Saturday, February 11, 2012


Padayatchi refers to the Vanniyar caste, who are the descendants of the medieval Pallava empire that ruled Andhra and Northern Tamil Nadu with their capital at Kanchipuram. Currently, they primarily live in modern Tamil Nadu, where they speak Tamil. They were originally known as Pallisin South India, and later, when they became part of the Pallava army, they came to called asPadaiyachis. The word Palli means shepherd or herdsmen. Padaiyachi means commander of an army of Pallis.


The Padaiyachis come from the same origins as the Vanniars. The name Vanniyar is derived from the Tamil word Vanni, which means fire or Agni in Sanskrit. It also means Valour or Strength. The word Vanniyar also has a meaning of oil pressers viz. from castor seeds or farmers in Tamil denoting their profession. 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 called VanniRaya sprung from the flames; 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. Vanniyars are descendants of the medieval Pallava Kings who ruled Andhra and northern Tamil Nadu with their capital at Kanchipuram.


The Vanniyars, known as Pallis, became soldiers and commanders during the medieval Pallavarule and came to be known as Padayatchis.[1] Padayatchi were also 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.[2]
The Kachirayars of Vilandai and Mukasa parur are related to padayatchis. Only the Padayatchis have different caste titles. Vanniya Gounders or Vanniya Nayakars were known to have "Gounder" and "Nayakar" title respectively.
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 novelPonniyin Selvan by KalkiVandhiyathevan is described to be an offspring of Vaanar. In a village called Vatharayanthethu near the Chidambaram town, we find Padayatchis with titles like Gnaniyar, Pidariyar, and Thondavarayar. Some Padayatchis in the 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 Sethiyathope were known as sethiyars.[3] In the southern districts of Tamil Nadu like Tirunelveli, Nagercoil the Paravars are also using the title Padayatchiers.
In turn, Padayatchis used different titles, such as Nainar, Pidariyar and sozhiya vellalar 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, 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[4] 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.[5]
A 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 of the Vanniyar or Palli Caste. In many parts of Tamil Nadu it is only the Vanniyars who were mentioned and called as Padayatchis. padai+aatchi=padaiyatchi..they are the ruling parties in ancient periods.


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. Jayamkondar angarayar kaggayam sub division name in vattathur village i.e. 20 km chidhambaram it is not sub caste, it's like kuttam in kongu villala caste i.e. with in the division peoples are brothers and sisters
The distinct difference for padaiyatchi is that they have separate gods for their clan ("kula deivam"), warrior gods like karrupu, muniswamy, and iyannar. God Sembaiyanar in Muthanai village is kula thiyvam for lot of village(Narumanam, Kotteri, Veeratikuppan, Iruppukurichi etc.)people in cuddalore district. 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. kammapuram appasamy, kaliyaperumal(paalkarar), rajavel, jayakumar padayatchi's kula deivams of angalamman and periyaandavar, kanakaththu amman periya acchi. Kula deivam rajakkal in salem region.


In some places like Vridhachalam, Ariyalur and in parts of Tanjore,Cuddalore, Nagai districts the Padayatchis still have marriage relations with Padayatchis only. Currently Padayatchis are found to marry among other Vanniyar divisions. In Panruti, Vridhachalam, chidambaram taluks of cuddalore dist vanniyars called as padayatchi, they have surnames as sempirayar, samarthiyaar, thennavaraya, mazhavarayar, and nayinaar. This is because of the fact that all belong to one (Palli or Vanniyar) caste. They are now rapidly progressing. They also have a significant role in politics.


  • K. Vazhapaadi ĒçĊÃãRamamurthy 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.
  • Duraimurugan, Minister for Law, Govt of Tamil Nadu, Great orator and speaker. Deputy General Secretary D.M.K Party Tamil Nadu.
  • DR. Ramdoss, Founder of PMK
  • DR AnbuMani Ramdoss , Former Health Minister for INDIA.


  1.  Sambuvarayar Varalaru
  2.  Inrum Vazhnthuvarum Kachirayargal
  3.  Ariyalur Varalaru-Anrum Inrum
  4.  Tamil Samudaya Varalaaru-Cholar kaalam -Thoguthi-4 -From World Tamil Research centre
  5.  (A.R.No.137 of 1900), (A.R.No. 232 of 1916)