In modern times the Velamas are classed as "Upper Shudras". However, they consider themselves to once have been warriors. The division of warrior clans of Telugu land into many social groups commenced during the time of Kakatiya king Rudra I (1158-1195). According to Velugotivari Vamsavali and Padmanayakacharitra, texts written in medieval times, farmers (Kapus) became Kammas and Velamas. In medieval times the term Kapu meant a farmer or protector. Badabanala Bhatta, the minister in the court of Ganapatideva prescribed Surnames and Gothras of Velamas. Kakatiya king Prataparudra entrusted the defence of Warangal to 77 Padmanayaka clans. Velamas constituted a significant proportion of the broader "Padmanayaka" group. Velamas have 77 gothras and 77 flags in earlier times.
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