The Goud (Telugu: గౌడ్)
are one of the
largest castes in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Maharastra comprising
more than 17% of population of AP. Gouds were involved in Soma and Ayurvedic
Medicine development in ancient days. They are historically classified as
Somavansh Kshatriyas. At present, they are involved in Palm
wine/Toddy tapping (5 %) and liquor business, farming (50 %) and modern
professions( 45 %). It is one of the progressive communities of Andhra Pradesh.
There are several inconclusive theories regarding the origin of word
"Goud" as it is originated from title Gouda which is distinct from
Gowda or Gounder. Several historians and legends also say these people have
come from Srilanka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh or Northern India. According to
the Goud Puran, they are said to have come from Benares and other parts of
Northern India, where they were originally engaged in the manufacture and sale
of spirituous liquors.
Till 18th Century AD to 19th Century AD
The below mentioned six endogamous groups under Goundala are currently using
Goud as the title whose ancestral profession was or is toddy and/or liquor
vending. Goundala groups were using titles till 18th Century AD as Gouda, Ayya
or Appa according to Syed Siraj ul Hassan in The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H.
the Nizam's Dominions. The word Goud might have originated directly from
then title Gouda itself as Gouda in Telugu means "Person of Goud
caste", Goud might have meant the person whose profession is either liquor
Gouda also means head of village, community or family. It also means people
belonging to Goud caste in Telugu language. Gowda pronounced exactly with same
accent is used as title by different kuruba, Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities
in Karnataka. Gouda and Gowda are a very different communities and the similar
sound is coincidental. Goud or Gouda though with a similar sound is a very
different community which is represented in karnataka by idigas Some districts
of Kannada speaking current Karnataka, some districts of Marathi speaking
current Maharastra and Telugu speaking Telangana, Rayalseema and Andhra regions
of current Andhra Pradesh were ruled by Quli Qutub Shah (1518-1687), Mughals
(1687-1707), and Nizams (1707-1948), as Hyderabad before annexing it into
Indian union of states. There could be nearby relation in inception of Gouda
and Gowda titles as head under then Hyderabad state
Vokkaliga Gowda community gets its name from Gavunda of Gangavadi whose caste
name became synonymous with village chieftainship. The vokkaliga Gowda
community mostly found in Southern karnataka that has not been part of
Hyderabad state but of the Mysore State. are related to the Gounder community
of Kongunadu. However, many other groups such as the Lingayats and Kurubas of
Karnataka may have adopted the Gowda title of Gounders or the Gouda title of
Hyderabad. But there is no known relationship of Vokkaligas of Gangavadi and
the Gouds of Andhra. The idiga community of karnataka is a different caste
group that is related to Gouds of Andhra.
Gouda is also used as community head in particular villages to manage specific
community related festivals and resolve community related disputes. That
tradition of representing particular notable community family is carried
forward by their next generation too. Head of that specific family used to be
referred to as Gouda. If the same family as more than two sons, elder used to
named as Pedda (in Telugu) Gouda and younger as Chinna Gouda. Some of the
common names like Pedda Mallayya Goud and China Mallayya Goud or Pedda Laxman
Goud  and Chinna Laxman Goud implies and supports that.
Ayya title stands for father, elder or head in Telugu language. Ayya is also
written as Aiah in Telugu. There are lot of gouds who use these titles in names
itself like Balayya Goud, Shankaraiah Goud and Desineni Chinna Mallaya
Appa title stands for father , elder or head in kannada language. This might
have come into community of Gouds as certain districts of Telugu and kannada
were under nizam ruled Hyderabad state.
Instead of using three(Ayya, Appa, Gouda) different titles for same profession
based community, community might have preferred using Gouda and Goud for
unification and to distinguish themselves from Kannada speaking Gowda after
Hyderabad state is annexed into Union of India and 1st States Reorganisation
Commission recommended for merger of kannada speaking districts into Karnataka
and marathi speaking districts into Maharastra
The caste had organizational internal structure with subsects for tapping ,
procurement, marketing and sales. It also provided employment for other castes
and over period might have absorbed other castes as they were attached to the
common profession under the pressure of the demand for intoxicating drinks.
