Kulkarni is a family name native to the Indian state of Maharashtra and northern Karnataka. It is found among the Brahmin communities of these states such as Deshastha, Karhade and also among the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu(CKP) community. The reason the Kulkarni was a Brahmin or CKP was because literacy was mandatory for the office. The Kulkarni operated at the village level but at a Pargana level he was known as a "Deshkulkarni", Deshpande or Nadkarni(in Karnataka).
The name Kulkarni is believed to be a combination of two words (kula and karani). Kula means the root of the family, and Karanika means one who maintains records or accounts. Traditionally, Kulkarni was a title used for people who used to maintain the accounts and records of the villages and used to collect taxes. The title of the Kulkarni was later replaced by the Talathi. The Pargana and Kulkarni watans (land rights) were abolished in 1950.
- Jñāneśvar 1275 - 1296
- Eknath: Pre-sainthood name: Eknāth Kulkarni : 1533 - 1599
- Samarth Ramdas: Pre-sainthood name: Narayan Kulkarni (Thosar): 1608 - 1681
- Nivruttinath: Pre-sainthood name: Nivrutti Kulkarni : Elder brother and teacher of Dnyaneshwar
- Sopan: Pre-sainthood name: Sopan Kulkarni
- Muktabai: Pre-sainthood name: Mukta Kulkarni
- Mahipati: Chronicler of many Indian saints, author of the Bhaktavijaya: (1715-1790)
- G. A. Kulkarni (1923–1987): Short story writer
- Atul Kulkarni: Marathi film and theater actor
- Chandrakant Kulkarni: Film director
- Dhondutai Kulkarni: Vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana
- Girish Kulkarni: Marathi film actor
- Mamta Kulkarni: Bollywood actress
- Mrinal Dev-Kulkarni: Marathi television actress.
- Saleel Kulkarni: Marathi singer and composer
- Sandeep Kulkarni: Marathi actor
- Sonali Kulkarni: Bollywood actress
- Sonalee Kulkarni: Marathi film actress
- Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni: Film Director
- Nilesh Kulkarni: Indian cricketer
- Raju Kulkarni: Former Indian cricketer
- Umesh Kulkarni: Former Indian cricketer
- Shubhangi Kulkarni: Indian woman cricketer and secretary of the Women's Cricket Association of India
- Dhawal Kulkarni: Indian Cricketer
- Vineet Kulkarni: Indian cricket umpire and member of the International Cricket Council's International Panel of Umpires and Referees
- Ravi S. Kulkarni (born 1942): Indian mathematician
- Sudha Kulkarni Murty: Kannada writer, Founder of Sudha Murty Foundation and wife of Narayan Murthy
- "Kulkarni Family History". Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- A. Rā Kulakarṇī (2000). Maharashtra: society and culture. Books & Books. p. 74.
However,the rural areas were still dominated by the Deshasthas,another sub-caste of the Brahmins. The Kulkarni generally belonged to the rural based deshastha community, even under the chitpavan rule.
- Irina Glushkova; Rajendra Vora (eds.). Home, Family and Kinship in Maharashtra. Oxford University Press. p. 118.
The wada tells us of a story of three generations of a family called Deshpande who belong to the Deshastha Brahmin caste. ....Spread all over Maharashtra as a result of this process, Deshastha Brahmans held, in particular, the office of kulkarni.
- Bryan Sharpe (1973). Bombay Teachers and the Cultural Role of Cities. University of California, Berkeley. p. 106.
- "The Illustrated Weekly of India". 91 (3). Bennett, Coleman & Company. July 1970: 12.
Generally speaking, excepting names such as Kulkarni, Thackerey, Chitnis, Deshmukh, Deshpande, which are common to many communities in Maharashtra, a C.K.P. can be recognised by his surname.
- "The Quarterly Review of Historical Studies - Volume 8". Institute of Historical Studies. 1969: 44.
The accountant of the Village was simply known as 'Kulkarni' and that of the Pargana or smaller areas was called Deshkulkarni, or Deshpande, or Nadkarni (in the Karnatak)...As work required the incumbent to be a literate man, he was generally a [Brahmin] or a [chandraseniya] kayastha prabhu by caste
- "The Bombay Paragana and Kulkarni Watans' (Abolition) Act 1950" (PDF). Bombay High Court. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Stargardt, Julian (2014). "A Man of his Words". Asia Asset Management.