Velama Historical Leaders

Padmanayaka Velama Surnames-Gothrams-Village names

Velama Historical Leaders

Leaders of Historic importance from Velama Community

Note: All blue coloured text is clickable and linked to other web pages.

12th and 13th Century

 

Various Padmanayaka Velama Generals have worked with different Kings of Kakatiya Dynasty in and around the then Capital Orugallu (now Warangal City), in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the Padma Nayaka's who fought battles along with other Nayakas and emerged victorious during Kakatiya rule are:

 

Rudra Deva Period ( 1158 - 1195)

 

Recherla Nami Reddi of Pillalamarri, Nalgonda District:

( Pillalamarri village, is located 2 km from Suryapet town in Nalgonda District)

 

 'Reddi' is just a status title those days used to designate village heads. He is said to be a prominent independent local warrior / ruler based in Pillalamarri with a band of soldiers of his own and is said to have assisted the Kakatiya king Rudra Deva in his military quests to consolidate the kingdom and later on ruled as Rudra Deva's feaudatory.

 

He is said to have built couple of  irrigation tanks in and around Pillalamarri and on completion of them dedicated them to a local godess and in the process issued an inscription stating that fact.

 

"... the tank would be set aside for the temple's needs. All the land irrigated by the two tanks built by Nami Reddi of the Recherla family was given to the deity he consecrated and named after himself at Pillalamarri, Nalgonda District. " (Talbot, Cynthia, 2004, Page 79)

 

Reference: Talbot, Cynthia, 2004, Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (Hardcover), Oxford University Press (January 27, 2004).

 

Ganapathi Deva Period (1199 – 1262 A.D.)

 

Recherla Rudra, Commander-In-Chief (Senani), of Kakatiya king Ganapathi Deva's army (not to be confused with earlier Kakatiya king with similar name, Rudra Deva), who has built, supervised the construction of  Ramappa Lake (1156) and  Ramappa Temple (1213), both are intact even today and located 60 km from capital Orugallu (now Warangal City) in Palampet village in Mulugu Taluq, of Warangal Dist, during the period of Kakatiya king Ganapathi Deva of Orugallu. (Inscription Source: 11' x 2' black granite slab Inscription erected at Ramappa Temple premises, near Palampet Village, Warangal Dist, Andhra Pradesh, in 1213.) 

 

" Following the death of Mahadeva and the captivity of Ganapati, disorders broke out in the kingdom. The nobles rose in revolt. The rulers of the neighbouring states, especially the Mudigonda Chalukyan king Nagati and the Chalukya-Chola emperor Kulottunga III, invaded the country. But Recherla Rudra, the commander-in-chief of the Kakatiya ruler, saved the kingdom from crumbling. His titles 'Kakatjyarajyabharadhaureya' and 'Kakatirajyasamartha' indicate that he carried on administration in the name of his lord and sovereign" (Durga Prasad 1988: Page 137)

 

" The great Ramappa temple at Palampeta is said to have been built in 1213 A.D. by Recherla Rudra, one of the generals of Ganapatideva. " (Durga Prasad 1988: Page 161)

 

Recherla Raja Nayaka:

 

" Subsequent to his victory over Prithisvara, Ganapatideva wanted to bring the latter's possessions in Kalinga under his rule. In this Kalinga expedition, Bhima, the Telugu Chola chief of Eruva and Rajanayaka, the commander of the Recherlas, also participated and conquered several places in Vengi, Orissa, and Bastar state. " (Durga Prasad 1988: Page 139)

 

An Inscription (dated 1213 A.D.) on the  south wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the temple of Tripurantakesvara, Tripurantakam, Markapur Taluk, Kurnool District, mentions about the donation made by one General by name Recherla Mummadi Nayaka, son of Nagi Nayaka. (Inscription Source: No 471 ((A. R. No. 183  of  1905), South Indian Inscriptions, Volume 10, Kakatiya Dynasty, Archeological Survey Of India.) 

 

Rani Rudrama Devi Period (1259 – 1289 A.D.)

 

Recherla Prasaditya, son of Pillalamarri Bethala Naidu, along with other Nayaks like Gona Gannaiah ( a Reddi chief ), and Kayastha chiefs like Jannigadeva, Tripurar, and Ambadeva help consolidate the position of Rani Rudrama Devi against her step-brothers.

