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Link between Vellalars, Mudalirs & Gounders

Kerala Pillai history            [Pillai Greats]           Andhra Pillai history

Who are Saiva Vellalar's? or Saiva Pillai's or Karkathar's or simple Vellalar Pillai's? or Pillay's?
சைவப் பிள்ளை என்றால் யார்? அல்லது பிள்ளைமார் வரலாறு


article by webmaster Pasupathi K Pillai Also read Non Veg Pillai or Asaiva Pillai History

Saiva Vellalars are vegetarians-Forward Caste people, [as per TN Govt]
their 'varieties' listed below

History of Vellalars and its Sub Castes Authenticated by Sangam Litterature and Wikipedia

History [thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vellalar]

"Kallar, Maravar, ganathor Agamudaiyar mella maruvi velaalar ayinare" 
is a popular old Tamil proverb prevalent in India and Sri Lanka about the origin of Vellalars.
That is Vellalar are a fusion of upwardly mobile members from castes such as Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar.

The Vellalars have a long cultural history that goes back to over two millennia in southern India.

Old sources tell about the migration of the Velir/Vellalar tribe from North to South India under the leadership of the Vedic sage Agastya:
because of Gods congregation on Mount Meru, the earth started tilting, lowering Meru and raising the southern corner. Gods requested Agastya to remedy this situation.
On his way, the
Sage visited Dvārakā and led 18 Velir families to the south where they settle down, clearing the forest and cultivating the land.

Sangam literature

In Sangam literature, the chiefs of the vellala tribes were called the Velir The Velir or the Vellalar tribes are described as a landed gentry who irrigated the wet lands and the Karalar were the landed gentry in the dry lands. Numerous poems in the ancient Sangam literature extol these chieftains' charity and truthfulness. Among the most prominent were those known as the 'seven patrons' (kadaiyezhu vallal); Vel-Pari, Malayaman Thirumudi Kaari, Ori, Adigaman, Began, Nalli and Ay Kandiran.

They had close associations and held high positions of office with the three main Tamil dynasties, Chera, Chola and Pandya. Some of them even had marital relations; Ilamcetcenni, the king known for his fleet of warships, married a Velir princess, and his son Karikala Chola also married a Velir princess from Nangur.

Warrior chieftains

The Vellalars not only held absolute control over the feudal society but also demonstrated great military prowess. To quote a few:


Ma-Vel-Evvi the famous chief known for his valour and bravery was a Vellala from Millalikurram in Pandimandalam. He was the law around the southern bank of the Kaveri basin. His territory included one of the most fertile fields of the Cauvery basin.


Vel-Pari was known as the great patron of poets. This chief was a relative of Ma-Vel-Evvi and after the demise of the latter he took over the territory around the mountains of Parambu. Poet Kapilar, his life long companion described him as the lord of three hundred villages in ancient Tamilakkam who could only be won over by the sound of a lute

Tirunelveli [Thirunelveli] Saiva Pillai
They call themselves very pure. பத்தரை மாற்றுப்பிள்ளைமார். But this doesn't stop them to intermarry with all other types of Saiva Vellalars. Mostly TSP's from Kadayam, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli District, Alwarkurichi, Tuticorin District [Thoothukkudi], Kutralam, Papanasam, Ilanji, Kulasekarapattinam claim themselves as SUPERIOR to other Saiva Pillai's. These TSP's are usually Pannaiyars along the Tamirabarani River Side. Scholars are more here. They follow Saiva Agamas சைவ ஆகமங்கள்:wikipedia says

பிள்ளைமார்களின் அடிப்படைத் தொழில் விவசாயம். என்றாலும் நேரடியாக விவசாயத்தில் ஈடுபடாமல் ஆட்களை வைத்து விவசாயத் தொழில் செய்கின்றனர். READ MORE

”தாளி, இங்கிண இப்பம் நிண்ணவன் நடந்தவன்லாம் வெள்ளாளன்லா? வழிசுத்தம்ணு சொன்னா சிரிக்கானுக. அப்டி விட்டா பின்ன எலவாணியனும் வளைச்செட்டியும் நம்ம வாசலில வந்து நிண்ணு பொண்ணு கேப்பானுக….”  ”தமிழ்நாட்டு வெள்ளாளர் சமூக அமைப்பும் பிரிவுகளும் வாழ்க்கைமுறையும் - இனவரைவியல் நோக்கில்”

