Kula deivam

What is a Kula Deivam and how to discover yours?

Kula deivam is a community deity from ancient times that is taking care of the current generation that is present. Everyone has at least one. There are two types of Kula Deivam and usually in the form of AYYA or AMMA – fertility and guardian respectively.

It is a Hindu (especially South Indian) tradition that each family have a deity called Kula deivam. This can be the same as the village deity – it depended on how large the family was in the village. One can also call it a lineage, community or clan deity. These are considered as the ancestral god, meaning that ancestors have been worshiping that god for ages. It is the unshaken belief of most practicing Hindus that these family deities take care of families and protect from all hardships and hindrances.

Village and Family deity is separate to perspnal deity

The Kula deivam is separate and tends to be different from the Hindu Gods that are generally worshiped in a temple. A temple constructed in one’s ancestral village/town will have it as the main deity while other Gods may also be present but secondary. The Kula deivam can be formless as well (nirguna).

People who have migrated to other places still can pay their respects by offerings and feasting during Pongal. Since in most villages, people of the same community tend to be related, everyone will have the same Kula Daivam. Devotees visit their respective temple every year and make special pujas from their family.

If your personal deity has been astrologically identified as eg. Lord Vishnu or Tirupati, this is not the same as your village deity. Without Kula Deivamโ€™s blessing nothing can be done, even our Istha Deivam and guru also sometimes cannot help one.


These deities have been linked back to common Indus Valley civilization imagery, and are hypothesized to represent the prevailing Dravidian folk religion at the time. The worship of these gods at many times contradicts the common tenets of Brahminical traditions, especially in customs of animal sacrifice, right of priesthood, and possession by a goddess. Today these deities are worshipped by almost all non-Brahmins in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

How to find your Kula Deivam

You may place a mud lamp (agal vilaku) with nallanaai and place it at your doorstep facing north to invite them. Ask them to show you who they are.

Or, if you know it’s a male deity and not sure who, you can do the prayers for Muniyandi. If it’s a female deity and you do not know who, you can do it for periyachi.

Consult the elders of your family, the temple priest or guru for more assistance. Astrology can assist, but under the guidance of an expert only.

Tamil Brahmins on Kula Deivam
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