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Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka

Mudaliar (alternatively spelled: Muthaliar, Mudali, Muthali, or Moodley ) is a Tamil title and surname.[1] As title, it was historically given to high-ranking military officers and their descendants during the Chola empire rule.[2][3] The surname is most prevalent among Tamils from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Descendants of Tamil colonial migrants also bears variants of the name in countries such as South Africa, and elsewhere in the Tamil diaspora.[4]

The title was primarily used by the communities like the Thuluva Vellalar, Sengunthar, Kondaikatti Vellalar.[5][6][7][8] Other communities adopted it as means to present themselves as superior to the social status which they actually held.[5]


The title is derived from the Tamil word muthal or "muthar" meaning first with the suffix yaar denoting people.[9] The title is used in the same sense as simply meaning headman.[10]

Thuluva Vellala[edit]

Thuluva Vellala (Thondaimandala Tuluva Vellalar),  also known as Agamudaya Mudaliars  and Arcot Mudaliars, is a caste found in northern Tamil Nadu, southern Andhra Pradesh. They were originally significant landowners. An early Tamil tradition states that a king known as Ādonda Chakravarthi, a feudatory of Karikala Chola brought a large number of agriculturists (now known as the Tuluva Vellalas) from the Tulu areas in order to reclaim forest lands for cultivation in Thondaimandalam during late 2nd century CE. [11] Tuluva Vellalars are progressive and prosperous[12] in the society. They are considerably advanced in the matter of education[13] and the community was eagerly involved in business, Government and Non- governmental institutions.

Senguntha Kaikola Mudaliar[edit]

Senguntha Kaikola Mudaliar is a caste commonly found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and also in some other parts of South India and the neighboring country Sri Lanka. In Andhra Pradesh, they are called as Kaikala or Karikala Bhaktulu, who consider the Chola emperor Karikala Choludu as their hero.[14] They were traditional weavers by occupation and warriors by ancient heritage.[15] They were part of the Chola army as Kaikola regiment and were dominant during the rule of Imperial Cholas, holding commander and minister positions in the court.[16] In the olden days in India, the Sengunthars were warriors and were given the title Mudaliar for their bravery.[17] In early thirteenth century, after the fall of Chola empire large number of Kaikolars migrated to Kongu Nadu from Tondaimandalam and started doing weaving as their full time profession.[18] At present, most of the textile businesses in Tamil Nadu are owned by Senguntha Mudaliars.

Kondaikatti Vellala[edit]

Kondaikatti Vellalar or Thondaimandala Mudaliar[a] is a Tamil[b] caste in south India. Historically, they were a caste of non-cultivating land-holders and some of them were administrators under various south Indian dynasties particularly Chola dynasty.[c][d][e] Their original homeland was Thondaimandalam and from there they spread to other areas in south India and northeastern parts of Sri Lanka.[f][23] Since they historically used the Mudaliar title, they are sometimes referred to as Thondaimandala Mudaliar.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Some of the important endogamous sub-divisions among the Vellalas are: Aranbukatti, Arunattu, Cholapuram Chetti, Choliya, Dakshinattan, Kaniyalan, Karaikatta or Pandya, Kodikkal, Kongu, Kottai, Malaikanda, Nainan, Mangudi, Pandaram or Gurukal, Panjukara Chetti, Ponneri Mudali, Pundamalli Mudali, Sittak kattu Chetti, Tondamandalam Mudali or Kondaikatti, Tuluva, Uttunattu, and Yelur. The Tondaimandalam, Ponneri and Pundamalli Vellalas use the title Mudaliar;[19]
  2. ^ Most of the Dubashes in the late eighteenth-century Madras were Telugu brahmans or Telugu perikavārs, Tamil kannakapillais, Tamil yādhavas, or Tamil Kondaikatti vellalas. [20]
  3. ^ Among Tamil castes, both Karkattar Vellalas (Arunachalam, 1975) and Kondaikatti Vellalas (Barnett, 1970) have much the same profile as the KP: both are non-cultivating land-holders, with a history of service to ruling dynasties. Both are of high status, laying great stress on ritual purity. [21]
  4. ^ Like the Kondaikatti Velalar described by Barnett(1970), they have allied themselves with south Indian dynasties as administrators, and have built up a position in the religious sphere in being employers of Brahmans and builders of temples for "high" gods like Siva, Ganesh and Vishnu.[22]
  5. ^ The original stronghold of the Kondaikatti Vellalas was Tondaimandalam. Later they spread from there throughout Tamil Nadu. Some of them were employed in the king's court and others as military leaders during expansionist times.[23]
  6. ^ The original home of the Kondaikatti Vellalar is Tondaimandalam and subsequently they are found throughout Tamil nadu.[24]