 

" Rudramadevi's nomination and succession to the throne was not generally approved. Some of the nobles, who were unwilling to submit to a woman's authority took up arms against her. Ekamranatha's 'Pratapacharitra' refers to her step-brothers, Hariharadeva and Murarideva, ousting Rudrama and capturing Warangal, and Rudrama effectively tackling them with the help of the citizens and some of her powerful supporters. However no other evidence is available to prove the existence of her stepbrothers. Even if it is believed that some intransient nobles and near relations rebelled against Rudrama's authority, the Kayastha chiefs Jannigedeva and his younger brothers Tripurari and Ambadeva, Recherla Prasaditya and the Reddi chiefs like Gona Gannaya and a host of others who remained firmly loyal to the queen, espoused her cause and helped her to defeat the rebels. " (Durga Prasad 1988: Page 143)

Recherla Prasaditya, is said to be the brain behind the invention of the Nayankara System, which was said to be implemented either during the rule of Rani Rudrama Devi or later on during the period of Pratapa Rudra which turned out to be a very successful strategic governing model for Kakatiyas. Nayankara System was later on successfully adopted by various rulers in different places like by Kapaya Nayaka of Warangal, by Vijayanagara Kings of Hampi, by Kondaveeti Reddies, and later on by Madurai Nayaks.

 

Prataparudra II Period (1289 – 1323 A.D.)

 

" The 'Pratapacharitra' informs us about Prataparudra II entrusting the defense of the 77 bastions of Warangal to 77 Nayakas of the Velama community, allotting to them a fourth of his kingdom as estates to enable them to discharge efficiently their duties (to maintain a prescribed body of troops for the service of the king and to pay annual tribute). " (Durga Prasad 1988: Page 158)

 

Recherla Venna, son of Recherla Prasaditya, who along with other Velama Nayaks like Pothuganti Maili fought and cut short the expedition of  Ala-ud-din of Delhi Sultanate at Upparapalli battle, now in Karimnagar Dist, in 1303.

 

" The earliest expedition of Ala-ud-din against the Kakatiya kingdom took place in 1303 A.D. While he himself was engaged in sieging the fort of Chittor in Rajasthan, he sent Malik Fakhr-ud-din Juna and Jhaju of Kara with troops by way of Bengal to Telangana. The army, which already suffered disaster in the course of the march owing to floods, was worsted at Upparapalli (Karimnagar district) by Recherla Venna and Potuganti Maili and was compelled to retreat in confusion. " (Durga Prasad 1988:Page 153)

 

Erra Dacha Nayaka, son of Recherla Prasditya, is a Padma Nayaka Velama Chief at that time:

 

" Prataparudra along with the generals, the Padma Nayak Chief Erra Dacha Nayaka, Induluri Rudra, Muppidi Nayaka, and Devari Nayaka, marched on the Pandyan territory. Ranganatha was driven away and Nellore became part and parcel of the Kakatiya Empire. Devari Nayaka occupied Kanchi from the Hoyasala forces, defeated both Ravivarma and Vira Pandya and anointed Sundara Pandya at Viradhavaia. The Kakatiya authority was thus established in the south up to Trichinopoly in the south. " (Durga Prasad 1988:150)

 

Recherla Singama Nayaka, son of Erra Dacha Nayaka, later establishes his own independent Kingdom with Rachakonda, now in Nalgonda Dist, as his capital:

 

" On the banks of the river Tungabhadra one Singaya Nayaka, a vassal of the Yadavas, established an independent Kampili kingdom, at Anegondi. His son Kampilideva, who was ambitious and aggressive, desirous of extending his kingdom, came into conflict with the Hoyasala ruler Ballala III. In this endeavor, he even sought the help of Prataparudra. When he failed to  secure the assistance of the Kakatiya monarch, he got angry with him and in order to humiliate him assumed his titles 'Mururayaraganda' and 'Virarudrnaganda'. Prataparudra became furious at this and sent Bendapudi Annayamatya and Recherla Singama Nayaka against Kampili. The Kakatiya Generals humbled the pride of Kampilideva. " (Durga Prasad 1988: Page150)

 

Note: Not all the Velama warriors during Kakatiya period are listed here. Most of them included here have just happened to belong to the prominent recherla clan. Warriors of other Velama clans like Vipparla, Inigala, Viriyala, and Malyala etc were also fought battles alongside but we need reliable text sources or access to text of insriptions etc to confirm their identity and to list them here. As soon as such reliable sources are found, they will be included here. If you come across any such reliable information, please let this web site know so as to include them.

