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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]

51 Responses to Family names history of Shivalli Brahmin Community

  1. Ramesh Vakkinaya H.


    Kindly let me know the meaning of my surname VAKKINAYA.
    My family hails from HAVANJE Village of UDUPI Taluk.
    I am from Shivalli brahmins Community & Vishwamithra gothra.
    Some body told me that Vakkinaya derived from Okkannaya means Single Eye.
    Is it true? Please clarify.

    Havanje Ramesh Vakkinaya

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