Princess Gouramma and her Goan Origins

Princess Gowramma(Gouramma) of Coorg
Princess Victoria Gowramma of Coorg(La Princesse Victoria Gouramma De Coorg) Image:

Yeah, you read the title right. But I am not the one trying to claim anything near. That is by one Udayraj Gadnis in an article titled: Lost Goan Treasure” in TOI by Shruti Pandit. Seems Mr. Gadnis did not care much about fact check and let his imagination take its own course. And nor did Shruti.

Mr. Gadnis has the following to say about the Coorg Princess:

I was deeply struck by the beauty of the face and the elaborate Goan hairstyle with the typical aboli phoole in hair (amboda) and the very exquisite jewelry that you can see even today in Goan devi temples. I started my in depth research and I was amazed by the story I found.

Adding that:

Goan sonar (Goldsmith) from Loutolim was invited to create jewellery for this baptism for Gauri. “That’s very obvious from the designs and the inscription of his Goan village that can be seen engraved on her gold belt. It is also mentioned in records that Gowramma is wearing Saddo and Fato — both are Goan Portuguese words — underlining the Goan origin of the girl and her attire!” . “What intrigues me is the fact that she is wearing a yoni pendant. This means that she was born a mystic and probably was one of the first few Bhairavis — women tantrics — of Goa.

It is learnt that she was lovingly called Gaurimaa and her poems on river Mandovi and Lord Mangesh at the age of ten are mystical.

Phew….. Gadnis and his in-depth research!

Those who fell for Gadnis’s in-depth research and version, here is what we learn and understand from history….

Princess Gouramma was born to the favourite Coorg queen of Chikka Veerarajendra(CV). She was NOT born in Goa as CV or his wife never traveled to Goa(not even for their honeymoon), let alone the claim of being born as a Goan mystic . The Amobli Phoole(flower) that he talks about is an exquisite jewelry, worn as a headgear by the young queen, was  a part of the Coorg royal family treasures1Herrmann Mögling( 1855)Coorg Memoirs: An Account of Coorg and of the Coorg Mission, p.206.  Below mentioned is an eye witness account of the jewelry(emphasis mine):

The Coorg Ranee wore a most lovely tiara of diamonds and emeralds in the form of a large bunch of flowers, very like those belonging to the Queen of Spain in the Exhibition of 1851, but much more splendid.2John & Charles Mozlkey(1879),Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church, p.613

Now I do not know what Saddo & Fato is . So did a bit of googling and came up with nothing. If anyone knows, please do let me know. But as Mr.Gadnis is claiming that in the “records” it has been mentioned that she is wearing that, I would like to go through those records. Maybe she is wearing the Saddo & Fato, but what on the earth is Saddo & Fato ?.

Regarding the yoni – I had a good look at the image, and did not find anything that comes close to yoni. Pl note that I searched for “Yoni Pendant”. I have not tried to search for “Yoni” .

The image of Gowramma that is shown in the TOI article is from Amir Mohtashemi’s collection, not sure if it is same one Mr.Gadnis saw at the auction that he visited.

The only Goan connection the Coorg Royal Family had – was that the daughter of Dodda Veeraraja married the King of Soonda in Goa. Last time when I was in Goa, I visited his bastion.

This reminds me of one of my favorite scene from one of my favorite movie. Enjoy!


  • 1
    Herrmann Mögling( 1855)Coorg Memoirs: An Account of Coorg and of the Coorg Mission, p.206
  • 2
    John & Charles Mozlkey(1879),Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church, p.613
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