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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Great Kamma Rulers - Kamma Nayaks of Kandy

Nayakar Dynasty of Kandy The Nayaks of Kandy (a.k.a. Nayakar Dynasty) were rulers of Kandy kingdom in Srilanka with Kandy as their capital from 1707 to 1815 and also the last dynasty to rule Sri Lanka.They were from the royal family of Madurai Nayaks of Telugu origins. There were four kings of this lineage and the last king was exiled by the British to Vellore fort in India. They assumed the Kandy throne through marriage alliances with the much prevailing Marumakkathayam law. These kings were Hindus later converted to Buddhism and were responsible for renaissance of Buddhist culture in the Island.

Origin :
The Mahanuwara dynasty that preceded the Kandy Nayaks always married brides from royal family of Madurai Nayaks and Tanjore Nayaks. The Nayaks of South India started of as governors of Vijayanagara Dynasty during 14 and 15th centuries who ruled parts of Tamil Nadu. After the Vijayanagara Empire collapsed in mid 16th century these governors declared independence, establishing their own kingdoms in Tanjore, Madurai. They were of Telugu origins, one of the reasons for a large set of Telugu population in Western parts of Tamil Nadu.
When the last king of Mahanuwara dynasty died without an heir, his queens brother from Madurai was chosen to throne as they followed the Marumakkathayam law. And successive kings were from the same kin from Madurai.
The Nayaks of South India also had military relations in 17th century when Karaiyar generals of Jaffna sought the support of the Nayaks of Tanjavur in 1620 to fight against the Portuguese.
These branches of Madurai Nayaks were reportedly headed by Bangaru Thirumalai whose son was adopted by the last Nayak Queen Meenakshi. Bangaru Thirumalai was a direct descendant of Thirumalai Nayaks younger Brother and was a Military governor in Tirunelveli and Madurai provinces.

The preceding Dynasty :
The last king of Kandy of Mahanuwara dynasty was Sri Vira Parakrama Narendra Singha who ruled from 1707 to 1739. This King ascended the throne in 1707 when he was seventeen and was considered to be a very pious and scholarly. In 1708 the king married a bride from Madurai Royal family, the daughter of Pitti Nayakkar. Again, in 1710, he married another bride from Madurai.He had no children by either of the queens. He also had a Kandyan wife from noble family of Matale. She bore him a son, who died at a very early age. The king also had a concubine from a high caste, who bore him a son named Unambuwe, and did survive. The bar to his succession was the lack of royal status in the mother.
Thus, the king nominated, as his successor, the brother of his first queen who had remained at the court ever since his sister married him. According to the law of succession that prevailed in Ceylon, the throne passed almost always from father to son, born of a mahesi or from brother to brother. Marumakkathayam literarily means inheritance by sister's children (as opposed to sons and daughters).

Sri Vijaya Raja Singha 1739-1747 :
Brother-in-law of King Narendra Singha ,i.e. Narendra Singha’s first wife’s brother, from Madurai, ascended the throne of Kandy, as Sri Vijaya Raja Singha.Coming from the line of Vijayanagar kings of South India and henceforth filling the Sinhala throne.
The new king, considered to be a man of considerable culture, devoted his entire attention to the furtherance of the national religion Buddhism despite being a Hindu. He is said to have caused life sized images of Buddha in recumbent, standing and sitting postures to be cut in the rock caves in various parts of the country. His reign also marked several conflicts with the Dutch who were ruling the coastal provinces, based on trading issues. Sri Vijaya Rajasinha destroyed the churches and initiated a persecution against the Portuguese and Dutch, which was continued under Kirti Sri. It ceased only because the king considered that certain calamities which fell upon the country were due to his action.
He married a bride from the Royal family of Madurai. But by 1736 the 200 year old Nayaka dynasty of Madurai came to an end with Muslims taking control of the whole country.

Marriage alliance with Madurai Royal Family :
When the king ascended the throne he sought a wife from South India. For this purpose he sent messengers to Madurai in 1739. Since the Madurai Nayaks had now lost the power and prestige they enjoyed in the days of Vijayaranga Chokkanatha, the family members thought it advisable and even desirable to accept the offer from the king of Kandy. Hence the family of Bangaru Thirumala,who was now residing in Vellaikuruchi Fort near Thirupachetiram in Sivaganga Zamin responded. Two brothers Rama Krishnappa Nayaka and Narenappa Nayaka, kinsmen of Bangaru Tirumala Nayaka meet the Kandyan envoys at Ramnad.Narenappa Nayaka had a daughter of marriageable age and agreed to the Kandyan request. The brothers with their families and some kins accompanied the envoys to Ceylon for the daughter's nuptial; settled in Kandy with their kith and kin. Narenappa Nayaka was destined to be not only the father-in-law of one king, but the father of the next two kings of Kandy; for his two sons, the one five or six years old in 1740, and the other still an infant were successively to succeed Sri Vijaya Rajasinha.
Sri Vijaya Rajasinha married another Madurai princess in 1747.Each bride brought a contingent of relatives with royal lineage ultimately making Kandy their permanent home.
The king, however, died childless soon after, having nominated as his successor, his eldest brother in-law who had been living in the court ever since his sister had married the king. Thus by this peculiar mode of succession the son of Narenappa Nayaka who claimed kingship with the ruling Madurai Nayak family now ascended the throne of Kandy as Kirti Sri Rajasinha.

Sri Kirti Sri Raja Singha 1747-1782 :
Kirti Sri Raja Singha was Vijaya Raja Singha’s wife’s eldest brother from Madurai.Hence another Brother-in-law to throne, thus the second of the South Indian line. He was a tender young man when he succeeded his brother-in-law, and it was not until the year 1751 that he ascended the throne as Kirti Sri Raja Singha.
He devoted the first few years of his reign to the advancement of literature and religion. The king, later with the Dutch assistance got down to learning Bhikkus from Siam (Thailand) for the purpose of advancing Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also building the Raja Maha Vihara (Gangarama) was built at Kandy. Kirti Sri built the existing inner temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and caused the Mahavansa chronicle to be continued from the time of Parakrama Bahu IV down to his own reign.

Attack on Dutch Forts :
In 1761 King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha attacked the Dutch garrisons and forts at Matara, Katuwana, Tangalle, Marakade and Urubokke, completely destroying them, and killing Dutch while some surrendered and ended as prisoners. In order to revenge the humiliation, the new Dutch governor Van Eck had immediate plans to attack Kandy,but the weakness in fortification and garrison forbade the Dutch. Later they did attach in 1764 and in 1765. Hence, in the early part of 1763 the Dutch were only consolidating their positions and gradually expelling Kandyans from the territories taken over from Dutch. Throughout 1763 the King continually sought peace and sent his envoys to discuss terms. The Governor wished the King to cede the three four and seven Korales and Puttlam and hand over the entire coastline of island to the Dutch. The king was not agreeable to any demand that diminished his sovereignty and was deliberately delaying a settlement hoping for help from the English in Madras after his discussion and negotiations with John Pybus 1762.

Meeting with the British :
The King in mid 1762 sought help from George Pigot, Governor Fort St George Madras for assistance. The British eager to obtain the monopoly of trading in cinnamon, pepper, betel nut (puwak) from Kandyan Kings also wanted to expel Dutch from coasts. Reason to call on British for assistance by the Kandyan King in 1762 was that after the treaty of Paris, the Dutch poured in troops into Sri Lanka. They were bent on capturing Kandy from six directions (1764). Anticipating such a scenario King sent an envoy to the English Governor of Madras to assist him to expel Dutch. This envoy, a junior Kandyan Official in military made a clandestine trip to Madras Fort, and the English responded by sending their councilor Mr Pybus.
John Pybus, a writer of the British East India Company, sailed to Kandy with a backup of five ships and about 200 armed men. A British vessel brought Pybus to Trincomalee on 5 May 1762. The Dutch knew the arrival of Pybus through their spies and they were kept informed of his movements. Pybus took an exhausting covert trip to meet the King on 24 May 1762. After several talks without any conclusive decisions Pybus left after a month. King gave him a ring, sword, a gold chain with breast jewels and left the country crossing the river at puttalam pass while the The Dissawa who accompanied Pybus presented the ships commander "Admiral Cornish" a gold chain and a ring in the name of King "Keerthi Sri Rajasinha ".
John Pybus in his notes described the King as a man of tolerable stature, reddish in complexion and very brisk in his movements. Pybus was amazed as to how the kandyans had managed to fight a war with Dutch and had captured Matara Dutch Fort. He wrote that "They had put every European to the sword except two officers who are now prisoners of the country."

Marriage :
He married the daughter of one Nadukattu Sami Nayakkar in 1749. He further married three more Nayakkar queens from Madurai, but had no children, but had six daughters and two sons by his favorite Sinhala lady (Yakada Doli), daughter of the late Dissave (Headman) of Bintenna, grand-daughter of the blind and aged Mampitiya Dissave. Both his sons survived the king and his daughters’ married Nayakkar relatives of the king. Mampitiya’s sons claim for the throne was overlooked and the choice fell on the king’s brother who was living in court.
The king died on January 2, 1782, of the injuries caused two months before by a fall from his horse after a reign of 35 years which the people saw as a great religious revival, and had a sentimental attachment to the King.

Sri Rajadhi Raja Singha 1782-1798 :
Brother of Kirthi Sri Raja Singha, the new king who ascended the throne as Sri Rajadhi Raja Singha came from Madurai as a child along with his brother. Hence he was raised as a Kandyan and a Sinhala; emerging as a brilliant pupil of the Malwatte Temple’s chief Prelate at that time. He was quite a sophisticated person and learned many languages amongst which were Pali and Sanskrit. A lavish patron of Buddhism, he was a great aficionado of poetry and he himself was a poet.
He died childless in 1798 without nominating a successor. The burden fell on Pilimatalava, the first Adigar (Prime Minister) Pilimatalawe, an able, ambitious and intriguing chief, to select a successor to the vacant throne. The controversial Adigar was also seen as one of the main reason for the Dynastys’ demise.

