Sthanika Brahmins

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Sthānika Brāhmins
Jnanashakthi Subrahmanya.jpg
Kuladevata - Shri Subrahmanya Swami
Regions with significant populations
Indian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala
Tulu, Kannada and Sanskrit


Sampradaya: Smarthas

Veda Shakha: Rigvedi

Sootra: Ashwalayana Sutra

Sthānika Brāhmins belong to Hindu Pancha Dravida Tuluva Smartha Brahmin group.[1][2][3][4] They are old Tulu Brāhmins[5] primarily from the coastal Karnataka (Kanara) also known as Parasurama Kshetra. They are one of the oldest brahmins of South India and are referred in many ancient historical inscriptions as;Sthanapanthulu,Sthanadhikari,Sthanatthar,Sthalatthar,Sthanapadiyan,Stahliathiri,Thaliathiri,Thaniker,Sthanikar,Buddhivantha, Sthānādhipathi, Sthānādhyaksha or Tuḷu brahmins.[6] Sthānika Brahmins of south canara are referred to as Subrahmanya Sthānika Brāhmins as Lord Subrahmanya is their kuladevata and Kukke subramanya temple was their main center until the 16th century.[7][1][8][9][10] Sthānika Brāhmins are followers of Advaita Philosophy and practice the Panchayatana form of worship. They are disciples of the Sri Sringeri Jagadguru Samsthanam from the time of Sri Adi Shankara.[1][3][9]


Sthānika Brahmins are a sect of Hindu Smartha Brahmins.


The word Sthānika is a sanskrit word and has meanings such as 'Fixed worshiper','Chief priest of a temple'[11], 'Manager or Administrator of temple' 'One who holds managerial position','Governor of a place', 'Tax collector', 'People of local place' etc.[6][12] Sthānika Brahmins acquired their name owing to their managerial positions such as 'Chief priest of a temples' ,"Tantris", Temple administrators, tax collectors etc.[13][14][15][16]


Sthānika Brāhmins history in Tulunadu dates back even before 380BC.[17] From Historical records (stone, copper plate inscriptions and literature) ranging over a period of more than twenty centuries till the end of the 18th century, we can deduce and establish the facts, the origin, the history and the importance of the Sthānika brāhmins in the history of Tulunadu.[6] [18]

Sthānika Brāhmins were highly respected by, for their character, knowledge, proficiency, and efficiency. During the first quarter of the seventeenth century A.D., the Sthanikas in tulu speaking region of coastal Karnataka lost their reputed position because of the acute Saiva-Vaisnava (Madhva) rivalry,[19][20][21] the changed political set up, the British revenue policies and as they joined their hands in freedom fights supporting the local rulers of that time.[17]

In 1836 Dewan Lakshminarayya a Sthanika brahmin started the first Non-cooperation movement in south canara and prepared a plan to revolt against the British rule with the help of the king of Kodagu. At this time the administration of temples was with Sthanika Brahmins and had an influence over large section of the people. The Sthanika Brahmins who were at the helm of affairs in anti-British movement, were sacked from their tradltlonal posts and their hereditary trusteeship of the temple was also cancelled. A large number of people from the community also have been hanged to death by British and the community became economically poor.[22][23][24]

Today sthanikas being well educated and economically well positioned joining their hands establishing unity among the different subsects of Dravida Brahmins and continue to be disciples of Sringeri Sharada Peetham.[17][25]

Followers of Adi Shankara

Geographic distribution[edit]

The roots of this Sthanika Brahmins lie in Coastal Karnataka, in the South Kanara region, the majority of the Sthanika Brahmin families had settled, e.g. in Udupi, Alevoor, in & around Mangalore, Puttur-Sulia, Yellur, Karkala, Kundapur, Kabbinale, Katpadi, Pavange, Saligrama, Bhramavara etc. Nowadays a lot of people belonging to this community have settled in Bangalore and outside Karnataka including Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu,Andhra pradesh,Kerala and various other parts of the world.[26]