This view bears support from the internal structure of the caste, which shows
that it comprises several independent groups. Internal Structure.---- The caste
is divided into six endogamous groups.(1) Deva Goundala, (2) Shetti Goundala,
(3) Mashti Goundala, (4) Goundala, (5) Idiga, and (6) Laguwad. The above names
are only historical. The different names are not known at least after the 18th
century as all whose ancestral profession is directly or indirectly attached to
toddy are using the single title Goud. All toddy tappers whose yield cannot be
sold to depots are being sold locally irrespective of subsects
It is believed that they are dweep goundala. Dweep means an island, possibly
pointing towards Srilanka to indicate people relying on drawing and sale of
toddy might have spread wherever there are palmira trees from srilanka covering
kerala as ezhavas and tamilnadu as nadars.
Deva means God in Telugu.However the members of this sub-sect claim and is
traditionally ascribed to the fact that the members of the other sub-caste in
internal structure supplied toddy and arrack/liquor to Deva Goundla for sale of
toddy through depots or compounds in cities and towns. They held the highest
rank among the Goundala castes and they were excise contractors in modern era.
They held the larger domains of toddy palms[disambiguation needed] trees
covering several villages spanning districts. They usually hire other subsects
of their own internal structure to carry out tasks of tapping, procurement and
transportation to depots in major towns and cities.
 The Shetti, or Chetti Goundala
They are numerous and also enjoy highest or slightly lesser rank along with
Deva Goundalas. They assert that the distinctive title Shetti was conferred
upon their ancestor by Raja Prataparudra of Warangal, for successfully meeting
and overcoming an invincible gymnast in a wrestling match. Later many became
good gymnasts, participated in wrestling matches and were also recruited into
Over the period, as the demand for liquor and toddy increased, new subsect to
market and sale of toddy is done using Shetti or Chetti Goundala. Shetti also
stands for one who does trading.
 Mashti Goundala
Mashti Goundala occupy the lowest position among the Goundala sub-castes. They
have five sub-divisions: (1) Tella Idiga, (2) Kulla Jain, (3) Kada, (4)
Ayanotiwaru and (5) Jetti. The members of these sub-castes donâ€™t inter-marry.
These subsects were used to sell the bye products of toddy and palmyra trees
and were also consumers of toddy and liquor. Mashti in Telugu means Enjoy by
consuming toddy and eating non-vegetarian snacks at depots along with their
sales without having to climb the trees for making incisions nor to transport
Tella Idiga subsect These subsects were used to sap Date Palms tree and sell
the toddy and neera locally at the place of tapping, on roads , near their
homes itself. Over the period, all the toddy tappers who can't find sale of the
toddy yield to the depots preferred selling locally.
Kulla Jain, Kada, Ayanotiwaru, Jetti were used to market and sale of edible
jelly seeds of palmyra palm known as Thati Munjalu in Telugu and ice-apple in
English, date fruits, Thegalu or Gaygulu and vegeterian and non-vegeterians
snacks at liquor and toddy depots in metros and rural places.
This sect concentrated more on toddy palms[disambiguation needed] toddy and
liquor in particular villages. Their domain spanned specific village and hiring
local caste people in tapping, procuring and sale in specific village.
The word 'Idiga' comes from 'Ita' which means a Shendi tree, and who make
incisions on the tree for its sap are called 'Ita Godlu' , the two words
ultimately passing into the term 'Idiga'.
The words Dweep Goundala and Idiga is believed to derived from old Dravidian
word ida or ila means island. They are known as Deevaramakkalu (in Kannada)
which also might have been derived from Dweep which means an island, possibly
pointing towards Srilanka.
Idulu , pronounced as Idhulu or Eedhulu in Telugu is a term used by tappers to
represent a domain of palmyra trees. The person who goes to idhulu to make
incision of palm trees and collect toddy is called as Idiga. Goddess Idamma
pronounced as Idhamma is considered as protector of Idulu.
Toddy is drawn from two different types of palmyra trees like toddy palms and
date palms. Thaati Chettu or Thaadi Chettu in Telugu means toddy
palms[disambiguation needed] while ithachettu in Telugu means Date Palms. There
were separate tappers who climb long toddy palms using a fibre or tube cable
round the tree trunk and body and short Date Palms trees which can be climbed
using ladder, cable or with no external support.
