is the Lastname
generally suffixed with first name, especially persons belonging to Brahmin
caste in Dakshina Kannada
districts of Karnataka
. Aithals can be Shaiva Brahmins
or Shivalli Brahmins
.In general, Aithals residing in those districts speak a regional dialect of the Kannada and Tulu
language. There are many Aithals who have migrated to other places within erstwhile South Canara district e.g., Surathkal
and claim those places as their native places.
The word Aithala derives from a prerequisite vedic ritual of securing and maintaining the three fires. AhitAH analaH yasya saH, is an ahitanalaH, which essentially means one who has secured and has been maintaining the three fires required for an agnichayanam. But the Apabhramsa form of this word became to be known as aithala. As one of the members of a vedic group, Aithalas have co-existed with Vaishnavas for a long time.