History of Devanga
Devanga is a sub-caste in Hinduism. They were one of the weaving castes in India. This page mainly deals with Devangas of Karnataka.
Devangas are of Brahmanical origin. They are Prakrut Brahmins (meaning brahmins by birth). The majority of them are weavers of silk and cotton clothes.
There were also famous Devang kings like Boja Raja of Ujjain (Uttar Pradesh, India). Many were also warriors during Vijayanagar times, according to warrior stones found in Hampi, Karnataka. Their native state was the kingdom of Ujjain where even to this day they form the major community. Their chief deity is Chowdeshwari(Chamundeshwari).They are Typical Kshatriyas of South and can be compared with the Rajput and Thakur of North.
As is typical with other castes, Devangas became an endogamous unit of weavers, either due to caste rules or due to typical social conditions of India.
Myth of origin
Devangas trace the origin of their weaving tradition to a sage called Devala Maharshi. According to tradition, Devala Maharishi was the first person to weave the cotton cloth and to give it to Lord Shiva, who up until this time had been using animal skin. When Devala was taking the cloth to the king, demons came to attack him. Goddess Chowdeshwari (Chamundeshwari,a form of Durga,a warrior Goddess created by the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, to fight the demon Mahishasura), perched on a lion, fought and vanquished the demons so that Devala Maharishi could give the cloth to the king..The woven clothes were taken to Lord Shiva. Check Devanga Purana.
Devanga was originally divided into two groups, the gandoru and namdoru. There were Saivite and Vaishnavite divisions among Devangas in the old days. Every one of the warrior sub sect have a sword in their homes. After the decline they settled in all parts of TamilNadu. Devanga Literacy in TamilNadu is High about 75% of them are doctors, Engineers and also in Leading Government Positions.
source: Rigveda Devanga (Div am ga) was the first ever Bhramin who (OHM) comes to this world to give clothes to human beings Thiruvalluvar in his eighth poem says one cannot reach PARAMAPATHA until one surrendered to this Bhramin(OHM).
Even to this day, the Devangas are either Saivites or Vaishnavites. In any Devanga marriage, bride and groom should not belong to the same sect (Saivite or Vaishnavite).For finding origin we have to explore RIG VEDA and history of Gayatri Peeda at Hampi from Vedic age which was started by Lord Shiva to SPREAD DEVALA Dharma throughout the world asper Sreepathy Panditha. Moreover the Psupatha of Laguleesa emerges and more Hindu divisions like Kasmira Shaiva were created by so many Saints based different areas.
Devanga and Lingayat
Lingayats were the most influential group in Vijayanagara empire. The Lingayats of the western telangana region were the kannada speakers. The Kannada Devanga and Kannada Lingayats were closely associated. Since telangana Lingayats are very highly disciplined and talented, Devangas had a very high respect on them and in fact considered them as a part of their community. At that time the Devangas of the telanga region are vaishnavites. Devangas regarded the Lingayats as shaivites and called them Lingayats.
This group of telangana Lingayats served the Vijaya empire in all disciplines and as well as were the close associates to the King in all ways. Due to this relationship Devangas were able to find a place in the Kings court. At the time of Islamic invasion, this group of people has to leave the empire. The trading members of Devanga community, were able to lead the groups of people in the telangana region towards all of their trading destinations. Many moved towards the south(towards the river cauvery), due to the request from the royal community. This includes the major communities like Kannada Devangas and Lingayats.
These kannada devangas as well as Lingayats due to their close association with telugu devangas and telegu was also predominantly spoken in the region, were using the end slang for respect as “andda” instead of “Ree” (a need of the day for the effective business). This group of kannada devanga where ever they moved, they moved together. Even today this group of kannada devangas does not conduct any festival without the consultation of Lingayats from both with in and outside, due to their very high respect to telengana Lingayats.
These Lingayats of south lives as Lingayats with in the Devanga community and also maintains separate identity by having links with Lingayats of karnataka. Off all the groups moved in all the directions in many a place Lingayats and devangas had close association but live as separate groups.
People of the same caste have different names in different states; Devangas are found in the states of Assam, UP, MP, HP, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhrapradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Today many languages are spoken by Devanga people. Accordingly, they call themselves as Kannada Devanga and Telugu Devanga.There is no Tamil Devanga as such. Some even speak Marathi in parts of Maharastra. Devangas are found in most of the Indian states.
