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Devanga is a caste from South India that traditionally followed the occupation of weaving.

Origin and culture[edit]

The caste claims to be descended from Devala, an ancient Hindu sage.[1]

Today, the community can be mostly found in the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.[1] Most members of this community are weavers of silk and cotton. The Devangas and Padmashalis were once the same community. The two divided when the Devangas began to follow Shaivite practices and the Padmashalis continued as Vaishnavites.[2]


Devangas follow Veerashaivism or Shaivism.[3] While some Devangas wear the yagnopaveetam or janivara others consider the Viramustis as their traditional preceptors, from whom they take precepts and wear lingam.[1]

Devanga Purana[edit]

Around 1532, Devanga people requested the Telugu poet Bhadralinga Kavi to write their kulapuranam, or mythological history. He composed the Devanga Purana in the dasimatra-dvipadi style.[2]


Devangas are known for good craftsmanship in weaving clothes of all varieties and they weave superfine quality cotton clothes.[1] Weaving the loom is usually done by men whereas women dye the yarn and spin the thread and children assist in looming etc.[1] They are also very good entrepreneurs and expert in marketing the clothes and some of them are also engaged in other trade like vegetables, groceries etc.[1]

Social exclusion[edit]

In 2004, the Devanga gowdas (leaders) of a small village in Belagur, Chitradurga district, Karnataka, fined and socially excluded ten families from the community for marrying people outside the caste.[4] The decision was criticised and alleged to be unconstitutional[5] but a similar thing happened to five families in Shivani village, Ajjampura, Chikmagalur district in 2011.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Acharya, Prasant Kumar. Sacred Complex of Budhi Santani: Anthropological Approach to Study Hindu Civilization (2003 ed.). New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. pp. 240–246. ISBN 978-8-18069-049-5. 
  2. ^ a b Swarnalatha, P. (2005). "The Social World of the Weaver". The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, c. 1750 - c. 1850. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. pp. 39–45. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0. 
  3. ^ Swarnalatha, P. (2005). "The Social World of the Weaver". The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, c. 1750 - c. 1850. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. p. 41. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0. 
  4. ^ "Ten families facing 'social boycott'". The Hindu. 22 December 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  5. ^ "Seer calls for end to social boycott". The Hindu. 23 December 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 
  6. ^ Khajane, Muralidhara (29 January 2011). "Protection for 'social boycott' victims sought". The Hindu. Retrieved 2015-05-03. 

Further reading[edit]