  

Origin of 'Rao' title to Velama Dora's:

 

Origin of Rao title to Velama Dora's, according to the second edition of book, 'Bobbili Zemindary' written by a former Bobbili Maharaja Sri Ravu Sir Venkata Swetachalapathi Ranga Rao Bahadur. (Check Reference section for a link to the book freely available on the Internet)

 

In his own sentences from the book (page number - 16), just copied and pasted below...

 

" The family name of Rao Varu is one of historical importance, but it is not the name of place where the family members lived. Its origin is this:

 

The Maharaja Pratapa Rudra of Warangal conferred this name of honour on the family of Chevi Reddi alias Bhetala naidu, the founder of the Venkatagiri samstanam, and also ordered that every Velama Dora must have Ravu added at the end of his name. In the history of "Pratapa Charithra" there is a verse in regard to this family name, which translated runs as follows:-

 

"He who has the title Rao, which was bestowed by the king, prefixed to his name, is the ruler; and if it is affixed to the name, then it is a general mark of the Velama Caste."

 

Reference: A Revised and Enlarged Account of the Bobbili Zemindari, Second edition, By Sir Ravu Venkata Swetachalapati Ranga Rao, Maharaja of Bobbili.

 

 

12th Century

 

The following information is taken from the book of Roghair, Gene H, 1982, The epic of Palnadu: a study and translation of Palnati virula katha, a Telugu oral tradition from Andhra Pradesh, India, Oxford University Press, which is nothing but an English translation of  oral tradition of 'Burra Katha' in Telugu as propagated during 1970's by the families of Vira Vidyavanthulu, as they are called, a group of Mala / Madiga caste people together with their forefathers for the last 850 years or so in Palnadu region.

 

Palnadu region is located in current Guntur District, with Krishna river forming its western as well as northern borders, in Andhra Pradesh (Close by and east of Nagarjunasagar / Deverakonda region of Nalgonda dist).

 

During the said period, some six Velama women are said to have commited 'Sati' by jumping into the funeral fire after the death of their warrior husbands in the battle to capture one Arangetla fort from rival forces in Palnadu region.      

 

'Palanati' Recherla Brahma Nayudu, a valiant fighter, both his father Dodda Nayudu and later he himself were appointed and served as ministers for the then ruling Raju clans in Palnadu area like Alugu Raju. He has strived for progressive and egalitarian ideals in medieval times, ruled as a minister on behalf of minor sons of Alugu Raju from Macherla, a town in Palnadu region close to Guntur - Nalgonda district border.

 

Brahmanna, as he is popularly called is a staunch Vaishnavite and a devotee of Chennakesava. He was responsible for construction of Chennakeshava Swami temple in Macherla town which is popular even today among the people there.

 

Brahmanna is said to have adopted a son, a brave warrior called Kannamma, a Mala by caste, as he was childless for a long time.

 

Peddanna Bada Raju, brave warrior, son of Dodda Nayudu (then minister of Alugu Raju) and elder brother of Brahma Naidu, a velama by birth but given in adoption to then ruler Alugu Raju, and brought up as a Raju by his foster father. He later on said to have married a Raju girl, upsetting his Raju in-laws and their relatives who were not aware of his original caste, come together, decide and vow to kill him at any cost. But Peddanna is said to have defeated single handedly nearly more than one hundred such warriors.

 

The deceitful infamous 'Nayakuralu' Nagamma, a widow, is the minister for then rulers (Nalagama Raju and Narsinga Raju etc) of Gurajala , a small town in Palnadu region.

 

Brahmanna along with his troops lives in exile for six and half years after loosing Macherla to Nagamma in a cock fight. He is said to have lived first three years of his exile period along with his brothers and other warriors in and around Deverakonda region of Nalgonda district and said to have established a town called 'Mandadi' there. His two brothers are said to have founded two other towns in the region. Nagamma said to have sent some fierce Boya warriors from Palnadu region to set the new town Mandadi on fire but they failed to carry out her orders. Brahmanna decided to move from there and lived the the next three and half years of his exile period just south of his original Palnadu region border in Guntur district in a village called 'Medapi'.

 

Brahmanna's sister, Chellamma, is said to have married into a Raju family of Kalyan descent and her son Alla Racha Mallu, a Raju,  was later on sent as a peace missionary for negotiations between Brahmanna and Nagamma. He is said to have secretely food poisoned to death by Nagamma and said to have never returned back.

 

Battle of Palnadu - (1182) at Karempudi village, in Palnadu region, between the former rulers of Macherla and then rulers of Gurajala of Palnadu region at the end of exile period by Brahmanna and failure of peace negotiations and unexpected death of his nephew, Alla Racha Mallu, at the hands of Nagamma. 

