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Iyengars (or Aiyangar) belongs to the Brahmin community of Tamil Nadu, whose members profess the Visishtaadvaita philosophy codified by Ramanuja.

Majority of the Iyengars speak Tamil. Large numbers of Kannada speaking Iyengars are found in southern Karnataka (known as Bangalore Iyengar), as well as smaller numbers of Telugu-speakers are found in southern Andhra Pradesh. Iyengars are divided into two sub-communities: Thenkalai and Vadakalai.

The word Iyengar is derived from the word ‘Ayya’ (used by the native people of the Tamil Nadu to denote respect to the Brahmins), which in turn is derived from the word ‘Arya’, means Aryan.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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