Padayatchi in general refers
to the Vanniyar caste, who are the
descendants of the medieval Pallava empire
that ruled Andhra and Northern Tamilnadu with their capital at
Kanchipuram. Nowadays they primarily live in modern
Nadu where they speak Tamil.
They were originally known as
in South India and later when they became part of
the Pallava army they came to called as Padaiyachis
means commander of an
The Padaiyachis come from the same origins as the Vanniars. There
are a number of inscriptions concerning the Vanniyar Puranam at
Sirkazhi Vaideeswaran Temple, which depict two Asuras
known as Vatapi and Mahi, who worshipped
Brahma and obtained immunity from death and subsequently conquered
the earth. Jambuva Mahamuni or Sambu/Jambu Maharishi, performed a
Yagam--a sacrifice by his yogic powers. Armed horsemen sprung from
the flames, called VanniRaya; they undertook twelve expeditions and
destroyed the Asuras and freed the Earth. Their leader then assumed
the government of the country under the name Rudra Vanniya Maharaja
or Veera Vanniyan. He had five sons, the Ancestors of Vanniyar
Caste. This tradition alludes to the destruction of
the city of Vatapi by Narasimhavarman, the King of Pallis or Pallavas.
Padayatchi mostly refers to Vanniyar, though there are minor
details that differentiate padayatchis from vanniyars. It is not
only a caste title but also a class among the Vanniyars.
are descendants of the medieval Pallava
Kings who ruled Andhra and northern Tamilnadu with their capital at
The Vanniyars known as Pallis became soldiers and commanders during
the medieval Pallava
rule came to be known
as Padayatchis. Padayatchi also were known to possess an army
of their own and this is evident from the
inscriptions mentioning some pallis as "Nalyayiravan" (head of an
army consisting of 4000 soldiers). Some Padayatchis retained their
rule as chieftains and Poligars after the downfall of the Tamil
The kachirayars of Vilandai and Mukasa parur are related to
padayatchis. Only the Padayatchis have different caste titles.
Vanniya Gounders orVanniya Nayakars were known to have "Gounder
" and "Nayakar" title respectively.
No source points out that the Vanniya Gounders and Vanniya Nayakars
had different titles.
Some Padayatchis in Vallambadugai near Chidambaram have the caste
title "vanatharayar" which is sometimes attributed to their root
from Vaanar Kulam
. Note that in the history based novel
is described to be an
offspring of Vaanar
. In a village called Vatharayanthethu near the
Chidambaram town we find Padayatchis with titles like Gnaniyar,
Some Padayatchis in Chidambaram
area have the caste title Padayandavar. Notable among them
include Devadas Padayandavar who is an Ex-MLA from Chidambaram.
Some Padayatchis in Buthangudi village near
were known as sethiyars..
In the southern districts of Tamilnadu like Tirunelveli, Nagercoil
the Paravars are also using the title Padayatchiers
Padayatchis in turn use different titles such as Udayar, Thevar,
Nainar, Pidariyar including Padayatchi title, which proves that
they form a separate class. In the denotified list they are not
mentioned as Vanniyars but Padayatchis which proves that it is more
than a caste title. Nowhere in the Tamil Nadu backward classes
list will you find the name
Padayatchi among the non-Vanniyars. Most of the caste titles of the
Vanniyars belong to the Padayatchis. If Padayatchi is merely a
caste title then why do they use another title? They form a section
among the Vanniyars.
Most of the Vanniyar Poligars (Palayakarar) were related to
Padayatchis. There is a book called "padayatchi Pattapeyar Manjari"
which mentions the different caste titles used by the Padayatchis.
So when we say Padayatchi it naturally refers to a Vanniyar. Also a
book called "sasana Tamil Manjari" refers to padayatchis. When the
Chola rule started to decline the army commanders and ministers
took the administration and formed their own rule. See the content
of the book with the line "sanjala saritha naatinar manthirikumarar
Padayatchigal". It may be a caste title to some other communities
but it is a class and also a title for Vanniyars.
The life of the great Kadava ruler Kopperunjinga is a good example
for this proverb. They were hunters during ancient times and became
land owners and farmers only after they became soldiers and
kadavaraya inscription found in Srimushnam in South Arcot registers remission of padikaval and other levies
due to the donor from the devadana lands, for worship to the god at
Tirumuttam in Vilandai-kurram, a subdivision of Merka-nadu
Irungolappadi in Virudarajabhayankara-valanadu by Alappirandan
Elisaimogan alias Kulottungasolak-Kadavarayan, a Palli having the
kani-right in Urumur alias Solapandya-chaturvedimangalam alias
Erumbur, for the merit of himself and his family.
This is the caste name of Vanniya kula Kshatriyas. Though this one
is found as a title in some other castes too "Padayatchi" aptly
refers to a large population ofthe Vanniyar or Palli Caste. In many
parts of Tamil Nadu it is only the Vanniyars who were mentioned and
called as Padayatchis.
Known divisions among Padayatchis
The Padayatchis had some internal divisions too which is not found
among the rest of the Vanniyar caste. Some divisions are: Arasu,
Pandal, Anju Naal,Kandar, and Panirendu naal.The distinct
difference for padaiyatchi is that they have separate god for their
clan("kula deivam") like warrior gods like karrupu ,
muniswamy,iyannar.One of the very important Kula deivam of
Vallampadugai Padayatchi is Arulmigu Angala Parameswari.In
Cuddalore ,Pondicherry area important Kula deivam for Padayaatchi
is Arulmigu Muttaala Amman.Some other Kula Deivams of Padayatchi
Caste are Periyandichi (Female God), periandavar (Male God),
In some places like Ariyalur and in parts of Tanjore districts the
Padayatchis still have marriage relations with Padayatchis only.
Nowadays Padayatchis are found to marry among other Vanniyar
divisions too.In Panruti taluk of cuddalore dist vanniyars called
as padayatchi,they have surnames as sempirayar,
samarthiyaar,thennavaraya,mazhavarayar, nayinaar etc here.This is
because of the fact that all belong to one (Palli or Vanniyar)
caste.They are now rapidly progressing. In politics too they have a
Notable Vanniyars (Padayatchis)
- K. Vazhapaadi Ramamurthy A veteran
Congress leader, former TNCC President and former Petroleum
Minister in the Union Govt of India.
- Panruti Ramachandran (known
as Panruttiyaar), Former state minister of Tamil
- S. S. Ramasamy Padayachi, Founder of the
Workers Toilers Party.
- "Kaduvetti" Guru, national and
state leader of Vanniyar sangam, the origin of Pattali Makkal Katchi.
- Mr. Natana Kasinathan padayatchi, Former Director of
Archaeology, Tamilnadu. Senate Member Annamalai University,
Vanniyar varalaru thoguppu kuzhu President
- Mr. Pushpavanam Kuppuswami. Tamil folk/plaback Singer.
- Mr.Thenkachi Swaminathan.
- Mr. Jayaprakash , Attur, Salem.
- Sambuvarayar Varalaru - by Mr. Ko. Thangavelu & Mr. L.
- Parur Vilandai Kachirayar Varalarum Kalvettum - by Prof. L.
- Ariyalur Varalaru -Anrum Inrum -By Pulavar Kumaraswamy
- Tamil Samudaya Varalaaru- Chozhar Kaalam Thoguthi 4- World
- A.R. No. 137 of 1900 and A.R.No. 232 of 1916