Highslide for Wordpress Plugin


News letter

    Fill out the email below to get website updates.


Make a donation

Family names history of Shivalli Brahmin Community

Shivalli brahmins are those Brahmins who settled in Southern Tulunadu, after migrating from northern  Ahichchatra.  They are called so because they had settled first  at Shivalli – a village near Udupi.  According the history of Kadambas, it is found that Mayuravarma, the founder of the Kadamba dynasty had brought these Brahmins from Ahichchatra. But according to another belief, it is believed that Parashurama, himself had invited them to Tulunadu.  Any how, the regional relationship between Shivalli Brahmins and those 32 villages can not be negated.

The family houses of Shivalli Brahmins had a direct bearing on these 32 villages.  Family names of shivalli Brahmins itself is a fantastic story.  The shivalli Brahmins community which lived in a compact geographical area measuring 100 k.m. width and 120 k.m. length, had more than 500 family names to it’s credit – is nothing but amazing.  Perhaps, a small community like this may not have such a diversified order of family houses in the whole world.  Most of the family names have direct relationship with their respective names of their geographical location.

Many families have been lost over the past ages. Still their name has been registered in the  documentary sources.

Classification of family names :

The logic behind naming a particular family can be attributed to the following factors.

a) Names derived from a particular place or village :

Naming a family on the basis of a particular place or village was it practice during 7th century.  For eg. Pulakeshi II, in one of his deedletters had recorded, “vasistaya gotraya taittiriyaaya tagaradivasine chaturveda yombarakheda kulanamadeyaya jyeshta sharmane .. .. ..”.  Here we can see that the family name has been derived from the name of a place. (Ep. Indica,Vol. iv page 73 , 74)  Hence it was a common practice to identify/ address a person according to on place to which he belonged.

For e.g. Alevuraya, Putturaya, Baipadittaya etc.

Identifying the relatives residing at distant places can be seen under the same method now a days also.  E.g. the Madras uncle, Bangalore  Aunty, etc.

Alevuraya      – [Hails from Alevur]
Iruvamturaya   – [Hails from Iruvamtur]
Kubanuraya     – [Hails from Kubanur]
Nalluraya      – [Hails from Nallur]
Madavuruttaya  – [Hails from Madavuru]

Mayyuruttaya   – [Hails from Mayyuru]

Paturaya       – [Hails from Patur]

Shibaruttaya   – [Hails from Shiruru]  etc.

b) Family names are attached on the basis of Direction and layout :

Under this method the direction and layout of the residence of the dweller is taken as identification for this family.

Tenkillaya              [Tenku = Southern , Illaya =  has house i.e. who has house at the southern side.]
Paddillaya              [Padu = Eastern, Illaya = has house i.e. who has house at the eastern side.]
Sittillaya              [Sitt = down, Illaya = has house i.e. who has house at the down layers.]
Mittillaya               [Mitt = upper, Illaya = has house i.e. who has house at the upper layers.]
Kedilaya                [Kedu = pond Illaya = has house i.e. who has house at the water tank  side.]
Kukkillaya             [Who has house at mountain]    Etc.

c) Family names derived from the features of the landscape or uniqueness of  the place :

Vailaya                [one who hails from plain land]
Polnaya                [One who hails from sandy land]
Majilaya               [One who hails from less irrigated land]
Kudurettaya         [One who hails from island]
Makkittaya           [One who hails from barren land]

d) Family names derived from plants and trees :
Nellittaya               [One who dwells near tamarind tree]

e) Family names derived from Profession :

Adiga                 [Priest]
Poojettaya            [Priest]
Acharya               [Teacher]

f)Others :

Some family names cannot be classified on the basis of aforesaid methods.  They seem rather special

E.g :
Netrattaya    –    [Leader, Netara]
Arimettaya    –    [Knowledgeable  person]
Oppantaya     –    [Methodist]

50 Responses to Family names history of Shivalli Brahmin Community

  1. Balachandra Achar

    ACHAR is my surname.

    Acharya is listed, but Achar is not.

  2. Krishnamurthy Bhat

    In Paddillaya it is claimed that “Padu” is east. Actually “Padu” is not east, but west. “Moodu” is east. Pl. correct.
    My family name is “Kadamballitthaya”. Can you tell me how it has come?

  3. Ballakur Balakrishna

    Can you specify the meaning of Ballakur. How is it derived?

  4. Vishwanath Rao

    Is the Surname RAO comes in Shivalli brahmin

  5. Ramya Bhat

    Very interesting! I’m no expert. But I would think, the article explains, how it came about centuries ago. I’m sure many family names have transformed/changed since then. Achar is just a short form of Acharya. In modern days, once they enter official records, they continue that way!

