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|Regions with significant populations|
|Central and Southern Tamil Nadu|
The Mukkulathor people, who are also collectively known as Thevar, are native to the central and southern districts of Tamil Nadu, India. They comprise the Agamudayar, Kallar and Maravar social groups that share a common myth of origin and claim to have once been members of ancient South Indian dynasties.
The terms Mukkulathor and Thevar are used synonymously. According to R. Muthulakshmi, Thevar "literally means celestial beings or divine-natured people" and Mukkulathor means "three clans united together". The three constituent communities of Agamudayar, Kallar and Maravar believe themselves to share a common origin formed through being the offspring of a relationship between Indira and a celestial woman. According to this legend, the three lines then developed to become the ancient Chera, Chola and Pandya clans, respectively. The three groups traditionally each believe themselves to be superior to their fellow Mukkulathors.
The Mukkulathor communities live mostly in central and southern areas of Tamil Nadu, such as Madurai, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, and Thirunelveli. They are known to practise female infanticide.
The Kallar branch, along with the Nadars and Thevars, traditionally practised a Tamil martial art variously known as adi murai, chinna adi and varna ati. In recent years, since 1958, these have been referred to as Southern-style Kalaripayattu, although they are distinct from the ancient martial art of Kalaripayattu itself that was historically the style found in Kerala.
Puli Thevar from the eighteenth century (1715–1768) is remembered for fighting against the early British traders.
- "Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission: List of Communities".
- Muthulakshmi, R. (1997). Female Infanticide, Its Causes and Solutions. Discovery Publishing. pp. 11–13. ISBN 978-8-17141-383-6.
- Zarilli, Philip B. (2001). "India". In Green, Thomas A. Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia. A – L 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-57607-150-2.