Konar (caste)

Kōnār is a sub-caste of Yadav community[1][2] from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They were traditionally held to be a pastoral community involved in cattle cultivation, who are otherwise also known as Ayar and Idaiyar,[3] and who appear in the ancient Sangam literature as occupants of the Mullai (forest region).[4][a] However, historically they have held positions such as kings and chieftains.[6]

Related groupsTamil people


According to Alf Hiltebeitel, Konar is a regional name for Yadava, the caste to which Krishna belongs.[7] Several vaishnavite texts associate Krishna with the Aayar caste, or konar, most notably the Thiruppavai, composed by goddess Andal herself, most notably referring Krishna as the “Aayar kulathu mani vilakke”. The caste name is interchangeable with the names Konar and Kovalar being derived from Tamil word Kōn, which can mean "king" and "herdsmen".[5][8] The word might be derived from the from Tamil word kōl, a herdsman's staff.[5] The Tamil word kōl also means a king's sceptre.[9][10]

The word Ayar might be derived from the Tamil word Aa, meaning cow.[5] The term idai (middle) might refer to the Mullai region, being an intermediate zone between two other Sangam landscapes called Kurinji (hilly region) and Marutham (cultivation region), but probably reflected their intermediate socio-economic status.[11] Idaiyar remains the most commonly used word in Tamil for a cow-herder, and another name for Ayars was pothuvar, meaning common.[12]


According to medieval inscriptions the konars are mentioned as Nandaputras of yadava lineage.[13]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ The five regions that comprised the Sangam landscapes are literary devices, not geographical areas.[5]


  1. ^ Andhra Pradesh (India) (1967). The Andhra Pradesh Education Code, Containing A.P. Acts on Education (with Comments) A.P. Educational Rules, Teachers Subordinate Service (special) Rules, Educational Inspection Code, Teachers Provident Fund Rules Etc. Etc. Panchayat Publications.
  2. ^ People of India: India's communities. Oxford University Press. 1998. ISBN 978-0-19-563354-2.
  3. ^ Richard, Guy (1982). Religious Festivals in South India and Sri Lanka. Manohar. p. 128.
  4. ^ Bloomer, Kristin C. (2018). Possessed by the Virgin: Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and Marian Possession in South India. Oxford University Pres. p. 258. ISBN 9780190615093.
  5. ^ a b c d Allchin, Frank Raymond (1963). Neolithic Cattle-keepers of South India. Cambridge University. p. 101.
  6. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (1988). The cult of Draupadī: Mythologies : from Gingee to Kurukserta, Volume 1. Motilal. p. 99. ISBN 81-208-1000-7.
  7. ^ Alf Hiltebeitel. The cult of Draupadī: Mythologies : from Gingee to Kurukserta, Volume 1. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe, 1991 - 487 pages. p. 91.
  8. ^ Hiltebeitel, Alf (1988). The Cult of Draupadi. University of Chicago Press. p. 35. ISBN 9780226340463.
  9. ^ Katir Makātēvan̲. Cultural heritage of ancient Tamils. Lakshmi Publications, 1981. p. 65.
  10. ^ N. Subrahmanian. Śaṅgam polity: the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils. Asia Pub. House, 1966. p. 71.
  11. ^ Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2017). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 153. ISBN 9781538106860.
  12. ^ Padmaja, T. (2002). Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: history, art, and traditions in Tamilnāḍu. Abhinav publications. p. 35. ISBN 9788170173984.
  13. ^ Conclusion pages 103: "We also get several instances of the patronage extended to Krsna temples by the shepherd class (manradi or Konars ) In one inscription they are significantly called Nandaputras and Tiruvaypadi Nattar of Tondaimandalam"Padmaja, T. (2002). Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: History, Art, and Traditions in Tamilnāḍu. ISBN 9788170173984. Retrieved 1 January 2002.