Sri Vikrama Raja Singha 1798-1815 :
Son of a sister of King Rajadhi Raja Singha’s Queen Upendramma. The new king who ascended the throne was Sri Vikrama Raja Singha, the former kings’ nephew, barely 18 years old. He would also be the last king of the Kandy Nayakar dynasty and the last of Sri Lanka. During his time the British colony was fully established on other parts of SriLanka. There was a rival claimant to succeed King Rajadhi Raja Singha, the brother of Queen Upendramma, who had a stronger claim. However, Pilimatalawe, the first Adigar (prime Minister) choose the South Indian Prince to the Kandyan Throne, with reportedly deep seated plans to usurp the throne to set a new dynasty of his own. The young king, upon ascending the throne had to face lot of conspiracies.

Sri Vijaya Raja Singha 1739-1747 :
During his time, the British who had succeeded the Dutch in the Maritime Provinces had not interfered in the politics of the Kandy. But Pilimatalava, the first Adigar of the king started covert operations with the British, to provoke the King into acts of aggression, which would give the British an excuse to seize the Kingdom. Later the King had to execute Pilimatalawe for attempting to murder him, after two previous pardons on treachery.
The new First Adigar Ehalepola, Pilimatalawe nephew was no better as the British quickly won his support. A rebellion instigated by him Ehalepola was suppressed and Ehalepola fled to Colombo and joined the British. After failing to surrender (after 3 weeks of notice), the exasperated king ordered the execution of his family, which was highly propagandized, with a gruesome tale and defaming his as a tyrant.

Exiled :
Now the British marched into Kandy, after gaining people support, who were eager to dispose the king. The King was taken as a royal prisoner to Vellore Fort, near Madras along with his family members. He was living on a small allowance given to him and his two queens by the British Government. It is claimed that this allowance was paid to his next-of-kin for next 156 years and stopped only when Sri Lanka regained its sovereignty.

Public Works :
For centuries Kandy, originally known as Senkadagala, has been the bastion of Sri Lanka's culture and its spiritual centre. The palace complex at Kandy includes Sri Lanka's most venerated shrine, the Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Raja Maha Vihara (Gangarama) was built at Kandy by the second Nayak king Kirti Sri Raja Singha while his successor Sri Rajadhi Raja Singha was a lavish patron of Buddhism. The first Nayak king Sri Vijaya Raja Singha is noted for various erection of Buddhist statues throughout the Kingdom. The Kandy Lake overlooking Kandy was constructed by Sri Vikrama Raja Singha.

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Great Kamma Rulers - Pemmasani Nayakas

The hard earned independence of Telugu land came to an end in fifty years with the martyrdom of Musunuri Kapaneedu in 1370 A.D at the hands of Velamas who colluded with Bahmani sultan (See Musunuri Nayaks). A large number of remaining Nayaks who served under Kapaneedu migrated to Vijayanagar and sworn allegiance to Bukka Raya, a close associate of Kapaneedu in protecting the Hindu dharma in Dakshnapatha. Among them, Pemmasani clan which earned laurels for their bravery and defense of Vijayanagar Empire in the coming four centuries was the most illustrious. Generations of Pemmasani clan were commanders for various dynasties of Vijayanagar Empire. The ancestors of Pemmasani clan (Gothram: Vallutla) belonged to Bellamkonda in ancient Kammanadu.

The first of Pemmasani clan was Kumara Thimma Nayudu who fought many a battle and won the trust of Bukka Raya. He built many forts in Jammulamadugu, Vajrakarur, Kamalapuram, Tadipatri, Pamidi etc. Later, Dharma Nayudu served as a General of Proudha Devaraya (Devaraya II).

The most famous of Pemmasani Nayaks was Thimma Nayudu. He valiantly fought in the battle of Kalubarige (1422 A.D.) and was made governor of Gandikota (Cuddapah district). Thimma ruled for a long time, constructed many temples and tanks and brought recognition to Gandikota.

Thimma Nayudu II participated in the expeditions of Krishna Deva Raya and captured Udayagiri, Addanki, Kondapalli, Rajahmundry and Katakam (Cuttack). He also played a crucial role in the conquest of Ummattur.

Ramalinga Nayudu ruled Gandikota (1509-1530) during the time of Krishna Deva Raya. His exploits in the well known battle of Raichur were extolled by many Telugu poets. He was most feared by the Muslim Generals of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Golconda. Ramalinga constructed many temples in Anantapur region.

Vijayanagar king (Sadasiva Raya) sent Lingama Nayudu to defeat the Chola king in Madura (Madurai) and restore the throne to Vitthala Raya in 1559. Lingama succeeded but later declared independence. The king asked the court who would teach Lingama a lesson. To everyone’s surprise, Viswanatha, son of Lingama, volunteered to do so. He subdued his father and brought him as a prisoner to Vijayanagar. The pleased king made Viswanatha governor of Madurai. After the downfall of Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 A.D Madurai Nayaks became independent. The glory of Madurai Nayaks and the great contributions of Tirumala Nayak, in particular, are celebrated in history.

After the death of Krishna Deva Raya, his son-in-law Aliya Ramaraya was dethroned by Salakam Chinna Tirumala Raya with the support of Bahmani sultan. Ramaraya sought the help of Bangaru Thimma Nayudu. Bangaru Thimma defeated Salakam Raya and restored the crown to Ramaraya. During the twilight of Vijayanagar Empire Gandikota rulers Bojja Thimma Nayudu and Venkatagiri Nayudu steadfastly helped Sriranga Raya by keeping Golkonda and Bijapur armies at bay.

The last ruler of Gandikota was Chinna Thimma Nayudu. At the behest of the minister Podila Linganna, Mir Jumla, the General of Golkonda Nawab raided Gandikota in 1652. There was stiff resistance. The fort was captured only after Linganna plotted and poisoned Chinna Thimma. Pinnayya Nayudu, son of Chinna Thimma and still very young, was saved and taken to Mysore by his relatives. Most of the Gandikota families (sixtysix surnames) migrated to Guntur, Kavetirajapuram (Chittor Dt), Madurai, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram etc. These people are collectively called Gandikota Kammas. A section of them is called ‘Gampa Kamma’. The meaning of Gampa in Telugu is ‘Large Basket’. It is not clearly known how this name came into being.

Great Kamma Rulers - Vasireddy Dynasty

The first Vasireddy last name (surname) was available at Pittapuram East Godavari Dist. Sri Pothineedu ruled the area in 1413 AD and constructed temples of Vishnu, Sun, Visweswara, Gowri, and Kukkutaeswara after a century there is no history. The vasireddy family might have migrated to Krishna District Nandigama and later Guntur and adjacent districts. As per the available history Vasireddy malikharjunudu might have ruled capitol of "Vassile" from AD 1500 to 1527. Due to disputes in paying cess it leaded to war between Hyderjung (chief of the Army of KULI KUTUBUSHA).Hyderjung and Mallikharjunudu died in the war.

Mallikharjunudu might have suspected his death and asked his wife to get on her life with their male child. She said to her husband that if it is happens, she will commit for Sathi. After hearing the sad news she committed suicide giving her two years boy SADASIVA RAYALU with gold ornaments to servant maid Lakshmi saying to go to Nuthaki village in Guntur Dist. Sadasivarayalu was bought up to seven years by the servant maid in a temple. Zamindar Kodali Ramabupathi has taken care Sadasivarayalu and got him married with his daughter. It is presumed that SADASIVARAYULU is the main origin of VASIREDDY DYNASTY during AD 1525.

Rulers of the Vasireddy dynasty :
  1. VASIREDDY RAMANNA ( AD 1668-1686 )
  3. BUCHI RAGHAVAIAH ( AD 1712-1714 )
  4. CHANDRAMOULI ( AD 1714-1722 )
  5. PEDA NARASANNA ( AD 1722-1727 )
  6. PEDA SURANNA ( AD 1727-1738 )
  7. CHINA SURANNA ( AD 1738-1740 )
  8. CHINA NARSA BHUPATHI ( AD 1740-1758 )
  9. CHINA RAMALINGAM ( AD 1758-1760 )
  10. NAGANNA ( AD 1760-1763 )
  11. RAMANNA ( AD 1763-1783 )
  12. JAGGANNA ( AD 1763-1765 )
  13. VENKATADRI NAIDU ( AD 1783-1816 )

Among all the rulers Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu is famous and ruled 33 years. He borne on 27th April 1761 and his parents Sri Vasireddy Jagganna and Smt Achamma. He was assumed charge in 1783 at Chintapalli. Later he crossed Krishna river and made Amaravathi as his capitol till his death. He is a well named philanthropist he built so many temples, Amaravathi, Managalagiri, Chebrolu, Ponnuru, Vijayawada, Srisailam and other places.

  • Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu renovated temple lord Amereswara.
  • Amaravathi : This ancient temple dedicated to Shiva enshrines a 15 feet high white marble Shiva Lingam and is surrounded by massive walls with towers. Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu renovated This temple constitutes one of the five Pancharama Kshetrams in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Managalagiri : On the eastern gate of the lower temple there is a "Gali Gopuram" at Narasimha swamy temple of dizzy height built by Sri Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu. The "Gali Gopuram" has eleven storeys with openings facing east and west. It is a marvellous example of a solid awe-inspiring construction.
  • Chebrole : Rarest temples on the earth is Chathurmukha Brahma temple at Chebrole nearer to Guntur, and also a huge single stone carved Nandieswara is located adjacent to the temple.
  • Ponnuru : So many temples have been built one of them is Bhavanarayana swamy temple with Lord Garuda.
  • Great Kamma Rulers - The Nayak Dynasty

    The Madurai Nayaks were the rulers of the city and region of Madurai, in India, from 1559 until 1736. They originally were princes from the Vijayanagar Empire, and Telugu was their native language. The Nayak dynasty at Madurai established a strong bond between the people and the rulers through local government innovations, such as the formation of 72 divisions or paalayams. The Nayak reign marked a new era in Tamil Nadu, one noted for its vast administrative reforms, the revitalization of temples previously ransacked by the Delhi sultans, and the inauguration of a unique architectural style. The reign consisted of 13 rulers, of whom 9 were kings, 2 were queens, and 2 were joint-kings. The most notable of these were the king Tirumalai Nayak and the queen Rani Mangammal. Their foreign trade was conducted mainly with the Dutch and the Portugese, as the British and the French had not yet made inroads in the region.


