Twenty four Manai Telugu Chettiars

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24 Manai Telugu Chettiar
Classification Merchants, traders and warriors
Religions Hinduism
Languages Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam
Populated States Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh

The 24 Manai Telugu Chettiars (24MTC) are an Indian caste of the Chettiarwho were prominent merchants. They are found predominantly in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, as well as Andhra Pradesh,Kerala and Karnataka. The community is known by a number of variants and spellings of their name, and is divided into twenty-four subdivisions (manai).

Social role[edit]

The 24MTC are traditionally traders, and modern day community is predominantly involved in business, industry, and petty trade. The total population of 24MTC is around ten million in South India. The community is categoried[by whom?] as Vaishyas (merchants) in the four-part Hindu varna system.[citation needed] They have been listed as a section of Balijas.[1][verification needed] They were traditionally traders corresponding to Perike Balijas of Andhra Pradesh.[2] The alternate name Janappan was derived from their manufacture of gunny-bags of hemp (janapa) fibre.

Once upon a time saints and devas were tortured by a rakchasha called Anthakasuran. They requested Lord Shiva to save them. Lord Shiva told Lord Brahma to do a yaga at the banks of river Ganga. By the grace of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, a beautiful and intelligent human formed out of yaga fire. They named him as Pritheswaran. Lord Shiva blessed and gave him a bow. Lord Brahma gave a golden garland. With their blessings Pritheswaran fought against Anthakasuran and killed him. Saints and devas were happy. They thanked Lord Shiva and requested to bless Pritheswaran with marriage.

Lord Shiva blessed Pritheswaran to become the king of city Kasi and got him married to Kanabai, daughter of Kanabindu the head of Gandharvas. The people of Kasi lived happily under the rule of king Pritheswaran. The king had four sons and got them married to Gandharva females. The king and queen at their old age did meditation and attained mukthi. First son of Pritheswaran had two sons and two daughters and other sons had two sons each. They all got married to Gandharvas. First grandson of Pritheswaran, namely Vaidunga Devarayan came to rule. None of his brothers and sisters including him had children. During that period, Saint Kalavai from Himalayas visited the city kasi. Vaidunga met him and told him his sorrow of not having children. The saint suggested the royal family to visit the Saint Kalaikottu at the city of Kancheepuram. All of them went to Kancheepuram.

There, Saint Kaikottu told them to pray to goddess Kamatchi every day. One day, in dreams of Vaidunga, the goddess told him to perform Puthra Kameti Yaga. Vaidunga conducted the yaga with the help of saints.From the yaga, a ghost came out and handed over a golden vessel full of holy food ('Aviunavu') to the saint kalaikottu. The saint divided the food into 24 parts. Wife of Vaidunga and the wives of his other brothers received two parts each to eat. Whereas the two sisters had four parts each.

After which Vaidunga and his brothers had two sons each and his sisters had four sons each. Thus they are the 24 great grand children of Pritheswaran. The saint told them to divide kancheepuram into 24 divisions, one for each of them and rule.

Vaidunga's and his brothers sons where categorized as 16 veedu people and his sisters sons were categorized as 8 veedu people. The saint also instructed that the people of same veedu category should not have marriage alliances among themselves.

P. Musiri Puthan, Former Revenue Minister, Three times MLA, Trichy constituency and Head, MGR's all-world fans association

Various names[edit]

This community is also known by different names and spelling variants. They may be called 24 Manai Telugu Chettiar, Sadhu Chetty, Janapan, Goniga, Telugu Chetty, 24 Manai Chetty, Ruvathunalu,[3] and various combinations of these terms. Chettiar may also be rendered as Shetty or Setty.[4] In Tamil they are called Saluppa Chetti, saluppan being the Tamil form of janappan.[5] Some of them have taken to calling themselves Desayis or Desadhipatis (rulers of countries).[6] Sathu Vandlu ("company of merchants or travelers) occurs as a synonym of Janappan.[5]

24 divisions (manai)[edit]

The 24 Manai Telugu Chettiar community is called so because it consists of 24 manai (houses, similar to gotra). The 24 manai are subdivided into two houses: the 16 Veedu and 8 Veedu kothra.

16 Veedu:

  1. Mummudiyar,
  2. Tharishiyavar
  3. Kolavar
  4. Kanithiyavar
  5. Thillaiyavar
  6. Paluvidhiyar
  7. Chennaiyavar
  8. Mathalaiyavar
  9. Kothavangavar
  10. Rajabhairavar
  11. Vammaiyar
  12. Kappavar
  13. Vachiyavar
  14. Kenthiyavar
  15. Naliviraiyavar &
  16. Surayavar,Gandavangavalar.

8 Veedu:

  1. Makkadaiyar
  2. Korahaiyar
  3. Marattaiyar
  4. Kavalaiyar (Irataiyar)
  5. Pillivangavar
  6. Thavalaiyar
  7. Soppiyar &
  8. Kandiyaar

According to this community marriage procedure, 16 veedu boy or girl will marry 8 veedu boy or girl & viz versa. From the same veedu they are not allowed to marry, In calculation 16+8 = 24 which forms 24 manai Telugu chettiars.


The 24 Manai Telugu Chettiars are particularly found in the following areas of Tamil Nadu:karur, Erode, Coimbatore, Salem, Namakkal, Virudhunagar,Sivagangai, Madurai, Mallapuram, Theni, Vadugapatti, Kovilpatti, Kambam, Dharmapuri,Natham and Krishnagiri districts Kerala : Thrissur,Palakkad,calicut etc.[citation needed]

The 24MTC immigrants, who migrated into Tamil Nadu during the pre-Colonial period, underwent various cultural diversities, met difficulties in the patterns of linguistic assimilation, adjustment and other adaptive processes. Over time, ensuing generations dropped the use of the traditional Telugu language and took on the local Tamil language.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Castes and Tribes of Southern India, page 446
  2. ^ Castes and Tribes of Southern India, page 192
  3. ^ People of India: A - G. Oxford Univ. Press. 1998. p. 3069. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  4. ^ A more explicit list of variants includes: 24 Manai Telugu Chettiar, 24 Manai Telugu Chetty, 24 Manai Telugu Shetty, 24 Mane Telugu Chettiar, 24 Mane Telugu Chetty, 24 Mane Telugu Shetty, Gonichetty, Goniga, Gonigamane, Janapachetty, Janapan, Janapar, Janapasetty, Janapashetty, Sadhu Chetty, Sadhu Chetty, Sadhu Setty, Sadhu Shetty, Sadu Setty, Salapar, Salaparu, Sanapar, Sanaparu, Telugu Chettiar, Telugu Chetty, Telugu Setty, Telugu Shetty, Telungu Chettiar, Telungu Chetty, Telungupatti Chetty and Telungupatti Chettis.
  5. ^ a b Castes and Tribes of Southern India, page 448
  6. ^ India. Census Commissioner; Edward Albert Gait (1902). Census of India, 1901. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, India. pp. 157–. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 

P. Musiri Puthan, Former Revenue Minister, Three times MLA, Trichy constituency and Head, MGR's all-world fans association

External links[edit]

P. Musiri Puthan, Former Revenue Minister, Three times MLA, Trichy constituency and Head, MGR's all-world fans association