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Kallar (Tamil: கள்ளர்) is one of the three related castes which constitute the Mukkalathor confederacy. "A fearless community shows many signs of independence and non-submission to any form of subjugation". They are people of high valor and strongly resisted every British attempt to subjugate them. Kallars are found largely in Thanjavur, Trichy, Pudukkottai, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Karur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu. The Royal Houses of Pudukottaimarker belongs to the Kallar community.

Significant Kallar population also found in Srilanka and Malasia, Samy Vellu, Ex-Works Minister (lost in 2008 election) and Leader of Malaysian Indian Congress, S. Thondaman, Leader of Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka are notable persons outside Tamilnadu.


Mukkulathor meaning Three clans (Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar) Combinedly called as Thevar (Estimated population 1,30,00,000).

Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar are Tamil siblings and the descendents of the Chera, Chola, Pandya and Pallavas of ancient Tamilakam. Thevar means divinities or rulers. During early years the Kings were portrayed as Gods and so were known as Thevar or Devar (in Sanskrit), later the descendants of Moovenders and Pallavas were also called as Thevars.


In Tamilnadumarker Kallars are called by various Surnames, these names comes to them during various times by the place they have ruled, the place of the battlefield and to state their strong valour and bravery in the battle with the foreign forces.

There are over 2,000 surnames in use among the community. There is no other caste in the whole of South India which have this many surnames. Some of the commonly used surnames are:

Thondaiman, Adigaman, Paluvettaraiyar, Thevar, Malayaman, Annuthipiriyar, Amballakkarar, Vaanathiraiyar, Rajaliyar, Servaar, Angarayar, Kaadu Vettiyar, Kalapadiyar, Senathipathiyar, Kandiyar, Mathurayar, Mannaiyar, Kalingarayar, Vanniyarchittachiar, Pattangattiyar (Pattukati).

Kanndapillai, Vanniyar, Vallavaraiyar, Sethurayar, Thanjaraayar, Kurusar, Pallavaraayar, Vandaiyar, Etrandaar, Vaanavaraayar, Servai, Soma Naicker, Muniyarayar (Munaiyatriyar), Thondamar,Mayrkondar, Kallathil Venrar, Nattar (not the Nadar/Shanar caste), Cholagar (Solagar), Solangadevar, Kumarandar, Anjathevar, Olivarayar, Sendapiriyar, Alathondamar, Ambalam, Aarsuthiyar, Kaadavaraayar, Kalingarayar, Vandaiyaar, Veeramundar, Sepillaiyar, Vallundar, Chozhangaraayar.

Mazhavaraayar, Kommatti Mootar, Kannakkarar, Irungular, Singilaar, Ponnapoondar, Pullavaraayar, Araimeendar, Vairayar, Ponpethiar, Gopalar, Putthi Kalindar, Manrayar, Sundayar, Vayaadiyar, Vanniar, Alankara Priyar, Mavaliyar, Keerudayar, Saaluvar, Manraayar, Madhavarayar, Onthiriyar, Serumadar, Vambaliar, Thenkondaar, Palandar, Mankondaar etc.

It is a general practice in Southern Tamil Nadu to address a Thevar woman as Nachiyar.

Sangam Age


The Kings (Araiyars), known as Thondaiman were then ruling Thondai Nadu (Thondaimandalam). There are hundreds of records pertaining to this dynasty. Thondai in Tamil means Kilai or Pirivu, Pallava in Sanskrit means the same, that proves that Thondaimans were the Pallava Kings who ruled the medieval Pallava dynasty and who were infact a later offshoot of the Chola dynasty.


The Kings (Araiyars) ruled Tirukkoyilurmarker during the ascendancy of the Chola empire, with the title Malayaman (which is one of the family name of the Kallar community). They were in close relation with Cholas. Sangam literature mentions of Tirumudikari, a Malayaman chief who fought alongside Perunarkilli Chola to defeat Cheral Irumporai (Irumporai Cheras).


The Kings were ruling Tagadur, present day Dharmapuri district. One of The Four kingdoms Mentioned in rock-edict of Ashoka. Adigaman Naduman Anji King of Tagadur is Mentioned in rock-edict of Ashoka as Satyaputras inscriptions found from Villupuram proves that stating Adigaman (which is one of the family name of the Kallar community) as Satyaputra Adhiyan Neduman Anji intha Pali.


The Chola Dynasty (Tamil:சோழர் குலம்) was a native Tamil dynasty that ruled South India and Ilangai (Ceylon) until the later half of the 13th century A.D. The other two Tamil Royal dynasties are the Pandyas and Cheras. And Pallavas are later offshoot of Cholas, In Sangam Tamil lexicon the word Chola means new country, the word Pandiya means old country, the word Chera means hill country and the word Pallava means branch in Sanskrit, proving the latter as the offshoot of Cholas.

The Chola dynasty originated in the fertile valley of the Kaveri River. Karikala Chola was the most famous among the early Chola kings, while Aditya I, Parantaka I, Rajaraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Rajadhiraja Chola, Virarajendra Chola, Kulothunga Chola and Kulothunga Chola III were notable emperors of the medieval Cholas.

Chera, Chola and Pandya are commonly known as Thevar to mean they are descendants of Lord Indra. But especially Cholas were known by many surnames and that all these surnames (Kalapadiyar, Melkondar, Chozangar, Thevar, etc.) are now used by Kallars only shows that Cholas are from the Royal Kallar community. The Bramanda puranas Puvindra puranam and Kalla Kesari Purannam also Mentions the same.

Many Archaeologists and Historians have also proved beyond any doubt that Cholas are from the Royal Kallar community.

Lots of marriages takes place between cholas with malavarayar, malayaman, Paluvettaraiyar,Melkondarand Vallavaraiyar. they also belongs to Kallar community.


