185,000 (2001 census). Each listed district has communities of at least 5,000.
Tamil Nadu, Madurai, Thanjavur, Dindugul Quaid-E. Milleth, Ramanathapuram, Chengai-Annai, Salem, Tiruchchirappalli, Tirunelveli, and North Arcot districts; Chennai, Deccan, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem cities; Karnataka; Andhra Pradesh.
Southern Saurashtra, Northern Saurashtra. Indo-Aryan elements reveal Gujarati [guj] relationship; some structure from Dravidian, lexicon from Telugu [tel] and Tamil [tam]. An Indo-European island surrounded by Dravidian languages. The 3 main populations in Salem, Thanjavur, and Madurai cities had between 67% and 97% inherent intelligibility among themselves. Lexical similarity: 77%–96% between all varieties. The 3 main populations: 84%–96%. Southern dialects have 83% or higher lexical similarity with Thanjavur variety.
Vigorous. Home, prayer. Also use Tamil [tam].
Most are weavers; nonweavers are generally better educated. System of exogamous clans. Hindu.