About Billava Community
Billava Community is the largest of the various communities in the two Districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udipi of Karnataka State in India. The Billavas who are mostly found in Dakshina Kannada and Udipi, are also known as Birve, Poojary, Baide. They were occupationally warriors, experts in traditional medicine, agriculturists, and priests in Bhutastanas/Daivastanas(temples of spirits of the dead and of Gods of Hindu pantheon),. A section of them were also toddy tappers, providing the mild and healthy palm liquor to labourers, farmers and the fishermen who relax with the potion after the day's hard work in the fields or in the sea. As warriors some of them were generals in the armies of chieftains and Kings. The community's names have taken after their prime occupations. Billava/Birve means one who wields a bow/arrow, poojary means a priest, baide(vaidya in kannada) means a medicineman. They speak mainly Tulu, but the Billavas in Kundapur Taluk speak a distinct Kannada.
They were mostly worshipping various Daivas(Spirits) like Kodamandaye, Panjurli, Jumadi, Jarandaye, Kallurti, Koti Chennaya, Devi Baidedi, Dhumavati, Pilichandi, Bobbarye, etc, apart from puranic gods. They have a distinct culture and customs. For that matter most other Tulu speaking communities have similar customs. Marriage used to be performed by the Gurikara (heads of the local billava community). Family disputes used to be settled by calling a meeting of the Gurikaras. With urbanization and adoption of vedic rituals and introduction of modern justice system the institution of Gurikara is fast becoming extinct, though it still exists in the interior villages.
Some say Shri Krishnadevaraya who established the Toulava Rajya in Vijayanagara was said to be born of a Billava Mother. (veracity to be verified.)