The word Pallava (Tamil: பல்லவர்) means branch in Sanskrit, denoting that they are an later offshoot (Kilai) of Cholas. The Pallava kingdom was a medieval Dravidian Tamil dynasty of South India that had its capital at Kanchipurammarker and ruled Northern Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh (till Northern Circars) around the 4th century CE.

They rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668 CE) and dominated the Andhra Pradesh and Northern parts of Tamil Nadu for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.

The word Pallava means branch in Sanskrit. The word is rendered as Tondaiyar in Tamil language. The Pallava kings at several places are called Thondamans or Thondaiyarkon. The territory of the Pallavas was known as Tundaka Visaya or Tundaka Rashtra. The sanskrit meaning of Pallava is Kilai The Tamil Thondai means the same, it shows that Pallavas are descendants (Kilay or Pirivu) of Cholas.

Pathupattu, one of the Sangam literatures, reads that the King Thondaiman Ilandirayan ruled this town around 2,500 years ago. The Pallavas are told as the descendents of Thondaiman Ilandirayan.

They were also called by surnames like Sethurayar, Pallavarayar, Vandarayar, Kadurayar, Vallavarayar, Vanathirayar, Kaliyarayar..

Tamil copper-plate inscriptions

The discovery of Indian copper plate inscriptions provided a relative abundance of new evidence for use in evolving a chronicle of India's elusive history.

During chola rule there were many small kings(Araiyar) were Ruling there Respective area under Chola. Some of the names are seen in Tamil copper-plate inscriptions was also mentioned in Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy

  • Thondaiman(தொண்டைமான்)
  • Paluvettaraiyar(பழுவேட்டரையன்)
  • Malayaman(மலையமான்)
  • Vallavaraiyar(வல்லவரையன்)
  • Muniaraiyar
  • Puvaraiyar
  • Velar(வேளார்)
  • Vanataraiyar

During Vijayanagar Empire

The downfall of the Mukkulathors occurred in 1345 with the fall of Vira Pandyan IV and the subsequent conquest of Madurai by the Delhi Sultanate. However, the southern territories of the Sultanate soon asserted their independence and the Mukkulathors recovered under the Vijayanagar Empire and later under the Nayak dynasty during whose period they served as Polygars or chieftains.

The South-western parts of Tamilnadu except for Kongu Nadu was called as Kallar Nadu (Thanjavur, Trichy, Pudukkottai and part of Madurai) and was governed by Kallar Palayakkarar.

Ambalakarar is the most important people, they are feudal chiefs of the villages and towns they ruled during 18th century. They were a warlike people who strongly resisted every British attempt to subjugate them. They are found in Madurai, Trichy and Sivaganga districts. In these districts, each village is headed by an Ambalam (president of an assembly) and the Ambalam took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the "NADU", belonging to different castes. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalams. The sur-name "Ambalam"is given to them, because of their Administration in their Villages. So they are mostly called as "Ambalam".

Thenpandi Singam by M. Karunanidhi is a book about Ambalakarars and he was also Awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for that book and it was also been taken as a serial in Sun TV, and music composed by Ilaiyaraaja.

Notable Reformers

Although there are Many Kings, Polygors ,Zamindars and Land lords the main occupation of kallar is Warrior, hence many Kallar Families struggled for income During British rule and after independence.. There were many reformers served for their Community.

-Freedom fighter, Politician, a descendant of Pandyas of Ramnad and known for his close friendship with Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose. -Founder of the Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar college, President of All India Forward Bloc. -Maharajah of Pudukottai (Thondaiman dynasty of Pudukkottai)
  • Nadigar Thilagam Chevalier C.Sivaji Ganesan (நடிகர் திலகம் சிவாஜி கணேசன்)
-Famous Actor, Legend in Tamil film History. -Tamil scholar, Tamil Activist.
  • Zamindar V. Gopalsamy Rajaliar (மேன்மை பொருந்திய வா. கோபாலசாமி ரகுநாத இராசாளியார்)
-Philanthropist, President Indra Kuladibar Sangam.
  • N.P Manicham Errthaandaar.(மக்கள் தொண்டர் ந.பா.மாணிக்கம் ஏற்றாண்டார்)
-Founder Mukkalathor Higher Secondary School and Tamilnadu Maanavar illam, Thiruverumbur, Founder Urimai murasu magazine(1954). -Leader Kallar Maha Sangam Previous to starting Mukkulathor Sangam
  • G.M. Premkumar Vandayar,(பிரேம் குமார் வாண்டையார் )
-Founder Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam (MMK) -leader of Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam (MMK)
  • DR.A.Srinivasan Vanniyar
-Founder President Tamilnadu Kallar Sangam -Freedom fighter(recipient of "Thaamarai Pattam"), Ghandhian, social reformer (worked for the upliftment of Harijans and caste people alike), ex-cabinet minister, close confidant of late prime minsters, Nehruji and Mrs.Indira Gandhi. -One of the first higher civil servants from the community. Co-founder of the Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar College at Usilampatti.
  • Late. AYYA. P.Tamilrasan Kalapadiyar.Dmk activist

Current Status

Although a great many of the members are still agriculturalists, many have also progressed up the social ladder as doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians and civil servants. Large number of people from the community are in the National Armed Forces of India. Large number of people serving the Tamilnadu Police Department.

See also

External links



  1. Kallar Marabinar in Pattapeyargal Oru Varalarru parvai, Pattangattiyar (Pattukati) By Sivabatham
  2. Rajarajan Meikirthigal By Pandarathar
  3. KalvethugalKurum Unmaigal By Pandarathar
  4. Thenpandi Singam by M. Karunanidhi

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