Chowta (also Chauta) is a common surname of the Bunt people of Karnataka and Kerala, India. It is also the name of the Jain Bunt dynasty who ruled certain parts of the Tulu Nadu region for several centuries (12th- 18th). They succession to the throne was as per the Bunt custom of matrilineal inheritance (Aliyasantana). They initially ruled from their capital at Ullal and the first known king of the Dynasty was Tirumalaraya Chowta I(reign 1160-1179).His successor, Channaraya Chowta I ( reign 1179-1219), moved it inland to Puttige.Bhojaraya Chowta II (reign 1470-1510) was the greatest of the Chowta rulers. He visited the court of Krishnadevaraya, the Vijayanagar emperor, and received royal insignia from him.The principality of Chowta split in 1544,with two separate capitals, one at Ullala, under the renowned Queen Abbakka Chowta, and another at Puttige.Ullal branch seems to have become extinct and Circa 1603, the Chowta moved their capital to Moodabidri.In succeeding years Chowta power had greatly diminshed due to invasions by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan with whom they signed treaties.Chandrasekhara Chikkaraya Chowta V was the last Chowta king who had some authority.He reigned from 1783 to 1822.Following the conquest of South Canara by the British the Chowtas lost all their power except that they received a small pension from the then government.Descendants of the chowta rulers still survive and inhabit the Chowtara Aramane (Chowta Palace) of Moodabidri,which is known for its ornate carvings such as the Nava Nari Kunjara (Nine Damsel Elephant).
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