However, linguistic construction of Dravidian languages traces its root to Proto-South-Dravidian word saal. In Tulu, Saalye or Taalye means "spider". Also, saali means spider in Telugu. Probably, symbolising the weaving activity with the spider's web, this word was coined for weavers. In Tamil, it's Saalikan or Saaliyan. In Kannada, it is Shaaliga or Shaaliya. In Malayalam, Chaaliyan. In Telugu, it's Saalidu or Saalollu.
The word Padmashali has very deep meaning in Hindu mythology. The Vaishnava group interpret in essence the word Padmashali is coinaage of two words, viz., padma and shali. The word "Padma" is sahasradala padma, meaning the highest order of human intelligence. In body chakras "Padma" refers to sahasrara. The word "Shali" in Sanskrit is 'be holder'. Thus "Padmashali" literally means holder of sahasrara. In physical term it means intelligence. It is believed that Padmavathi of Mangapura of Tirupati declares that she was the daughter of Padmashali. Hence, the name Padmashali. There exists writing in Tirupati to evidence the statement of Padmavathi as daughter of Padmashali's. Another aspect of Padmashali, Padma also refers to Lotus. The Lotus also refers to the intelligence or awakening of sahasrara.
The Siva group has different interpretation - to account for their origin it is given out that in order to clothe the nakedness of people in the world, Siva commissioned Markandeya to perform a sacrifice and one Bhavana Rishi came out of the holy fire, holding a lotus flower Padma in his hand. He married two wives Prasannavati and Bhadravathi, daughters of Surya (The Sun) and had a hundred and one sons, who all took to weaving cloth out of the fibre of the lotus flower men to wear, and became the progenitors of the one hundered and one Gotras this caste. God Surya being pleased with what they did, gave them a fifth veda called Padma Veda; and so men of this caste give out that they belong to Padma Sakha and Markandeya Sutra analogous to the Sakhas, Sutras and Gotras of the Brahmans.
The padmashali has a group who are qualified agama shastra pandits who perform the poojas and vedic rites. They are identified as "PADMA BRAHMINS". Their performances include homa avan poojas marriage performance etc. It should be appreciated that the origin of Padmashalis relates to Brighu Maharshi and Brighu Marharshi was instrumental in writing astrology. Further down in the order of heritage Markandeya who wrote the epic on devi and her shakti. It also means that we were shakti aradhaks. They profess to have been following all the religious rites prescribed for Brahmans till in the beginning of the Kali age. One of their caste named Padma-saka declined to reveal the virtues of a miraculous gem which Brahma had given to their caste to Ganapathi who sought to learn the secret which they had been enjoined to keep, and who on his wish not being gratified cursed them to fall from their high status. It is said however that one Parabrahmamurti born is Srirama Agrahara pleased Ganapathi by his tapas, and got the curse removed, so that after 5000 years of the Kali-Yuga, they should regain their last position. This Parabrahmamurti other wise known as Padmabavacharya, it is said redistributed the caste into Ninety-Six gotras arranged in eight groups and established four Mathas with gurus for them.
Thus, Padmashali name as caste carries highest meaning that it is caste of braminical not by birth but by deeds.
Like braminical class, the Padmashali's relates their origin to Vrushis, sages as gothras. Each family has separate gothras and like in brahminical following, in marriage sagothras are barred. That apart the families also carry family names, the family name and gothras will be referred at the time of marriage and sagothras and like family name are barred in going in for marriage.
It is to be noted that it is likely the only caste that has a parasite leanage of families who live praising the Padmashali heritage and they are called as "Pogadaraju", meaning, (Pogada = praising and Raju = king,)in praising the family is king. These Pogadaraju during the course of time are now known as padagaraju. These Padagaraju circuits to families of Padmashali and praises padmashali by bahuparak (Praises) referring the origin of Padmashali from Brugu maharshi to bhavana maharshi.
Similar to padmashali's there are Viswa Brahmins/kamsali/kammari who are also a branch of Brahmins.There are kurubas who are Yaduvamsha Kshatriyas, gouds/Idigas who are Somavamsha Kshatriyas and Palli,Jalari who are Mathsya vamsha kshatriyas.
During early chola times (100 AD ), there is a great necessity some communities with different trades, as the population is getting increased. They introduced some communities with different trades like village protectors, food for cattle(telaga pindi distributors), kamam(vinodam or emotional happiness) spreaders,warriors who uses rocks(rallu) to attack enemies, warriors who uses physical strength (balam) and so on. These trades followers become like different communities kapu,telaga,kamma,reddy and balija etc. These communities percentages increased over a period of time. Those old trades have gone and they are not profitable,as the old hindu kingdoms are gone. During british period as farming becomes more profitable, these communities acquired lot of barren lands and become like agarian communities. They started dominating kshatriyas(Rajus), brahmins,komati's(Vysyas), different kshatriya lineage communities and brahminical lineage communities.
Padmashali exists at the time of Parasurama itself. It can be derived that Shivalli brahmins of Karnataka region(Tulu region) first developed weaving and gave it to padmashali's.
Caste communities involved in the leather and wool-based household industries - which perhaps have an older history than cloth weaving - have developed an integrated process of production of raw material and its conversion into commodities. But unlike them, the Padmashalis developed exclusively cloth-weaving skills. They produce cloth as a marketable commodity, without having any organic links or skills in the production of the raw material. The Padmashali men have no expertise in ploughing and their women lack seeding and crop-cutting skills. Thus, their skill structure, over a period of time, became one-dimensional. By the time the British arrived, the Padmashalis were producing huge quantities of cloth and controlled a leading cottage industry of India.
The introduction of the railways - starting 1853 - by the colonial British government helped penetrate the selfsufficient rural economy. With the forced introduction of machine manufactured goods, especially finished cotton goods from the factories of Birmingham (making use of advances from the Industrial Revolution) etc., from imperial Britain, the domestic textile industry suffered losses. Being an important node in the rural economy, the Padmashali community also naturally felt the impact. Today, many urban Padmashalis have abandoned their ancestral profession and have diversified into other activities. One can see an increasing number of Padmashalis become engineers, doctors, politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, advocates professionals etc .
The caste in weavers sources their origin do different aspects.
The Shettigars who are mainly settled in South Canara region generally refer themselves with Padmashalis. However, in Kinnimulki,a taluk near Katil, in near Udupi, the Padmashalis are known as shettigars. The weavers in Andhra Pradesh has following names (as per the OBC list of central government - List no 155,) they are all not Padmashalis. But the weavers, depending upon on the nature of basic material used in the earlier times, the name of caste originated.
In Karnataka, there are nearly 30 grous of castes in weavers and Padmashalis are one of the weavers, independent of other group castes, with their culture practice based on vedic principles.