 

'Palanati' Recherla Balachendrhrudu (Kaliyuga abhimanyu), son of Brahma Nayudu born after Brahmanna being childless for a long time, fought the Palnadu Battle ferociously and died at a very young age. His wife is said to have attempted to commit 'Sati' but did not succeed.

 

The Battle of Palnadu is remembered and propagated through 'Burra Katha' even today by the people of Palnadu region, and through an annual gathering at the battlefield in Karempudi village to pay respect to the valour of warriors who were martyred in the battle.

 

14th - 15th Century - (A.D 1325 to 1473)

 

Rachakonda Kingdom - Capital: Rajakonda / Rachakonda, Nalgonda Dist.

 

Raja Recherla Singama Bhoopala Nayaka, first independent King of Velamas and is closely followed by Devarakonda Recherla Chiefs.

 

His Kingdom is much more large and prominent compared to the Deverakonda Kingdom. Rachakonda Kingdom is said to have extended all over the entire present Telangana region. 

 

Singama Bhoopala Nayaka's valour and heroics are still remembered and propagated by the people in the region through traditional 'Burra Katha' or folklore.

 

A great patron of art and literature and said to be he himself a highly accomplished scholar, learned person, and said to have written 'Singa Bhoopalaneeyam'.

 

 
Recherla Anavota Nayaka, son of Singa Bhoopala
 
Singama's sons Anavota Nayaka and Mada Nayaka, have carried on the legacy of their father after his untimely brutal assassination by Jallipalli Kshatriyas at the instance of Addanki Kingdom and indirect support of Kapaya Nayaka, then ruler at Warangal. Seething in anger his sons immediately retaliated by marching towards Warangal and killing the conspirators of their father's assassination and Warangal came under their control for the first time until it is lost to Bahamani Kings later on.

 

About Rajakonda / Rachakonda Fort:

 

As of now, Rajakonda Fort is in ruins in Samstan Narayanpur Mandal, of Nalgonda Dist, Andhra Pradesh, almost forgotten as it is not easily accessible by transport and located in a hilly terrain covered by forests, bordering Nalgonda and Mahaboobnagar districts.

 

Rajaconda the fort, offers a good exampe of medieval Hindu fort architecture. The construction is of cyclopean masonary, and the whole fort is devoid of the use of mortar.

 
The gateways to the fort offer good examples that highlight the use of monolith pillars, beams and lintals and is most interesting to the history connoiseur. The fort walls are quite typical with stone cuts and diversified and laid on the side facing the outside with mudslopes on the interior.
 
The fort structure, as observed, seemed to be functionally useful as a defence basiton in the pre-firearms era as the structure suggests, leading experts to infer that with the induction of fire-arms in the mid 14th century, even as Golconda began to upgrade itself to suit the use of fire-arms, Rajaconda remained indifferent to the changing times and needs. In times to come Rajakonda settled to merely being a Jagir (province) of the Qutub Shahi kings.
 
To understand the history of forts, one needs to realise that various forts in a geographical region had different defence basitons and served different purposes. While some served as frontiers of kingdoms, others merely acted as centres of trade and commerce. These frontiers too kept changing from time to time. and hence no two forts can be compared to each other without understanding the role they served in the right perspective.
 
Rajaconda forms an ideal case to understand medieval Hindu town planning and architecture. The fort even adheres to Viswakarma's Vasthu Sastra on Hindu fort architecture. One can observe that the fort was structured as upper and lower tiers with the city lying on the south eastern side of the fort, partly sprawling outside the boundary wall.

 

According to this highly reliable source (Bibliography of Andhra Coins), Rachakonda family of Velama chiefs consist of:

 

EraDacha

Singana

Anavota

Kumara Singhabupala II

Immadi Anavota

Madhava Rau and

Mummadi Singha 

 

Devarakonda Kingdom - Capital: Devarakonda, Nalgonda Dist

 

Ruled by Recherla Velama chiefs.

 

Devarakonda Fort is in what is now called Deverakonda town and Mandal, in Nalgonda Dist, Andhra Pradesh (near to Nagarjuna Sagar)

 

Eight kings are said to have ruled Deverakonda from ?1287 to 1475 A.D. Some of the kings who ruled Deverakonda Kingdom are:

 

Raja Maada Nayudu II

Raja Peda Vedagiri Nayudu (1384 - 1410 A.D.)

