History of the people from Ashtagrama
Tamilnadu (Dravida) Brahmins:
Their mother tongue is Tamil. This Brahmin community is mainly in Tamilnadu and spread over in Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and other regions. There are two main sects among them Viz., the Shaiva and the Vaishnava and there are also sub sects among them.
The Shaiva sub sects are as follows:
Vadama, Bruhacharana (Periya charana) Ashta Sahasra, Vaadima, Sankethi (Koushika, Bettadapura, Malenadu, Hiriyangala, Pattana etc,), Shivanambi (Shivaradhya), Shiva Dhwaja (Gurukal etc.),
The Vaishnava sub sects:
Vadagalai (Hemmigeyar), Thengalai, Mandyathar, Vembar, Bhattacharya,, Vaikhanasal, Keeelnattar, and so on.
Tamilnadu, AndhraPradesh, Karnataka and Kerala are regarded as the Dravida regions and their people speak Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, all Dravidian languages and the inhabitants of these regions are Dravidians. The Shruthi, Smruthi and Puranas are the subjects of the same heritage. Those who follow the tradition of Shankaracharya are called “Smarthas”. Those who agree with the Smruthis are the Smarthas in the ordinary sense. Let us now learn the meaning and origin of “Vadama”. There is a legend in this regard:
One of the Pandya kings of the south had summoned worthy priests from the other bank of the Ganga River to officiate at the sacrifice that he had intended to perform. His emissary stood on his side of the bank and invited them loudly. The first group walked on the water. Their feet floated on the water. Therefore they came to be known as “Bruhucharanas”. The feet of those who followed them dipped. They were the “Vadamas”. Those who came still later had to sink in the water up to the waist and they somehow managed to swim. They are known as “Ashta Sahasras”. The term “Vadama” suggests that they came from the North. Bruhacharana is a term suggesting migration. All these are covered in the term “Iyer”..
Iyers: This word is used for a sect of Brahmins belonging to the priestly class. A majority of them are the followers of Advaitha doctrine expounded by Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya. Their generations have close contact with the Tamil region for the past several centuries. Iyers are a sub sect of Smartha Brahmins. Although they add a tag “Iyer” to their name, it is neither the name of a caste nor that of a family. The root of the Iyer is “Ayyaa” which may be an honorific form of the Dravidian language or the Sanskrit “Arya” or the Prakrit “Iya”. There is an indication in the Chola inscriptions which are available in the temples of Tanjore and which contain the traditional information to the effect that a large number of people of the Iyer community migrated from other parts of India at the invitation of the Tamil rulers in order to perform sacrifices in the Dravida region . In recognition of their service, the kings have granted them land and other gifts. In olden days, they used to live in “Agraharas”. Agra means end, last. “Haram” means garland or necklace. Generally there used to be a Shiva or Vishnu temple at the end of the Agrahara which generally used to be on the bank of a river. Only the Brahmins were residing in its streets which were on the two sides of the temple throughout. The joint families of Iyers had settled down in the houses situated there. Houses were built of wood in a simple manner and they were strong and sturdy.
It is learnt that a group of three or four families of the Dravida Brahmins who were natives of Kundur Agrahar near Kanchipuram of Tamilnadu migrated to Devarayasamudram about 500 years ago in search of livelihood. They were of Vadama Iyer community whose mother tongue was Tamil. They belonged to Yajurveda branch and Kashyapa Gothra and they were Vedic scholars. In addition to the study of Vedas, they mainly depended upon agriculture and became prosperous. They got royal patronage and encouragement of the rulers. They entered into matrimonial alliances with the Vadamas of Harithasa Gothra who were at Srivaram Agrahar near Kanchipuram and invited them to Devarayasamudram.
After sometime a few families of the Vadama Iyers of “Atreyasa” gothra also came to Devarayasamudram from the village of Kukkundoor near Kanchipuram and settled down there. Even now there are many families of these three gothras at Devarayasamudram. In course of time these families entered into matrimonial alliances with those of “Chadumu” village in Andhra Pradesh and “Sadahalli” village near Bangalore. The early settlers who were in the Agraharas surrounding Kanchipuram in the then Arcot region of Tamilnadu, followed the route of Palar river from time to time and passed via Virinchipuram and other routes and settled down in the villages of Virupakshi, Devarayasamudram, Vijalapura, Ganjigunte, Yelagondahally, Kotthamangala etc during the middle part of the 15th century. This vadama Iyer community consisted of those who belonged to the Kashyapa, Harithasa, Vishwamitra, Koushika, Vaadhulasa, Athreyasa, Bhardwaja, Shandilya and Baadarayana Gothras.
The villages of Ashtagrama,on either side of Palar river in Kolar, Bangarpet and Mulabagal taluks of Karnataka state are:
Bangarpet Taluk: Hunukunda, Madamuttananahally.
Kolar Taluk: Chamarahally,Gangapura, Haralakunte, Shillangere.
MulabagalTaluk: Cholangunte, Devarayasamudram, Doddiganahally,
Ganjigunte, Honnaganahally, Kotthamangala, Minijenahally,
Tattanagunte, Vijilapura, and Yelagondahally