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Regions with significant populations
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala
Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam
Related ethnic groups

Devanga (also known as Devanga Chettiar)[1][2] is a Hindu caste from South India that traditionally followed the occupation of weaving,[2] mostly found in the Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, and also that of Odisha, where they are known as Deras.[3][4]

Origin and culture[edit]

The caste claims to be descended from Devala, an ancient Hindu sage.[4]


Devangas follow Veerashaivism or Shaivism.[5] While some Devangas wear the yagnopaveetam or janivara, others consider the Viramustis as their traditional preceptors, from whom they take precepts and wear lingam.[4]

The main goddess of the Devanga people is Sri Ramalinga Sowdeswari Amman.[6][3]

Devanga Purana[edit]

Around 1532, Devanga people requested the Telugu poet Bhadralinga Kavi to write their kulapuranam, or mythological history, he composed the Devanga Purana in the dasimatra-dvipadi style.[7]


Most members of this community were professional weavers and used to mainly produce pure cotton apparel, they were accordingly primarily concentrated around major textile centres in the Godavari district.[5]

They were known for good craftsmanship in weaving clothes of all varieties and they weave superfine quality cotton clothes. Weaving the loom is usually done by men whereas women dye the yarn and spin the thread and children assist tasks such as looming, they are also very good entrepreneurs and expert in marketing of clothes. Some of them are also engaged in trading vegetables, groceries etc.[4]

Punishment for inter-caste marriage[edit]

In 2004, the Devanga leaders of a small village in Belagur, Chitradurga district, Karnataka, fined and socially excluded ten families from the community for marrying people outside the caste;[8] the decision was criticised and alleged to be unconstitutional[9] but a similar thing happened to five families in Shivani village, Ajjampura, Chikmagalur district in 2011.[10]


  1. ^ Gautham, Komal (30 April 2016). "MGR magic still spins votes from Coimbatore weavers". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b Nainar, Nahla (21 March 2014). "Silence of the looms". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b George, Anubha. "For 500 years, a Kannadiga community of weavers has produced Kerala's iconic white and gold saree". Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Acharya, Prasant Kumar. Sacred Complex of Budhi Santani: Anthropological Approach to Study Hindu Civilization (2003 ed.). New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. pp. 240–246. ISBN 978-8-18069-049-5.
  5. ^ a b Swarnalatha, P. (2005). "The Social World of the Weaver". The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, c. 1750 - c. 1850. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. p. 36, 37. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0.
  6. ^ "A ritual of pain to connect with the past - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  7. ^ Swarnalatha, P. (2005). "The Social World of the Weaver". The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, c. 1750 - c. 1850. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. pp. 39–45. ISBN 978-8-12502-868-0.
  8. ^ "Ten families facing 'social boycott'". The Hindu. 22 December 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Seer calls for end to social boycott". The Hindu. 23 December 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  10. ^ Khajane, Muralidhara (29 January 2011). "Protection for 'social boycott' victims sought". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 May 2015.

Further reading[edit]