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Avasara Selvapillai an ancestor was holding an important position in Mysore Palace’s emergency department and hence the prefix Avasara (urgent in Kannada)

Adhyapakar the ancestors were teachers

Alwar Swamy an ancestor Dr Tiru Narayana Iyengar was a renowned scholar with a large following and hence the name

Annadore an ancestor Pradhan Narayana Rao was affectionately called as ‘Anna Dore’

Annaswamy based on an ancestor’s name of Dandanayakar Annaswamy Tirumala Iyengar

Arakere – ancestral village near Srirangapattana

Arayar were performing Arayar’s role in Melukote

Asuri – ancestral village near Sriperumbudur

Ayyapatar distorted from Aryabhattar-title conferred on highly learned scholars of those days


Bhagvadgite – it was their duty to recite a shloka from Bhagavad Gita every day at Melukote Temple

Bharathi – they were reading Mahabharatha to Mysore Royal Family regularly

Bheeman – one Tirunarayana Iyengar of this family, during a gossip in Mandya, was jocularly asked to prove his prowess when he boasted he was a very good athlete. He took an one inch iron rod, bent it into a loop and put it around his neck. Hence the name Bheeman

Bheemaraya an ancestor had a fine body and features and earned this title

Bhoolokam an ancestor in melukote was planning to visit Srirangam when a swamiji told him Melukote itself was a bhooloka vaikuntha (earthly heaven) and there is no need to visit any other place. After listening to this, he abondoned his plans and never left Melukote hill for even a single day thereafter. Hence the name bhulokam

Biddhatti – Mysore Palace had officals in charge of various halls in the palace such as wedding hall, dining hall etc. including a mortuary for fallen bodies (bidda hatti in kannada). An ancestor of this family was in charge of this hall

Bidu Manyam an ancestor of this family was perfoming worship in melukote temple whenever the regular one was absent and hence this name (bidu mane yavaru in kannada)

Bindige – an anacestor while digging in his yard in melkote found a pot (bindige in kannada) containing gold coins

Bramha Vadin an ancestor started a magazine ‘bramha vadin’ to spread philosophy to common people

Budanoor – an ancestral village near Mysore

Burudu is an ayurvedic device to cure heart ailment and ancestors might have been practicing the same


Chandanam – ancestors were preparing sandal paste in Srirangapattana temple

Chatrapati – either they were in charge of management of choultries (chatrams) in Mysore Kingdom or were doing chatri kainkaryam (holding umbrella during utsavams) – not clear

Chintamani Kaggalu ancestral village chintamani. An ancestor was dark complexioned like Bengal Gram (kaggalu in Kannada)

Chokkamaman – an ancestor was always dressed neat and clean (chokkata in kannada is clean)

Chothikulam there are 8 sacred ponds in Melukote (ashta teerthams) and ancestors of this family were responsible for keeping their surroundings clean and grow tulasi plants, which made them go round (chuthi in tamil) the ponds (kolam). Chuthi kolam became chothi kulam


Kainkaryam – ancestors family were doing substitute’s work of kainkaryam in melukote temple

Kanchi – ancestors were priests in the shrine of Tirukacchi Nambi (also known as kanchipurna-one of the gurus of Sri Ramanuja) in melukote

Kappal – an ancestor Parthasarathy was a doctor in a ship (kappal in tamil)

Karighattam – ancestors were doing kainkaryams at karighatta temple near Sriranagapattana

Karuhatty – ancestors were managing the cattle farm (karu + hatty in kannada) attached to Krishna Temple in Mysore Palace

Kashi – an ancestor was collecting donations (kaash in tamil) for festivals like vairamudi etc.

Katthi Sadhakar – an ancestor was an expert in sword play and acrobatics

Ketamapalli – ancestral village name

Kidambi – ancestral village near Sriperumbudur

Kootthadi – during festivals it was a practice to entertain each other by spraying colored waters. Ancestors of this family played a major part in it and got the name -’koothu’ means dance and ‘aad’ means play

Kope – an ancestor happened to be very short tempered (kopishtar)

Kottegala – they were residing in a village by that name near Sivanasamudram

Kovil Vashal – the house of this family was located right in front of the temple entrance in Mandya and the family got the name koil vashal (temple entrance door)


Madake Huli – The Mysore King Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar wanted to have food in an Iyengar’s house when he once visited Melukote and a poor resident served him soup (huli) with great respect, which the King found very tasty and wanted to see how it is prepared. He saw it was prepared in
an earthen pot (madake in kannada) and told every one how much he liked it. Hence the name madake huli (pot+soup)

Manikarnike – the family were residing in a village of that name on the banks of Cauvery

Matre – the family members were Ayurvedic Doctors giving pills (matre in kannada) in Mandya

Melnad – during Tippu’s regime this family members suffered much in Srirangapatna and leaving all their properties migrated to Tirupati, where people called them as ‘melnad’ people. Melnad means western country in tamil. Srirangapatna is to the west of Tirupati

Minnani  0 a child in this family was smart, cute and very active and got this name minnani

Mookkannadi – an ancestor was the first ever person in the community to wear specs

Mudi Gumbam – a handsome person, always well dressed used to bring water in a clean and bright pearl like vessel walking in a pleasing gait and was nick named ‘muthu (pearl) kumbha(pot) swamy ‘ which became mudi gumbam’

Mudre – ancestors were preparing rubber stamps

Mudumbe – name of a village near Srirangapattana where they lived

Mukkatte Nyayachavadi – elite of Melukote used to meet in his house often and discuss vedas, shastras and affairs of town and also give judgements on disputes. Hence the name nayaychavadi (platform for justice in kannada)

