The meaning of yellapus is usually explained that as they have protected the borders, they got that name. The surname of Ganta supports this view, where these are kept on the border of the village near bell.
It is also said that they protected all the others.(elleran). ela means first and apu means to stop in telugu. It means they have to stop the early storm of enemies.
The word Vellapu is derived from – Vellalu(Border) ape vadu(Blocker), the people of this clan were valiant warriors and they act as a shield by preventing the entry of foreign forces into the kingdom at the time of warfare and hence known as “అవసరానికి ఆదుకునీ ఎల్లప్పుడు కాపాడే ఎల్లాపులు” by the people (Yellapu – ఎల్లలు కాపాడేవాడు, ఎల్లలు ఆపే వాడు).
Vellapus are kshatriya warriors. Kshatriya is one of the four varnas (social orders) in Hinduism. It constitutes the military and ruling order of the traditional Vedic-Hindu social system as outlined by the Vedas and the Laws of Manu.
Yellapus were Senapathis, Sainyadhikaris, Supreme warriors & even ruled the kingdom in the absence of the king. The were also small kings sourrounding the main kingdom. They were often been called as “Kind Hearted Rulers”. They were part of battles as Kshatriyas and fought fearless till death. Hence, they are also known as “అవసరానికి ఆదుకునీ ఎల్లప్పుడు కాపాడే ఎల్లాపులు” by people. They were normally called as Dhora or Patel in the villages.
Yellapus are Kapus or at least strongly connected to Kapus.
There are so many common surnames for both Kapus and Yellapus. Eg:Akireddy, Aregala, Bonthala, Bethi,Chetti, Dadi, Ganta, Gandla, Gandhe, Gandham, Jampala, Kandula, Kosna, Kola, Koppula, Kotte, Katakam, Kamatam, Madasu, Mekala, Naradasu, Pagadala, Padala, Palle, Puppala, Puram, Rami setti, Setti, Sunkara, Thoomu, Thota etc.
Kapu caste people are called in different names such as Balija Naidus, Naidus, Telagas, Munnuru Kapus, Kavarais, Hazaris though they are one and all with common surnames and common gotrams. They carry the suffixes either Naidu, Rayudu, Dora or sometimes Patel. It appears that Yellapus also carry the same some times.
Yellapus were related to Kakatiyas and hence obtained the surname “Bethi” after the king Betha Raju. Bethi and Bethu are very common surnames in Coastal Andhra Kapu people. According to “Castes and Tribes of Nizam’s Dominions” by Sayed Siraj-Ul-Hassan Kakatiya king Prathaparudra belonged to Kapu caste. Kapu Caste factor could be the one for Yellapus to serve Kakatiyas obediently when the dynasty was in trouble on caste lines and threat from the North.
4. When Kakatiya regime fell down Yellapus moved to Karnataka to serve in Vijayanagar empire under Srikrishna Devaraya and from there to Madurai and Thanjavur as per the article. Incidentally Vijayanagar kings and their relatives (Naik kings of Madurai and Thanjavur kingdoms) belonged to Balija Naidu caste (Kapu/Telaga). According to Thurston and Rangachari in “Castes and Tribes of Southern India” Vijayanagar kings, Madurai and Thanjavur Naik Kings belonged to Balija Naidu caste. It is conceivable that Yellapus belonging to the same caste as their kings might have rendered them loyal service. Tamilians calling Yallapus as Kapunayullu according to the article also attests to the fact that they belong to Kapu caste.Presently,in khammam and Nalgonda districts they claim as part of telaga/kapu.
Government of Andhra Pradesh has issued a G.O.M.S.No.61, BCW (M) Dept., dated 5-12-1996 including the Yellapus into the B.Cs.
The most common surnames (in alphabetical order):
- Aadi Akireddy Aregala Anabheri Aparaju
- Avari Basa Beerpur Bhirishetty Bonagiri
- Balasankula Bethi Chanda Chataraju Cherukuthota
- Chetti Chintharapu Dadi Etta Gadapa
- Gade Gali Gandhe Ganta gargula
- Gujjeti Jampala Jangeti Jangili Jinukala
- Kailasa Kandunuri Kaluvala katta Kondu
- Karnavattula Kola Korukanti Kosna Koppula
- Kotte Katakam Kamatam Koodala Lakkakula
- Lakkam Madapathi Madasu Malka Maidam
- Manepalli Muppala Namani Naradasu Nanvala
- Pagadala Padala Palle Paruvelly Puram
- Puramshetti Pedda Penchala Perka Perkari
- Puppala Poosala Ramneni Rachakonda Ramshetti
- Rapolu Saini Saluvaji Shetti Shriramshetty
- Sunkara Sunki Thoom Thota Tula
- Thula Vodnala Vadnala Veeramalla Veerla
- Velmula Velpula Vogeti Vugrala Vulise
- Vurugonda Yellapu