The History of Shivalli Brahmins

It is believed that Mayura Varma, the Kadamba King who ruled vast areas of Southern and central India in the 4th Century A.D. brought Brahmins from Ahi Kshetra (or Ahichatra) and put them in-charge of various temples in the Tulu Nadu.

Mayura Varma and his son Chandrangada Raya had divided their Kingdom into 67 administrative units called 'Gramas'. 32 of them were in Tulu Nadu, 32 in Malayalam speaking region and 3 in Haiga. The entire region spread across about 120 kms in length (North to South) and about 100 kms in breadth (West to East). River Payaswini (also called Chandragiri) has been traditionally considered as the boundary between Tulu Nadu and Malayali region.

The term Tulu Nadu is supposedly derived from the word Tula Bhara (Tula = Weighing Scale, Bhara = Weight), a custom in this region wherein commodities are weighed against the weight of the concerned person.

Mayura Varma appointed Brahmins to manage the affairs of these 32 units. Ballalas (unit heads), Agnihotris (priests), Tantris, Sabhapathis (ministers), Pandiths (scholars), Gramanis (executives), Jannis (Temple trustees ) etc. were all appointed to run the administration of these units.

The Brahmins who first landed in Shivalli and then spread across 31 villages came to be known as Shivalli Brahmins or Tulu Brahmins. Brahmins who were appointed in the Western Kootaka (or Kota) village came to be known as Kota Brahmins (Hande, Hebbara, Herala, Holla, Karantha, Navada, Basri and Mayya are the eight renowned Kota Brahmin families).

The 32 Gramas (Villages) of Tulu Nadu

Western 16 Eastern 16
1. Karavooru 1. Shreepaadi
2. Orakadi (Varkadi) 2. Vodilu (Badilu)
3. Marani (Marane) 3. Karandaru (Kaarandooru)
4. Kolavinadu 4. Naala
5. Paadi 5. Ujiri (Ujire)
6. Koodila (Koodalu) 6. Kunhimaarga
7. Mogebailu (Mogaraalu) 7. Kokkada
8. Neerumaarga 8. Raaminja (Raamakunja)
9. Mittanaadu 9. Pude
10. Srimanthooru 10. Balpa (Balapa)
11. Tenekala 11. Irnadu (Ivaranadu)
12. Shivabelli (Shivalli) 12. Idikedu (Idkidu)
13. Brahmapura (Brahmavara) 13. Kemminje
14. Neelavara 14. Paavinje (Paalinja)
15. Kootaka (Kota) 15. Siriyadi
16. Kandavara 16. Kodipadi

It is amazing to find that there are more than 500 names of Shivalli Brahmin families in this region even to this date. Most of these names are derived from the names of the places wherein these families lived.

More about Tulu and Tulunadu at www.yakshagana.com and www.tulunadu.com

See Family Tree

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Dr. B.S. Kakkilaya 2005-2008

Last Updated: July 25, 2005
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