    At the close of Vitthala Raja’s administration the Chola ruler invaded the Madurai country and dispossessed the Pandya king. The latter appealed to the court of Vijayanagar, and an expendition under Pemmasani Nagama Nayaka was sent to his aid. Nagama easily suppressed the Chola ruler and took Madurai, but then suddenly he threw off his allegiance and declining to help the Pandya, usurped the throne. The Vijayanagar emperor demanded that someone cure the defection: Nagama’s own son, Visvanatha, volunteered, and the king sent him with a large force against the rebel. Viswanatha defeated his father, placed him in confinement and at length procured for him the unconditional pardon which doubtless had been the object of his action from the beginning.

    Visvanatha obeyed the orders of the Vijayanagar king nominally, in that he placed the Pandya on the throne. But both secret policy and his own interests deterred him from handing over the entire government of the country to the old and feeble dynasty. He set out to rule on his own account. This was in 1559.

    Viswanatha Nayak (1559—1563)

    Viswanatha, then, became the first ruler of the Nayak dynasty. Viswanatha is said to have set himself immediately to strengthening his capital and improving the administration of his dominions. He demolished the Pandya rampart and ditch which at that time surrounded merely the walls of Madurai's great temple, and erected in their place an extensive double-walled fortress defended by 72 bastions; and he constructed channels from upper waters of the Vaigai river — perhaps the Peranai and Chittanai dams owe their origins to him to water the country, founding villages in the tracts irrigated by them.

    Introduction of the polygar (palayakkarar) system

    In his administrative improvements Viswanatha was ably seconded by his prime minister Aryanatha Mudaliar (or, as he is still commonly called, Aryanatha), a man born of peasant Vellala parents who had won his way by sheer ability to a high position in the Vijayanagar court. This officer is supposed to have been the founder of "the polygar (palayakkarar) system", under which the Madurai country was apportioned among 72 chieftains, some of them locals and others Telugu leaders of detachments which had accompanied Vishvanatha from Vijayanagar. Each was placed in charge of one of the 72 bastions of the Madurai fortifications. They were responsible for the immediate control of their estates. They paid a fixed tribute to the Nayaka kings and maintained a quota of troops ready for immediate service. These men did much for the country in those days, founding villages, building dams, constructing tanks and erecting temples. Many of them bore the title of Nayakkan, and hence the common "nayakkanur" as a termination to the place names in this district. They also brought with them the gods of the Deccan, and thus we find in Madurai many shrines to Ahobilam and other deities who rarely are worshipped in the Tamil country. Their successors, the present zamindars of the district, still look upon Aryanatha as a sort of patron saint. Aryanatha also is credited with having constructed the great thousand-pillared mantapam in the Madurai temple. He is commemorated by an equestrian statue which flanks one side of the entrance to the temple. The statue is still periodically crowned with garlands by modern worshippers. He lived until 1600 and had great influence upon the fate of the Nayaka dynasty until his death.
    Visvanatha added the fort of Trichinopoly to his possessions. The Vijayanagar viceroy who governed the Tanjore country had failed to police the pilgrim roads which ran through Trichinopoly, to the shrines at Srirangam and Ramesvaram, and devotees were afraid to visit those holy places. Visvanatha exchanged that town for his fort at Vallam, in Tanjore. He then improved the fortifications and town of Trichinopoly, and the temple of Srirangam, and he cleared the banks of the Cauvery river of robbers.
    Visvanatha had difficulty with some of the local chieftans, who resisted his authority in Tinnevelly, but after vanquishing them he improved that town and district. Visvanatha died aged and honoured in 1563. He still is affectionately remembered as having been a great benefactor of his country.

    Kumara Krishnappa (1563—1573)

    Viswanatha Nayaka was succeeded by his son Kumara Krishnappa (1563-73), who is remembered as having been a brave and politic ruler. A revolt occurred among the polygars, during his reign, but its leader was captured and the trouble was quenched.
    Joint Rulers :
    Kumara Krishnappa was succeeded in 1573 by his two sons, who ruled jointly and uneventfully until 1595, when they in turn were succeeded by their two sons, one of whom ruled until 1602.

    Muttu Krishnappa (1602—1609)

    These were followed by Muttu Krishnappa. He is credited with having founded the dynasty of the Setupatis of Ramnad, the ancestors of the present Raja of that place, who were given a considerable slice of territory in the Marava country on condition that they suppress crime and protect pilgrims journeying to Rameswaram. These were the beginnings of Ramnad zamindari.

    Muttu Virappa (1609—1623)

    Muttu Krishnappa was succeeded by Muttu Virappa. He began the construction of the Fort at Dindigul on the Hill, along with the Temple on it, which later was completed by Tirumala Nayaka.

    Fall of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, 1565

    In 1565 the Muslim rulers of the Deccan defeated Vijayanagar, the suzerain of the Nayaks, at the battle of Talikota. Vijayanagar had to abandon Bellary and Anantapur, flee their capital, and take refuge at Penukonda in Anantapur, then at Vellore, and then at Chandragiri near Tirupathi, which later granted land to the British East India Company to build a fort at the present day Chennai. Finally they settled at Vellore in North Arcot. Their governors at Madurai, Gingee and Tanjore still paid them tribute and other marks of respect; but in later years, when their suzerainty became weak, the Nayaks ruled independently.

    Tirumala Nayak (1623—1659)

    Muttu Virappa, mentioned above, was succeeded by the great "Tirumala Nayaka", the most powerful and best-known member of his dynasty, who ruled for thirty-six eventful years. Please see the article devoted to him and his reign at Tirumala Nayaka.

    Muttu Alakadri (1659—1662)

    Tirumala was succeeded by his son Muttu Alakadri, whose first act was to shake off the hated Muslim yoke. He tried to induce the Nayak of Tanjore to join the enterprise, but the move backfired: the Tanjore ruler disclaimed all connection with his neighbour’s aspirations and attempted to conciliate with the Muslims. The Muslim invaders moved against Trichinopoly and Madurai, spreading havoc, while Muttu Alakadri remained inactive behind the walls of the fort. Fortunately for him, the enemy soon had to retire, for their devastations produced a local famine and pestilence from which they themselves suffered terribly. They made a half-hearted attempt on Trichinopoly and then permitted themselves to be bought off for a very moderate sum. Muttu Alakadri did not long survive their departure, but gave himself over to debauchery with an abandon which soon brought him to a dishonoured grave.

    Chokkanatha (1662—1682)

    Tirumala was succeeded by his son Chokkanatha, a promising boy of sixteen. Please see the separate article devoted to him at Chokkanatha Nayak.

    Rangakrishna Muthu Virappa (1682—1689)

    Rangakrishna Muthu Virappa, who succeeded Chokkanatha was a spirited boy of fifteen. He tried to revive the diminished fortunes of the kingdom. He made a name for himself by ignoring Aurangazeb with courage, but little enough of his territories remained to him to rule. The greater part of them was held by Mysore, some by the Maravans, some by the Marathas of Gingee, and some by the Marathas of Tanjore. At first, the country was subject to anarchy and pillage, foreign enemies occupied all the forts, and robber chiefs were masters of the rural areas and carried on their brigandage there with impunity.
    Matters slowly improved, with Mysore soon distracted by a war with the Marathas of Gingee, and both the Setupathis of Ramnad and the Marathas of Tanjore occupied by wars within their own countries. Emperor Aurangzeb in 1686—1687 conquered the kingdoms of Madura’s old enemies, Golconda and Bijapur, and he was for many years engaged in an exhausting war with the Marathas. Moreover the young Nayak of Madurai, though imbued with a boyish love of fun and adventure which endeared him to his countrymen, also had a stock of sound sense and ability which evoked the admiration of his ministers, and he took advantage of his improving prospects.
    Muthu Virappa recovered his capital in 1685, and he gradually reconquered large parts of the ancient kingdom of his forefathers and succeeded in restoring the power of the Nayaks of Madurai. Unfortunately he died of smallpox in 1689, at the early age of 22. His young window Muttammal — the only woman, strange to say, whom he had married — was inconsolable at his loss and, though she was far advanced in pregnancy, insisted upon committing sati on his funeral pyre. His mother, Rani Mangammal, with great difficulty persuaded her to wait until her child was born, solemnly swearing that she could then have her way. When the child (a son) arrived, she was put off with various excuses until, despairing of being allowed her wish, she put an end to her own life.

    Rani Mangammal (1689—1704)

    Mangammal, the mother of the late Nayak, acted for the next fifteen years as Queen-Regent on behalf of her grandson. She was the most popular of all the Nayaks. Please see the separate article on her at Rani Mangammal.

    Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha (1704—1731)

    Her grandson Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha, starting on a bad note, enjoyed a long but apparently dull reign of 26 years, paving way for the demise of the dynasty. He was vain and weak-minded, and unfit to govern either himself or others. His reign was distinguished by the ill-regulated and extraordinary munificence of his gifts to Brahmins and religious institutions. The injustice of his rule caused a serious riot in Madurai, the mutiny of his troops, and incessant disturbances.
    His only warfare was over the succession to the throne of Ramnad, in 1725. Of the two claimants, one was supported by Tanjore Marathas and the other by Madurai and the Tondaiman of Pudukkotai. The Tanjore troops won a decisive victory and placed their protege on the throne. A year or two later the Tanjore king deposed this very protege, and divided Ramnad into Ramnad and Sivaganga, which became independent Marava powers.