Munshi -ancestor was a munshi (clerk) in Mysore Palace


Nallan Chakravarthy – an ancestor performed last rites for a neglected corpse floating in a river near Kanchipuram when he went for a bath. Though majority treated him an outcaste. For this, Lord Varadaraja blessed him as a ‘ nallan’

Nalli – nalli in kannada means crab which generally digs deep into earth. A kind hearted man in this family, wherever found vacant plot used to dig and plant tulasi plants Narsi Odeyar an early member of this family was one Narasimha Wodeyar, which name stood and became Narsi Wodeyar in due course

Natampalli Natanahalli – name of a village where ancestors were residing

Nayakar – an ancestor was commander of royal army of Mysore (nayaka)


Dabbannan – an elderly person in this family whom every one was addressing respectfully as ‘anna’ was also plumpy. Hence got the name ‘dappa anna’ (fat brother) which became dabbannan

Dadagam – ancestors were in a village called dadagam near kunigal

Damodaram – an ancestor’s name continuing as family name

Deshantri – Sri Ramanuja, while leaving melukote, handed over all affairs of temple including keeping accounts to his desciple Deshayi Tirunarayana Iyengar. Deshayi means revenue collectors. This name became deshantri

Deva Shikhamani – in Srirangapattanam when an ancestor of this family was returning home from the temple he saw a crowd and a person lying bitten by a snake. He recited ‘bhakta paya bhujanga garuda mani’ and poured the temple teertham into the person’s mouth and prayed to lord
krishna. The snake bitten person got up after a while and this ancestor got the name deva shikhamani (or lord krishna)

Dhanayakan – this name originates from Timmanna Dhanayaka who was a chieftain under Mysore Kings

Dhati – an ancestor of this family was reading poems, lectures etc. in an effortless, simple style and without any fear to the Mysore King (dhati means style in kannada)

Dodda Mane – lived in a big house in Mandya


Forest Varadachar – an ancestor Varadachar worked as conservator of forests


Gomatam – G R Josyer – G stands for Gomatam and ancestors were astrologers

Gadi Khana ancestors owned a horse stable

Gunja Gomatam (gg) Gomatam is family name and their family deity was Gunja Narasimhar in T Narasipura

Ghante an ancestor earned great fame as scholar and poet from Mysore King and was presented with a golden ornament containing a bell (ghante in kannada)

Giddayyan  – an ancestor was somewhat dwarfish and a scholar

Godhi – one of the family member had to move to north india (what is today Pakistan) and had to eat only chappaties instead of traditional rice and got the name godhi


Haleyur – ancestral village name

Haravu – name of canal in ancestral village

Honnalagere – ancestral village name

Hundi – they were land owners in a fertile village called Hundi near Srirangapattana


Ikkalike  – ancestors of this family were responsible for preparing food every day from 10 seers of rice (called ‘ikkolaga akki’ in kannada) in mandya temple for visitors from other places. ‘ikkolaga akki’ became ‘ikkalakki’ and’ ikkalike’ in due course

Ilayavilli – was one of 74 mutt administrators appointed by Sri Ramanuja

Ishami – an ancestor from this family became endeared to all residents


Jaggu – an ancestor by the name Jaggannathacharya got the short name jaggu out of affection which has stayed all along

Jayaram – an ancestor who was an army commander with the Mysore King was presented with a victory medal called Jayaratna

Jeeyar Sannidhi – ancestors were performing kainkaryams in melukote jeeyar’s (manavala mamuni) sannidhi


Onti – impressed by the profund knowledge of one Singlachar of this family, the then Mysore King gave one of his ear rings as a gift, which this gentleman wore on his one (onti) ear

Palahalli – name of village near Sriranagpattana. The Bangalore – Mysore railway line passes through this station

Paramekanti – ancestors led a disciplined life with high ideals. Paramekanti means wedded to highest goals only

Pashal – the ancestors were clear hearted, simple and innocent and hence the name pashalva(kids) and also an ancestor acted as a child in Maharaja’s court

Perihath ancestors had a big house in Mandya


Poonekann – an ancestor had a cat’s eye

Poonjalam – one of the member of this family always used to put flowers on his head, even using discarded flowers when fresh ones were not available and hence this name

Prativadi Bhayankara – an ancestor won a long debate with a famous shaivaite advaita scholar and hence got the title (fearful opponent)

Pustakam – an ancestor who was a renowned scholar collected many books on shastaras etc.


Ramanujamuni ancestors were reciting Ramanuja Nootrandadi in Melukote temple

Ramanujapuram – ancestral village near Maloor

Rangayyan – an ancestor by name Rangaswamy Iyengar was very popular and affectionately called rangayyan


Sahukar – an ancestor dreamt of great wealth and next day while lifting water from a well saw several shining objects which he bought up. They were all silver plates, proceeds from which made him rich (sahukar in kannada)

Sampalli – name of ancestral village near Srirangapattana

Shamarayar – an ancestor was dark complexioned

Sumani – an ancestor was very handsome, always smiling, wearing smart dress and cheerful temperament. Hence called sumani


Tailor – ancestors were supplying garments to Mysore Royal family

Tippani – an ancestor was cutting jokes, making intelligent remarks and appropriate commentaries (tippani in kannada) all taken in good spirit by Mysore King

Tondanur Shirastedar – an ancestor was shirastedar in Tondanur


Veene – they were playing veena in Tonnur temple

Veerambudhi – name of a tank near Tonnur built by a member of this family

Vokkarane (also known as okkarane) in Melukote, an ancestor of this family built a tank in the shape of a well, but with steps to get down on only side. In kannada okkare means one side only


Yechan Gunja named after Yagnesha and Gunja Narasimhar in T Narasipura