Turpu Kapu is a Telugu term for the a sub-caste of Kapu living in the eastern (turpu) frontier of Andhra Pradesh. This group is also referred to as the Naidu, meaning "leader". The term kapu means "protector" in the Telugu language.
They Turpu Kapu are primarily concentrated in the northern coastal Andhra Districts of Srikakulam, Vizayanagaram and Visakhpatnam, with minor settlements in East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna Districts and can also be found in Orissa. Turpu Kapus speak Telugu and are primarily an agrarian community.
Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places(Title and location names are in English.)
Kapus were the earliest inhabitants of the Deccan region, people who migrated from the north, cleared forests for agriculture and built settlements.
Kapu are the descendants of the Kaampu tribe, an Indo-Aryan tribe, which migrated from Kampilya, Mithila and Ayodhya, ancient cities situated in the Gangetic Plains of North India .
This migrant tribe initially settled down along the banks of the Godavari river, cleared forests and built Settlements and Towns. To this day, a heavy concentration of Munnuru Kapus and Telagas are found on the banks of the Godavari in the North Telangana districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and the coastal districts of East Godavari and West Godavari, in which lies the Godavari delta and the Krishna Delta(Krishna & Guntur Dt) .
The settlement slowly moved North and started settling down in the current Geographical regions of Srikakulam and Vizayanagaram and were called as Turpu Kapus.
The settlement slowly spread among the geographical area of the three Shaiva Lingams of Draksharamam (East Godavari district), Srisailam (Kurnool district) and Srikalahasti (Chittor district).
This Settlement& Geographical Area was referred to as Tri-linga Desam in the Ancient Texts and the people who were settled in this region were called Telaga and the language spoken by them was called Telugu.
This settlement of Telagas started referring to themselves as Balija when the Balijas became quite prominent in the medieval period (around about 1000 CE) with their political and economic contributions primarily the Setty Sub-Division of Balija.
The caste title of the Kapus, Naidu, which is a derivation of the word Nayaka (meaning "leader"), was first used during the era of the Vishnukundina dynasty, which ruled the Krishna and Godavari river deltas during the 3rd Century A.D.
Kapus share their origins along with similar warrior/agrarian communities like the Kurmis of Bihar and UP and Kunbis/Marathas of Maharashtra and Vokkaliga of Karnataka.
The Kapus were primarily a military/agrarian community who took up military service and were into cultivation during peace time. Consequently the Kapu subcastes also evolved based on occupation.
Kapu subcastes dedicated to military service included Telaga, Munnuru Kapu and Ontaris (who served as special forces). Munnuru Kapu's were a detachment of the Telagas who migrated to the current Telangana Districts and served under the Kakatiyas and Nizams.
Kapus engaged in trade were referred to as Balija. Balijas who took up military service and protected trading caravans were called Balija Nayakulu or Balija Naidu.
A significant number of Kapus have today diversified into industry, arts and academia. However, a substantial segment of the population are still farmers.
The Munnuru Kapu and Turpu Kapu Sub-Castes are classified as BC-D whereas the Balija,Telaga,Ontari Sub-Castes are Classified as O.C(Forward Caste).
Kapu is also used by other Communities the following social groupings are not part of the Kapu Caste.
Ayyaraka Patrulu, Venna Kapu, Kapu Savara, Konda Kapu and Reddy Subcastes (Dommari Kapu. Godugulanati Kapu, Kodithi Kapu, Kuruva Kapu, Musugu Kapu, Nallevelama Kapu, Pakanati Kapu, Paala Kapu, Palle Kapu, Panta Kapu, Pedakanti Kapu, Pokanati Kapu, Sajjana Kapu, Velama Kapu, Yerlam Kapu),
Perika Balija, Krishna Balija, Surya Balija(Kalavatula), Vada Balija (Fishermen), Ediga Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers), Setty Balija/Chettu Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers) of Coastal Andhra, Ontari-Mudiraj