Balijas are concentrated throughout Andhra and Rayalseema Region, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. This is the only Sub caste of Kapu which bears both the tiles Setty and Naidu.
Balija is Primarily a Warrior / Trading community by occupation they seem to have been formed by a small Social Change that seem to have occurred among some sections of the Kapu community the Original Balijas seem to have migrated form the Balijipeta, Srikakulam District .According to some Historians. Veera balingyas were mentioned in Kakatiya inscriptions. They were powerful and wealthy merchants who were highly respected in Kakatiyan society. The Balijas had the title Setty and were primarily Tax collectors and Merchants.
The following are the major Balija ruling clans or Dynasties which comprised the heart of Vijayanagar Empire. It is also said the great Emperor Krishnadevaraya had a Balija / Kapu Origin.
• Araveeti Dynasty the last Dynasty of Vijayanagar and its ruler Ramaraya the last ruler of the Vijayanagar Empire was Kota Balija.
• Madurai nayaks
• Tanjavur nayaks
• Ceylon Khandi Kings
Kasturi Naidu, Peda Koenti Nayudu of the Vasarasi family of Balija caste ruled these provinces.
Most of the Balijas refer themselves as kapu/Telaga in Andhra and as Munnuru Kapu in Telangana. But in Rayalaseema Area they are not referred as Kapu but as Balija/Setty Balija / Balija Naidi / Naidu here kapu refers to Reddys another Community, however they retain the caste title Naidu.
Setty Balija, These were the Rich and Powerful Traders and Merchants of the Kakatiya Dynasty, there was mention of some very old Trading Guilds concentrated in Bellary in Karnataka. In fact Historian’s suggest this was the first branch in Balijas.
• Balija Naidu is a derivation of the term Balija Nayakulu. This sub caste seems to have formed during the Kakatiya Dynasty times primarily to protect the Balija / Setty trading caravans from being attacked by bandits. The current Anantapur Dt. and Nellore Dt were ruled by Balija Naidu Kings’ Families.
• Kota Balijas the Araveedu dynasty of Vijayanagar Empire was from this lineage so are the Madurai nayaks and the Tanjavore nayaks.
• Gajula Balija / Sugavansi Balija (Pure) Myth is that Siva’s wile Parvati made a penance in order to look beautiful for Siva and person that brought her bangles riding a donkey was the ancestor of the Gajula Balija.
• Kavarai (Kavara Balija Naidu or Gavara Balija Naidu). “Kavarai is the name for Balijas (Teluu trading caste), who have settled in the Tamil country” as per Thurston of Castes and Tribes of Southern India.
Kavarais call themselves Balija (Born from lire). They use the titles Naidu, Nayakkan. Chetti or Setti and nayak. Gajula Balija is the largest sub-division of Kavarais. The equivalent name of Gajula Balija in Tamil is Valaiyal Chetti, (The meaning of Tamil name valaiyal in Telugu is Gajula (Bangles)). Gajula Balijas attained this name as they were involved in manufacturing and selling bangles initially though they made their mark in various other fields later.
• Rajamahendravaram Balija or Musu kamma Balija (Named after a special ear ornament worn by women)