History: Who are Andhra Kshatriyas?

The word “Andhra” is found first in the edicts of Ashoka along with other nationalities mentioned in the edicts. The word “ANDHRA” in Sanskrit means “leaders of the War or Battle”. Ashoka’s territories were comprised of northern India and Kalinga country in Deccan. In the South, Ashoka had friendly relations with neighboring Andhra Kings.

After Ashoka, his empire began to decline. Amongst other ruling dynasties who came to the fore front were Andhras of the Telegu country.

They are known to have ruled from at least 250 B.C., but they became a great power in 220 B.C. They remained in a dominant position till the third century A.D.

The Coins of Andhra kings were found in many places in the west up to Nasik. The inscriptional sources mention that the family of Eastern Malva Andhras succeeded the Sungas in 50 B.C. In later years they made VENGI near Godhavari river as their capital.

The Andhra Kings bear the family Satarkarni or Satavahanas. They were enthusiastic followers of Buddhism and erected a number of great stupas in the neighborhood of river Krishna, to enshrine the relics of their teacher. The best of them was the well known stupas of Amaravathi. The artistic feature of this feature of this period shows certain traces of Greek and Persian influences.


The First Andhra Empire

During 220 B.C. the Andhra Kshatriyas became dominant in the East coast and over large tracts in the interior parts. In A.D. 0001 the Andhras extended their power so as to govern the whole of Deccan and even the north.

The Indian calendar sytem of calculating years in Saka era (Salivahana era) was introduced by the satavahanas of Andhra Empire.

Later in 225 A.D. the Andhra kingdom shrunk to small size consisting of the Telegu provinces alone. After the last king Pulamayi III, the rule of Satavahanas disintegrated.

Chalukyas were considered to be descendents of Satavahanas families. They rose again to power after a gap of few centuries at about 500 A.D.


The Second Andhra Empire

The second Andhra empire was founded in 900 A.D. It was called the Kakathiya empire (900 – 1300 A.D.) Warrangal was the capital city (the old name was Origolu). The last emperor was Prathapa Rudhra of Origolu. Later, the Vijayanagar Empire was founded in Andhra in the 14th Century.


The Vijayanagar Empire

During the close of the 16th century A.D. at the height of Vijaya Nagar empire, a few families of Andhra kshatriyas migrated towards the south upto Madurai region as Commanders and also the administrators.


The Rajapalayam Kshatriyas

Between 1650 and 1750 A.D. with the collapse of the Vijayanagar empire, some of the Andhra Kshatriya families scattered towards south down to Madurainadu, gradually gathered and settled at Rajapalayam. They came to this region as commanders and administrators, the purpose of their migration was to control the deteriorated law and to order problem in this region. They were well known for their velour and simplicity.

At present each Kshatriya family has its own house name. The ancestral name of the village where the family once lived and migrated out, was taken as the name of the house. There are a few exceptions, whereas the names of eminent personality is also adopted as the family or house name.

The Rajapalayam Andhra Kshatriya Raju community is a collective group made up of 27 house names. They are given in the table separately.


Andhra Kshatriyas in Andhra

The total number of the familiar house names in the entire Andhra Kshatriya community as a whole living in Andhra region and Rajapalayam region is 109. The four Gothrasare maintained as the same for both Kshatriyas lving at Rajapalayam and Andhra. By this similiarity of cultural and social practices the Andhra Kshatriya indentity of Rajapalyam Rajus is recognized.

In those days there was no coomunication and transport facility to have interaction between the families and relations of the same community. When years rolled, the connection between the family and relatives were severed for long gap lasting approx. 400 years.

In the beginning, Rajapalayam was an isolated place, located as an island, geographically distanced far away from Andhra, the original mainland of Rajapalayam Andhra Kshatriya Rajus.


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