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Vadakalai ( , ), meaning Northern branch is one of the two Iyengar subsects, the other one being thenkalai (southern style).

Iyengars are a sect of Brahmins that predominantly worship Lord Vishnu, one of the three leading deities of the Hindu religion. Brahmins originated as the priestly class in ancient Indiamarker and, to a large extent, still continue to do so.

Iyengars is the term given to Vishnu-worshiping brahmins who have settled in the Southern States of Tamil Nadumarker, Karnatakamarker, Keralamarker and Andhra Pradeshmarker, but predominantly in Tamil Nadu.

Differences with Thenkalai Srivaishnavas

Unlike the Thenkalai, who follow the doctrines of Manavalamamunigal and Ramanuja, the Vadakalai follow the doctrines of Vedantadesika and Ramanuja. For philosophical differences with the Vadakalai tradition, please see Vishishtadvaita#Thenkalai_and_Vadakalai_schools_of_thought. Vadakalai Iyengars sport the U naama, rather than the Thenkalai Y naamam. Compared to the Thenkalai Iyengars who thrived in Srirangam, their tradition developed around Kanchi. The differing intellectual environments results in the stronger emphasis on Tamil literature among the Thenkalai and the stronger emphasis on the Sanskrit literature amongst the Vadakalai.

The monasteries which follow this tradition are Shri Ahobila Mutt, Srirangam Srimadh Andavan Ashramam, Shri Parakala Mutt and Shri Poundarikapuram Andavan Ashramam.

List of Vadakalai Iyengars

  • Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
  • V. Bhashyam Aiyangar (1844-1908), Indian lawyer. First Indian Advocate-General of Madras Presidency.
  • Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972), Indian politician and activist of the Indian independence movement. Premier of Madras (1937-1939), Governor of Bengal (1946-1948), Governor-General of India (1948-1950), Union Home Minister (1950-1952) and Chief Minister of Madras state (1952-1954). Founder of Swatantra party.
  • C. V. Rungacharlu, Diwan of Mysore kingdom from 1881 to 1883.
  • P. Anandacharlu, leader of the Indian National Congress.
  • T. S. S. Rajan (1880-1953), Indian politician and freedom-fighter. Member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1934-1936), Minister of Public Health and Religious Endowments (Madras Presidency) (1937-1939), Minister of Food and Public Health (Madras Presidency) (1946-1951).
  • R. Madhavan, Indian film actor

List of people with Vadakalai heritage

  • Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), Indian mathematician, was of patrilineal Thenkalai descent and of Vadakalai descent on his mother's side.


See also

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