The members of Sagara (Uppara) community are the descendants of Emperor Sagara of Suryavamsha spread throughout the Country and all over the world. He is one of the six legendary emperors known as ‘Shat Chakravarthis’. The story of King Sagara is narrated in Vishnu Purana.

To know the legend of King Sagara, Click Here...

Our Profession:

The people of the Sagara (Uppara) Community today are involved in the construction activities such as house-building, building projects and roads etc. They are employed as contractors, masons, and as construction labour. Some of the Sagaras are farmers in the agricultural sector. Many of these are socially, educationally and economically backward and there is a need to unite them all, throughout the country, and all over the world to strengthen the community’s base.

The name Uppara, Loniya etc. are derived from their vocation and not relate to their common name Sagaras, which indicates the origin of the community and their original status as Kshatriyas.

Our Story:

  • King Sagara’s story is also referred in Chaitanya Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavatha by Swamy Sundara Chaitanya.

  • A comprehensive account of the Sagara (Uppara) community is provided in Volume seven of the book ‘Castes and Tribes of Southern India’ written by Edgar Thurston and K. Rangachari. This work provides elaborate information against the entry ‘Uppara’, pages 228 to 241.

  • It is stated that Uppara, Uppara, Uppiliyan or Uppiliga are different names for a class of people, who followed the same professional occupation, the manufacture of salt (uppu) in various parts of Southern India. According to Mr. M.A. Stuart, the Upparas are a caste of tank diggers and earth-workers, corresponding to the Uppiliyans of the Tamil districts. Their traditional occupation is, as the name implies, manufacturing earth-salt. It is possible that the Uppiliyans, Upparas and Uppaaras were originally a homogenous caste, the members of which, in course of time, migrated to different parts of the country and adopted the language of the locality in which they settled. The causes which may have led to the breaking up of the caste are not far to seek. The original occupation thereof, according to the legendary story of its origin was digging of tank, channel and wells. Uppiliyans, Upparas or Uppaaras of erstwhile Madras Presidency seem to have engaged in bricklaying, house-building, the construction of forts and every kind of earth-work.

  • According to Buchanan the Telugu Upparas at the beginning of the nineteenth century; followed occupation is in the building of mud-walls, especially those of forts. Another very important occupation of these people was the manufacture of earth-salt and saltpetre (an important ingredient in the manufacture of gunpowder).

  • The Uppiliyans trace their descent from a mythical individual, named Sagara. His story is narrated in the Vishnu Purana. (For knowing the complete legend of King Sagara, see the website). Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagara, brought down the divine river Ganga to absolve the Sagara’s sons, who were reduced to ashes by the wrath of Sage Kapila. In affectionate memory of his sons, he called the chasm which they had dug – Saagara. This is still the name of the ocean, and especially of the Bay of Bengal at the mouth of the Ganges. The Ganga received the name of Bhagirathi, as it was brought down to earth by Bhagiratha, the grandson of Sagara.

  • The members of the caste call themselves Sagara Kula or the family of Sagara. As Sagara’s sons excavated the ocean, so they dig tanks, channels, wells etc. This caste is divided into the Telugu and Karnataka sub-divisions. Whereas the members of the Telugu sub-division work as bricklayers and builders. The members of the Karnataka sub-division make earth-salt. The well-to-do section of the caste further undertake public works on contract, and some of them are good architects of ordinary Hindu houses (which do not call for much scientific precision). There are also agriculturists and labourers among them. The British Government in India prohibited the manufacture of earth-salt. Thus, causing the community members to divert to other occupations.

  • Speaking different languages and living in different parts of the country, the Uppaliyans, Upparas and Upparas do not intermarry, though, where they are found close together, they interdine

  • Some members of the caste are Vaishnavites and others Saivites. They also worship various village deities, which vary according to the place of residence. Some said to worship Sunkalamma, Jambulamma and Timmappa.

