Thigalas, also known as Thigalaru it is a relatively new name of an endogamous social group or caste of people native to southern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and border regions of Tamil Nadu

The Name Thigala takes birth from the Kula "Thee-Kula" Meaning From the 'Family of Fire'.

29 TIGALA which abstain from using the fruit or leaves of the thonda plant.

Thumma (babul : Acacia arabicd). — An exogamous sept of Mala and Padma Sale. The bark, pods, and leaves of the babul tree are used by tanners in the preparation of hides and skins, or as a dye.

Thumu (iron measure for measuring grain). — An exogamous sept of Mutracha.

Thupa (ghl, clarified butter). — An exogamous sept of Kuruba.

ThurpU (eastern). — A sub-division of Yerukala and Yanadi.

Thuta (hole). — An exogamous sept of Devanga.

Tigala.— Tigala is summed up, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as "a Canarese synonym for the Tamil Palli ; applied also by the Canarese people to any Tamil Sudras of the lower castes." In parts of the Mysore country, the Tamil language is called Tigalu, and the Canarese Madhva Brahmans speak of Tamil Smarta Brahmans as Tigalaru.

Some of the Tigalas, who have settled in Mysore, have forgotten their mother-tongue, and speak only Canarese, while others, e.g.^ those who live round about Bangalore, still speak Tamil. In their type of cranium they occupy a position intermediate between the dolichocephalic Pallis and the sub-brachy cephalic Canarese classes.

The difference in the type of cranium of the Tigalas and Tamil Pallis is clearly brought by the following tabular statements of their cephalic indices : — a. Tigala —

TIGALA The Tigalas are kitchen and market gardeners, and cuhivate the betel vine. They apparently have three divisions, called Ulli (garlic or onions), Ele (leaf), and Arava (Tamil). Among the Ulli Tigalas, several sub- divisions, and septs or budas named after deities or prominent members of the caste, exist, e.g. : —


I. Lakkamma —

Tota devaru (garden god). Dodda devaru (big or chief god). Dodda Narasayya. Dodda Nanjappa.

II. Ellamma —

Narasayya. Muddanna.

III. Sidde devaru.

The Tigalas have a headman, whose office is here- ditary, and who is assisted by a caste servant called Mudre. Council meetings are usually held at a fixed spot, called goni mara katte or mudre goni mara katte, because those summoned by the Mudre assemble beneath a goni [Ficus mysorensis) tree, round which a stone platform is erected. The tree and platform being sacred, no one may go there on wearing shoes or sandals. The members of council sit on a woollen blanket spread before the tree.

Like the Pallis or Vanniyans, the Tigalas call themselves Agni Vanni, and claim to be descended from the fire-born hero Agni Banniraya. In connection with the Tigalas who have settled in the Bombay Presidency, it is noted * that ' ' they are a branch of the Mysore Tigalas, who are Tamil Palli emigrants from the Madras Presidency, and, like the Palli, claim a Kshat- riya origin." The Tigalas possess a manuscript, said to be a copy of a sasana at Conjeeveram (Kanchi), from which the following extracts are taken. " This is a Kanchi sasana published by Aswaththa Narayanswami, who was induced to do so by the god Varadaraja of Conjeeveram. This sasana is written to acquaint the descendants of the Mahapurusha Agni Banniraya with

• Monograph, Eth. Sun'ey, Bombay, No. 93, Tigala, 1907.


the origin, doings, and gotra of their ancestor Banniraya. This Banniraya sprang from fire, and so is much beloved by Vishnu the many-armed, the many-eyed, and the bearer of the chank and chakram, and who is no other than Narayana, the lord of all the worlds great and small, and the originator of the Vedas and Vedanta . . . . All those who see or worship this sasana relating to Agni Banniraya, who obtained boons from the Trimurthis, Devatas, and Rishis, and who is the ancestor of the Tigalas, will be prosperous, and have plenty of grain and children. Those who speak lightly of this caste will become subject to the curses of Banniraya, Trimurthis, Rishis, and Devas. The glory of this sasana is great, and is as follows : — The keeping and worshipping of this purana will enable the Tigalas of the Karnataka country to obtain the merit of sura- padavi (the state of Devas), merit of doing puja to a thousand lingams, a lakh of cow gifts, and a hundred kannikadanams (gifts of virgins for marriage)." The sasana is said to have been brought to the Canarese country because of a quarrel between the Pallis and the Tigalas at the time of a Tigala marriage. The Tigalas were prevented from bringing the various biruthus (insignia), and displaying them. The sasana was brought by the Tigalas, at an expenditure of Rs. 215, which sum was subsequently recovered from the Pallis.

Tigala occurs further as the name of a sub-division of Holeya.

Tikke (gem). — A gotra of Kurni.

Ti (fire) Kollan.— A sub-division of Kollan.

Tinda (polluting). — A sub-division of Kanisan. Tinda Kuruppu, meaning a teacher who cannot approach, is a synonym of the Kavutiyan barber caste.

Historic association in Bangalore

They are the Tamil speaking people from Tamil country.

They built Dharmaraya Swamy Temple in Thigalarpet (which is 900 years old) and 23 Dharmaraju temples in Andhra. In moolam pet nellure is the biggest Dharmaraju temple, which has 1200 year history that draupadi karaga celebrated every 3 years until today by agni kula kshtriyas.

Most of the people belonging to this caste speak the Thigala language, a dialect which is a mix of mostly Tamil with traces of Kannada and Telugu. The thigalas are multilingual. the people belong to Tamil vanniar sects and mostly have origin from present day Tamil Nadu.


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