Munnuru Kapu

Munnuru Kapu

Munnuru Kapu is a subcaste of the Kapu or Naidu community of Andhra Pradesh, India. They are concentrated in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

Munnuru is a Tamil word which means three hundred in Telugu. The three hundred Kapu families who moved from the Tanlavore region to Telangana are called Munnuru Kapu. They are primarily an Agrarian community.



Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places (Title and location names are in English)
  • Kapus were the earliest inhabitants of the Deccan region, people who migrated from the north, cleared forests for agriculture and built settlements.[1]
  • Kapu are the descendants of the Kaampu tribe, an Indo-Aryan tribe, which migrated from Kampilya, Mithila and Ayodhya, ancient cities situated in the Gangetic Plains of North India .

To this day, a heavy concentration of Munnuru Kapus and Telagas are found on the banks of the Godavari in the North Telangana districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and the coastal districts of East Godavari and West Godavari, in which lies the Godavari delta and the Krishna Delta(Krishna & Guntur Dt).

  • The settlement slowly spread among the geographical area of the three Shaiva Lingams of Draksharamam (East Godavari district), Srisailam (Kurnool district) and Srikalahasti (Chittor district).[2]
  • This Settlement& Geographical Area was referred to as Tri-linga Desam in the Ancient Texts and the people who were settled in this region were called Telaga and the language spoken by them was called Telugu.
  • This settlement of Telagas started referring to themselves as Balija when the Balijas became quite prominent in the medieval period (around about 1000 CE) with their political and economic contributions primarily the Setty Sub-Division of Balija.
  • The caste title of the Kapus, Naidu, which is a derivation of the word Nayaka (meaning "leader"), was first used during the era of the Vishnukundina dynasty, which ruled the Krishna and Godavari river deltas during the 3rd Century A.D.
  • Kapus share their origins along with similar warrior/agrarian communities like the Kurmis of Bihar and UP and Kunbis/Marathas of Maharashtra and Vokkaliga of Karnataka.
  • The Kapus were primarily a military/agrarian community who took up military service and were into cultivation during peace time. Consequently the Kapu subcastes also evolved based on occupation.
  • Kapu subcastes dedicated to military service included Telaga, Munnuru Kapu and Ontaris (who served as special forces). Munnuru Kapu's were a detachment of the Telagas who migrated to the current Telangana Districts and served under the Kakatiyas and Nizams.
  • Kapus engaged in trade were referred to as Balija. Balijas who took up military service and protected trading caravans were called Balija Nayakulu or Balija Naidu.
  • A significant number of Kapus have today diversified into industry, arts and academia. However, a substantial segment of the population are still farmers.

For further details, please see Kapu (caste).


The SubCastes or Geographical Names of Munnuru Kapu are

  • Balija (Rayalaseema region and Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka regions).
  • Telaga (Coastal Andhra Regions)
  • Turpu Kapu (Northern coastal Andhra Region)
  • Ontari (Coastal districts like East Godavari, West Godavari and Visakhapatnam)
  • Naidu (Caste title for Kapu, Telaga, Ontari, and Balijas)
  • Kapu (In Andhra/Telagana, Nowadays people refer themselves as Kapu without mentioning the sub-caste).

Please Refer to Kapu for more details about the Community.

Note:The Munnuru Kapu and Turpu Kapu Sub-Castes are classified as BC-D whereas the Balija,Telaga,Ontari Sub-Castes are Classified as O.C(Forward Caste).

Note:Ayyaraka Patrulu, Venna Kapu, Kapu Savara, Konda Kapu and Subcastes (Dommari Kapu. Godugulanati Kapu, Kodithi Kapu, Kuruva Kapu, Musugu Kapu, Nallevelama Kapu, Pakanati Kapu, Paala Kapu, Palle Kapu, Panta Kapu, Pedakanti Kapu, Pokanati Kapu, Sajjana Kapu, Velama Kapu, Yerlam Kapu), Perika Balija, Krishna Balija, Surya Balija(Kalavatula), Vada Balija (Fishermen), Ediga Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers), Setty Balija/Chettu Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers) of Coastal Andhra, Ontari-Mudiraj

are not part of the Kapu/Munnuru Kapu/Balija/Telaga Caste.