    Queen Meenakshi, Chanda Sahib, & the End of the Nayaks (1731—1736)

    Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha died in 1731, and was succeeded by his widow Meenakshi, who acted as Queen-Regent on behalf of a young boy she had adopted as the heir of her dead husband. She had only ruled a year or two when an insurrection was raised against her by Vangaru Tirumala, the father of her adopted son, who pretended to have claims of his own to the throne of Madurai. At this juncture representatives of the Mughals appeared on the scene and took an important part in the struggle. Since 1693, Madurai nominally had been the feudatory of the emperor of Delhi, and since 1698 the Carnatic region north of the Coleroon (Kollidam) river had been under direct Muslim rule. The local representative of the Mughal was the Nawab of Arcot, and an intermediate authority was held by the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was in theory both a subordinate of the emperor, and the superior of the Nawab. How regularly the kings of Tanjore and Madura paid their tribute is not clear, but in 1734 — about the time, in fact, that Meenakshi and Vangaru Tirumala were fighting for the crown — an expedition was sent by the then-Nawab of Arcot to exact tribute and submission from the kingdoms of the south. The leaders of this expedition were the Nawab’s son, Safdar Ali Khan, and his nephew and confidential adviser, the well-known Chanda Sahib.
    The invaders took Tanjore by storm and, leaving the stronghold of Trichinopoly untouched, swept across Madurai and Tinnevelly and into Travancore. On their return from this expedition they took part in the quarrel between Meenakshi and Vangaru Tirumala. The latter approached Safdar Ali Khan with an offer of three million rupees if he would oust the queen in favour of himself. Unwilling to attack Trichinopoly, the Muslim prince contented himself with solemnly declaring Vangaru Tirumala to be king and taking the bond for the three millions. He then marched away, leaving Chanda Sahib to enforce his award as best he could. The queen, alarmed at the turn affairs now had taken, had little difficulty in persuading that facile politician to accept her bond for a crore of rupees (ten million) and declare her duly entitled to the throne.
    Queen Meenakshi required him to swear on the Koran that he would adhere faithfully to his engagement, and he accordingly took an oath on a brick wrapped up in the spledid covering usually reserved for that holy book. He was admitted into the Trichinopoly fort and Vangaru Tirumala — apparently with the good will of the queen, who, strangely enough, does not seem to have wished him any harm — went off to Madurai, to rule over that country and Tinnevelly. Chanda Sahib accepted the crore of rupees and departed to Arcot. Two years later 1736 he returned, again was admitted into the fort, and proceeded to make himself master of the kingdom. Meenakshi soon was little but a puppet: she had fallen in love with Chanda Sahib and so let him have his own way unhindered.
    Chanda Sahib eventually marched against Vangaru Tirumala, who still was ruling in the south, defeated him at Ammaya Nayakkanur and Dindigul, drove him to take refuge in Sivaganga, and occupied the southern provinces of the Madurai kingdom. Having now made himself master of all of the unfortunate Meenakshi’s realms, he threw off the mask, ceased to treat her with the consideration he hitherto had extended to her, locked her up in her palace, and proclaimed himself ruler of her kingdom. The hapless lady took poison and ended her life shortly afterwards.

    Descendants of Vangaru Tirumala

    As late as 1820, a descendant of Vangaru Tirumala, bearing the same name, was in Madurai endeavouring to obtain pecuniary assistance from the government. He and his family lived in Vellaikurichi, in the Sivaganga zamindari, and their children were there until quite recently. It is said that they still kept up the old tradition of holding recitations, on the first day of Chittrai in each year, of a long account of their pedigree and of a description of the boundaries of the great kingdom of which their forebears had been rulers.

    Nayak rule and Tiruchi

    The significance of Nayak rule in checking invasion by northern rulers elevated Tiruchi in the eyes of national history. Had it not been for the Nayak rule, the central part of Tamil Nadu, particularly what today has come to be known as Tiruchi, Thanjavur, and Perambalur districts, would not have gained its own historical identity and unique cultural development. The Tiruchi range comprised five major paalayams: Udayarpalayam, Ariyalur, Marungapuri, Thuraiyur and Cuddalore. They constructed new mandapams at several temples, including the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, and the Rock Fort. The Vijayanagar dynasty was chiefly responsible for the present and permanent glory of Tamil Nadu, which was ransacked by the earlier Delhi Sultanate. But for the invasions by Kumara Kampana Udayar against the Sultans of Madurai, the state's cultural civilisation would have been doomed. Wasteland development and the setting up of water harvest structures formed part of the Nayak rulers' welfare programmes. It was at Rani Mangammal Hall in Tiruchi that one of the Nayak rulers, Vijayaranga Chokkanatha Nayak, launched a stiff opposition to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

    Nayak coins

    Most Nayak coins were made of gold or copper. The design, figures, size, and weight of Nayak coins all were similar to those of Vijayanagara coins. Sadasiva Nayak issued some beautiful Nayak coins: one gold coin shows Shiva and Parvati seated next to one another — Shiva holds the trisula (trident) and the mriga (antelope) in his hands. Another gold coin of the same ruler features the mythical bird gandabherunda. This coin is almost identical to the gandabherunda coins minted by the Vijayanagara ruler Achyutaraya. A rare copper coin of this ruler displays, on its obverse, the standing figure of Kartikeya (Muruga), with his favourite peacock behind him. The reverse depicts the Nandi (sacred bull) below the Shivalinga.
    The Madurai Nayaks issued many coins featuring fish, the emblem of the Pandyas, who ruled Madurai before the Vijayanagara and Nayak rulers.
    Some early Madurai Nayak coins portray the figure of the king. The bull also is seen frequently on the Madurai Nayak coins. Chokkanatha Nayak, one of the last rulers of the dynasty, issued coins displaying various animals, such as the bear, elephant and lion. He also issued coins featuring Hanuman and Garuda. The inscriptions on the Nayak coins are in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Nagari scripts. Unlike the coins of many of the earlier dynasties, the Nayak coins are easily available for coin-collectors.

    Nayak temples

    The Madurai and Tanjavur Nayaks made great contributions to architectural style, the main characteristics of this period being the elaborate mandapas of the "hundred-pillared" and "thousand-pillared" types, the high gopurams with stucco statues on the surface, the long corridors. The main temples representing this style in various portions are:

    1. The Ranganatha temple at Srirangam — for its increase in the number of enclosures;
    2. The temple at Rameswaram — for its long corridors;
    3. The Subramanya temple at the Brihadisvara Temple court at Tanjavur — for its fine vimana with ardha and maha mandapas;
    4. Meenakshi Temple at Madurai - for the great splendour of its gopuras, its "thousand- pillar" mandapam, and the Mariamman Teppakulam ("water tank" / reflecting pool).

    Great Kamma Rulers - Musunuru Nayaka Dynasty


    The conquest of South India (Deccan) by the Delhi Sultanate started in 1296 when Alauddin Khilji, the son-in-Law and commander of the Sultan Jalaluddin raided and plundered Devagiri (Maharashtra). Khilji subsequently murdered the Sultan and took over the reins of the Sultanate. The glory and wealth of the Kakatiya kingdom attracted the attention of Khilji. The first foray into the Telugu kingdom was made in 1303 by the Sultan’s armies led by Malik Fakruddin. It was a disaster because of the valiant resistance of the Kakatiya army in the battle at Upparapalli (Karim Nagar District). The second attempt was made in 1309 by Malik Kafur who managed to capture Siripur and Hanumakonda forts. Warangal fort was taken after a prolonged seize. Malik Kafur indulged in murder and mayhem around the fort which prompted King Prataparudra to make a pact and offer an enormous amount of tribute. Prataparudra asserted his independence in 1320 when there was a change of power in Delhi. The Khilji dynasty ended and Ghiasuddin Tughlak ascended the Delhi throne. Tughlak sent his son Ulugh Khan in 1323 to defeat the defiant Kakatiya king. Ulugh Khan’s raid was repulsed but he returned in a month with a larger and determined army. The unprepared and battle-weary army of Warangal was finally defeated. The loot, plunder and destruction of Warangal continued for months. Loads of gold, diamonds, pearls and ivory were carried away to Delhi on elephants and camels. The Kohinoor diamond was part of the booty. The large population was forcibly converted to Islam, women were raped and molested and mosques were erected over the demolished temples. The vandalism and cruel atrocities of the Muslim army demoralized the common people who were unfamiliar with the methods adopted by the invaders. King Prataparudra was taken prisoner. He committed suicide by drowning himself in the river Narmada while being taken to Delhi.

    The Valiant Cousins

    King Prataparudra’s Kakatiya kingdom was ably served by seventy five chieftains called Nayaks. The Nayaks who belonged to various agrarian castes such as Velama, Kamma, Reddy, Balija, Teliga, Boya etc., were divided by mutual jealousy and rivalry. However, the Nayak chiefs valiantly fought during the hour of the need. Many Nayak chiefs were captured, converted to Islam and sent back as governors. These included Harihara and Bukka who later established Vijayanagar kingdom at Hampi. Some like Minister Jagannatha Pandit occupied exalted positions in Delhi Durbar.

    The year 1323 was a turning point in the history of Telugu country. After the fall of Warangal, Muslim armies marched forward and captured Kondapalli, Kondaveedu, Rajahmundry, Nidadavole, Nellore, and Kolanuveedu forts. The conquest spread up to Madhura (Tamil Nadu) and Malabar (Kerala). Hoyasala and Kampili kingdoms (Karnataka) also became part of the Sultanate. The conquest of South India was complete. Ulugh Khan ascended the Delhi throne under the name Mohammed Bin Tughlak.

    The following years witnessed all round misery, destruction, oppression, forcible conversion, pillage and plunder. The Telugu country was in great turmoil and ferment. Seeds of revolution were sown. Two patriotic souls, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva exhorted and united the remaining Nayak chieftains. They instilled a sense of unity and sacrifice to protect the Telugu country and Hindu Dharma.

    A dynamic and valiant Kamma Nayak hailing from Vegi (West Godavari District) was chosen as their leader. He is Musunuri Prolayanayak (Prolaaneedu), a brave and battle-hardy warrior. Prolaya was the son of Pochinayak who had three brothers namely Devanayak, Kammanayak and Rajanayak. The son of Devanayak was Kaapayanayak (Kaapaneedu) who was the right hand man of Prolaya. he other cousins of Prolaya also ably assisted him in his endeavours. Prolaya galvanized all the Nayaks and their progeny and united them with his organizational skills. The Nayaks set aside their differences and rallied under the leadership of Prolaya to safeguard the Hindu Dharma.

