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Devadiga (also Moily, Sherigar,Seriyan,Gujaran) are Tulu speaking Hindu community of temple musicians and Temple attendants who mainly hail from the region of Tulu Nadu in the south west of India which comprises the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in the Indian state of Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk of Kerala.
The name "Devadiga" is derived from archaic Kannada term "Deva Adiga" . Devadiga is a community of Hindu temple musicians, drum beaters hailing from the west coast of Karnataka, India. Devadigas are originally from the land of Lord Parashurama stretching between Karwar in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala in west-coast of India. Some people misunderstand Devadiga for naayee community. They are not. They used to use shahnai and drums only in Temples and not in Death ceremony and all, It is a holy community, once next to Brahmins only Devadigas were allowed inside the sacrum (Gharbhagudi) of temples.
Tulu is the main language spoken by Devadigas. Some places in Karnataka Devadigas also speak Kannada and identifies themselves as Kannada Devadigas. Devadigas live in temple surroundings.
Worship of Spirits
Just like Theyyam in Kerala, Tulu regions have Bhoota kola and Nema, a kind of spirit worship. Devadigas were important part of this native worship. Dhoomavathi, Panjurli, Kalkudi, Varthe, Marl jumadi, Kodimanithaya, Maisandaya and Jarandaya are some of the most common Bhutas worshipped by the community.
Traditions of Devadigas
(Tulu: ಅಳಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟು) (Nephew lineage) in Kannada/Tulu or Marumakkatayam in Malayalam was, a matrilineal system of property inheritance practised by many communities in coastal Karnataka and Kerala.
In ALIYA KATTU system the mother's family takes control of the family and property matters. The family functions such as Bhootha Kola will be performed initiated from mother's family. The ALIYAKATTU system is followed by castes like DEVADIGA, SHETTY, KOTTARY, KULAL, GATTI, SHETTIGAR, BILLAVA etc.
Yakshagana is a Kannada classical folk art form in India mostly popular in Tulu Nadu areas of South India. Devadigas contributed to the development of this folk dance, which was taught in Yakshagana mandalis.
- Veerappa Moily, Union Minister of Corporate Affairs/ Ex- Chief Minister of Karnataka State.
- Sneha Ullal, Film Actress