The Idigas have a sub-division in climbing the type of tree called 'Thala
Idiga,' or the word 'Thala' signifying 'the head.'. Thaadi Chettu is singular.
Thaallu or Thaalla is plural too in Telugu. The sept that draws toddy from
Thaadi Chettu trees may also be called as Thala Idiga.
As the Idiga people moved into modern professions or education, other castes
like Mutrasi, Munnur, and Telaga castes were recruited to climb the toddy palms
and make incisions to draw the toddy. However community people will not
inter-marry Mutrasi, Munnur, and Telaga castes and they are currently mentioned
as part of other caste.
 Laguwad or Lagullawandlu
Lagu in Telugu stands for knicker or short trouser. The people who used to wear
knickers were called Laguwad. This subsect used to fill bottles with toddy at
depots, transport toddy from rural areas into metro depots owned by Deva
Goundla by lorries, bullock carts or horse driven carts . Over the period, as
the people of caste economic status changed, people from other castes were also
recruited to do the jobs.
**** From 20th Century AD
Goud is the title used by communities whose ancestral profession was/is toddy
and liquor vending. In some regions of telangana and andhra, Goundala over the
period is pronounced as Goundla, Gounla, Gamla, Gamalla, Gamandlas
ultimately to be unified with single title Goud along with all previous
exogamous groups before 18th century namely Deva Goundala, Masthi Goundala,
Goundala, Shetti Goundala, Idiga and Laguwad including Idiga which were further
referred differently as Settibalija, Idiga Balija, Dandu Idiga and Palli Idiga
in different census reports like Madras Census Report 1901 and North Arcot
The following castes are considered as Goud community under AP BC act Under
BC-B , Section 4.
S.No. Caste Name S.No. Caste Name S.No. Caste Name S.No. Caste Name S.No. Caste
Name S.No. Caste Name
1 Goud 2 Gowd 3 Gouda 4 Gowda 5 Goundla 6 Gamalla
7 Ediga 8 Idiga 9 Segidi 10 Sri Sayanas 11 Yatha 12 Settibalija
* Goud, Gowd , Goundla or Gouda in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.
* Edigas or Goud or Goudu or Gowdu in Rayalaseema region. Asilies in
* Sri Sayanas, Gamallas, Gamandlas in Vishakapatanam, Vizayanagaram, and
* Gowda, Goud, Settibalija(Balija Idiga),Gamallas, Gamandlas in Andhra.
* Goud and Idiga in Karnataka.
* Goud in Maharashtra and Orissa.
There are similar communities in different parts of India who were and are
involved in same trade and profession either before or currently like Edigas of
Karnataka, Bhandari of Maharastra, Ezhava in Kerala, Nadars of Tamil Nadu,
Gouds of Andhra Pradesh are of the same lineage based on ancestral toddy and
As Nizam ruled then Hyderabad state was broken to merge some districts into
then Mysore state and then Bombay state, community people were also found in
current Maharastra and Karnataka.
*** Eastern Chalukyas Origin
Gouds consider themselves as Somavansh Kshatriyas ruling class Eastern
Chalukyas, who ruled the present day Andhra Pradesh with Vengi as the capital.
The Eastern Chalukyas ruled Andhra region from '7th century AD to 1189 AD. They
had their capital originally at Vengi near Nidadavole of the West Godavari
district and later changed to Rajamahendravaram (Rajamundry).
Chalukya kings constructed many temples in Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh
namely Someshwara and Bimeshwar temples. Chalukya Bhima-I has constructed
Bimeshwar temples in West Godavari at Bhimavaram and in East Godavari at
Draksharama and Samalkota. Chalukya kings constructed Someshwara temples in West
Godavari at Nidadavole, Juttiga of Tanuku, Eluru and Bhimavaram. This shows
their liking towards soma, an intoxicating drink which Gouds consider as their
ancestral invention as profession. During this period Gouds prospered around
this region. They constitute the single largest community in Godavari
** West Bengal Orgin
"Gouda" was once a former state in India. That was merged with
another state called Banga in order to form the modern state of West Bengal
after Indian independence in 1947.Goud or Gouda people might have migrated
from West Bengal with invasions from Guptas, Pala, Sena, Turks and Mughals
pushing them further towards south India. It is recorded that Gouda people
were ravaged and forced to move with Gupta invasion of Gouda Kingdom
forcing Gouda people towards southern part of West Bengal and over period
towards Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka spreading across Orissa as mentioned in
Brihatsamhita. Sasanka(630 â€“ 637AD) is the first known king of Bengal who
extended his territories till Chilka lake of Orissa and integrated the Gauda
Empire and established his capital at Karnasuvarna defeating Guptas till his
death. The invasion of Gouda Empire again by Harshavardhana of northern India
might have forced Gouda people further towards southern India.
