The Ashtagrama Iyers are a group of Vadama Iyers or South Indian Brahmins with their roots in the Ashtagrama situated in the Kolar district of Karnataka


In the early 16th century a few of the Iyers from the North Arcot and the Tanjavur districts of Tamil Nadu migrated to the Ashtagrama group of villages, at the request of the existing government, as learned priests, Vedic scholars and agriculturists. They soon transformed it from a poor community into a well-educated and prosperous one.


Ashtagrama (literally,'eight villages') consists of several villages which are located in the Valley of the Palar River, which flows through the Kolar district into Tamil Nadu. The 10 villages on the North side of the river are Cholagunte, Doddiganahalli, Devarayasamudram, Gangigunte, Honnagaanahalli, Kothamangala, Minijenahalli, Thattangunte, Vijalapura and Yelagondahalli. The remainder of the villages, Aralakunte, Chamarahalli, Gangapura, Hunkunda and Shillangeri are on the southern side of the river. Though the Iyers form the majority of the population all these villages show communal diversity.

Customs and beliefsEdit

Most of the customs of the Ashtagrama Iyers remain the same as that of their Iyer counterparts elsewhere but some of them are derived from the Brahmin customs of Karnataka. Most Iyers follow both the solar calendar of Tamil Nadu and the lunar calendar of Karnataka. For example, the lunar tithis are followed for celebrating festivals while the Solar calendar is taken into account for Shraddh or death ceremonies. Similarly, on 14/15th of January both Sankranthi and Pongal are celebrated.


Most Ashtagrama Iyers have a good knowledge of Kannada and sometimes Telugu (Kolar being on the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border) though at home, a dialect of Tamil is spoken which varies significantly from the way the other Iyers speak .

Some examples are:

Pure Tamil

How Ashtagrama Iyers say it

How other Iyers say it

How other Tamils say it

English Meaning





Are you coming?





Are you going?

Engal veetil, Engal Agathil

Enga ulle

Enga athilae

Enga veetla

In our house

Sirithu Nazhigai

Konchu Pod

Setha Nazhi

Konja Neram

For some time

Ashtagrama Iyers todayEdit

Today, many from the community have moved out into bigger cities like Bangalore, Chennai, New York, New Jersey etc. The Ashtagrama Sangha has taken shape in Bangalore to put forth the views of the community. Some known names from this community are Soundarya, the South Indian cine actress and Regret Iyer, a writer and cartoonist who had become a household name not too many years ago.

External linksEdit

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Ashtagrama iyer. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.