    Triumph and Freedom

    Battles were fought at all levels at a great cost and independence was achieved after many a sacrifice. Nayak armies liberated Warangal by 1326 and drove away Muslims from Telugu country. Many of the inscriptions glorified the victories of Prolaya and the statecraft he practiced. The cousins strengthened the forts, rebuilt the temples, restored village grants to Brahmins and encouraged arts and literature. Ageing Prolaya retired to Rekapalli fort (East Godavari district) after vesting the power in younger and more dynamic Kaapaya.

    Inspired by the victories of the cousins, other kingdoms like Kampili, Hoyasala, Dwarasamudram and Araveedu asserted independence. Historical evidence showed that the Nayaks actively assisted other kings to achieve freedom from the Sultanate. Harihara and Bukka who were captured at Warangal by Ulugh Khan and converted to Islam were sent by the Sultan to suppress the rebellion of Hoyasala king. The brothers, however, switched sides and went on to establish Vijayanagar Kingdom. Jalaluddin Hassan, the governor of Madhura also declared his independence from the Sultan. This was the last straw on the Camel’s back. The Sultan personally led a huge army southward. He reached Warangal but had to make a hasty retreat. He appointed Malik Maqbool as the Governor and left. Historians opined that a great epidemic prevalent during that time and the formidable resistance of the Nayaks were the reasons for the retreat. Kaapaya wanted to utilize the opportunity to liberate the whole of Telangana including Bidar. He sought the help of Hoyasala king in this endeavour. The Nayaks fought in unison and Kaapaya succeeded in capturing the Warangal fort and l iberating Telangana from the invaders. The flag of Andhradesa was unfurled on the Warangal fort. Kaapaya was given the titles “Andhradesaadheeswara” and “Andhrasuratraana”.

    Kaapaya was always wary of attacks by the Sultan’s armies from the north. He strengthened the forts and replenished the army. However, a new and bigger threat loomed on the horizon. A revolt by a group of Muslim nobles against Muhammed Bin Tughlaq that began in Devagiri in 1345 culminated in the foundation of the Bahmani kingdom by Hasan Gangu. He assumed the name Alauddin Bahman Shah and moved his capital to the more centrally located Gulbarga in 1347. Alauddin was an ambitious man and his goal was to conquer the whole of Dakshinapatha (Deccan).

    The Decline

    The unity fostered by the Musunuri cousins among the Nayaks started showing strains fuelled by envy. Recherla Nayaks led by Singama raided Addanki which was under the control of Vema Reddy. Vema Reddy sought the help of Kaapaya who intervened and forced Singama to accept the confederation. ingama was unable to reconcile to this act. Kaapaya also helped Bahmani king in good faith to ward off Delhi Sultan’s attack. He would soon find Alauddin turn ungrateful.

    Singama and his sons induced Alauddin to interfere in the affairs of Warangal. Bahmani king was too eager to oblige. Telangana was invaded in 1350. Kaapaya’s army fought an unexpected but heroic battle in vain. He concluded a treaty with Alauddin and surrendered Kaulas fort. This was the first setback to the unified Telugu kingdom.

    The death of Mohammed Bin Tughlak in 1351 emboldened Alauddin to achieve his goal of expanding his kingdom in Deccan. He marched into Telangana in 1355 with greatly enlarged army and captured many forts including Bhuvanagiri. Alauddin spent a year in Telangana and engaged in another round of destruction and plunder. He reurned to Gulbarga and died in 1359. Mohammed Shah succeeded Alauddin. At this time Kaapaya sent his brave and boisterous son Vinayaka Deva to liberate Kaulas and Bhuvanagiri from Bahmanis. The Vijayanagar king Bukkaraya actively assisted him in this campaign. Vinayaka Deva had initial successes but was eventually defeated, captured and killed in a cruel and ghastly manner.

    Kaapaya was disheartened but his goal was to destroy Bahmani kingdom. Along with Bukka Raya he planned a great expedition against Bahmanis. Mohammed Shah got enraged and invaded Telangana again. Golconda and Warangal were subdued. Bukka Raya died during this time. Lack of support from Vijayanagar and non-cooperation from Devarakonda and Rachakonda Nayaks also contributed to the fall of Warangal. Historians feel that Rachakonda Nayaks surreptitiously helped Bahmani king. Mohemmed Shah spent two years in Telangana and wiped out all remnants of Hindu temples. Golconda was chosen as the border between Bahmani and Warangal kingdoms in 1365. Kaapaya had to present the turquoise throne and large amounts of tribute to Mohammed Shah. This was the major setback and turning point in the history of Andhradesa.

    Singamanayak of Recherla and his sons took advantage of the situation and declared independence. They marched against Warangal ruled by a weakened and disheartened Kaapaya. The treasury was empty and the army was war-weary. Kaapaya met Singama’s army at Bhimavaram and died a martyr’s death. Thus ended the short but glorious reign (1326-1370) of Musunuri clan which united the Telugu country, its people and its warriors, and protected Hindu Dharma. The valour, dedication and undaunted spirit of sacrifice of Musunuri Nayaks are unparalleled in the history of Telugu land.

    After the martyrdom of Kaapaya Nayak there was an en masse migration of Nayaks and their progeny to the Vijayanagar Kingdom. These Nayaks formed the bulwark of Vijayanagar Empire and bravely defended South India and Hindu dharma for the next two centuries. Relatives of Kaapaya such as Mummadi and Anavota briefly controlled small areas in the coastal districts which were eventually absorbed into Reddy kingdom. Nayaks who were unwilling to surrender and serve as vassals were pursued and killed by the Muslim armies.

    Great Kamma Rulers - Kakatiya Dynasty

    The Kakatiya Dynasty was a South Indian dynasty that ruled parts of what is now Andhra Pradesh, India from 1083 to 1323. They were one of the great Telugu kingdoms that lasted for centuries.


    During the 10th and 11th centuries the Vengi region came under the rule of Kalyani chalukyas and the Chola at differnt times. The time period between 1000CE and 1118CE saw repeated wars between these two powerful kingdoms for control of Vengi. The Kakatiya dynasty ruled as Chalukya feudatories over parts of present day Andhra Pradesh during this time. After the death of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI in 1126AD, The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiyas. They were at first the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyana, ruling over a small territory near Warangal. A ruler of this dynasty, Prola II, who ruled from A.D.1110 to 1158, extended his sway to the south and declared his independence. His successor Rudra (A.D.1158--1195) pushed the kingdom to the north up to the Godavari delta. He built a fort at Warangal to serve as a second capital and faced the invasions of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The next ruler Mahadeva extended the kingdom to the coastal area. In A.D.1199, Ganapati succeeded him. He was the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after the Satavahanas to bring the entire Telugu area under one rule. He put an end to the rule of the Velanati Cholas in A.D.1210. He forced the Telugu Cholas of Vikramasimhapura to accept his suzerainty. He established order in his vast dominion and encouraged trade.

    As Ganapati Deva had no sons, his daughter Rudramba succeeded him in A.D.1262 and carried on the administration. Some generals, who did not like to be ruled by her, rebelled. She could, however, suppress the internal rebellions and external invasions with the help of loyal subordinates. The Cholas and the Yadavas suffered such set backs at her hands that they did not think of troubling her for the rest of her rule.

    Prataparudra succeeded his grandmother Rudramba in A.D.1295 and ruled till A.D.1323. He pushed the western border of his kingdom up to Raichur. He introduced many administrative reforms. He divided the kingdom into 75 Nayakships, which was later adopted and developed by the Rayas of Vijayanagara. In his time the territory constituting Andhra Pradesh had the first experience of a Muslim invasion. In A.D.1303, the Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji sent an army to plunder the kingdom. But Prataparudra defeated them at Upparapalli in Karimnagar district. In A.D. 1310, when another army under Malik Kafur invaded Warangal, Prataparudra yielded and agreed to pay a large tribute. In A.D.1318, when Ala-ud-din Khilji died, Prataparudra withheld the tribute. It provoked another invasion of the Muslims. In A.D.1321, Ghiaz-ud-din Tughlaq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan to conquer the Telugu country then called Tilling. He laid siege to Warangal, but owing to internal dissensions he called off the siege and returned to Delhi. Within a short period, he came back with a much bigger army. In spite of unpreparedness, Prataparudra fought bravely. For want of supplies, he surrendered to the enemy who sent him to Delhi as a prisoner, and he died on the way. Thus ended the Kakatiya rule, opening the gates of the Telugu land to anarchy and confusion yielding place to an alien ruler.

    The Kakatiya period was rightly called the brightest period of the Telugu history. The entire Telugu speaking area was under the kings who spoke Telugu and encouraged Telugu. They established order throughout the strife torn land and the forts built by them played a dominant role in the defence of the realm. Anumakonda and Gandikota among the 'giridurgas', Kandur and Narayanavanam among the 'vanadurgas', Divi and Kolanu among the 'jaladurgas', and Warangal and Dharanikota among the 'sthaladurgas' were reckoned as the most famous strongholds in the Kakatiya period. The administration of the kingdom was organized with accent on the military.

    Though Saivism continued to be the religion of the masses, intellectuals favoured revival of Vedic rituals. They sought to reconcile the Vaishnavites and the Saivites through the worship of Harihara. Arts and literature found patrons in the Kakatiyas and their feudatories. Tikkana Somayaji, who adorned the court of the Telugu Chola ruler Manumasiddhi II, wrote the last 15 cantos of the Mahabharata which was lying unfinished. Sanskrit, which could not find a place in the Muslim-occupied north, received encouragement at the hands of the Kakatiyas. Prataparudra was himself a writer and he encouraged other literature.

    The Kakatiya dynasty expressed itself best through religious art. Kakatiya art preserved the balance between architecture and sculpture, that is, while valuing sculpture, it laid emphasis on architecture where due. The Kakatiya temples, dedicated mostly to Siva, reveal in their construction a happy blending of the styles of North India and South India which influenced the political life of the Deccan.

