About The Grant
The grant of the ‘City’ of Nandavaram to the five hundred families of thirteen Gopthrams and the survival of the place and the families of Nandavariks to this day are a standing testimony and an indisputable Fait accompli. That there had been a giver in flesh and blood with the requisite status and authority is also an indisputable fact. It is inconceivable that a large group of Brahmins of five hundred families were en-block recipients of a City at one the same time for no ostensible reason. There should have been a solid reason and the giver should also have been of the status of a king. This myth is solved by the legend handed down to us through centuries and generations and remembered to this day. The king is said to have been one ‘Nanda’ or ‘Nandana Chakravarthi’ and the reason is said to have been the retrieval of the king from an awkward situation he encountered at Banaras (Kashi) with the help of the group of Brahmins by their prowess. As a deep debt of gratitude to the Brahmins, the king is said to have promised at Benares, in the presence of Goddess ‘Chowdeswari’, to gift his capital city. Goddess ‘Chowdeswari’ had to come down later to Nandavaram as a witness to the promise made by the king and enforce the fulfillment of the promise. The memory of Nandavaram and the Deity kept up to this day by generations of Nandavariks over centuries defuses the common notion of unreliability usually advanced by critics in relation to any such legend. The entire legend, however, except perhaps for the element of interference of a Goddess which some might not believe, appears to be substantially true and should be taken for granted.
The Grant consisted of occupations and ‘Vrittis which were shared by all the five hundred families of Brahmins supposed to have migrated from Benares, consequent on a devastating famine that prevailed at the time. There was a lone Brahmin called ‘Dugganappayakya’ who belonged to the ‘Aruvelu’ sect, and who according to the episode referred to in the legend, was denied a share for having come down from Benares along with the Nandavariks for his own undisclosed reasons. As it was not possible to ofer him a ‘Vritti’ for fear of breach of ‘Sri Chowdeswari’ and the entreaties and the offer of gold extended to him as a substitute for a ‘Vritti’ were not acceptable to the Brahmin, he appears to have unjustify cursed the Nandavariks that they would lose for same time the grant in its entirely. And lo! The curse seems to have come true as brought out in the stone inscription of 1750 A.D. in the temple when the grant was said to have been restored to the Nandavariks by ‘Mahamandaleswara Rama Raju – Tirumala Rajayya Deva’. A large number of Thogata Veera Kshatriyas who were standing sentinels to the Deity Sri Chowdeshwari Devi at Benars, is also stated to have accompamied Sri Chowdeswari from Benares and settled down at Nandavaram after the Diety in original splendour vanished after the fulfillment of Her mission. Even to this day, the Deity at Nandavaram is held in the highest esteem by the Thogata Veera Kshatriyas and worshipped with great devoion and they are seen to be as much privileged to perform the pooja to the Deity as the Nandavariks. The stone inseription the left pillar of the ‘Mukhamantapa’ put up in Saka 1475 refers to the honours and benefits conferred on the three hundred and sixty ‘Ekangaviras’ who were ardent devotees of ‘Sri Chowdeswari’. The Thogata Veera Kshatriyas’ of today were perhaps known as ‘Ekangaveeras’ in those days. Four other Brahmin families namely 1) ‘Rayapeddi, 2) Thogata cheeti’. 3) Saluva’ and 4) Chowduru’ who were believed to have been the ‘Asthana purohits to the King Nandana, were said to have been left behind by the King on migration to ‘Nandyala’ with a request to the Nandavariks to engage tehm as their own purohits, as he could not take them with him having given away the entire capital as a gift. It is to one of these families of ‘Asthana’ Purohits. Of ‘Saluva’ was born later Timmarasu, who become the brilliant Guardian Prime Minister of the great Sri Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagar Empire (1509 A.D. to 1529 A.D.) The Raya used to call him ‘APPAJI’ which is a term of great affection and endearment and as a consequence there of, SALUVA THIMMARASU, was also know as ‘APPAJI THIMMARASU’. ‘SALUVATHIMMARASU’ does not, therefore, seem to be a ‘Nandavarik’. It would be a privilege to won him as a ‘Nandavarik’, as to this day, no other sect appears to have claimed him to belong to them.’
Source: A Treatise on Nandavariks by Rayasam Viswanatha Rao