The history of Velamas is as old as Telugu bravery. Their military exploits form an important part of Telugu tradition, history, and folklore. The battle of Palnadu, Palnati Charitra, battle of Bobbili etc speak volumes about their chivalry. They are known to be fearless and battle hardy warriors. The lives of popular velamas such as Thandra Papa Rayudu, Palnati Brahmanaidu, and Rani Mallama Devi are synonymous of bravery. Their heroic traditions such as ' Sati ' prove that they are of Aryan descent with extensive inter mingling with other martial races of India. Velamas are well known for their liberal outlook, which is obvious from the war of Palnadu. Velama kings regularly clashed with the Reddy's but had friendly dealings with the Orissa Gajapatis and the Bahmanis due to political compulsions at that time.
There are conflicting theories as to the origin of the caste / community but none of them are authentic or scientific.
The History of Padmanayaka Velamas is mostly known through various folklore and ballads, and some inscriptions.
There are no known or documented subdivisions or sub castes among the Padmanayaka Velama Dora community.
We are also called Padma Velama, Padma Velama Naidu, Velama Naidu, Vellama Naidu etc, depending on our geographical location. Few hundred families amongst us mostly hailing from Suryapet and some other areas of Nalgonda dist , Wardannapet region of Warangal district, parts of Khammam district and Karimnagar district, and Mancherial / Mandamarri areas in Adilabad district call themselves as Racha Velamas and usually they tend to marry among themselves until recently.
The Velamas, as we are known today, are mostly located in:
Telangana Region : In districts of Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Adilabad, Nizambad, Rangareddy, Medak, Mahboobnagar, Khammam, and Hyderabad.
Coastal Andhra Region : In districts of Krishna, West Godavary, East Godavary, Prakasam, Vizianagaram, Vishakapatnam, and also Srikakulam districts.
Rayalaseema Region : In districts of Chittoor, Nellore, Cuddapah, and Ananthapur.
Tamilnadu Region : City of Chennai, in districts of northern Tamilnadu, and in districts of southern Tamilnadu like Madurai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram etc.
Those who have migrated to Karnataka are mostly located in city of Bangalore.
Politically, socially, and economically, Velamas played a prominent role in the growth of Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu.
Traditionally velamas are refered to as Dora (s) and Dorasani (s) ( traditional titles for men and women respectively ) in the villages of Andhra Pradesh and enjoyed very high social status in the society since hundreds of years due to their specific, unique, behaviour patterns / styles and willingness to suffer and sacrifice in exchange for their perceived notion of individual honor and dignity for themselves as well as for their families and social circles.