Tanjore [Thanjavoor] Saiva Pillai
Again some kind of "purity" here. Situated along the river Kaveri, these Saiva Pillai's Thali [mangal sutra], Food habits, Marriage Rituals are very different from that of Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai's. So normally a TSP will prefer TSP. Eulogized by Sakithya Academy Award winning Tamil Prose Writer Thi. Janakiraman [Thi.Jaa], in his Novel "Sembaruththi" [the story of Sokkalinga Pillai of Kumbakonam]
"Normal, Simple" All Saiva Pillai
Mostly located along river beds like Tanjore, Tirunelveli, Yazhppaanam (Srilanka). Type of duties varied as Pannaiyars, Landlords, Zamindhars, Intelligent Farmers, Kanakku Pillais, Kings, Mantris, Businessmen, Poets, Prose writers, National Freedom Fighters, Directors, Doctors, Engineers, Planners and now LARGELY SOFTWARE ENGINEERS.
Karkathar or Karkarthar or Karalar or Karaikkathar or Karaikattu Vellalar

Again these people claim that they are SUPERIOR to other Saiva Pillai's. Because they ruled most of the water bodies. The tamil meaning of karkathar is the folks who guarded the "kar" -the clouds -thus maintained the fertile soil -thus they are Vellalars or Karalars mostly they are landlords -till today -their Thali, Marriage customs slightly differ from other saiva community, but still they intermarry.
Also called as KARALARS, they have GOTHRAM like the BRAMINS to avoid marrying in the same blood. All other Saiva and Asaiva Pillai dont have GOTHRAM. So All other Pillai call their GOTHRAM as "SIVA GOTHRAM". Mahakavi Kambar greatly praised these people in "திருக்கை வழக்கம்" read that here



Karalar [காராளர்] is the term used to denote the Karkathar community from very early times. Manimekhalai, one of the five great Epics in the Tamil language, makes use of them twice in the phrase, Karalar Sanbai meaning the city Sikali of the Karkathar. Sanbai is one of the 12 names of Sikali made immortal by saint Gnanasambanda in his song sung before the Pandiya prince of Madurai, saying that he hailed from Sikali the holy place with twelve names. It was called Sanbai because of the wild growth of the elephant grass, Sanbankorai in the place.

Sikali was then a seat of the Karkathar and so was called Karalar Sanbai in the epic. The history of Tamil literature and the Saiva religion tell us that the city was the headquarters or the capital city of the Saiva religion from very
early times up to the fifteenth century A.D. The term Karalar means, those engaged in agriculture; it has had the same connotation through the centuries even up to the present day. Kar meant the steel blade of the plough, or
ploughshare; Kar-anmai meant the utilization of the ploughshare, i.e., agriculture; and Kar-alar meant those who were masters of the ploughshare and they were naturally Karkathar.

ஒப்பந்த ஆவணமாக அமைந்துள்ள இப்பதிவைக் கல்வெட்டு, 'எழுத்தோலை' என்கிறது. இதை எழுதியவராக அறிமுகமாகும் வேளாளர் பல்லாரி ஸ்ரீகிருஷ்ணன், குடமூக்கு மூலபருடையாருக்காக வலஞ்சுழிக் கோயிலுக்குக் கணக்கு எழுதியவராவார். இவரைக் கரணத்தான் என்றும் கல்வெட்டுச் சுட்டுவதால், கணக்கு எழுதும் தொழிலர், 'கரணத்தார்' என்றும் அழைக்கப்பட்டமை தெளிவாகிறது. http://www.varalaaru.com/Default.asp?articleid=158

Vilakeedu Thirumanam is an important function for Kaarkaartha Velala Pillai.it is performed by maternal uncle of the girl.He ties
kosumani arond the neck. normally vilakeedu or vilaketru kalyanam does not take place as an exclusive function.it is normally done during the mani vizha of the grand parents or weddings of cousins.

Saiva Chettiyar
A branch of Karaikudi Chettiyars or Naattu Kottai Chettiyars who intermarried Saiva Pillai's and remained Vegetarians. Due to the destruction of chettiyar lands around Kaveri poom pattinam due to floods, the Nagarathars or the Chettiyars lost many of their ladies and children. So to continue their life and times, they intermarried with Tirunelveli Saiva Pillais so they came to be following Tirunelveli Vattara vazakku (dialect). Even now the chettiyar families call their grandma as "Aaachi"
-which is a true Tirunelveli dialect.
read about Nattu kottai chetty history here &
here too

Saiva Mudaliyar

This is a small branch of Saiva community not much history is known. Intermarriages rare. They too claim SUPERIOR to Saiva Pillai's. God knows!.

Thondai Mandala Mudaliar, Saiva Vellalar, Seer Karuneegar

Thondaimandala Mudaliars with rich heritage, traditions and civilization and known for their honesty, intelligence, valour, loyalty and administrative ability were occupying high positions like ministers, army chiefs, regional rulers etc. in various southern kingdoms.