Current Malda district of West Bengal, a gateway of North Bengal , was once the
capital of Gour-Banga. It had the city named Gourpura is identified as the city
of Gouda. Gouda may also imply as the people belonging to Gouda city.Goud might
have originated from Gour city existing from 5th Century BC itself.
The Pala Dynasty in West Bengal was ruled by Lakshman Sen Goud was known as
akshmanabati. The Sen kings ruled Bengal till Bakhtiyar Khalji conquered Bengal
in 1204 AD. With Khalji invasion, the people might have migrated towards south
into Andhra Pradesh via Orissa as there are communities in orissa with caste
Ruknuddin Barbak Shah ruled a province named Gouda in West Bengal. Husai
Shah was the sultan of Goud in 15th century in West Bengal. Once Muslims
invaded, the rulers of Goud or Gouda province might have migrated towards south
into Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka via Orissa state.
 Mythological origins
* According to Gowd legend, they originated from the Great Sage Kaundinya, who
they believe originally invented toddy tapping. They believe that many kings
came from their community including the Chalukya, and the Satavahana kings. The
community is derived branch of somavamsha kshatriyas( Haihaya kshatriyas) who
lived at the time of Parashurama. They pray the deity Renuka who is a kshatriya
and mother of parashurama.
At those times, the community needed a kshatriya type warrior position to
spread soma to the people.
* Alcohol, Madhu or Nectar is first given to Demi Gods by Lord Vishnu in Mohini
Avatar along with Kalpavriksha (present day coconut tree or palm tree). These
trees may be 60 million years old. The timing also coincides with the timing of
kurma avatar. Lord Vishnu is also called as Madhu or Madhusudhan. In the
initial days, Gouds got patronized by Amrutham and started distilling different
types of liquor. They used to serve liquor to the people to relieve them from
different types of diseases and pains. They invented lot of ayurvedic medicines
to sabotage different types of illnesses. They tried most of the trees and
fruits to get different types of wines. Finally they invented toddy (only
having 1 to 5 % alcohol) which is considered to be the best food as well as
medicine, even today. Toddy is drunk mostly in the rural parts which is
relatively low in price( of about Â¼ the cost of Beer of same alcoholic
content). Toddy is available only during February to May month of every year.
The community will live like farmers during the rest of the year.
* The Setti Balijaâ€™s and Sri Sayanaâ€™s original name was Goud. Their surnames
Gudala,Gubbala, Geddada, Gouthu suggests that their original name was Goud -
these adaptations first became known in the 18th and 19th centuries[citation
needed]. Sri Dommeti Venkat Garu (A Goud), had a chief status and changed the
community name to Setti Balija. Sri Dommeti Venkat Garu lived in Bodasakurru
village near Kakinada of East Godavari District. The gouds are also called as
Delta kings because they occupied the Delta region of Godavari,Krishna and
Guntur districts during the Eastern Chalukya Empire.
* Gundaya (950 CE) was the first known historical figure among the Kakatiyas.
There are lot of gouds residing around warangal or orugallu.The kakatiyas are
belied to be of Racherla gotram kings. During the fall of Kakatiya empire, the
musini surname families (Markandeya gotram) who ruled the kakatiya empire for
50 years got settled in Warangal,Nalgonda,Krishna and Godavari districts. There
are lot of gouds with musini surname in the above districts. There are lot of
villages like musinuri, musinipally, musinivari palem and musigampala. There
are lot of other communities with these surnames.
* During Vijayanagara Empire, the Gouds and Nadars were having dominant
position in the society because of their huge population (Single largest
community of South India) and the society dependency on toddy (a beverage which
was called as mandhu (medicine). The rayana(surname is common in gouds residing
in Ananthapur, Kurnool, Prakasham, Guntur, Krishna, and Godavari districts)
families got settled during the fall of Vijayanagara empire. All the trading
castes were having equal respect to the farming communities,as the income from
farming was just below the income from different trades. Earlier to this empire
from Neolithic Revolution, farming was a low profit self employment work by all
communities including Tribals.
