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Kulkarni is a common Brahmin family name in entire Maharashtra, southern Madhya Pradesh and northern Karnataka regions of India.

The name Kulkarni is believed to be a combination of two words (kula and karani). Kula means the root of the family, and Karanika means one who maintains records or accounts. Traditionally, Kulkarni was a title used for people who used to maintain the accounts and records of the villages and used to collect taxes. The title of the Kulkarni was later replaced by the Talati. The Pargana and Kulkarni Watans were abolished in 1950[1] and salaried officials from all castes were appointed to the new office of the Talati. In some cases, the Talatis were the oppressed castes and the abolishing of the Kulkarni Watan system was viewed as a progressive move.[2]

Most Kulkarnis belong to the oldest Brahmin caste of Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Deshastha Brahmins. The surname is also found amongst Karhade Brahmin, and the CKP, GSB and Daivajna communities of Maharashtra. In Karnataka Kulkarni is common surname among Vaisnavas/Madhwa & Smartha(Shaiva) Brahmins.

Kulkarni families who hail from Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh speak Marathi, Northern Karnataka families speak Marathi and Kannada. Most Kulkarni families originate from Maharashtra or northern Karnataka but in more recent times migrated and settled all over the world.

Notable Kulkarnis[edit]

Many prominent landmarks and roads in several cities are named after well known Kulkarnis. Some examples are the Kulkarni Garden in Nashik, G. A. Kulkarni road in Pune and Kulkarni Galli in Belgaum. In the mathematical field of differential geometry the Kulkarni–Nomizu product is also well known.

In former times, many Kulkarni saints were pioneers of social revival. Some examples are: Sant Dnyaneshwar who is widely credited as the founder of Marathi literature, Sant Ramdas, Shri BrahmaChaitanya Gondavalekar Maharaj and Sant Eknath.

In the 17th century many Kulkarnis played important roles and contributed to the formation and expansion of the Maratha Empire. Some of the prominent personalities were Ramchandra Pant Amatya and Parshuram Trimbak Kulkarni. Dadoji Konndeo, the guru of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was from a Marathi Deshastha Brahmin of the Kulkarni family from the Daund area in Maharashtra.

In more recent times, many Kulkarnis have made immense contributions to society and left their mark in a wide variety of fields including entertainment, literature, and academia.


  • Sant Dnyaneshwar: Pre-sainthood name: Dnyāneshwar Kulkarni: 1275 - 1296
  • Sant Eknath: Pre-sainthood name: Eknāth Kulkarni : 1533 - 1599
  • Samarth Ramdas: Pre-sainthood name: Narayan Kulkarni (Thosar): 1608 - 1681
  • Nivruttinath: Pre-sainthood name: Nivrutti Kulkarni : Elder brother and GURU of Dnyaneshwar, was first saint of Varkari Panth and an authority on philosophy of the Nath sect.
  • Sopan: Pre-sainthood name: Sopan Kulkarni : Wrote a book "Sopandevi" based on the Bhagvadgita's Marathi interpretation along with 50 or so abhangas.
  • Muktabai: Pre-sainthood name: Mukta Kulkarni : She is considered as one of the first poetesses in Marathi with around 40 abhangas attributed to her. She was also GURU of Changdev Maharaj.




  • Nilesh Kulkarni: Indian cricketer and only Indian bowler to take a wicket with first ball he bowled in Test cricket.
  • Raju Kulkarni: Former Indian cricketer.
  • Umesh Kulkarni: Former Indian cricketer.
  • Shubhangi Kulkarni: Indian women cricketer, was the secretary of the Women's Cricket Association of India.
  • Dhawal Kulkarni: Indian Cricket Player, Currently playing for Mumbai Indians (IPL).
  • Vineet Kulkarni: Indian cricket umpire. He is member of the International Cricket Council's International Panel of Umpires and Referees.



  1. ^ "The Bombay Paragana and Kulkarni Watans' (Abolition) Act 1950". Bombay High Court. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Naqvi, K. A. (1978). The Indian economic and social history review 15. HighWire Press. p. 15. 
  3. ^ "Saregama music Listing for Jayawant Kulkarni". Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Vivek Sabnis. "Sitar-on ki mehfil". Mid day. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Swati Shinde. "Pune group to perform at world dance fest in Japan". Times of India. Retrieved 18 July 2012.