“ Thondaimandala mudaliars” are part of “saiva-velalers” community spread over the entire length and breadth of Tamilnadu. “Saiva-velalars”, were called, as such, since they were pure-vegetarians and mostly engaged in farming activities. “Pattinapalai”, one of the oldest Tamil classic sangam literature states that this “saiva-velalar community known for their piousness, honesty and philanthropy excelled in farming and trading”. read more at http://mudaliartm.org/history.htm  excerpts: “Kanchipuram thondaimandala adhinam”  “Mudaliar-Pillaimar  Sangams” “Thirukkaivazhakkam”“Kamba-ramayana”,  “Sekkizhar” - a Mudaliar, Dalawai Ariyanatha Mudaliar [still Dalavai is a name of Pillai - Mudali community]
Thondai Mandala Seer Karuneegar History : by Muruganandam
Download the FULL PDF file on Thondaimandala Saiva Pillai here

Kavirayars - Title

Kavirayar கவிராயர் is also a Pillai Community! Yes, recently I discovered this.
The famous Tamil Thiri Kooda Rasappa Kavirayar who wrote Thiruk Kutralak Kuravanji
திரிகூட ராசப்பக் கவிராயர் - குற்றாலக் குறவஞ்சி is also a Kaviraayar family
They are also PURE VEG PILLAI - a part of Saiva Pillai community.
Though they are less in numbers, mostly found in and around Kutralam, Ilanji, Ambai area.
Welcome them to Saivaneri!

The following community are also considered Forward Caste Saiva Vellalars   

Nanjil Nattu Pillai or  Makkal Vazhi Pillaimar or Marumakkal Vazhi Pillaimar
or Marumakkal vazhi Thayathu or Marumakkal Vazhi Thayam

They are from Nagercoil, Tamilnadu-Kerala Border.
They are many
Great here too
This article written by Nanjil Ramalingam

Dear Moderator,
  I am not having enough knowledge to describe history
of KK Dist vellalas, but I can try, If any mistakes in my script kindly
tolerate and make it correct. Nanjil Nadan's book explains its
lot. (Nanjil nattu vellalar vazkaium Varalarum) I have a copy in my
native , I will try to send it to u soon.
Vellalars are basically tamilans as we all know. Esp. in South Tamilnadu. Before independence The Great Chennai Mahanam's south border ends at Tirunelveli district up to Aralvaimozhi (now in KK dist). remaining is belongs to Thiruvithagore samasthanam. The vellala people ,who were residing at some part of TVL dist ,moved to Tiruvithankur samstanam because of civere drought in TVL.Most Vellalars were scholars at that time so they joined as
officials in samasthanam. Because of their sinceraity their reputation
was high with King. So they got lot of lands for cultivation. But they
were in KK district so some moved to Nanjil nadu (Now Thovalai Thaluk)
for agricultural activities.

 This vellala community was residing at Kerala they followed Thayathu which followed by malalyalis(Nairs). Some followed Makkal vazhi and some Marumakkal vazhi.

In Makkal vazhi
format only sons get rights in father's properties, usual in

But in marumakkal vazhi this was different only girls get
shars in parent's property.So that Marumagan's (Son in Law) were rulers
in a family.Maternal uncle was known as "Karanpadu", he was the family
leader .Father's were not get any reputation from their children.
Since Karanapadu rules a family, if he was a evil thinker ,the family
will be uprooted that was happened in many marumakkal vazhi pillaimar
families at that time. So that Kavimani explained all this evil things in
his "Marumakkal vazhi Manmium". So the system was abolished by kerala
government after some time.

But vellalars were divided in these two routes ,later part only few families continue in kerala. Others moved to Thovali and Agastheeswaram Taluks of kanyakumari District. Between Makkal and Marumakkal vazhi pillai mar only some traditions in Marriage, Birth, Death is differed. So they don't have marriage relations with them. Now thesedays inter subcaste marriages were common. So barriers between them started to broke. Since Makkal vali pillaimar follows TVL pillaimars tradition they have some root in TVL, but marumakkal vazhi pillai's lost that.

