|Regions with significant populations|
|Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka|
The surname is derived from the honorary title Mudali meaning a person of first rank in the Tamil Chola feudal society which was bestowed upon top-ranking bureaucratic officials and army commanders in medieval South India. The surname is generally prevalent among Indian Tamils and the Tamil diaspora though it is also used in other parts of South India.
Some of the Mudali clans of Thondaimandalam migrated to Sri Lanka during the period of the medieval poet Kambar. For example, some of the Tamils in Ceylon trace their lineage to this group, some of whom had become saints called Nayanars. The book The Tamils in Early Ceylon by C. Sivaratnam traces some of the Mudaliyars in Ceylon to Thaninayaka Mudaliyar (among others), a rich Saiva Vellalar who emigrated to Ceylon from Tondaimandalam.
Castes using the Mudaliar title include:
- Thondaimandala Mudaliar
- Ceylonese Mudaliyars
- Thuluva vellalars and Agamudayar Mudaliar
- Senguntha Mudaliars
Vellala Mudaliars :
Vellala mudaliars are major caste group using 'Mudaliar surname' . Thondai mandala mudaliars are vegetarians . They are closely relative with Saiva vellala pillai caste of Thanjavur and Tirunelveli districs.
- Saiva vellalars are also closely related with Desigars play an important role as head of various Saiva mutts ,These Adheenams ,helps to promote various social and cultural activities and supervises many famous temples present in Tamil Nadu.
- Thuluva vellalars are from North tamilnadu started using Mudaliar surname and in South Tamilnadu using 'Pillai' surname. Agamudayars from North tamilnadu districts are assimilated with Thuluva vellars also traditionally using 'Mudaliar' surname.
Sengunthars traditionally associated with weaving .Sengunthar weavers very often figure in the capacity of kudi, i.e. tenant-cultivators and also holders of kaniyachi, that is hereditary possession over the agricultural lands.
- Irschick, Eugene F. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. direct web reference: http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft038n99hg&brand=eschol
- History of Tirupati: The Tiruvengadam Temple By T. K. T. Viraraghavacharya
- Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture - Page 161 by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar
- The Tamils in Early Ceylon By C. Sivaratnam, https://books.google.com/books?vid=0PrqSaY8TV9DtgCG9v&id=hlocAAAAMAAJ&q=mudaliyar+vellala&dq=mudaliyar+vellala&pgis=1