There is also a large Kannada speaking community of Kannada Devangas in Tamil Nadu are mainly based in Kullichettipatti,Chinnalapatti, T.Kunnathur, Salem, Theni, Palanichettipatti (pcpatti),Theni, Bodinayakanur,Kambam, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Mettupalayam, Coimbatore, Komarapalayam, Pallipalayam,Erode, Dindugal, Aruppukottai, Sulakkarai, Madurai,sankaralingapuram, Chennai and Virudhunagar. In Kerala, Kannada Devangas are concentrated in a few villages ,prominently in Kuthampully (Thrissur dist), also in villages ,Karimpuzha, Kallanchira, Vallangi- Nemmara, all in Palghat dist, in pockets of Chittur (Palghat dist)& Kasaragode towns.In Karnataka they are predominantly present in Kollegal, Dodda Ballapur, Bangalore,Mangalore,Mysore, Davangere, Chitradurga, shivamogga, Hubli/Dharwad, Rabkavi, Rampur, Banahatti, Jamkhandi,Bagalkot,Bellary and Belagaum. As per information passed from their ancestors, it was said that they had migrated from Mysore zone, when these areas were under the rule of King Chikka Chamaraja Wadayar of Mysore (around 1660 CE). The migration is said to be due to incompatible sultanate culture and the bitter experiences the community faced in the Vijayanagara empire (1560 AD). These migrations took place in batches after batches, which has branched itself; some on the northern side of the Kaveri River, some on the southern side of the Kaveri and some towards the western coasts, including the present regions of south-western Karnataka and northern Kerala, looking for culturally safe and protective settlement. The high influence of local social structures, local languages, and lack of Kannada literacy has brought in many variations, including the accent among many groups. Their kula devatha(family deity) is Goddess Chamundeshwari, which is also the family deity of the Mysore dynasty.
Also, in Karnataka a Malayali weavers’ caste called Chaliya officially identifies itself as Devanga. However, culturally they differ completely from Kannada Devangas as the later is patriarchal and Chaliyas are matrilineal and primarily goddess worshipers.
There are 101 sub sects.Some of the prominent sub sects are Ladhegar, Balithars, Siddhu koluthar, Yenthelar, Kappelar, Iremaneru, Kal Kotlar, Chinnu Kotlar, Kanjil Kudithars, Segunthalars,Ampukollars, Sevvelars,Anilar etc.The Balithar sub sect people can marry any of the other 100 sub sects people.
Some of the Devanga’s (Sects like Ladhegar, Balithar, Kappelar – Ship-goers) were traders. Ladhegars more in number and powerfull subsect with most of them in high power in TamilNadu.They having first preferences to do pooja in Sri Ramalinga Devi Temples. Some of them were tax-collectors in Kollegal during Tipu Sultan Days. This association could be the reason that the Chowdeshwari temples Kalasams have a half moon and a star.
Like in old days men are married at a very late age, like 30. Women attain good education even today, hence the family have good growth.
Some schools in Tamilnadu were constructed by Devanga community people and even today associations (Narpani Mandrams) of youngsters are running good schools.
Devangas, along with other weaver communities, held good appointments during Vijayanagar King Krishnadevaraya’s rule.
North Karnataka Devangas are primarily cotton or Khan weavers, whereas south Karnataka Devangas primarily manufacture silk sarees, including both pure and art silk. This is due to their association with Sourashtrams (primarily silk traders) when they were in Mysore. It was also said that Saurashtrians migrated from Saurashtra, part of Gujarat/Maharashtra, and settled down in the places where Devangas settled due to their business relationships. Even today we can notice the presence of Saurashtrians in most of the places where Devangas had settled, especially in Madurai and Salem.
Food habits of Devangas also change from place to place. Some of the Devanga communities are vegetarians. The tradition of yagnopaveeta among the brahmans was derived from devangas.
Salem and Komaraplayam Devanga Chettiars are known for their non-vegetarian cuisines.
The international Devanga community has headquartered in Karnataka.Kannada Devanaga yuvaka sanga has office in lakkasandra bangalore (near to the Sri Ramalinga Chowedeshwari devestana)Andra Pradesh in North America have formed the Andhra Devanga Sangam Of North America (ADSONA).
