The Billavas form one of the most important communities in the city of Mangalore. The word 'billava' means 'hunter' or 'one who shoots arrows'. Their racial origins are the same as the Illavas, a community of Kerala. The Billava community is fast being inspired by the teachings of Narayana Guru, one of the most famous religious and social workers of the 19th century.

The major means of livelihood of the Billavas used to be Garadi or martial arts, selling liquor and Ayurvedic medicines. This community of the city is, however, trying their hands on a number of other occupations.

One of the most well known surnames that are associated with the Billava community of Mangalore is Pujari. One of the most commonly visited temples of Mangalore called the Kudroli temple is closely associated with the Billava community. The surname Pujari is well suited to the Billavas of Mangalore, as the practice of idolizing bhuta is not believed to be complete without them. The participation of a Billava is considered an essential part of the ceremony of bhuta or daiva.

The Billavas mainly speak in the Tulu language. Another language that is commonly spoken by the Billava community of South India is the Kannada language. Bobbariya is most popular bhuta that is idolized by the Billava community of the city. The Billavas of Mangalore used to be a part of the matrilineal system and were descendants of the Aliya Kattu, a social system rampant in the Tulu and the Malayala areas.

Last Updated on 21 September 2011