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 Shaivism and 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.
Their subcastes 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 intermarriage and interdining.
- Singh, Kumar Suresh (1996). Communities, Segments, Synonyms, Surnames and Titles. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 1654. ISBN 9780195633573.
- Singh, Kumar Suresh; India, Anthropological Survey of (1996). Identity, ecology, social organization, economy, linkages and development process: a quantitative profile. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 109. ISBN 9780195633535.
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- Arterburn, Yvonne J. (1982). The loom of interdependence: silkweaving cooperatives in Kanchipuram. Hindustan Pub. Co. p. 46.
- P, Swarnalatha. The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, C.1750-C.1850 (2005 ed.). Hyderabad: Orient Longman Private Limited. pp. 31–41. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0.