* By the end of 18th century the British East India Company had consolidated
their rule in Andhra. They brought modern cultivation methods with good
transportation of materials. The cultivation become more profitable. The rich
gouds entered into cultivation where as the Poor gouds stick to various low
income professions and they become further poor. The British also suppressed
the gouds as the British wanted their products to be more used by the Indians.
* Gouds use the name "Prasad" to represent their affinity for
cultivating coconut fields and banana fields. The following surnames suggest
that gouds mostly depend on tree products like Talla, thati (palm tree), nara,
narikel, naragani (coconut), chintal, chintalapati (tamarind), mamidla,
mamidisetti (Mango), panasa, arati (banana). Some surnames like annam (Rice)
and cheruku (sugarcane) suggest their current day cultivation.
They are divided into Tirmanidharis and Vibhutidharis, or the worshippers of
Shiva and Vishnu as part of Hindu religion , under the guidance of their
respective sectarian priests like Shri Vaishnava and Aradhi Brahmans. Preference
is, however, given to the worship of Shiva, whom they adore under the names of
Surabhandeshwar, Someshwar, Mallanna or Katamayya, or "the god Shiva who
The goddess Somalamma who is considered to be the avatar of Kali, is prayed by
Hindus. There are lot of villages that were come up with the goddess Somalamma.
They celebrate the Bonalu festival of Yellamma and Katamayya
Panduga(Goudaâ€™s festival) in Shravan Masam of every year in Telangana. They
also worship Yellamma and Katamayya as the protector of palmyra trees for more
yield. They worship all the deities but varies with respect to the regions like
telangana, rayalseema and andhra.
Gouds are non-vegeterians. They also worship goddesses like Kali, Maisamma,
Durgamma, Marri Amma, Mutyalamma, Idamma, Pochamma, Nalla Pochamma, and Darbar
Maisamma. They sacrifice fowls, sheeps, and goats mainly for more yield of the
profession including toddy and agriculture, wish fulfilments, for get togeather
of relatives and protect from epidemic diseases like cholera, typhoid etc.,
before the arrival of science and medicine. 
Brahmins serve the caste in religious and ceremonial observances including
auspicious days selection and horoscope matches while Jangams(Lingayat Priests)
officiate at funeral ceremonies.
 Sardar Sarvai Papanna Goud
Sardar Sarvayi Papanna Goud also called as Papadu was a Telugu King, who ruled
Buvanagiri of Nalgonda, Thatikonda of Warangal, Kolanupaka, Cheriyala,
Karimnagar, Huzurabad and Husnabad regions for 30 years. Papanna Goud born in
1650 A.D. Having seen the oppressions and atrocities committed by Mughals,
during that time raised a small army out of warrior castes through guerilla
attacks on them. He recruited followers from an array of idiga men and ritually
warrior groups to form an army of several thousand. With it, he mounted
successful assaults against several of the major towns in Telangana which were
under Mughals and captured several towns and forts.
* Gouds are found all over Andhra Pradesh in all three regions Telangana,
Andhra and Rayalseema.
* Gouds are found in Karnataka as some districts of Karnataka were merged from
then united Hyderabad state after being annexed into Indian union. Some Gouds
might have also migrated as it is a neighbouring state.
* Gouds are also found in Maharastra as some districts of Maharastra were
merged from then united Hyderabad state after being annexed into Indian union.
Some Gouds might have also migrated as it is a neighbouring state.
* Gouds are found in Orissa as then Northern Circars comprised Coastal Andhra
and Orissa districts ruled by Nizams and British.
 Traditional occupations
The Gouds originally prospered around the Godavari River. The Goud community
adopted alcoholic beverage production and sale as their trade. This trade is
believed to be a gift from God. The people who serve toddy are considered
God-like (Somanath, Madhusudhana, and Gandharvas).
Gouds also support themselves in farming and warrior profession which is a
generalised trade being followed by all communities. From Kshatriyas to
Schedule castes are allowed to do cultivation. Warrior position is also given
to all communities in different positions. Before the British came every
community has a specific trade to do.