Raja Maada Nayudu III (1410 -1425 A.D.)

Raja Lingama Nayudu, (1425 - 1475 A.D.), the last of the eight Kings

 

Source: TheDeverakonda.org

 
Velamas of Panugal / Panagal / Pangal Fort: Pangal is Located 3km away from present Nalgonda town and is a historical place during Kakatiya kings. Velamas ruled from this fort for some time before the Vijayanagara king, Devaraya I, was said to have seized this fort during the absence of velama rulers who were busy campaigning at that time in Godavari region along with Bahamani sultans.
 

Inscription

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16. VELAMA INSCRIPTION, SRISAILAM, DISTRICT KURNOOL .--- An epigraph recording construction of a flight of steps by Madanayadu, a Velama king, at Srisailam was discovered.

 

Source: Indian Archaeology, 1964 -65 -- A Review  ( From Archaeological Survey Of India Web Site )

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Recherla Vasanta Raya: ( son of Anapotha II and younger brother of Singa III, AD 1437 ) Said to have invaded and temporarily captured Kanchi City in Tamilnadu as per the inscription ( AD 1437 ) found in the Sri Varadharaja Swami temple there.
 
 
 

 

Velamas of Bhuvanagiri ( later ruled as the feudatories of Krishnadevaraya, the King of Vijayanagara, Tuluva Dynasty, 1509 - 1529 AD Period )

 

Padma Nayak 's also captured and ruled for a short duration Bhuvanagiri Fort (now Bhongir Fort and town in Nalgonda Dist, Andhra Pradesh) during the period of 1500+ AD.

 

The feudatory chiefs of Ummatur, Reddys of Kondavidu and Velamas of Bhuvanagiri had time and again rebelled against Vijayanagar authority of Krishnadevaraya but he successfully subdued the local rulers and expanded his kingdom.

 

14th - 17th Century

 

Padma Nayaka Velama Generals also fought for Vijayanagara Empire after loosing their Kingdoms and supremacy in Telangana regions. As this Empire expanded some of the Nayaks were sent to far away lands in southern Tamil Nadu like Madurai, Tanjavore, and Arkot districts of Northern Tamil Nadu to control those territories and collect and send revenue to the King at Hampi, the Capital of Vijayanagara Empire. Thus various Padmanayak Velama 's have settled in the villages of those newly acquired territories and today they are referred to as Velama Naidu 's or simply Padma Velama 's. It is said that there are about forty such Velama Naidu villages in and around Madurai town alone even for today. They were used to hold large tracts of land in Tamil Nadu and some of them were former big Zamindars. On decline of Vijanagara Empire, most of them stayed back.

 

Association of some Velama Generals with Vijayanagar Kings  

 

With Sriranga I ( Sriranga Deva Raya, King of Vijayanagara, Aravidu Dynasty ), 1572 - 1586 AD Period

 

 

( Recherla ) Veligoti Chennappa Nayaka:

 
Chennappa Nayaka, a general of Recherla Velama dynasty, was sent to defeat the Golkonda raiders but the magnitude of Atrocities committed by the invaders alerted Sriranga I who also hurried to parry the attack. Murari Rao and his Golkonda raiders were defeated , Murari Rao was pursued by Chennappa who captured and imprisoned him in a cage. By 1580, Sriranga I turned the tide and started chasing the Golkonda army northwards recovering the territory they had seized. Sriranga I generously spared the life of Murari Rao because of his brahminical origins.
 
 
Inscription involving the parents of Veligoti Chennappa Nayaka ( 1554 AD )

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1554 A.D. - In Guntur district

 

 

No. 191.

(A. R. No. 584 of 1909.)

Macherla, Palnad Taluk, Guntur District.

On a slab set up in the courtyard of the Virabhadresvara temple.

Sadasiva, 1554 A.D.

The record is dated in Chronogram ‘rasa-saila-veda..’ and the numerals … 76, Ananda, Ashadha, su. 15, Friday, lunar eclipse.  The word for the numeral 1 is apparently lost.  The details of the date correspond to 1554 A.D., June 15, ’51,  if the month was Adhika Ashadha.

The inscription which is damaged, records a grant of 14 putti and 10 tumu of land constituting it into a village by name Lingapuram, by Lingamma, wife of Veligoti Komara Timma-nayaka to the gods Ishta-Kamesvara and Viresvara of Macherla situated to the north of Macherla and west of the Chandrabhaga river, in Nagarjuna-konda-sima which Komara Timma-nayaka is said to have obtained as nayankara from Mahamandalesvara Ramaraju Tirumalarajayyadeva-maharaju.

