Padmashali (also spelt as Padmasali) is a Telugu-speaking Hindu caste residing in the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. They are traditional weavers, weaving is the hereditary occupation of Padmashalis.
The term Padmashali is derived from two words Padma and Shali, The Padma means lotus and Shali means weaver. The word Padma referring to the myth of the thread was a lotus which sprang from the navel of Vishnu.
The Padmashalis and the Devangas, who are another caste of weavers, were originally a single caste in ancient times and followed Vaishnavism. The caste then split due to differences in faith, with the Devangas being influenced by Lingayatism and accepting Chamundeswari, the fierce form of Durga as their kuladevi. The Padmashalis maintained their belief in Vaishnavism. The Padmashalis eventually specialised in weaving clothes of all varieties.
The Padmashalis are further divided into two groups based on Sampradaya, being the Shaivas and the Vaishnavas. While the Shaivas give preference to worshipping Shiva, the Vaishnavas give preference to worship of Vishnu. These religious and occupational distinctions are no bar to interdining and intermarriage.
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