Tamilnadu Telugu Devangar International Online Society.
Karavai Devanga Samaja has its offices in Bangalore. Its members are from the Devanga community from the coastal regions of Karnataka and Kerala
Devanga marriages are like most Hindu marriages in the south with only subtle differences. Devangas generally have sangas or marriage consultants who will have the list of prospective brides and grooms. Most of the devanga marriages are arranged marriages. Generally it is the parents of the groom or bride who search for the prospective partner for their children. The groom or bride generally gives an opinion as to the qualities, education, occupation etc. they would like to see in the future partner.
Once the parents shortlist the girl or boy, horoscope matching is done with the help of an astrologer. Once the matching is agreed by the astrologer, a meeting of the prospective boy and girl is arranged over a cup of tea or coffee. Boy and girl exchange their views and if agreed to by both boy and girl a date is fixed for the engagement, which is a small ceremony, generally held at the girl’s house, wherein relatives of both boy and girl are present. If there are space constraints, the ceremony is held in a hotel or marriage hall. Ring is exchanged after engagement. As among Hindus in general, premarital sex is not permitted.
The marriage date is fixed on the day of engagement. Marriages are generally held at marriage halls, or “choultries” as they are popularly called. Marriages are elaborate ceremonies lasting two to three days. (Due to rising costs, it is nowadays usually restricted to two days.) On the day prior to the wedding day, the bride arrives at the marriage hall. She seeks the blessings of the god. Then rituals will start.
The first of the rituals is harisna, wherein the bride’s hands and feet are massaged with turmeric mixed with oil by all the married ladies. This is followed by the bangle ceremony, wherein new bangles specially brought by the banglewoman to the occasion are worn by all the ladies. This is followed by a nice bath, and other rituals continue whole night.
On the morning of the next day, the groom goes to temple with dhoti and umbrella for a ritual called kashiyatra wherein he is intercepted by the parents of the bride and his feet is washed by the girl’s parents on a silver plate. After this ritual, the groom moves to the marriage hall for the all-important sacred thread tying (mangal sutra) which marks the culmination of bachelorhood and entering into married life. This is followed by lunch to all the invitees. In the evening a reception is arranged wherein the bride and bridegroom sit/stand on a podium. All the invitees greet the newlywed couples. This is followed by dinner.
The couple stays together till they die. Divorces are few or unheard of as of now.
Colonel K. Ramaswamy , Indian Army.
Umashree, Well-known Theater & Film Artist, Former Member of Karnataka Legislative council.
Kannada Actress ‘Arthy’
Kannada Actor ‘Srinivas Murthy’
Ashok – Sri Kandan Theatre, Elampillai
Danavira : Shree C.V MURUTY
Ln.J.Ramalingam MA BSc.President of Ramalinga Sowdeswari Arakattalai,Pudhusampalli,Mettur dam
Sir Thiyagarayar: Late Mayor of Chennai (T. Nagar area in Chennai, is named after him)
Sri Chowdeswari Temples
The most famous Godess Chowdeswari temple is situated near Mysore in Chamundi hills(name derived from Chamundeswari).
Many tempels were created centuries ago as people migrate and settle down in secure places. The temple management runs through the biggest family then.
Such a centuries old Temple of Sri Chowdeswari is located in Tiruppur in the village Kanakkampalayam, where many families are still following the family job (Weaving).
Beautiful Sri Ramalinga Chowedeshwari Temple is situated in bangalore (laksandra)[near to NATIONAL DAIRY BANGALORE].The temple contains the gods like Sri Sri Ramalinga Chowedeshwari,ganesha,subriyamanya,ramalinga swamy,devala dasamaya,guru(pragaspathi).
Sri Ramalinga Sowdambikai Amman temple is also located at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in the heart of the city. It is one of the most prominent temples in Coimbatore region. The temple is known for its one-of-a-kind ‘swords festival’ where hundreds and thousands of devotees participate in a long procession.
Sri Ramalinga Chowedeshwari temple is also sutiated in the Hosa Road that is in the the hosour main road Bangalore .Lots of families who are following weaving in the area like Hosa Road and Garvebhavipalaya(hosour main road,Bangalore).