Vishwakarma or Vishwabrahmin is a term used in India for castes comprising engineers, architects, sculptors, temple builders, and artists. Hence, the term is applied to five castes: Goldsmith, Blacksmith, Copper-smith, Carpenter and Sculptors.
Sub-divisions of the Vishvakarma community across India
Vishvabrahmins or Kamaalar or Aachari or Aasaari in Tamilnadu form serveral occupational subdivisions.
According to the Rajasthan mythology, Vishwakarma had five sons: 1.Manu (Black smith) 2.Maya(Carpenter, Wood-smith) 3.Twasta(Bronze-smith) 4.Silpi(Stone-smith) 5.viswajgna(Goldsmith)
In Andhra Pradesh too, Vishvabrahmins or Kamasalas form five occupational subdivisions: Kammari(Blacksmith), Kamasali (Goldsmiths), Kanchari or Musari (Brass-smiths), Vadrangi(Carpenters) and Kasi or silpi (stone-masons).
Vishvakarmas or Viswabrahmins of Kerala, also known as Achary/Asari or Viswabrahmins. They are classified into four sub-castes namely:
1. 'Achary/Asari' (Carpenters)
2. 'Moosari' (Braziers)
3. 'Thattan' (Goldsmiths)
4. 'Kollan/ Karuvan (blacksmiths)
The Kerala Viswakarma community is very much a politically and socially confused lot. Post independence,the community has not been able to fully capitalize on the immense political and economic opportunities of the times and failed to consolidate as a socio political bloc due to the lack of a cohesive ideology and imaginative thinking. Their inability in becoming a political powerhouse like the Ezhavas and the Nairs was primarily due to the absence of a collective leadership and political acumen. Coupled with a distinct lack of unity among the various sub castes and the posture of each sub sect claiming superiority over the other meant that they were ineffectual in forming a united front to agitate or negotiate for their legitimate demands. Kerala Viswakarma community's strong political affinity to the Communist parties in Kerala has not helped the matters either. Even though being one of the larger castes of Kerala after the Ezhavas and the Nairs, the community has mostly been deprived of what it legitimately deserves in the sociopolitical landscape of Kerala. Viswakaramas in Kerala is thus a downtrodden and marginalised group lost in political doldrums. In the past, Viswakaramas could challenge the Brahminical supremacy and considered themselves equal to the Brahmins and had established their own belief systems called pathis and priests. In the present day it is hard to find a single representative of the community in the higher social and economic circles of the country or the state, though there are few exceptions.Those who attained high positions did it by their sheer determination and hard work than by any outside help from the community or the state. When other communities embraced modern education and marched forward, the Viswakarama looked the other way and thus lagged behind. The long years of social and economic backwardness, the division into various subcastes and the political neglect has put the culturally progressive viswakarama on a back foot. Hence it is high time that the various subcastes of the community coalesce into one united front and form a social organization like the NSS or the SNDP solely dedicated to the educational and social upliftment of the community.
Compared to their present miserable condition, many old texts apparently reveal that they were almost on an equal footing to the Brahmins, exemplified by such rights as the right to wear the 'Poonool' (the sacred thread worn across the body by adult men as a sign of their high status), and the right to enter the Sreekovil/Althara(Sanctum sanctorum) of the temple which was granted to only two persons -the Brahmin, who was the official priest and the Viswakarma with his tool, who was its main architect. Many members of the community were very proficient in the Vedas and the Shastras and displayed deep knowledge and erudition during those ancient times.
Most of these sub-castes do not intermarry, and do have an hierarchy amongst themselves. All the sub-castes worship thr goddess Kali; they are very similar to brahmins in their ritual practices but few of them are non-vegetarians. The Vishvakarmas of North Karnataka are also divided into five sub-castes,and many of them follow Lingayatism and Brahmin culture.
In the state of Goa,Vishvakarmas are known as Charis who call themselves as Vishwakarma Manu Maya Brahmins.Rest other artisan castes do not claim Vishvakarma status.Many artisans got converted and few immigrated during the Portuguese rule.
Many Vishwakarma castes are found in both the above mentioned states. The Vishwakarma Brahmins in Gujarat have the surname Vyas.
In Rajasthan, the Vishwakarmas are also known as suthar,Jangid Brahmins. 
Vishwakarmas in the state of Bengal have the last name of Kar or Karmakar.
Vishwakarmas in the state of UP and Bihar have the surname of Vishwakarma and Sharma.
In the state of Orissa, Vishwakarma Brahmins have the following surnames: Moharana (this title used by all Viswakarmas), Mohapatra (only Mayas - Kastakars), Ojha (Only Manu -Lahuakars) for example, cricketer Pragyan Ojha, Sutar (only Maya -Kastakars), Sahu (Maya -Kastakars & Viswanja -Swarnkars), Parida (Maya -Kastakar and Manu -Lahuakars), Choudhry (Only Maya -Kastakars), Karamkar (Maya and Viswanja), Das (Maya -Kastakars), Bindhani (Maya -Kastakars), Badhei (Maya -Kastakars), Mistry (Maya -Kastakars & Manu -Lahuakars), Mishra (Maya-Kastakars), Subudhi (Maya -Kastakars) and Martha (Maya -Kastakars)
According to traditional belief, Vishwabrahmins are descended from five sons of lord Vishwakarma. They are:
The community is spread widely throughout India and played a vital role in the village economy. Their socio-economic status varied from a very high level to the low level in different parts of India as they earned high wages in towns because of their factory employment and low in villages. About Vishwabrahmins Anand K. Coomaraswamy says ‘the Kammalar (i.e. Panchal) were known as Vishwa or Dev Brahman or Dev Kammalar. They spread gradually towards the south and then reached Ceylon, Burma & Java. The Kammalar claim to have been the spiritual guides and priests and their position in the society survives in the saying The Kammalar is guru to the world. They still have their own priests & do not rely on Brahmans.
