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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 Kanchipurammarker. Nowadays they primarily live in modern Tamil Nadumarker where they speak Tamil. They were originally known as Pallis in South India and later when they became part of the Pallava army they came to called as Padaiyachis. The word Palli means warrior. And Padaiyachi means commander of an army.


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 Pallismarker 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. Vanniyars are descendants of the medieval Pallava Kings who ruled Andhra and northern Tamilnadu with their capital at Kanchipurammarker.


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 kings.

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 Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki, Vandhiyathevan is described to be an offspring of Vaanar. In a village called Vatharayanthethu near the Chidambarammarker town we find Padayatchis with titles like Gnaniyar, Pidariyar, Thondavarayar. Some Padayatchis in Chidambaram area have the caste title Padayandavar. Notable among them include Devadas Padayandavar who is an Ex-MLA from Chidambarammarker. Some Padayatchis in Buthangudi village near Sethiyathope 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 commanders.

A kadavaraya inscription found in Srimushnam in South Arcotmarker 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), Muniyappan.

Padayatchi today

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 significant role.

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 Nadu.
  • 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. Thyagarajan
  • Parur Vilandai Kachirayar Varalarum Kalvettum - by Prof. L. Thyagarajan
  • Ariyalur Varalaru -Anrum Inrum -By Pulavar Kumaraswamy
  • Tamil Samudaya Varalaaru- Chozhar Kaalam Thoguthi 4- World Tamil Institute.
  • A.R. No. 137 of 1900 and A.R.No. 232 of 1916

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