    The most important of these temples are those at Palampeta, Hanamkonda and the incomplete one in the Warangal fort. The temple at Palampeta, described as the 'brightest gem in the galaxy of Medieval Deccan temple architecture', was constructed by Recherla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya Ganapati, in S.1135 (A.D.1213). The figures in the temple are of a heterogeneous character comprising gods, goddesses, warriors, acrobats, musicians, mithuna pairs in abnormal attitudes and dancing girls. The sculptures, especially of the dancing girls, possess the suggestion of movement and pulsating life. A striking peculiarity of this temple is the figure-brackets which spring from the shoulders of the outer pillars of the temple. The figure-brackets are mere ornaments and represent the intermediate stage between their earlier analogues at Sanchi and the later examples at Vijayanagara.

    The Thousand-Pillared Temple at Hanamkonda, built by the Kakatiya king Rudra in A.D.1162, is similar in style and workmanship to the Ramappa temple. This temple, dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Surya, is star-shaped. The Nandi pavilion, in which a huge granite bull still stands, the beautiful entrances to the shrine, the pierced slabs used for screens and windows, and the elegant open work by which the bracket-shafts are attached to the pillars are the other most interesting features of this temple.

    The temple in the Warangal fort, believed to have been built by Kakatiya Ganapati, was constructed making use of large slabs. The floor of the shrine is beautifully polished and shines like a mirror. An interesting feature of this temple is the four gateways called 'Kirti Stambhas' which face the four cardinal points of the compass. In their design the gateways are reminiscent of the 'toranas' of the Great Stupa at Sanchi. The architecture and sculpture of these temples are thus conventional to a degree but no one can deny their magnificence nor can any one fail to see the rich imagination, patient industry and skilful workmanship of the builders of the temples of the Kakatiya period.

    Fall of the dynasty

    The queen Rudramadevi was succeeded by her grandson Prataparudra (1295-1323). Prataparudra expanded borders towards the west, whilst introducing many administrative reforms, some of which were also later adopted in the Vijayanagar empire. However, the empire was under threat from the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. Despite defeating the first wave of attack from the Delhi Sultanate in 1303, in 1310 the invading army defeated the King. After agreeing to a large tribute the kingdom was spared. However, after Khilji's death the tribute was withheld which provoked the final and fatal attack on the Kingdom in 1323. Prataparudra was captured by Ulugh Khan (later known as Muhammad bin Tughluq) and died en route to Delhi.
    The Kakatiya dynasty ended and resulted in confusion and anarchy under alien rulers for sometime.Two cousins belonging to Musunuri clan kapayya nayudu and prola nayudu who served as army chiefs for Kakatiya kingdom later united the Telugu people and recovered Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate and ruled for half a century.


    The Kakatiya dynasty is regarded as one of the golden ages in Telugu history. The kingdom was ruled by Telugu speaking hindu rulers who encouraged literature, art and architecture. The Thousand-pillar Temple in Hanmakonda (now merged with Warangal) stands as testimony to this. And the famous Kohinoor diamond which was unearthed near the Golconda fort during their reign, was among the booty carried.

    Ancient Kamma History

    There are many theories about the origins of the word "Kamma" and the social group known as Kammas but none is conclusive. One theory is that the people who lived in the Krishna river valley, where Buddhism prevailed, got the name from Theravada Buddhist concept of Kamma (Pali) or Karma (Sanskrit). This region was once known as Kammarashtram / Kammarattam / Kammanadu, which was under the control of Pallavas, Eastern Chalukyas and Telugu Cholas. Inscriptions mentioning Kammanadu are available since 3rd century A.D.

    Kambhoja/Pallava Origin :
    Some historians opined that the name Kamma is probably derived from Kambhoja, an ancient Aryan warrior clan.
    Historian Avadh Bihari Lal Avasthi comments as follows: We find Kambhi, Kamma, Kumbhi etc castes in South India. There is also a famous city Koimb-toor. Possibly, there has also been a Kamboja country in Southern India (See Garuda Purana, Aik Adhyan p 28). Historians need to closely analyze if there are any links between Pahlava/Kambhoja migrations to Palnadu / Kammanadu region of ancient Telugu country.
    Kambhoja Raja Kathalu is very popular in Andhra traditions. The story deals with militaristic exploits of a fierce and adventuours king of Kambojas. It probably relates to some historical brush the Andhraites might have had with the intruding hordes of Kambojas/Pahlavas around Christian era. The region extending from the southern bank of Krishna river up to Nellore district of modern Andhra Pradesh was once called Kammanadu. Inscriptional evidence for Kammarashtram / Kammanadu exists since 3rd century CE. A part of Kammanadu is called Palnadu/Pallavanadu. Pallavas started their rule from the southern parts of Telugu country and later extended it to Tamil country with Kanchi as their capital. This strongly points out a wave of Kambhoja/ Pallava migration to coastal Andhra Pradesh.
    The Kamboja hordes of second/first century BCE have left indelible foot prints in the names of mountains, rivers, and some geographical places in western India. The Kamb/Kambuh river and Kamboh/Kambo mountain in Sindh ( Sind, p 44, M. R. Lamrick) remind us of Sanskrit Kamboja. The Kamboi (ancient town/port) in district Patan, Khambhoj in district Anand, Kambay (port/town and Gulf)... all in Saurashtra; Kumbhoj/Kambhoj (an ancient town) in Kolhapur in Maharashtra; and the Coimbatore city of Tamilnadu in southern India carry unmistakable footprints of Kambojas. There is also an ancient Kambhoj caste living near Nanded in Maharashtra which could be a dwindling remnant of ancient Kambojas who had settled in SW India around Christian era. A similar analogy can be drawn with the Kamma (caste) of Andhra Pradesh which had a military past during medieval times. This caste is predominantly found in Kammanadu / Palnadu region. The people of this caste are known for their enterprising and boisterous nature.'

    Kurmi Origin :
    Another origin of Kammas is speculated as follows. Buddhist Kurmis from Gangetic plains migrated to Krishna delta in large numbers to escape the persecution of Pushyamitra Sunga (184 B.C). Buddhism was already flourishing in Dharanikota, Bhattiprolu, Chandavolu etc in this fertile area. Historians surmised that the Sanskrit word Kurmi/Kurma became Kamma in later years. The first records of the word Kammakaratham appeared in the Jaggayyapeta inscription of Ikshvaku King Madhariputra Purushadatta (3rd century A.D.). The Kammarashtram extended from the Krishna River to Kandukur (Prakasam Dt.). The next record was that of Pallava King Kumara Vishnu II followed by that of Eastern Chalukya king Mangi Yuvaraja (627-696 A.D.). The subsequent inscriptions of Telugu Chodas and Kakatiyas mentioned ‘Kammanadu’ (E.g., Konidena inscription of Tribhuvana Malla – 1146 A.D.). This region is also known as Pallavanadu/Palanadu due to Pallava rule.

    Famous Kurmis :

    1. Sardar Vallabhai Patel (Former. Deputy Prime Minister of India)
    2. Nitish Kumar ( Chief Minister of Bihar)
    3. Sharad Pawar (Former. Chief Minister of Maharastra)
    4. Dr.Cheddi Jagan (Former. Prime Minister of Guyana/West Indies)

    Kammanadu/Kammakaratham :
    Kammanadu is an ancient geographical region in the present day South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The region straddled from the southern bank of Krishna river delta up to Kandukur (Prakasam Dt.). The word Kammanadu is derived from Karmarashtram (Sanskrit) or Kammaratham (Pali). Buddhism flourished in this region from 3rd century BC onwards. It is obvious that name was derived from the Theravada Buddhist concept of Karma (Kamma). Dharanikota, near Amaravati on the bank of Krishna river (Guntur Dt.) was the ancient capital of Satavahana dynasty which ruled South India for five centuries.
    The region is famous for the exquisite sculpture found in the Buddhist stupas of Bhattiprolu, Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati. The ancient Brahmi script found in the inscriptions at Bhattiprolu was the progenitor of modern Telugu and Tamil scripts.
    The mention of Karmarashtram is noticed first in the inscriptions of Ikshvaku king Madhariputra Purushadatta (3rd century A.D) found at Bethavolu (Jaggayyapeta). The next record is the inscription of Pallava king Kumara Vishnu II, son of Buddhaverma found in the village Chenduluru. The third record is that of Eastern Chalukya king Mangi Yuvaraja (627-696 AD) which goes as:
    Srisarvalokasraya maharajah kammarashtre chendaluri grame (Sanskrit)
    In all contemporary inscriptions (3rd to 11th century AD) the words Kammaratham, Kammakaratham, Karmarashtram, Karmakaratham and Karmakarashtram, Kammakarashtram were interchangeably used.
    Pavuluri Mallana, the contemporary of the great king Rajaraja Narendra (1022-1063 AD) wrote:
    Ila Kammanati lopala vilasillina Pavuluri vibhudan (Telugu)
    The subsequent inscriptions of Telugu Chodas and Kakatiyas mentioned ‘Kammanadu’ (E.g., Konidena inscription of Tribhuvana Malla – 1146 AD). During the rule of Kakatiya emperor Prataparudra II, one Boppana Kamaya was ruling Kammanadu with Katyadona (Konidena) as the capital.
    It is not known clearly when the usage of the word Kammanadu ceased. However, the name survives on as the denomination of a social group ‘Kamma’, predominantly found in the region.