  1. ^ Barnett, Marguerite Ross (2015). The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton University Press. p. 236. ISBN 9781400867189.
  2. ^ Silva, Chandra Richard De (2009). Portuguese Encounters with Sri Lanka and the Maldives: Translated Texts from the Age of Discoveries. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 225. ISBN 9780754601869.
  3. ^ Vidyodaya Journal of Arts, Science, and Letters: Vidyodaya Vidyā Kalā Bhāsāśāstrīya Sangrahaya. Vidyodaya Campus, University of Sri Lanka. 1970. p. 117.
  4. ^ Younger, Paul (2010). New Homelands: Hindu Communities in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad, South Africa, Fiji, and East Africa. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 135. ISBN 978-0-19-539164-0.
  5. ^ a b Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2017). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-53810-686-0.
  6. ^ Pandian, Jacob (1987). Caste, Nationalism and Ethnicity: An Interpretation of Tamil Cultural History and Social Order. Popular Prakashan. p. 109, 114. ISBN 978-0-86132-136-0.
  7. ^ "Mudaliar title usage" (PDF).
  8. ^ M, S, A, Vijaya, Kanthimathi, Ramesh (2 August 2008). "Genetic study of scheduled caste populations of Tamil Nadu". Journal of Genetics. 87 (2): 171–4. doi:10.1007/s12041-008-0026-2. PMID 18776647. S2CID 32841661 – via Indian Academy of Sciences.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Barnett, Marguerite Ross (2015). The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton University Press. p. 236. ISBN 9781400867189.
  10. ^ Katz, Nathan (2000). Who Are the Jews of India?. University of California Press. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-0-52021-323-4.
  11. ^ Krishnaswamy Ranaganathan Hanumanthan. Untouchability: A Historical Study Upto 1500 A.D. : with Special Reference to Tamil Nadu. Koodal Publishers. p. 101.
  12. ^ Tañcai Tamil̲p Palkalaik Kal̲akam, Tañcai Tamiḻp Palkalaik Kaḻakam (1994). Glimpses of Tamil Civilization. Articles from the University Quarterly, Tamil Civilization. Tamil University. p. 142. Tuluva Vellala is a prosperous and progressive caste in Tamil Nadu and they migrated from Tulu Nadu to Tamil Nadu in ancient times.
  13. ^ "3". Census Book of India 1961 (in Tamil). Vol. 9 North Arcot District. Madras: The Director of stationery and Printing, Madras. 1961. p. 31.
  14. ^ "National Commission for Backward Classes". Retrieved 2023-06-26.
  15. ^ Mines 1984, p. 11.
  16. ^ Martial races of undivided India by Vidya Prakash Tyagi 2009 Page 278
  17. ^ David, Kenneth (1977). The New Wind: Changing Identities in South Asia (World Anthropology). De Gruyter Mouton; Reprint 2011 edition (1 December 1977). p. 188. ISBN 9027979596.
  18. ^ Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2017). Migrations in Medieval and Early Colonial India. Routledge. pp. 172–174. ISBN 9781351558259.
  19. ^ a b Indian Council of Agricultural Research & ps, p. 120.
  20. ^ Irschick (1994), p. 34.
  21. ^ Chanana, Krishna Raj (1989), p. 92.
  22. ^ Mariola Offredi (1992), p. 284.
  23. ^ a b KK Pillay & ps, pp. 23–24.
  24. ^ Venkatasubramanian & ps, p. 105.