GURURAJA BHAT P., 1924-1978

Padooru Gururaja Bhat (paDUru gururAja BaT) (ಪಡೂರು ಗುರುರಾಜ ಭಟ್) was a scholar specializing in the disciplines of history and archaeology. He has made substantial contributions to the study of history and culture of ‘TuLu nADu’ ie coastal Karnataka, before his premature death. He was a native of Padoor village in Udupi district. After early schooling in Karkala, he became a school teacher. However he obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Madras and secured a post graduate degree in history from the Benaras Hindu University . He was a lecturer in Ancient History and Archaeology before assuming charge as the founder principal of St Milagres College, Kalyanapur.

Gururaja Bhat is known for his pioneering and diligent work in the area of regional studies. He went round coastal Karnataka studying many aspects of art, architecture and archaeology of the region. He is renowned as the Father of Tulu Archaeology. He could study and document about 2000 monuments. More than 12,000 inscriptions and thousands of icons were seen and analyzed by him, most of them perhaps for the first time. His monumental work on Tulu Culture entitled “Studies in Tuluva History and Culture, from the Pre-historic times up to the Modern’ is the out come of this never ending labour. This volume contains literally hundreds of plates. He has covered important places related Hindu and Jaina religions extensively. He has tried to unearth relics of Buddhism belonging to an earlier period. In addition to this, he has collected material relating to Bhoota Worship which is unique to this region. His work on bArkur, a small town is particularly interesting. Along with others, he found relics of megalithic culture in this place. He has documented his thoughts about the evolution of Tulu language and literature. He has written extensively on the temples of Subrahmanya and Udupi. It is no exaggeration to say that almost any research on any temple of South Canara begins with an acknowledgement of Dr Bhat’s findings about that. He has made unique contributions to the study of place names. He has contributed more than five hundred articles to well known periodicals on Tulu history and culture in addition to writing the books enumerated below.

Interestingly, Gururaja Bhat mentions five features that set TulunaaDu distinct from the rest of Karnataka. They are Bhuta Nritya or Spirit Worship (dance), Nagamandala and Dakke Bali, Aliya Santana, Tulu language and Tattva Vaada of Sri Madhvacharya.


1.      ‘Antiquities of South Canara’, 1969, Prabhakara Press, Udupi.

2.      ‘Studies in Tuluva History and culture’, from the pre historic times up to the Modern’, 1975, published by the author.

3.      Tulunaadina Naagamandala’, 1977.

4.      ‘Kadri Shri Manjunatha Devalaya: Kshetra Mahatme mattu Itihasa’, 1974, published by the trustees of the Kadri Manjunatha temple.

5.      Temples of Dakshina Kannada’

6.      ‘Tulunaadina Itihasa’

7.      ‘Tulunaadina sapthakshetragalu’, 1976, I.B.H. Prakashana, Bangalore .

Furthe Readings and Links:

1. ( A photograph of Dr Gururaja Bhat)



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