This is a simple synopsis I will try to add more
in coming days. May this help u to get little knowledge of
Thayathus. These are my opinions .If any corrections from our blood is
most welcome. This is my first effort ur feedback will be helpful for
me. with regards
Ramalingam muthayaram@... Saturday, May 21, 2005 12:54 PM

நாஞ்சிநாட்டு மக்கள் வழி வெள்ளாளர்கள் தங்களை குமரிக்கண்ட ‘ராமபிதாகஸ்’ வம்சாவளியினர் என்றதை பிள்ளைவாள் ஏற்கவில்லை. ஆனால் முதல் ‘ஹோமோஎரக்டஸே’ நாங்கள்தான் என்று நெல்லைமாவட்ட சைவப்பிள்ளைமார் சொன்னபோது சற்று குழப்பமாகத்தான் இருந்தது http://jeyamohan.in/?p=205

Thesikar or Desikar

Tanjore district has this caste as a saivaite community not vellalars -but gurukkal


Tirunelveli side Kurukkalaiya people -mostly vedham reciters

Othuvars or Oduvars or Odhuvars or Oduvar Murthy Pillais or Odhuva moorthy pillais

Panniru Thirumurai Othum vedha vidhwans. again only at Tirunelveli, Tanjore Areas.
THEY ARE GREAT SINGERS, PADINIS, HYMN RECITERS!.                      click here for more
Great Example: Dharumapuram Suvaminatha Pillai Oduvar's Thirumurai, through this we come to know the legend of TAMIL ISAI, TAMIL PANN, and the great hymns of SHIVA worship.                                 Buy His DEVARAM or THEVARAM Cassettes

Namathaari Pillai alias OPC Pillai

Vasihnavaite Pillai -Perumal devotees- mostly Tiruneveli side
எல்லா பிள்ளைமாருக்கும் அவர்கள்தான் அசல் என்றும் முதல் என்றும் நினைப்பு இருக்கிறது
http://jeyamohan.in/?p=205  OPC means what? Even I don't Know yet.
தன் ஆய்வேட்டின் முதல் ஈவை பிள்ளைவாள் குறித்தார். ‘ஒருவன் தன் சாதியையே பூமியில் முதல் சாதி என்று நினைக்கிறான் என்பது அவன் பிராமணன் என்பதற்கு ஆதாரம். ஒருவன் தன் சாதிப்பிரிவே வேளாளர்களில் முதலானது, உண்மையானது என்று சொன்னான் என்றால் மட்டுமே அவன் உண்மையான வேளாளன்”

Seer Karuneegar

Vallalar was a famous Seer Karuneegar. Found mostly in North Arcot, South Arcot, Chengalpat, Chennai
Majority of them are vegetarians [like Vallalar]. They are called as Seer Karuneegar - Saivam.
They wear Poonul, equate them with Brahmins.There are Saratu Karuneegars, Nama Karuneegars also.
In Andhra also Karuneegars are there. Karnam is a Name given to Karuneegars.
Andhra Weight Lifter Karnam Malleswari is also Karuneegar.
There is a magazine for them in Tamilnadu : Karuneega Mithran
There was also a book called Karuneegar Puranam
They believe they are descendants of Chitra Guptha, whose wife is Karnagi Amman.
They follow mainly writer, kanakku pillai, Village Karnam jobs in old times.
Thondai Mandala Seer Karuneegar History : by Muruganandam
Download the FULL PDF file on Thondaimandala Saiva Pillai here

related: chitragupta   chitraguptaparivar   kayasthaparivar   seerkaruneegar.org  
yahoo groups


These Saiva Vellalars are generally orthodox, intelligent, studious, good in maths (so they mostly became Kanakku Pillai's). They are devout Shiva devotees. Panniru Thirumurai is their Vedham.

They were once Jamindhars, Pannaiyar's of the Villages along river bed like Tanjore, Tirunelveli.

During recent era they took largely to Kanakku Pillai, Village Administrative Officers (VAOs) and in to Business due to the Trade bertween Yazhp Panam (Jaffna) and South India. Tobacco and Grocery business was very famously done by these Pillai Community during British Period.

Such was the clout of these people, that one of the community man Va. Voo. Chidambaram Pillai floated a SHIP on to the high seas of Tuticorin. He lost the race with British, but his was one of the major business ambush on the British.

Va. Voo. Si or VOC as he is fondly called, has become a great leader due to his sacrifices in the name on India. He is also called செக்கிழுத்த செம்மல் [Chekiluththa Chemmal] (means the Great man who pulled the Oil press as a Jail punishment in the British Raj, for the sake of Independence of India)

ஒட்டுமொத்த பெரும்பிரிவினை ‘பஞ்சத்துப்பிள்ளை, பாம்பரைப்பிள்ளை’ என்பது. பஞ்சத்துப்பிள்ளைமார் என்பவர் பிறர் அவசரத்துக்கு எல்லாம் தங்கள் பேருடன் பிள்ளைசேர்த்துக் கொள்வது. 

Click here to read Non Veg Pillai or Asaiva Pillai Types & Varieties

Click here to read a kind of Research Material on Origin of Pillai

Click here to read article on Kerala Pillai, Lord Ayappan

 Unique Pillai Festivals/Gods

Read what Wikipedia Says about Pillai

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See a Poem on Vellala in http://www.virakesari.lk/vira/forum/POEMS.htm