    Origin of Caste :
    The division of warrior class into many castes and their consolidation commenced in the time of Prataparudra I (1158-1195 A.D). Badabanala Bhatta prescribed Surnames and Gothras of Kammas. Castes such as Kamma, Velama, Reddy and Telaga probably had a common origin. The battle of Palnadu (1180 A.D) created strife among the social groups of the Telugu country, which echoes till today.
    The affiliation of Kammas as a caste to the ruling dynasties could not be ascribed till 11th century. Traces of evidence were found in the inscriptions of Telugu Chodas of Velanadu starting from Gonka I (1075-1115), found in many places in Kammanadu. The Dharanikota kings (1130-1251) who belonged to Kota clan of Kammas had marital alliances with Telugu Cholas. Similarly, Kota kings married the women from Kakatiya dynasty (E.g., Kota Betharaja married Ganapamba, daughter of Ganapati Deva). Ganapati Deva married the sisters of Jayapa Senani, a brave warrior hailing from Chebrolu (Guntur Dt.). Jayapa is also well known for his contributions to the field of Indian dance (1231 A.D). Around this time many warriors from Kammanadu joined the forces of Kakatiya empire. Such evidences prompted some historians to speculate that Kakatiyas were Kammas. However, this theory needs to be validated.
    Kammas grew to prominence during the Kakatiya reign. In the middle ages they held important positions in their army. Two Kamma chieftains, Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka and Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka served the Kakatiya king Prataparudra. After the fall of Warangal they united the Nayaka chieftains, wrested Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate and ruled for 50 years Subsequently many Kammas migrated to the Vijayanagar kingdom. During the Vijayanagar rule Kamma Nayaks formed the bulwark of its army and were Governors in Tanjore, Madurai and Coimbatore areas of Tamil Nadu. For instance, Krishnadevaraya sent a Cheiftain Pemmasani Vishwanatha Nayudu to suppress the rebellion of his father Pemmasani Nagama Nayudu in Madurai. Later, Vishwanatha Nayudu was made Governor of Madurai. The Pemmasani Kamma clan still has a Zamindari near Madurai called Nayakarpatti. An interesting historical episode was that a Kamma Nayak Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu saved the life of Krisnadeva Raya in the battle of Raichur and the grateful king made him the Governor of Gandikota (Cuddapah district). Thimma Nayudu constructed a large number of temples in Rayalaseema region.
    Kammas controlled parts of south and north Tamil Nadu for several years under the title of Nayacker, which was a legacy of the Vijayanagar Empire. Thirumala Nayacker of Madurai was the most famous among them.


    GOD \

    nandamuri heros
    NTR & ANR
    ntr balakrishna
    bala in tana

    Kamma (caste) - source wikipedia

    Kamma (caste) - source wikipedia

    Kamma, also Choudhary.


    Warriors, Politicians, Zamindars, Land Lords, Farmers.

    Significant populations in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

    Languages Telugu, Tamil, Kannada

    Religions Hinduism

    Kamma or the Kammavaru are a caste or social group found largely in the Southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. They constitute about 5% of the population of Andhra Pradesh which would make them the fifth largest community 1. The Kamma population was 795,732 in the year 1881 2. In the last decades of the previous century some of them migrated to other parts of the world, particularly to the USA, UK and Australia.

    * 1 Ancient history
    o 1.1 Origin
    o 1.2 Ancestry
    * 2 Medieval history
    o 2.1 Identity
    o 2.2 Kakatiya period
    o 2.3 Vijayanagar period
    o 2.4 Golkonda period
    o 2.5 British period
    * 3 Modern history
    * 4 Distribution
    * 5 Zamindaris
    * 6 Surnames
    * 7 Sub-Divisions
    * 8 Religion
    * 9 Politics
    * 10 Crossroads
    * 11 See also
    * 12 Notes
    * 13 References
    o 13.1 Inscriptions
    * 14 External links

    Ancient history

    There are many theories about the origins of the word "Kamma" and the social group known as the Kammas but none is conclusive.

    Buddhist origin

    The theory is that the people who lived in the Krishna river valley, where Buddhism prevailed, got the name from the Theravada Buddhist concept of Kamma (in Pali) or Karma (in Sanskrit). This region was once known as Kammarashtram / Kammarattam / Kammanadu, which was under the control of the Pallavas, Eastern Chalukyas and Cholas. Inscriptions mentioning Kammanadu are available since 3rd century C.E. According to some historians the Kammas existed since the time of the Christ

    Kambhoja/Pallava origin

    Some historians opined that the name Kamma is probably derived from Kambhoja, an ancient Aryan warrior clan. Avadh Bihari Lal Avasthi comments as follows: We find Kambhi, Kamma, Kumbhi etc castes in South India. Possibly, there has also been a Kamboja country in Southern India. The Garuda Purana locates a Kambhoja principality/settlement in the neighborhood of Ashmaka, Pulinda, Jimuta, Narrashtra, Lata and Karnata countries, and also specifically informs us that this section of Kambojas were living in the southern part of India.

    pulinda ashmaka jimuta narrashtara nivasinah

    carnata kamboja ghata dakshinapathvasinah.

    Kurmi origin

    Another origin of Kammas is speculated as: Buddhist Kurmis from the Gangetic plains migrated to the Krishna river delta in large numbers to escape the persecution of Pushyamitra Sunga (184 BCE). Buddhism was already flourishing in Dharanikota, Bhattiprolu, Chandavolu etc in this fertile area. Historians surmised that the Sanskrit word Kurmi/Kurma became Kamma in later years. The first records of the word Kammarashtram appeared in the Jaggayyapeta inscription of the Ikshvaku King Madhariputra Purushadatta (3rd century CE). Kammarashtram extended from the Krishna River to Kandukur (Prakasam Dt.). The next record was that of Pallava King Kumara Vishnu II followed by that of Eastern Chalukya king Mangi Yuvaraja (627-696 CE). The subsequent inscriptions of Telugu Cholas/Chodas and Kakatiya dynasty mentioned ‘Kammanadu’. This region is also known as Pallavanadu/Palanadu/Palnadu due to Pallava rule.

    The kings and military persona of Kammanadu started using the title Nayaka/Nayakudu from 10th century onwards as observed in many inscriptions. There are about 1200 Kamma surnames (Intiperu) which are discernible from this time. The surnames and Gothras of Kammas and Velamas were catalogued by Badabanala Bhatta in 1068 CE. The names of the ancestral villages were adopted as Gothras. This shows that the ancestors of Kammas and Velamas were either Buddhists or Jains who did not follow Gothra system and that both the social groups had a common history. The historical reasons for the dichotomy of the two groups are not known, although many stories abound. The inscriptions of many Kamma Nayaks mentioned that they belong to Durjaya clan (Vamsa). For instance, the inscription (1125 CE) of Pinnama Nayudu in the temple of Sagareswara in Madala village mentioned that he belonged to Durjaya clan and Vallutla Gothra. Another inscription (1282 CE) in the same temple mentioned that Devineni Erra Nayudu, Kommi Nayudu, Surappa Nayudu and Pothi Nayudu belonged to the lineage of Buddhavarma, Durjaya clan and Vallutla Gothra. The inscription at Ravuru mentioned that the bodyguards of Queen Rudrama Devi, Ekki Nayudu, Rudra Nayudu, Pinarudra Nayudu and Pothi Nayudu belong to Durjaya vamsa and Vallutla Gothra. It is worth mentioning here that many of the martial clans of Kammas belong to Vallutla Gothra. Many of the Telugu Chodas of Kammanadu had relations with Eastern Chalukyas and later with Kakatiyas. According to many inscriptions and “Velugotivari Vamsavali” Kammas with surnames such as Yalampati, Sammeta, Maccha, Konda, Choda, Vasireddy, Katta, Adapa etc., belong to Choda-Chalukya ancestry. The Vasireddy Clan had a title “Chalukya Narayana”. Historians surmised that by the end of 10th century Durjayas, Chodas, Chalukyas and Haihayas of Kammanadu merged into Kammas..
    Medieval history

    The division of warrior class into many castes and their consolidation commenced during the time of Kakatiya king Rudra I (1158-1195 CE). Badabanala Bhatta prescribed Surnames and Gothras of Kammas. The affiliation of Kammas as a caste to the ruling dynasties could not be ascribed till 11th century. Traces of evidence were found in the inscriptions of Telugu Cholas/Chodas of Velanadu starting from Gonka I (1075-1115 CE), found in many places in Kammanadu. The Dharanikota kings (1130-1251 CE) who belonged to Kota clan of Kammas had marital alliances with Telugu Cholas. Similarly, Kota kings married the women from Kakatiya dynasty (E.g., Kota Betharaja married Ganapamba, daughter of Ganapati Deva). The Kakatiya Ganapati Deva married the sisters of Jayapa Senani, a warrior hailing from Diviseema. Jayapa Nayudu is also well known for his contributions to the field of Indian dance (1231 CE) and was the head of the elephant corps in the Kakatiya army. Around this time many other warriors from Kammanadu joined the forces of the Kakatiya dynasty.
    Kakatiya period

    Kammas grew to prominence during the Kakatiya dynasty's reign (1083-1323 CE) by also holding important positions in their army. One of the most famous commanders during the time of Rudrama Devi and Prataparudra II was Daadi Nagadeva who played a prominent role in warding off the attack of the Yadava king of Devagiri. Nagadeva’s son Ganna Mantri, also called Ganna Senani or Yugandhar, who upon his conversion to Islam changed his name to Malik Maqbul and was a great warrior and a patron of arts and literature. Poet Maarana dedicated his “Markandeya Puranam” to Ganna (Malik Maqbul). Nagadeva’s other sons Ellaya Nayaka and Mechaya Nayaka were also valiant fighters. Another warrior of repute was Muppidi Nayaka who went on an expion to Kanchi, defeated the Pandya king and merged it with Kakatiya dynasty in 1316 CE. In prolonged battles with Muslims between 1296 and 1323 CE. thousands of Kamma Nayakas perished along with others, in the defense of Warangal. The inhuman atrocities perpetrated by the aliens on Telugu people later prompted two Kamma chieftains, Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka and Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka, who served the Kakatiya king Prataparudra, to raise the banner of revolt. After the fall of Warangal they united the Nayaka chieftains, wrested Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate and ruled for 50 years. (Musunuri Nayaks)
    Vijayanagar period

    Subsequent to the martyrdom of Kaapaaneedu (Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka) many Kammas migrated to the Vijayanagar kingdom. During the reign of Sri Krishnadevaraya Kammas belonging to thirty seven Gothras were living in the city of Vijayanagar. Kamma Nayaks formed the bulwark of Vijayanagar army and were appointed as governor in many areas of Tamil Nadu. Their role in protecting the last great Hindu kingdom of India was significant. Some of the prominent commanders who achieved fame were:

    * Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu was the commander of Vijayanagar army which fought and won the battle of Gulbarga (Kalubarige) in 1422 CE. The grateful king Devaraya II made him the governor of Gandikota (Cuddapah). Thimma Nayudu constructed a large number of temples and tanks in the Rayalaseema region. The Gandikota Kammas kept the Muslim rulers like the Bahmanis at bay and protected Telugu land for a long time to come.

    * Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayudu was the most favourite and chief commander of Sri Krishna Deva Raya. The battle of Raichur was won by Ramalinga during which thousands of Kamma warriors perished. The exploits of Ramalinga were extolled by many poets Portuguese historian Nuniz referred Ramalinga as ‘Camanayque’ in his writings. (Pemmasani Nayaks).

    * Another illustrious clan which won laurels in Vijayanagar Empire were the Ravella Nayaks. Many commanders of this clan fought and protected the honour of Telugu country.

    * Kammas controlled large swathes of southern and northern Tamil Nadu for several years under the title of Nayacker or Naicker or Naidu, which was a legacy of the Vijayanagar Empire.

    Martial clans: Many clans figure prominently in the battles during Vijayanagar era and in the subsequent years. Some of these clans include Eruva, Matcha, Konda, Kodali, Sammeta, Choda/Chode, Dasari, Alamandala, Adapa, Suryadevara, Nadendla, Veliseti, Sakhamuri etc.,
    Golkonda period

    Vijayanagar kingdom underwent very difficult times after the battle of Tallikota in 1565. Pemmasani Nayaks, Ravella Nayaks and Sayapaneni Nayaks steadfastly helped the Araviti kings in keeping the Muslims at bay. It took another 90 years to consolidate the Muslim power in Andhra country with the capture of Gandikota in 1652. Kamma nayaks migrated in large numbers to the Tamil region. During the Golkonda period, the Sayapaneni Nayaks (1626-1802) ruled Dupadu region as vassals of the Golkonda sultans. Gangappa Nayudu, Venkatadri Nayudu and Rangappa Nayudu were famous among them. Ibrahim Qutb Shah captured Kondavidu in 1579. Rayarao, his Maratha commander, appointed Deshmukhs and Chowdarys in 497 villages. Some of the prominent Chowdarys belonged to Dasari, Nallamotu, Kosaraju, Paruchuri, Ravella and Vasireddy clans. The usage of the name ‘Chowdary’ in coastal Andhra commenced at this time.

    Vasireddy Sadasiva Nayudu ruled Nandigama paragana from 1550 to 1581. He was granted the paragana by Ibrahim Qutb Shah of Golkonda. Chinapadmanabha Nayudu got a grant of 500 villages from Abul Hassan Tanisha in 1685. He built a fort at Chintapalli and ruled it until 1710 CE. His successors ruled until 1760. During this period the French and the British were trying to gain control of the Andhra country. Jaggayya ruled Chintapalli from 1763 onwards. He was killed by French troops sent by Basalat Jung, brother of the Golkonda Nawab in 1771. Jaggayya’s wife Acchamma committed Sati. Jaggayya’s son Venkatadri recovered Chintapalii in 1777 and earned fame as a benevolent and illustrious ruler (Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu and Vasireddy Clan). The British gained control of Andhra by 1788 from Golkonda Nawabs. Another Kamma principality during Golkonda period was Devarakota with Challapalli as its capital. Its ruler, Yarlagadda Guruvarayudu was subdued by Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1576. His successors ruled as vassals of Golkonda till the French took over in 1751 and later the British in 1765.
    British period

    By the end of 18th century the British East India Company had consolidated their rule in Andhra. The armies of Zamindars and Deshmukhs were dismantled and only the power of tax collection was left intact. The well-known Kamma Zamindaris under the British rule were Muktyala, Chintapalli (Amaravati), Challapalli, Devarakota, Kapileswarapuram etc. These Zamindars encouraged modern education by establishing many schools and libraries.
    Modern history

    After the decline of major kingdoms, Kammas controlled large fertile areas in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, as a legacy of their martial past. The British recognized their prominence and made them village heads(Talari) also known as Chowdary to collect taxes. The association of Kammas with the land and agriculture is legendary. The martial prowess of Kammas was put to good use to tame the lands in modern times. There are many proverbs in Telugu language which speak of the Kammas’ adeptness in agriculture and their emotional attachment to the soil. English historians like Edgar Thurston and noted agricultural scientists like M. S. Randhawa eulogized the spirit of Kamma farmers

    Construction of dams and barrages and establishment of an irrigation system in Godavari and Krishna river deltas by Sir Arthur Cotton was a great boon to the Kamma farmers. Availability of water and the natural propensity for hard work made the Kammas wealthy and prosperous. The money was put to good use by establishing numerous schools and libraries and encouraging their children to take up modern education. Among the non-Brahmin communities, Kammas were one of the first to take to education in large numbers. Over a period of 10 years, in Guntur District alone, 130 High schools and hostels were established by their initiative. The zamindars of Challapalli and Kapileswarapuram founded many schools and libraries. In the modern times, the pace of the growth in wealth accelerated due to their enterprise and notable achievements in business, real estate, farming, arts and movie industry, education, medicine, engineering, media and high technology.

    The Kammas of Tamil Nadu have also excelled in the cultivation of black cotton soils and later diversified into various industrial enterprises, particularly in Coimbatore.

    In the recent past, enterprising farmers migrated to other regions such as Nizamabad, Raichur and Bellary (Karnataka), Raipur (Chattisgarh) and Sambalpur (Orissa) and bought lands. In the past fifty years, the enterprise of the Kammas has profoundly influenced every aspect of social, economic and political life of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the country in general. The contribution of Kammas to the economy of the state of Andhra Pradesh is significant.

    With the power of knowledge and education, a large number of Kammas have migrated to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. This migration is continuing unabated. Kammas have truly become Global citizens.

    The Kamma community are found in significant numbers in Khammam, Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam and West Godavari districts of Coastal region and in large numbers in Chittoor, Khammam, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Anantapur, East Godavari, Nizamabad and Visakhapatnam districts in Andhra Pradesh; Bellary and Bangalore districts of Karnataka; and Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Kovilpatti, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Theni, Karur, Dindigal, North Arcot and South Arcot districts of Tamil Nadu.

    Some of the prominenr Kamma Zamindaris in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are:

    * Challapalli - Yarlagadda Clan
    * Chintapalli/Amaravati - Vasireddy clan
    * Kapileswarapuram - Balusu clan
    * Kodamanchili - Manne clan
    * Muktyala - Vasireddy clan
    * Melkalathuru (Old Arcot Dt) - Bollineni/Bollini Clan
    * Kurivikulam (Tirunelveli Dt) – Pemmasani clan
    * Ilavarasanandanan (Tirunelveli Dt) – Ravella clan
    * Neikarapatti (Dindugal Dt) – Pemmasani clan


    Several Kamma surnames end with 'neni' denote the descent from an ancestor having the title 'Nayakudu/Nayudu/Nayuni. For example, persons with surname 'Veeramachaneni' are descendants of 'Veeramacha Nayudu'. Other surnames indicate the villages to which the persons originally belonged to. Kammas use different titles in different regions such as Chowdary, Naidu, Rao and Naicker. In Tamil Nadu and Southern Andhra Pradesh, Naidu is commonly used. Naicker title is added in the areas south of Coimbatore district. However, Telugu speaking Velama, Balija, Gavara and other communities also use the titles Naidu and Naicker in Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu respectively.

    There are a few divisions among Kammas, although these have largely disappeared for all practical purposes. The divisions are:

    1. Pedda Kamma (Descendants of Nayaks and ruling clans, belonging to many surnames.)
    2. Chinna Kamma (Majority of the Kammas).
    3. Kota Kamma (Descendants of Dharanikota kings with surnames Kota, Sagineni etc.).
    4. Gampa Kamma (Descendants of Gandikota Nayaks who migrated to coastal districts after the downfall of Gandikota).
    5. Gandikota Kamma (Descendants of Gandikota Nayaks who migrated to Tamil Nadu).


    While most of the Kammas are Hindus there were conversions to other religions/schools of thought such as Christianity, Atheism, Buddhism and Islam.

    Kammas are politically very active, especially in the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. During the twentieth century a number of leaders like Prof N.G. Ranga, Kotha Raghuramaiah, Gottipati Brahmaiah, Moturu Hanumantha Rao and Kalluri Chandramouli took prominent roles in the national freedom movement. Several Kammas were also attracted to leftist ideals and joined the Communist Party. It was a strong political force in the state until the mid sixties. Many wealthy Kammas willingly relinquished their lands and actively worked for the land distribution reforms. This helped many landless individuals attain middle class status and brought about greater economic development of the state as a whole rather than to just one particular community. We are witnessing the benefits of this sacrifice now in the state as Andhra Pradesh has developed into an economic hub. However, their affinity towards the Communist party in the early days led them to lose political clout along with the diminished influence of the Communist party throughout the world.

    During the 1980s, they again played a key role in state and national politics with the inception of the Telugu Desam Party. Nara Chandrababu Naidu gave a progressive direction to Andhra Pradesh and won global recognition to the Telugu language and the state of Andhra Pradesh.

    The Kammas are at a crossroads, today. A large number of families has already transplanted themselves to urban centres in India and abroad. Their enterprising nature and hard work created a class of ‘neo-rich’. In villages, land reforms forced many Kammas to give away their lands to the government. Subsequently, land holdings got fragmented and presently most of the Kammas living in rural areas are small farmers. The vagaries of weather and a lack of good "support prices" made agriculture unremunerative. Loss of interest in agriculture and the lure of urban environment have only exacerbated the situation. There are impending signs of a gulf developing between the rural and urban Kammas. Development of collective and corporate agriculture in the near future may obviate this possible scenario.