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Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala
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Devanga (also known as Devanga Chettiar)[1][2] is a Hindu caste from South India that traditionally followed the occupation of weaving,[2] mostly found in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, and also that of Odisha, where they are known as Deras.[3][4]

Origin and culture[edit]

The caste claims to be descended from Devala, an ancient Hindu sage.[4]


Devangas follow Veerashaivism or Shaivism.[5] While some Devangas wear the yagnopaveetam or janivara, others consider the Viramustis as their traditional preceptors, from whom they take precepts and wear lingam.[4]

The main goddess of the Devanga people is Sri Ramalinga Sowdeswari Amman.[6][3][7]

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.[8]


Most members of this community were professional weavers and used to mainly produce pure cotton apparel.[5] They were accordingly primarily concentrated around major textile centers in the Godavari district.[5]

They were known for good craftsmanship in weaving clothes of all varieties and they weave superfine quality cotton clothes.[4] Weaving the loom is usually done by men whereas women dye the yarn and spin the thread and children assist in looming etc.[4] They are also very good entrepreneurs and expert in marketing of clothes. Some of them are also engaged in trading vegetables, groceries etc.[4]

Punishment for inter-caste marriage[edit]

In 2004, the Devanga 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.[9] The decision was criticised and alleged to be unconstitutional[10] but a similar thing happened to five families in Shivani village, Ajjampura, Chikmagalur district in 2011.[11]


  1. ^ "MGR magic still spins votes from Coimbatore weavers - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  2. ^ a b Nainar, Nahla (2014-03-21). "Silence of the looms". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  3. ^ a b George, Anubha. "For 500 years, a Kannadiga community of weavers has produced Kerala's iconic white and gold saree". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b c 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. 36, 37. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0.
  6. ^ "A ritual of pain to connect with the past - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  7. ^ "Erikarai Sri Ramalinga Sowdeswari Amman Jalakandapuram".
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Ten families facing 'social boycott'". The Hindu. 22 December 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  10. ^ "Seer calls for end to social boycott". The Hindu. 23 December 2004. Retrieved 2015-05-03.
  11. ^ Khajane, Muralidhara (29 January 2011). "Protection for 'social boycott' victims sought". The Hindu. Retrieved 2015-05-03.

Further reading[edit]