Kurubas or Kurumas are Hindus concentrated mainly in the southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, India. They are also known as Dhangars in Maharashtra, Kurumba / Kurumans / Kurumbar in Tamil Nadu, Gaddi, Bharwad, (in North India), Bakarwal in Jammu & Kashmir and Oraon in Eastern India. Unofficial population estimate in Andra Pradesh and Karnataka is about 16 million.


The word Kuruba has a powerful meaning, it means 'warriors' and 'trustworthy people'. The word "Kuru" means "do or seek" in Sanskrit, and "Kuruhu" means "trust" in Kannada. "Kuruba" can be inferred to mean "doers" or "trustworthy (male person)". Kuruba can also be inferred to mean Seeker of Knowledge, Kuru (seek), Bha (Knowledge, Light). Kuruba has a direct meaning of one who heards "Kuri" (Sheep) in Kannada, mainly a Shepherd.


The Kuruba community is one of the oldest existing communities of India, tracing its history back to Mahabharata times. People of the Kuruba community have long essayed a variety of professions, and have not been confined to their traditional (and still predominant) occupation as shepherds and farmers. They have sprung several ruling dynasties, most recently the Holkars of Indore; It has also been stated by some scholars that the Hoysala dynasty may have hailed from this community. Undeniably, a very large section of rural gentry in Karnataka, and many chieftains and feudal barons in past eras, have belonged to the Kuruba community.

Most prominent Kurubas have been Hakkaraya and Bukkaraya, founders of Vijayanagara Empire, Hoysalas, Pallavas, Holkars, Sangolli Rayanna, Mauryas, Yadavas etc. Some Kurubas have been social thinkers and poets, such as Kalidasa and Kanakadasa.

The Great Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar was the first freedom fighter who made an army, in 1803, mostly consisting of Dhangars to fight with the British and to drive them out of India. He built a factory to manufacture tanks. He appealed to the rest of the Kings of India and said, "First Country and then Religion. We will have to rise above caste, religion and our states in the interest of our country. You too must wage a war against the British like me". His appeal fell on deaf ears as all of them had already signed treaties with the British. The Dhangars took part in the revolt of 1857. Many of them were hanged to death in Berar (M.P.). The British were so much afraid of Dhangars that they made a law banning purchase of land by Dhangars stating a reason that they were not Kunbis (agriculturists). They were oppressed in all spheres of life.

He was the only King in India to whom the British approached to sign a peace treaty. Initially he refused to sign any treaty with the British, but when he saw that rest of the Kings were not ready to unite and were interested in personal benefits he was the last to sign a treaty with the British on 24 December 1805 at Rajghat. He did not accept any condition which would affect his self respect.

Similar to Kurubas who are Yaduvamsha Kshatriyas, there are gouds/Idigas who are Somavamsha Kshatriyas and Palli, Jalari who are Mathsya vamsha kshatriyas. Padmasali/Devanga and Visha brahmin/Kamsali/Kammari who are having brahminical lineage.


Kurubas are Hindus who follow Halumatha. Halumatha is also referred to as palamatha in some parts of India. Religion of the Palakas. Worshiping Almighty Source in stone (Linga) form might have originated from Halumatha. Stone is the source for the soil. Soil is the source for the plants. Plants are the source for the animals. This may be the reason for worshiping Almighty in Stone. Through the ages, this stone worship tradition might have led to worshiping Shiva (Pashupati) as Beeralingeswara, Mailara Linga, Khandoba, Mahadeshwara, Nanjundeswara, Mallappa, Mallara, Mallikarjuna, Junjappa etc.) Even the worshiping of shakti as Yellamma, Renuka, Chowdamma, Kariyamma, Chamundi, Bhanashankari, Gullamma etc. might have come from this tradition. Even today ancestral worship as deities is very common. The worship of ancestors like Revanasidda, Rama, Hanuman, Krishna, Keshava, Ranganatha, Eera Thimmanna, Tirupati Thimmappa, Venkateswara, Kalidasa, Siddarama, Kanakadasa, etc. as Devaru very much exists in Kuruba traditions.

Beeralingeswara temples have "Balaga" with Gowda, Buddhivanta, Bandari, Kolkara etc. Generally priests in Beeralingeshwara and Milaralingeshwara temples are Kurubas. Kurubas were great warriors and had established many ancient kingdoms such as the Hoysala kingdom in Karnataka and Pallava kingdom in present day Tamil Nadu; they reached their zenith of prosperity between AD 1300 and AD 1600 under the great Vijayanagara Empire.