    As far as “RAO” is considered, it might be a short form of “Rayaru” (meaning “yajamana”/owner). This happened with my grand father and father-in-law. When they went out of Udupi on hotel business, they changed their surnames to RAO.

  6. Shreerama

    My Surname is “Naduvanthillaya” , can you tell how it came from & have any one heard about this surname. I am not seen any or many people with the same surname. In my village, we don’t have any other family with this surname other than our family..

  7. Shrinivas Kannaraya

    My surname is “Kannaraya”, can i know how it came…Is it the name for Rayaru for Kannur. any other details can i get..?

  8. Ashok Kedilaya

    Article is quite interesting. I was given to understand from my father that there are 108 sir names are existing, today. Is there any record of Shivalli histroy & details available?

    On the Lighter side – “Kannaraya” – derived from a body part??

  9. Samatha

    My family name is Aithal”. Can you tell me how it has come?

  10. Vasudeva Adiga

    Adiga is not a original Sirname of Thoulava Brahmins. I am Adiga myself and I know it for sure.

    My family (Shivalli Smarthas) were originally “Sagrittaya” (from Sagri village near Udupi). Later since we were forced to move out of this place to north (towards Kundapur) during Madhvaism’s spread. Many such originally Shivalli brahmins (like present Kasaravalli family, Sagara Udupa families etc) were made to migrate out of Tulu region since they all wanted to retain smarthaism.

    When moved to Kannada belt, we were then called as Udupa (those who came from Udupi).

    Adiga is the sirname used to address the temple priests in Kannada belt of Coastal Karnataka. Even Adigal is being used in Tamilnadu to address this class of people.

  11. Balakrishna Kalkura

    Can someone please specify the meaning of “Kalkura”..?????

  12. Rajaram Okade

    We are shivalli Tulu Brahmin family coming from Badanidiyoor Udupi. My forefather was from Inna-Mundkoor , Taluka Karkala doing pooja in Shiva temple .
    My father Srinivas Bhat Okade came to Hubli and started a resturant and being in northern Karnataka we were asked to give a surname. Okkanaya (one eye) shiva workshippers ultimately became OKADE surname.

  13. Balasubramanya. U

    this article on the family name history is just amazing…it gave a detailed information about the history behind the derivation of family names…

    But it dint mention about my family name of Iravathaya…i m keen to know how that family name came…if u could provide the history i would be very pleased…

  14. Rajgopal M

    My family surname is Ballakkuraya. Can you tell me how this has originated?

  15. Dinakar Rao T.

    I am from the village called Arasinamakki of Belthangady taluk near Dharmastala. I came to know of this website recently. Edde Avadu (Good Luck)


  16. anantharama

    may i know the surname how ‘baipadithaya’ arrived?

  17. lavender incense

    definately just about caught my room on fire! and now the incense stick is burning from both ends lmfao.

  18. prabha hejmadi tati

    Always wondered where the name “Tati” came from.

  19. kavya shree madhusudhan peraje noorittaya

    can u please tell about noorittaya and kekunnaya…

  20. L.Padmanabhan Potti

    I am poojettaya-shivally brahmin doing free service for sending horoscopes to bride and bridegroom only for tulu speaking shivally brahmin at Suchindrum in the name of Santha
    Madhwa Tulu Vivaha Kendra, Rishikesh,Dr.No.11/56, Theppakulam Street,Suchindrum
    Pin.629704 (Mob.No.9894664146).for Linguistic Minorities, for Development of Tulu Language
    Speak in Tulu Language always and doing free service only,

  21. L.Padmanabhan Potti

    I am poojettaya-shivalli brahmin-Katapadi near Udupi doing free service at Suchindrum for
    shivally brahmins for sending of horoscopes to bride and bridegroom in the name of Santha
    Madhwa Tulu Vivaha Kendra, Rishikesh”,Dr.No.11/56-Theppakulam Street,Suchindrum-Pin.
    629704-for who is Lingistic Minorities-for Development of Tulu Language and for speaking of
    Tulu Language always. (Mob.9894664146)Kanyakumari District.

  22. L.Padmanabhan Potti

    My grandfather an ADIGA (Priest) came with family to Suchindrum, Kanyakumari District in
    Tamilnadu for Temple Priest work before 150 years. Actually we are from Katapadi near
    Udupi. We are being called as “Potty” instead of Adiga . Now I am not working as Priest in the temple. but retired as a Government Servant. However you people are doing very good
    work. Best Wishes.

