|Regions with significant populations|
|Indian states of Tamil Nadu|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Iyer, Tamil people|
Ashtasahasram (Sanskrit: अष्टसहश्रम) is a sub-sect of the Iyer community of Tamil Brahmins from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. According to one popular view, the Ashtasahasrams originate from a village called Ennaiyiram, which translates to "eight thousand", the Tamil counterpart of the Sanskrit word "Ashtasahasram".
The name of the community is derived from the Sanskrit word "Ashtasahasram" meaning "eight thousand". According to popular belief, Ashtasahasram are believed to have migrated to their present habitations as a body of eight thousand individuals. However, according to another belief, the Ashtasahasram originate from a village near Tindivanam called "Ennayiram", which in Tamil translates to eight thousand.
The Ashtasahasram community is further sub-divided into four groups:
The community are part of the Smartha sect and as such worship all the major Hindu deities. They are fewer in number as compared to Vadamas and Brahacharanams.
The traditional occupation of the community is to function as household priests and to study and impart Vedic knowledge. However, in recent times, like other communities, they hold diversified occupations. As early as the Medieval Chola period, there have been records of Brahmins of the village of Ennaiyiram indulging in trade and commerce. Many also work as temple priests.
- U. V. Swaminatha Iyer, affectinately called Tamil thaathaa
- K. Balachander, Notable, Award winning Director
- M. S. Swaminathan, agricultural scientist
- S. Balachander, Veena artist and Carnatic Musician
- Patnam Subramania Iyer Carnatic Classical Musician and Composer
- M. K. Neelakanta Iyer, Chief Secretary of Travancore
- Edgar Thurston; K. Rangachari (1909). Castes and Tribes of Southern India. Clarendon Press. p. 338.