blessed by all with the showering of rice.
According to tradition the elders in the Bunt community officiated during the marriage ceremony along with the brahmins. These days however,Brahmins alone do the needful. The groom is escorted to the venue of the wedding by his sister's husband or maternal uncle. The bride's brother receives him at the venue and welcomes him by washing his feet. The bride's aunt performs the traditional 'aarti' in his honour and the bride's mother follows it up by performing the 'deepa aarti' (welcome ritual performed with lighted lamps) for him. The bride arrives at the venue of the wedding in all her finery and is received by her brother's wife, a cousin or an aunt, who leads her to the 'mantap' (platform erected for the marriage ceremony). Her brother washes her feet as well and a similar type of welcome ceremony is performed for her. The 'Brahmin' requests the groom's sister and her husband or a cousin to hold the hands of the bride and groom and lead them around the 'deepa' (lamps) and the 'mantapa'. After this the couple enters the 'mantapa' and after a Vedic puja is performed, they exchange garlands.
The bride's parents in the presence of her maternal uncle, his wife and elders of her family perform this ceremony. A silver or gold 'chembu' (vessel with a spout) filled with 'Theertha' or 'ganga jala'(holy water) is held by the bride's parents and taken to all the elders of both the families for their blessings. A gold coin known as 'nanya' is placed on the bride's palm beneath which the groom places his hands and the bride's parents pour the water from the 'chembu' onto the couple's hands. This ritual is called dhare. The 'mangalsutra' (gold chain with black beads), is blessed by 5 'sumangalis' (married women) and the groom ties it around the bride's neck. The bride then slips a plain gold ring on the groom's finger. The bride and groom are made to hold the 'chembu' and sit down and rise three times in quick succession. This is known as the 'dhareyeruna'.
The Brahmins lights the sacred fire known as homa or sacrifice is performed amidst Vedic chants. The bride's brother puts fistfuls of puffed rice into the hands of his sister and the groom, which they in turn offer into the sacred fire each time they go around it, namely three times.
The groom holds the bride's hands and together they take seven steps around the fire. With each step the bride has to tip over small heaps of rice with her right foot and repeat the seven marriage vows along with the groom.
Bunts have a little over hundred surnames, but the most common are 'Shetty', 'Rai' and 'Hegde'. Other surnames among the Bunts are Adappa, Adasu, Adyanthaya, Ajila, Ajiri/Ajri, Alva, Arasa, Ariga, Athaara / Attara, Athikaari / Athikari, Athre, Bari, Baithani / Bythani, Ballal, Banga, Bangaar, Bhandaari / Bhandary, Bhoja, Binnage, Brana, Budale, Bunnala, Bunta / Banta, Chowta / Chauta, Dore, Ghambheera / Ghambhir, Horuva, Kajava, Kanjava, Kava, Kadamba, Kakva, Kambali, Kaantheeva / Kanthiva, Kariyaal / Karyal, Kayya, Kille, Konde, Kottari / Kottary, Kudre, Kundade, Kundahegde, Mada, Mana, Manava, Manayi / Manaae, Mardi, Marla, Marala, Maddala, Mallala, Malli, Marthe,M elanta, Menava, Menda, Mudhya, Mudya, Mugayya, Mukkala, Mundera, Muraya, Naadava, Nanaya, Naik, Nayaka / Nayaga, Nayara, Nonda, Pala, Pandi / Pandyi, Padyar, Pakkala, Paradi, Palayi / Palae, Patlashetty, Payyade, Payyahegde, Payyani, Pegde, Pergade, Poonja / Punja, Poovani / Puvani, Raja, Raya, Samani, Samanta, Santha / Santa, Sankaya, Semita, Servegara, Sheba, Shekha / Sheka, Shenava / Senava, Shettyvala, Sooda, Sorapa, Sulaya / Sulae, Tanjiva, Tholara, Vala, Varma, Verman