  23. Rajarama Nalluraya

    As per our elders, the surname Nalluraya is derived from Nelloor, indicating migration from Nellore, AP and later it is twisted as NALLURaya. I am not very sure of any place name by Nallur as per your version.

  24. Raghunatha Rao

    Our kula is shibarooraya. Can u please find the history of this kula in south karnataka
    Raghunatha Rao

  25. Raghu Ram Rao. K

    Our Kula Name is Aggithaya. Kindly inform more about this category of shivalli brahmins. Gothra is Braghava. Moola is belongs to Inna Mundkur. Kindly enlighten me in this regard.

    Raghu Ram Rao.K
    Mb. 7760054238

  26. Ravi Raj Rao N.

    To Smt.Kavya Shree M.P. Noorithaya,
    I believe , Noorithaya family, originally were settled around Kokkada village. They had the
    right of worship as chief priests at the temple of Shree Ananthapadmanabha Temple of
    Thiruvananthapura, along with 9 other shivalli families. One of the Noorithaya priest, tied the Raja Mudra Ungura to the janivara and tested the depth of the sacred well of the temple. It had under ground tunnel connecting the near by sea. A fish swallowed the ring. Noorithaya lost the ring. A fisherman caught the fish, in later date. While cutting it, saw the Unguara , that had Raja Mudre and braught to the Raja. Seeing the Ungura, Raja understood the adventure of his priest and for his negligency and misusing the sacred adhikara mudra, dismissed him from his duties. It is said , that after this event, noorithayas lost the right of worship at the Temple of Shree Ananthapadmanabha, Thiruvananthapura.
    ( you might have read more other details about this temple, while the Golden Tresure hidden under the temple gharbha gudi came to lime-light, few months back)

    To Shree Rajaram Nalluraya,

    There is a place called Nallur in Shivamogga District. This place is also known for paddy fields, just like Andhra nallur.

    with best regards,

  27. Ravi Raj Rao N.

    To Mrs. Kavya Shree
    Further, as far as understand, Kekunnayas are from Sullia taluk.

    Ravi Raj Rao N.

  28. Ravi Raj Rao N.

    To Ms. Ramya Bhat and Shri Vishwanath Bhat,

    Rao is not a surname of Shivalli brahmins. It is english version of Raya.
    Ramaraya, Subraya…transformed to Rama Rao, Subba Rao for example.
    Here is an actual fact for your understanding.
    I am from Parlathaya family. My father came to Mangalore about 90 years back for his education. His name is actually Subhramanya and had petname- Subraya. While enroling him to the school, where a christian teacher was the Head master , asked him what was his name and my father promptly replied…Subraya. And his name was registered as Subba Rao. And naturally, there after, we the children were enrolled to our schools with the surname as Rao. Most of the shivalli brahmins , now a day, dont carry the original surnames. They are now mostly changed to Achar, Bhat and Rao or the name of the village .Due to this reason, the present generation dont know what family they belonged to, originally.
    with regards,

    Ravi Raj Rao N.

  29. Rajesh Rao

    hi all,

    We belong to Bhargava gothra, our sirname is Rao and our house name is called as KODANGE house. Can anybody tell how to trace back our family name and we originally belong to which place. suggestion please

    Rajesh Rao

  30. Ananth Raj

    Hi All,

    Very interesting article.

    Also…to add to the above theory – earlier people used to add “Aiya” affter the same…Like Padmanabhaiya, Vasudevaiya…etc.

    This is to add respect their personalitie.

    on bahalf of GopalaKrishna Rao, Yermal (Rtd. Teacher)

  31. P L N Prasad oppanthaya

    This site is essential requirement for all shivalli brahmins,in view of retaining our culture and to educate our youngsters,who are not taught to add their Kulanama,its importence,and the benefit of saying the Gothra,Pravara,soothra daily while doing nithyahnika and other rituals,which makes our “Pitru Varga”happy.This also prevents Varnasankara to some extent.Brahmins are attacked in every directions but our cultural integrity and ahimsa always protects us.congrats to all who worked hard for making this website and good response given to members by them.Nanku Daivanugraha ippunu.

  32. Eswaran Analakkatt

    Let me know that the name ANALAkkatt is derived from ANALATHAYA family. We heard that our ancient family was near GOKARNAM.

  33. Ramakant

    To my understanding, all ‘Panchabrahmanas’ from coastal Karnataka & Malenadu share (or claim?) almost the same history. Ahichchatrapura, invitation by Kadambas (mayoora Varma), boon by Parashurama, his curse etc etc… As such, none of this can be proved (or disproved). We Indians never had an innate desire to maintain proper records of our lineage.