The Sthanika Brahmins' mother tongue is "Tulu" and "Sanskrit" and "Kannada". They speak a different dialect of Tulu called Brahmin Tulu, unique to their community.[17]

Deities and festivals[edit]

Sthānika brāhmins offer Panchayatana puja worship introduced by Adi Shankara and celebrate all the festivals of South Canara. They are smartha brahmins with predominant Shaiva -Shakta leanings and mainly perform Shivalinga archana and Koorma peetastha poorna meru shree chakra aaradhana. They mainly belong to the "Rigveda- shakala Shakha-Ashwalayana sootra" and rigveda samhita parayana forms the main crux of their daily rituals.They are of different gotras .[1][8][27]

Gotra and pravara[edit]

The following gotras and pravaras are found in the community.[2][28]

Gotra Pravara
Vishwāmitra Vaishwāmitra — Devarāta — Oudala
Vishwāmitra Vaishwāmitra — Mādhucchandasa- Dhānanjaya
Kāshyapa Kāshyapa — Avatsāra — Naidhruva
Vasista Vāsista — Indrapramada — Bharadwasu
Āngirasa Āngirasa — Āmbarisha — Youvanāshwa
Bharadwaja Angirasa - Bhāraspatya - Bhāradwaja
Bhārgava Bhargava - Chyavana - Apnavaan
Atri Ātreya - Archanānasa - Shyāvashwa


Sthanika Brahmins are pure vegetarians.[29]

Last names[edit]

Sthanika Brahmins end their names with similar suffixes which are commonly used by south Indian Brahmins which is commonly seen in Dharma shastras.

  • Ayya: equivalent to Iyer of tamil language which is derived from Arya of Sanskrit
  • Oja: Sthanika tulu brahmin families well versed in tantra-agama/mantra shastras are having the honorofic title of "OJA" since ancient ages. E.g- Nattoja - meaning Moola Prathistapanacharya/ Sthapanacharya/Tantraagami (founder) and Governor ( Chera Nattoja family belonging to the Vishwamitra gotra are the founders of Polali Rajarajeshwari ; Puttur Mahalingeshwara and Vittla panchalingeshwara Temples);[1][30] Moroja - Governor and High Priest of the mayoora kshetra/Kukke Subramanya Temple (When Kukke was under the control of Sthanika Brahmins) [1][8][8][31]
  • Upadhyaya: Meaning Teacher of sanskrit vyakarana and kavya .[1]
  • Agnihotri : One who maintains Shroutha agni [ahavaneena, dakshinayana, garhapathya] and does Agnihotra
  • Shastry: Who is learned in six vedanga (shiksha, vyakarana, nighantu,jyotisha, kalpa,chandas) Shastras
  • Sharma: Who is learned in six darshana (nyaya,vaisheshika,sankhya,yoga,mimamsa,vedanta) shastras
  • Bhatta or Bhat:One profecient in bhata kriya i.e officiating Shrouta/Gruhya yagnas .
  • Jyoisa/Avadhani: An astrologer
  • Hebbar:A person of big and reputed family
  • Rao:A person appointed by the king who completely administrates the complete affairs of the kingdom and state through a temple
  • Dwivedi, Trivedi, Chaturvedi, Ghanapati :Depending on the number of vedas studied.
  • Dixit:A Person who officiates Shrouta mahayagas like eg Soma yaga,Ashwamedha yaga,Soutramani gavamayana yaga etc
  • Shrouti-A family whose ancestors were proficient in doing shrouta yagas like somayaga