  • Regarding the origin of the word Uppara for the community it is also said as follows: In India, of the four language families, the Dravidian and Aryan languages branches are used in two parts of India. In the South, the Dravidian languages are used, in the North, the Aryan languages are used. The Dravidian languages are, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. In all these four languages, the word ‘Uppu’ for salt, the basic word. Therefore, the persons engaged in the manufacture of salt are called Uppara in Kannada, Uppar, Upparollu in Telugu, Uppaliya, Uppaliyan and Upaliga in Tamil. In the Northern part of the country, the Aryan languages like Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarathi etc., are used. For English word salt, the Aryan languages meaning is ‘Lon’ or Non. In Sanskrit, for salt, the word ‘Lavan’ is used. In Hindi, ‘Namak’ is used. So the persons engaged in the manufacture of the salt were called Loniya, in M.P., Uttar Pradesh, Noniya in Bihar and Bengal and ‘Lonan’ in Maharastra.

  • Though the Upparas of the South and the Loniyas of North are one and the same caste, there is no connection between the people of these two caste groups even after sixty years of Independence. Now, the time has come to know, understand and unite all these people from different parts of the country and all over the world. Sagara Uppara Community Society has a vision and dream to unite these divided groups. and bring them toghther through this Website.

  • Compared to the Upparas of the South India, the Loniyas (Noniyas) of the North India are a dynamic and vibrant group. The caste mobility movement which appears in the nineteenth century and whose persistence today is at least partially successful, is that undertaken by the Noniyas, a Shudra caste found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They claim the status of a well-known warrior clan, the Chauhan Rajputs.

  • In 1898, Lalla Mathura Prasad Singh, a Noniya of Pratapgarh District, who had recently acquired wealth through his career as a contractor for construction and public works founded an organization with the purpose of encouraging members of the Noniya (or Loniya) caste to claim their rightful status as Chauhan Rajputs. The Chauhan organization moved eastward into the districts of Allahabad, Banaras, Mirzapur, Jaunpur, and Azamgarh, making gains wherever a group of Noniyas existed whose wealth enabled them to attempt social emulation of the Rajpur style of life.

  • The Upparas or Loniyas is an All India Caste. It is our bounden duty to bring them on a single platform to all round development of the community on the model of Narayanaguru of Kerala.

  • The one man commission constituted by the Government of A.P., and chaired by Sri Anantha Raman in its report in the year 1968 made certain observations and recommendations regarding the Uppara or Sagara community. Some of the points mentioned in the report are as follows:

  • Uppara or Sagara is a Telugu caste of workers engaged in excavation and earth-work. It traces its descent from Sagara Chakravarti who was a Kshatriya. It is said that they were originally Kshatriyas but in course of time they became downtrodden. They were originally salt-workers and the name Uppara comes from Telugu word Uppu (Salt). When private manufacture of salt was forbidden by Government the people of the community took up to earth-work excavation the earning and daily labour. Most of them are now employed in digging wells, excavation of tanks, building houses, laying of roads and as masons, daily labourers etc.

  • Considering the nature of the occupation and the fact that they are low in caste hierarchy and the community as a whole is very poor and is educationally backward, the Commission considers that the community as a whole is socially and educationally backward and therefore merits inclusion in the Backward Classes list in A.P.

  • It is also noted that at the mouth of river Ganga, where it merges in Bay of Bengal, a mela by name Ganga Sagar Mela is held every year in West Bengal by people. A reference is already made above that the name Saagar is given to the ocean by Sagara in memory of his sons.

  • The legend goes that the weapons used in the combat against Parashurama by Kartavirya of Surya vamsha have turned to vocational tools in course of time for the Sagaras to assist in their construction work owing to Parasharamma’s curse. The swords wielded in anger against Parashurama have turned to be Tapis, the trident of Kartavirya turned to spade, the arrows that were shot-to crowbars. The scissors turned -to Kaivaram, the head of the mace to plumb, the sacred thread to the string.

The members of Sagara (Uppara) community are the descendants of Emperor Sagara of Suryavamsha spread throughout the Country and all over the world. He is one of the six legendary emperors known as ‘Shat Chakravarthis’. The story of King Sagara is narrated in Vishnu Purana.