Kurubas are known by different names in different regions of the country. In some locations in Karnataka, people from the Kuruba community use Naiker as surname. It means the same as Gowda (a leader of village or temple). The following are used:

Andar, Ahiyaru, Ahir, Appugol, Maldhari / Bharwad / Rabari, Bharavadaru, Dhangar, Dhangad / Dhanwar / Dhanka /Dhangod, Doddi Gowda, Gadhariya, Gadaria, Gowda, Gaddi, Gadri, Gollavadu, Gounder, Halumatha, Heggades, Idyar, Khuruk, Kuda, Kuruba, Kuruba Gowda, Kurama, Kurumba, Kurmar, Kurumbar, Kalavar, Kuruma, Kurumavaaru, Kurkhi, Kurupu, Naikers, Nikhers, Oraon, Pal / Pala, Palaru, Paalakyatriya, Poduvar, Yadavalu.

Kuruba kingdoms

*Vijayanagar Empire


*Kadu Kuruba
*Jenu Kuruba
*Betta Kuruba
*Gonda Kuruba
*Hosa Kuruba
*Hale Kuruba
*Harasu Kuruba
*Unne Kankana
*Hatti Kankana
*Hegade or Heggade
*Kanakayyana jati

Kurubas Today

Traditionally warriors and farmers, Kurubas were late to take up modern education, but have made rapid progress in many fields. They are today developing into a vibrant and dynamic community coming out of the inferiority complex imposed on them since the fall of Vijayanagara empire. The community is ably led by many politicians and social thinkers who are today not only leading the kuruba community but also all deprived sections of the society. More work has to be done to help the vast majority of Kuruba Gowdas living in the villages to come out of the inferiority complex and make a life for themselves.

But, the cream of the Kuruba community are setting a new standard by getting well-educated and going to different parts of the world.


Traditionally Kuruba Gowdas celebrate most Hindu festivals. They have their own costumes, songs, ballads and plays in praise of god like
* Kamsale - Sung in praise of Mahadeshwara
* Dollu Kunitha
* Kurubara Kunitha
* Oggu Kathas
* Lingada Birana Kunitha
* Goravayyalu of Andhra Pradesh.

Kuruba Epics

* Halumatha Kuruba Purana - Story of Kuruba Gowdas
* Epic of Katamaraju - Telugu Epic
* The Story of Mahadeshwara

Famous kuruba gowdas

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famous_Kuruba_Gowdas
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuruba_Representatives
* http://apkuruma.org


Kuruba Gowdas are a favourite topic for movies, since the community has produced many historical figures and have become household names.


Kurubas have their own, where only kuruba brides & grooms are allowed to register freely.
* [http://www.kurubamarriages.com Kuruba Gowdas Matrimony]
* [http://dhangarmatri.com Dhangar Matrimony]
* [http://kanakamaithri.in A forum for all kinds of Kurubas from Karnataka

Discussion Forum


ee also

*Kuruba Movies

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • kuruba — kəˈrübə noun (plural kuruba or kurubas) Usage: usually capitalized : a member of a pastoral people in Mysore and other parts of southern India …   Useful english dictionary

  • kuruba — ku·ru·ba …   English syllables

  • Kuruba Representatives — Members of Parliament *C.H.Vijayshankar Mysore * Virupakshappa Koppal * K.R.Subbian Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu *B.K.Parthasarathy Hindupur,Andhrapradesh Members of Legislative Assembly * Siddaramaiah Chamundeshwari Constituency * K.S.Eshwarappa… …   Wikipedia

  • Betta Kuruba — Betta means hill and Kuruba is the caste in Kannada. Betta Kurubas means kurubas of the hills. They live in the high reaches of western ghats of south India. They are classified under the Scheduled Tribes of India.Ethnically Jenu Kurubas and… …   Wikipedia

  • Jenu Kuruba — Jenu in Kannada means honey and kuruba is the caste. As the name suggesta Jenu Kurubas are honey gatherers. Like the Kadu Kurubas, Jenu kurubas are the original inhabitants of the forests of the Western Ghats , Southern India. Origins According… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Kuruba films — *Vijayanagarada Veeraputra Kannada movie about the founders of the Vijayanagara Empire. *Mahakavi Kalidasa Black and white Kannada Movie about the life of the greatest Indian poet. *Kaviratna Kalidasa Coloured version starring Dr Rajkumar.… …   Wikipedia

  • Kadu Kuruba — The Kadu Kurubas are the original inhabitants of the forests of Nagarahole and Kakanakote in the Western Ghats , Southern India . Kadu in kannada means forest and Kuruba is the tribe, Kadu Kurubas are the people living in forests. History After… …   Wikipedia

  • Halumatha Kuruba Purana — This is an oral epic of the Kuruba Community in the districts of Belgaum, Gulbarga and Bellary. [http://drcnr.blogspot.com/2004/07/epic of haalumatha.html] This oral epic has preserved for generations the collective experiences of the community… …   Wikipedia

  • Dhangar — For the town in Sagar district, India, see Dhangar, Madhya Pradesh. The Dhangar (Sanskrit/Devanāgarī: धनगर, or Dhangad, Dhanpal.[1] ) caste is primarily located in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Dhangars of the Northern and Southern India are… …   Wikipedia

  • Nagarhole National Park — IUCN Category II (National Park) Elephant in musth at Nagarhole …   Wikipedia

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