 

 
 
Inscription involving the Veligoti Chennappa Nayaka himself ( 1569 AD )
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1569 A.D. Vijayanagar Dynasty - In Kurnool district

 

No. 269.

(A.R. No. 166 of 1905.)

Markapur, Markapur Taluk, Kurnool District.

On a pillar of the garuda-mandapa in the Chennkesavasvamin temple.

Sadasiva, 1569 A.D.

This is dated Saka 1491, Sukla, Ashadha su. 12 corresponding to 1569 A.D., June 25.

The record is partly built in.  It registers a gift of the income out of the akulamantrayam to the god by Chennapa-nayaka, son of Komara Timma-nayaka and grandson of Veligoti Peda Timma-nayaka of Recherla-gotra.  The donor is said to have obtained Kochcherlakota-sima as nayankara from Mahamandalesvara Ramaraju Tirumala rajaya. (then Vijayanagar King)

 

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With Venkata II, ( Venkatapathi Raya, King of Vijayayanagara, Aravidu Dynasty ),

1586 -1614 AD Period:

 

Recherla Kasturiranga Nayaka:

 

Venkatapathi Raya instigated a war with the Golkonda and Bijapur Sultanates and captured some of the territories lost earlier by his predecessor Sriranga I. Kasturiranga nayaka, a scion of Recherla Velama dynasty was sent to check the combined armies of the Sultanates. Hindu army led by Kasturiranga and his son Yachamanedu fought a series of battles with patriotic zeal and achieved the success. Muslim soldiers who escaped in these battles from the Vijayanagar army joined their main troops on the upper bank of river pennar. Historic accounts say that the strength of sultanates army was more than 120,000 and Turko-Afghan gunners were with them to fire their Artillery units. Kasturiranga led the imperial troops towards north and met the enemy directly on the upper bank of river Pennar. The clash razed for 8 hours , artillery units of the sultanate army created havoc in the Vijaynagar ranks but Yachama kept the discipline among his forces and rigorously pressed the attack. By the end of the day, brave and wise generalship of Vijaynagar won the Battle of Pennar and more than 50,000 Golkonda and Bijapur troops were exterminated including the Sultans most able generals Rustam Khan and Khasim Khan.

 

Recherla Yachamnedu / Yachamnaidu / Yachama ( son of  Recherla Kasturiranga Nayaka ), Viceroy of Arcot and Chengulpet.

In 1601, the campaign led by Venkatapathy Raya's Viceroy of Arcot and Chengulpet, Yachamanedu ,subdued a revolt headed by the Lingama Nayak, the Nayak of Vellore. Later Lingama Nayak of Vellore, was defeated and the Vellore Fort came under direct control of Venkata II. Another expedition headed by Yachamanedu went right into the Madurai Nayak kingdom, putting those revolting Nayaks in order.

( to be continued later )  

 
 
( Recherla ) Damerla Venkatappa Nayadu:
 
( Recherla ) Damerla Venkatapathy Naidu: Recherla Velama chief of Srikalahasti and Vandavasi who ruled that region. He is a descendant of Damerla Venkatappa Naidu.
 
Damerla Chennappa  Nayaka:  ( City of Chennai derives it's name from Chennappa ) Damerla Venkatadri Nayaka, son of Damerla Chennappa Nayaka, has honoured his father by naming the earliest settlement in 1639, Chennapatnam, in what is to be called Madras city until recently,  after the name of Chennappa Nayaka, by giving land and license to build a new settlement to the British. British called it City of Madras for their own reasons but the original name has been restored by Tamil Nadu government reverting it back to Chennai in 1996 from original name of Chennapatnam. 
 
( Read below origin and growth of Madras and contribution of Damerla Venkatadri to its beginning )
 
Damerla Venkatadri Nayaka:
 
Beginning and growth of Madras ( now Chennai ): On 22 August 1639, the British East India Company was granted land and license to build by Damerla Venkatadri, then Nayak of Vandavasi, as a base for a permanent settlement, believed to be called Madrasemen. A year later, Fort St George was built, which subsequently became the nucleus around which the colonial city grew. In 1746, Fort St George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages.
 
The British regained control of the town in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and subsequently fortified the base to withstand further attacks from the French and Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. By the late 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to establish the Madras Presidency, whose capital was Madras.