  • Adwaitha Samithi - an inter communal registered association of pancha Dravida Brahmans has also been formed by the leaders of the community and has its own building Adwaitha Ashrama (Now Belongs to Sringeri Mutt), at Kotekar near Ullal, five miles to the south of Mangalore [32]
  • Shri Subramanya Sabha, Founded about 99 years back and registered on 1942 [33]
  • Sthanika Dravida Brahmana Sangha, Kunjibettu, Udupi, Karnataka. - 576101[34]
  • Akhila Bharata Sthanika Brahmana Sabha, Jnanashakthi Mantap, Kodigehalli post, Vishwaneedum, Bangalore.
  • Bangalore Sthanika Brahmana Sabha
  • Shri Jnanashakthi Samskruthika Sabha
  • Sthanika Brahmana Sangha, Kundapura
  • Sthanika Brahmana Sangha, Bantwal
  • Shree Subramanya Sthanika Samaja Seva Sangha R. Sullia


These publications, carries information about the happenings of the Community,like festivals, meetings, Religious programmes etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Tulunadu, Dr. P. Gururaja Bhat
  2. ^ a b Tulunadina Itihasadalli Sthanikaru, Dr.Padoor Gururaja Bhat (1966)
  3. ^ a b Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, Page 10
  4. ^ People of India - Karnataka, 2003
  5. ^ Karnataka State Gazetteer Volume 1, 1973, Dakshina Kannada District Chapter 3 - People
  6. ^ a b c The Sthanikas and their Historical Importance B. A. Saletore, Journal Of The University Of Bombay, July 1938, Vol VII, Part I, p29 to p93
  7. ^ Journal of Bombay Historical Society , Volumes 1-2,1928, p 170
  8. ^ a b c d The Quarterly Journal of the Mythic Society (Bangalore)., Volume 92, p.179
  9. ^ a b STHANIKAS - Their Socio-religious and Economic Role in Karnataka (A. D. 1215-1800) - Dr. K. G. Vasanthamadhava
  10. ^ D. R. Bhandarkar Volume, Indian Research Institute, 1940
  11. ^ Economic Conditions in Karnataka, A.D. 973-A.D. 1336, p216
  12. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944
  13. ^ Tulu Nadu - Samajika Chariteyalli ondu samshodhanatmaka Vivechane
  14. ^ Sthanika Brahmanaru by I. K. Shrinivasa Rao, School Book company - 1957
  15. ^ Tulunadina Itihasadalli Sthanika Brahmanaru
  16. ^ History of Sthanika Brahmins by Sri C. S. Rao
  17. ^ a b c d Tulunadu, Dr. Padooru Gururaja Bhat, Bhavyavani Publication, Udupi, 1966, p141
  18. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South) - Chera Nattoja Shivarao, Mangalore Press, 1944, p.1
  19. ^ Being Brahmin, Being Modern: Exploring the Lives of Caste Today, Ramesh Bairy TS, 2010, p.163 ISBN 978-0415585767
  20. ^ Vaishnavism In Vijayanagara, BA Saletore Published in D. R. Bhandarkar Volume, Indian Research Institute, 1940, p192 to p195
  21. ^ Sthanikas and their Historical Importance, by Dr. B. A. Saletore, M. A., Ph. D.(Lond.) D. Phil (Giessen) published in Journal Of The University Of Bombay, July 1938, Vol VII, Part I,pp29 to pp93,
  22. ^ History of Sthanika Brahmanas
  23. ^ The Land with A Rich Past, R P Sambasadaslva Reddy, dated 02 –July-1996, Deccan Herald News paper
  24. ^ South Kanara, By N. Shyam Bhat, Chapter 7: Rebellian of Kalyanaswami
  25. ^ Tattvāloka, Volume 25, Publisher: Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Educational Trust, 2002, p 134
  26. ^
  27. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, p.11
  28. ^ Ahnika Darpanam — Dr. N.V Upadhyaya
  29. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, Page 11
  30. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, p. 6
  31. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, p.6
  32. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, p. 11
  33. ^ Sthanikas of Kanara District (North & South), CheraNattoja Shiva Rao, Mangalore Press, Year 1944, Page 11
  34. ^ Antiquities of South Kanara, P. Gururaja Bhatt, Prabhakara Press, 1969, South Kanara (India), p.28

External links[edit]