Munnuru Kapus are primarily concentrated in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. They are a military branch of the Kapu or Naidu community, who farmed during peace time. "Munnuru" means "three hundred".

Munnuru kapus were part of the Original migration which took place to the Deccan and settled along the banks of the Godavari from Nizamabad to the Delta regions in Coastal Andrra. To support this theory even today most of the Munnuru kapu population can be found in the Northern Telangana Districts of Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam.

Munnuru Kapus are located primarily in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. They are a military branch of the Kapu community, who farmed during peace time. "Munnuru" means "three hundred". The Munnuru Kapu functioned as interior palace guards or cavalry in kingdoms such as those of the Tanjavore Nayaks, Devarakonda, and Nizam.

Munnuru kapus were part of the Original migration which took place to the Deccan and settled along the banks of the Godavari from Nizamabad to the Delta regions in Coastal Andrra. To support this theory even today most of the Munnuru kapu population can be found in the Northern Telangana Districts of Nizamabad,Karimangar,Warangal and Khammam.

There are several stories regarding the origin of the "Munnuru Kapu". The name Munnuru Kapu did not Exist initially during the Medieval Ages but it was a recent adoption by the Kapus/Telagas settled in Telangana because of the following events.

Munnuru Kapus were also referred to as Thota Balijas, Telugus, Telengas, Munnurwar, Telenga Kunbi and Thopatkari in the Ancient days. They apparently moved to Chanda region from Telugu country travelling along Godavari and Pranahitha rivers. They are originally Kapus which is a huge caste. Offlate they prefer to be called as Kapus but not as Munnuru kapu.


There are several stories regarding the origin of the "Munnuru Kapu":

  • King Ganapati Deva of Kakatiya needed support of agrarian communities from coastal Andhra region during the establishment and expansion of the empire, since he had not established power over the Telugu Chodas (Telaga) and Chalukyas in that region. In order to bring legitimacy to their rule and to strengthen its roots, he requested the migration of three hundred families of Kapu / Telaga soldiers from the Kondavidu region of the current Krishna District. The descendants of those who migrated with three hundred families are called Munnuru Kapu. This migration occurred around about 900 years ago.
  • Queen Rudrama Devi of Kakateeya wanted to cultivate large tracts of the Telangana region. A large migration of agriculturists from coastal Andhra region came after her alliance with the Chalukyan Prince. Three hundred Kapu / Telaga families were dispatched by the prince to bring these vast Telangana lands under cultivation. These three hundred families are called as Munnuru Kapu.
  • The Nawab of Hyderabad requested the Tanjavore Nayaks to send a battalion of his best infantry and cavalry for his personal security. The Nayak dispatched three hundred Telaga men and their families from their imperial guard. The descendants of these three hundred families are now called Munnuru Kapu.
  • The Perika (Puragiri Kshatriya / Perike) community in Rayalaseema, recall fighting a great battle against three hundred Balijas to prove their valor. As there was no community called Munnuru Balija at that time, it was likely to be the Munnuru Kapus who fought this battle (Kapus are referred to as "Balija Naidu" in Rayalaseema).

According to R.S. Mugali in "The Heritage of Karnataka" the Munnurvar (the three hundred) were among the representatives corresponding to the members of a corporation of the cities in the 12th century A.D in Karnataka. According to the same author "Jagattamunnuru" (the three hundred of the World) was the name given to the village assembly of Niruvara under the Vijayanagar rulers.[3]

Eminent personalities

References and sources

Important information about Kapu origins can be obtained from Balijapuranam in the Chennai library.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Telugu
  3. ^ R. S. Mugali. The Heritage of Karnataka. READ BOOKS, 2006. ISBN 1-4067-0232-3, 9781406702323

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