Under British rule the city grew into a major urban centre and naval base. With the advent of railways in India in the late 19th century, it was connected to other important cities such as Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), facilitating communication and trade with the hinterland. It was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, when an oil depot was shelled by the German light cruiser SMS Emden. After independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, which was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969.
 
In 1996, Madras was renamed Chennai by TN government after the name of its original settlement, Chennapatnam. 

 
 
 

14th Century

 

Velugoti Family - Capital  Velugodu (Now in Kurnool Dist close to Atmakur,  near Mahabubnagar dist border)

 

Well known Sixteen Samstanams / Zamindaris in Mahboobnagar, Kurnool, and Raichur Districts, came up during their time in and around present Kolhapur area in Mahaboobnagar district ruled by various castes. One of the Velama Samsthanams in Mahboobnagar Dist among them is,

 

Jetprole Samsthanam:

 

It was one of the most ancient and historic Samasthanams in the Nizam dominion in Telangana region. The founders of this samstanam were said to be descendants of one Ravu Vaaru called Chevvi reddi alias Pillalamarri Bethala Naidu of Recherla gothra, a Velama by Caste and 'Reddi' is just a status title those days meant for village heads.

 

Chevi reddi's descendants were not only responsible for establishing the Jetprole family but also the families of the Rajas of Bobbili in Vizianagaram district, Rajas of Pithapuram in East Godavari District, Malleshwaram in Krishna District, and Rajas of Venkatagiri in Nellore District. The young Jetprole Raja was given the ruling power by the then Nizam. When he ascended the 'power' he is said to have dropped his name of Navanita Krishna Yachandra and adopted that of Raja Venkat Laxman Rao Bahadur. The Raja died in 1929 leaving two daughters and his Rani.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
The following is some of the Velama Nayaka related ' Inscription Text ' around this period. It is self explanatory.

 

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1518 A.D. - In Guntur district

No. 67.

(A. R. No. 569 of 1909.)

Durgi, Palnad Taluk, Guntur District.

On a slab near the platform of the Venkatesvarasvamin temple.

Krishnaraya, 1518 A.D.

This is dated Saka 1440, Bahudhany, Margasira ba. 5, Monday, corresponding to 1518 A.D., November 22.

The inscription records a gift of the village Gundala in Duggi-polamu of Nagarjunikonda-sima, to the gods Viresvara and Vamkesvara of Duggi by Pedasingama-nayaka.  The donor, son of Rama-nayaka and Challamamba, grandson of Singama-nayaka and great-grandson of vanjapalli Rama-nayaka, is said to have obtained Nagarjunikondasima as nayankara from Vakiti Timmapa-nayaka.

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1525 A.D. - In Cuddapah district

 

No. 77.

(A. R. No. 326 of 1905.)

Upparapalle, Proddatur Taluk, Cuddapah District.

On a huge pillar lying in front of the Siva temple called Mobbuladevalam.

Krishnaraya, 1525 A.D.

There are two dates in this record.  The Sanskrit portion of the inscription contains a date in chronogram Ved-abdhi-yuga-[bhu*], vrisha, Madhava (Vaisakha), Purnima.  The composer of the verse has apparently omitted the word for the numerals in the chronogram which stands for Saka 1444 (current).  The details correspond to 1521 A.D., April 21.  The Telugu portion of the record contains another date Saka 1446, Tarana, Magha ba. 14, Monday, Sivaratri, corresponding to 1526 A.D., February 20, Monday, f.d.t., ’21.

The inscription records that Pedasinga-mahipala or Pedasingama-nayaka, son of Jupalli Rama-nayaka, having gone on a casual visit to the temple  of Naganatha and observed it in a state of ruins, undertook to have the temple renovated and so had the garbhagriha, ghamtavedi, antarala-mantapa, nandi-mantapa and the gopuras of the prakara built and a tank dug to the south of the temple.  By the context of the record it seems that the former date cited above refers to the commencement of the renovation and the latter to the completion of the same  The donor, who also endowed the temple with lands for a lamp, offerings and other services to the god, for the merit of his father, is said to have held the Chernuru and Potladurti-simas in Mulikinadu-sthala, situated in Ghamdikota-sima which was included in Udayagiri-rajya, as nayankara under the king.

The same pillar records the gift of two copper images of the god and the goddess by Malla-nayaka, brother of Pedasingama-nayaka besides a few other grants by the priests of the temple, and the masons who participated in the renovations.

 

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1526 A.D. - In Vizagpatnam district

 

No. 755.

(A. R. No. 373  of  1905.)

On a round pillar in the asthana-mandapa of the temple of

Lakshminarasimha, Simhachalam, Vizagapatam Taluk, Vizagapatam District. S.  1526.  (Krodhi)

Records the grant of the village of Narava with all its belongings to the temple of god Nrisimha at Simhadri, by Sarvappa Asvaraya, son of Kamalaya of Vipparla-gotra and Padmanayaka-kula.  Asvaraya is stated to have subdued the country consisting of Koppulavani-kottam, Viragottam and Yarajerla and repelled Mukunda Bahubalindra under the orders of Muhammad Quli Qutb Padshah.

 

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17th - 20th Century - (A.D. 1600+)

 

Kings of Velugoti Venkatagiri Velama Samstanam, in Nellore district

 

Descendants of Velugoti Family, of Velugodu region, bordering Mahabubnagar Dist and Kurnool Dist.

 

(17th - 20th Century)

 

Kings of  Bobbili Velama Samstanam - Capital Bobbili, now Bobbili town in Vizianagaram Dist

 

15th generation descendants of Venkatagiri Samstanam. 

  • Raja Ravu Venkata Gopala Krishna Ranga Rao - Raja of Bobbili- of Bobbili Yuddam fame. 
  • Rani Mallamma Devi - Wife of Ranga Rao and sister of Tandra Papa Rayudu, of Bobbili Yuddam fame, brave Velama woman who preferred to fight the bobbili yuddam along with the men folk and die rather than commit suicide or killed by her own army, but unfortunately then prevalent Velama customs were too rigid and very conservative, and she has to be stabbed by her own body guard as per the orders of her husband Ranga Rao, similar is the fate of many Velama women and infants in the fort.   
  • Thandra Papa Rayudu - Valiant fighter and brother of Rani Mallamma Devi, who was away at the time of famous Bobbili Yuddam, and ultimately avenges the killing of all his relatives in the war by killing Vijaya Rama Raju of Vizianagaram and then kills himself along with his two accomplices after gheraoed by the combined enemy forces of Vijaya Rama Raju and French general Bussy.

(17th - 20th Century)

 

Kings of Pithapuram Velama Samstanam, now in East Godavari dist, in Andhra Pradesh. 

  • Raja Madhava Rao (1679-1704)
  • Raja Madhava Rayalu (1710-1755) 

Kings of Panagal Samstanam, now in Chittoor dist, in Andhra Pradesh. 

  • Rajas of Panagal
 
17th - 20th Century Rulers

 

Rulers of Sri Kalahasti Samstanam, now in  Chittoor dist, Andhra Pradesh. 

  • Damerla Family

Rulers of Narsaraopeta Samstanam, now in Guntur dist, in Andhra Pradesh. 

  • Malraj family  

Rulers of Nuzvid Samstanam, now in Krishna dist, in Andhra Pradesh. 

  • Meka Family  

 

Other Velama Zamindari 's

 

  • Mylavaram (Suraneni family), Krishna district
  • Tellaprolu, Krishna district
  • Gollapalli (Chelikani family), East Godavari district
  • Nuspur Samastanam ( Gona Family ), Laxettipet, Adilabad district
  • Palvoncha, Ashwaraopet ( Khammam dist )
  • Polavaram ( Inuganti family ), West Godavari district
  • Many more

 

20th Century 

 
References and further Reading material

 

  • Durga Prasad, 1988, History of the Andhras Till 1565 A.D.,  P. G. Publishers, Guntur.
  • Katten, Michael, Making Caste In Nineteenth-Century India: A History of Telling the Bobbili Katha & Velama Identity, University of California at Berkeley, USA.
  • Roghair, Gene H, 1982, The epic of Palnadu: a study and translation of Palnati virula katha, a Telugu oral tradition from Andhra Pradesh, India, Oxford University Press.
  • Talbot, Cynthia, 2004, Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (Hardcover), Oxford University Press (January 27, 2004), p323
  • A Revised and Enlarged Account of the Bobbili Zemindari, Second edition, By Sir Ravu Venkata Swetachalapati Ranga Rao

Given below are clickable links to some of the references. Page numbers quoted in this article are actual page numbers of the books. Page numbers of PDF files in Adobe Reader might be different from the actual page numbers of the books.

 
Google Books  - Limited Preview - Earlier Edition - 2001 of
 
 

 

 

 

 Padmanayaka Velama Community Web site

 

Velama: Historical Perspective - Home Page 

  
 

 

 

 

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