    The British & the Amreicans are the other extreme… They go to the extent of hiring unprincipled ‘scholars’ to dig out & create an honorable history for their family if needed !!!

    Australians are a better lot. They do not feel ashamed to link themselves to some hoodlum or a deportee from Britain, Holland etc..

    By the way, Kindly advise whether Aithals & Karanths – no such names within Shivalli community? Bhat, Upadhyaya, Rao – they seem to belong to any of the Panchabrahmanas? Are there Udupas or others comnmon in Kotas or Havyakas?

  34. Rakshith Bhat

    My surname is “Bhat” which isnt listed. Can anyone plz tell me what is “Bhat”

  35. Balachandra

    @Rakshit Bhat avre,

    Please check this link. (Replace (dot) by actual dot.) Bhat is listed under surnames.


  36. mohana puninchithaya

    nellithaya panda pulithamara ath, nellikaida mara, nanonmi prasne pulinchathaya or puninchithaya? because pulincha panpuna ooru vitlada kaitholu undu ancha pulinchathaya avoda?

  37. Shrinivasa Kannaraya

    Yenu Kannaraya Family gu sernaye. Angeersa Gotra, Barahaspathya Bharadwaja Pravara, Ashwalayana sootra. Bayalangadi kannaraya panduthu yenku gottu. BUT yenklena tharavadu, illu, deveru, bootho poora oolu gottiddi. so yeregla gottundata pls mail me. shrinikbh@gmail.com

  38. sridhar manja

    I want to know the origin of my sirname MANJA

  39. Dileep Madhavan

    Dear Shrivasa Kannaraya :

    In Kannaraya Family Name :Pravara is Angirasa-Ambarisha-Yuvanashva is coming i think.
    If so;
    As per Gothra, Pls do find the details:

    1. Kuladevaru as per Gothra
    Alevoor Vishnumoorthy/ Kodavoor Sankaranarayana.

    2. Kula Matha
    Herga Durgaparameshwari / Shimanthooru Aadi Janardhana

    This may be as per your Gothra provided; and
    Gramma / Village Devaru of Kannaraya to be found out…
    depends on the living Gramma of your Ancestors

    Thank you…

  40. Rajarama Nalluraya

    I would like to know the ‘Kuladevathe’ of Nallurayas, belonging to Vasishta Gothra. A clear cut information is lacking on this. Kindly enlighten us. Regards.

  41. Shama Rao Ballakoor

    Ballakkuraya or Ballakoor came from the name of village Ballakkuraya, near Manjeswara. Even now Ballakkurayas are staying in this village.

  42. Shama Rao Ballakoor

    Ballakkuraya or Ballakoor came from the name of village Ballakkur , near Manjeswara. Even now Ballakkurayas are staying in this village.

  43. S K Vailaya

    Very interesting. If all shivalli brahmins contribute like this, we will have a lot of information about our origin and also about our ancestors.

    I belong to Vailaya Family, Bhargava Gotra, Pancharsheya Pravara( Bhargava, Chyavana, Aupluvaan, Ourwa and Jamadagni), Ashwalayana Sutra, Rugvedis. As far as I know, there were five Vailaya Family in D K and surrounding Districts. Karaya near Uppinangady was the centre. We are from Hithalpady-near Guttigar(Sullia) but no one is staying there now, Adoor Vailaya’s – Sullia and Shirwa Vailaya’s near Kumta. I do not know where is the fifth family is. If some one can contribute further on Vailaya Family, I would be grateful.

  44. K Subrahmanya

    Ballakkurayas are the ones who originally lived in Ballakkur village near Manjeshwar (now part of Kerala in Kasaragodu district.

  45. venkatesh

    where is bayalangadi located

  46. Radha krishna

    Manjittaya surname wr it is how it is hails. Pls reply me

  47. Radha krishna

    Hi manjittaya surname wr it is how it is hails. Pls reply

  48. Dileep Madhavan

    Dear Radha Krishna anna,

    Manjittaya Family hails from Alevoor Grama i guess.
    Kuladevaru of Manjithaya showing as : Kodangala Vishnumoorthy and Kodavur Shankara Narayana.
    Also Herga Durga Parameshwari & Shimanthooru Adi Janardhana also showing as per the Gothra ( Angirasa).

    Dileep Madhavan.

  49. Pramila

    Respected Sir,

    Kindly let me know the meaning of Kekunnaya.

    Thank you!

    warmest regards,


  50. SHESHADRI kv

    My name is SHESHADRI kV my father name is venkateshaiah
    My grand father name is sheshagiraiah
    My gotta vishwamitra-
    Gotrapravara is vishwamitra-devaratha -owdala
    Kindly inform me my kuladevaru

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting