Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Kongu Vellalar

Dheeran Chinnamalai Kavundar. A chieftain and freedom fighter from Kongu Nadu.

I have given a list of clans that fall under the Vellalar community banner. There are 150 of them. You can view the full list here.

Among the Vellalars, the Vellalars of Kongu Nadu are probably the most numerous. Kongu Nadu is a region in western Tamil Nadu. It used to be part of the ancient Chera Kingdom.
This region is made of Palani, Dharapuram, Karur, Nammakkal, Thiruchengodu, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Satyamangalam, Nilgiris, Avinashi, Coimbatore, Pollachi and Udumalpet.

Sri Lanka's cricket bowler, Muralitharan.

The Vellalars of Kongu Nadu are also known as Kavundar as this is the most common title used by them. It is believed that they were from Thanjavur, the capital of Chola Kingdom, and migrated into the Kongu region. Over there, they fought wars with the Vettuvar tribe and emerged as the victor.

Actor Sivakumar (born Palanisamy Kavundar) and sons, actors Surya and Karthi.

The Kongu Vellalar community is known as a hardworking community. They also have a strong presence in business and agricultural industry.

Kongu Vellalars are divided into various family branches known to them as kootam. People of the same kootam are treated as parallel cousins, therefore, they do not marry someone from the same kootam. Each kootam has its own history. 

The family branches of Kongu Vellalars.
The Tamil spoken by these people is known as Kongu Tamil or Coimbatore Baashai. The accent is quite heavy with a strong pronunciation of  ''R'' in the words. For example en magan (my son) is pronounced as endre magan.

Besides the accent, the wedding of Kongu Vellalars is also quite unique. They are the only Tamil community which sings the Mangala Vaalthu during wedding.

Like the Chettiars of Karaikudi (part of Chetty Nadu in Sivagangai) who have their own Chetty Nadu Cuisine, the Kongu Vellalars along with other clans of Kongu origin are also known for their Kongu Nadu Cuisine. More information can be obtained from Kongufood.

Vegetarian Kongu set meal. Cabbage poriyal, puli kulambu, rasam, uppu paruppu, curd and rice

Today, the Kongu Vellalars are spread all over the world including Malaysia. They are quite numerous in  Cameron Highlands. The Kongu Vellalars in Malaysia still follow many of their ancient traditions including the Mangala Vaalthu during wedding.

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