They also perform priestly rites in connection with consecration of images. They both claim and possess various special privileges, which they always upheld with much vigour, in some cases they claim a rank equal to that of Brahmans.” He also mentions “throughout the rest of ceremony all priest officers had been performed by the craftsman themselves acting as Brahman priest” .
Dr. Krishna Rao says, “The most highly organized & efficient of the industrial classes was Virpanchal comprising Goldsmiths, coiner blacksmiths, carpenters and masons. In the finest period of Indian art, particularly between eighth and ninth century, they claimed and enjoyed a social status in the community, equal to Brahmans. The art of engraving & sculpture had attained a high stage of development. It was exclusively cultivated by Panchals who wore sacred thread & considered themselves as Vishwakarma Brahmans. The craftsman being deeply versed in national epic literature always figured in the history of India as missionaries of civilization, culture & religion. The intellectual influence being creative & not merely assimilative was at least as great as that of the priest and the author” .
Panchal are known as the Missionaries of civilization, culture & religion, because they spread the Hindu Religion to the whole world through their art. Ernest B. Havell says, “The northern quarter of (Patliputra) was assigned to Brahmans & certain of the higher craftsman such as the armorers, ironsmiths & workers in precious stones. The association of skilled craftsmen with the Brahman and the Kshatriya castes is additional evidence that craftsmanship did not hold an inferior status in Indo Aryan society. The Stapathy or master builder is described in the Shilpa Shastra as officiating at religious ceremonies which preceded the laying out of the Indo Aryan town or village and some of the metal worker& carpenter of the south of India still retains as their caste indication the name Acharya which denotes a teacher of religion”. In ancient India Vishwabrahmins had great importance. Only Vishwabrahmins could hold the degree Jagatgur i.e. Guru to whole world which can be seen in the saying ‘Kammalar is guru to the world’.
Lohars established the Lohara dynasty. Further information regarding this dynasty can be found at the following web site: http://www.kashmir-information.com/ConvertedKashmir/Chapter7.html
Though the Panchals, also known as Vishwakarma Brahmins, held great importance in olden times some Brahmins refused to accept Panchals as being Brahmins. This refusal led to a feud between the two groups. During Peshwa Brahminical rule the Panchals suffered much. The Panchals were not even allowed to tie the dhoti - a cloth worn between legs and around the waist - a mark of Brahminical rank. The Peshwas belonged to the Chitpavan Brahmin caste and were actually late migrants to India, having arrived from the Middle East and Central Asia. The Peshwas competed with the Panchals, who saw themselves as being the original Brahmins and first builders of the Aryan Vedic civilization.
The Vishwakarma Brahmins have contributed greatly to Indian civilization and culture as temple and city builders, architects, engineers and artists. Without their immense contribution, Indian civilization would be very poor indeed.
Contribution of Vishwakarma Brahmins to Indian culture and civilization:
1) Nalanda - Vishwakarma Brahmins built this giant educational complex accommodating over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. On the grounds were lakes and parks. The library was located in a nine storied building where meticulous copies of texts were produced. The subjects taught at Nalanda University covered every field of learning, and it attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey.
2) Iron pillar of Delhi - The pillar is made up of 98% wrought iron of pure quality, and is a testament to the high level of skill achieved by ancient Indian iron smiths in the extraction and processing of iron. It has attracted the attention of archaeologists and metallurgists as it has withstood corrosion for the last 1600 years, despite harsh weather.
3) Hindu architecture - A basic Hindu temple consists of an inner sanctum, the garbha griha or womb-chamber, in which the image is housed, often with space for its circumambulation, a congregation hall, and possibly an antechamber and porch. The sanctum is crowned by a tower-like shikara. At the turn of the first millennium CE two major types of temples existed, the northern or Nagara style and the southern or Dravida type of temple. They are distinguishable by the shape and decoration of their shikharas.
4) Buddhist architecture - Viharas (Buddhist monasteries) began to appear soon after the death of the Buddha, particularly during the Mauryan Empire (321 - 232 B.C) with characteristic stupa monuments; and chaityas (meditation halls housing a stupa). The same period saw the beginning of stone architecture, evidenced by palace remains at Pataliputra as well as the Ashoka Stambha - the monolithic free-standing columns inscribed with edicts put up by the Emperor Ashoka. The Ashokan period is also marked for the introduction of brilliant rock-cut architecture, which formed into the 1000-year-long tradition of cutting and sculpting vast, complex and multi-roomed shrines cut into natural rock, resulting in religious edifices belonging to the Ajivika Buddhist, Hindu and Jain faiths.
5) South Indian architecture - South Indian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in the Indian subcontinent. The sites consist primarily of pyramidal shaped temples which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting of numerous statues of deities, kings, and dancers.
6) Konark Sun Temple - Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Orissa. It was built in red sandstone (Khandolite) and black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site.
7) Vastu Shastra - Vishwakarmas are the creators of this ancient Indian system of architectural design that has gained national and international respect and following. Vaastu Shastra deals with various aspects of designing and building living environments that are in harmony with the physical and metaphysical forces.
8) Mahabodhi Temple - The Mahabodhi Temple (Literally: "Great Awakening Temple") is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is located about 96 km (60 miles) from Patna, Bihar state, India.
9) Indian rock-cut architecture - Indian rock-cut architecture is more various and found in greater abundance than any other form of rock-cut architecture around the world.
10) Ellora Caves - Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 "caves" – Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples and monasteries excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills – were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29) and 5 Jain caves (caves 30-34), built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
11) Ajanta Caves - Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, India are rock-cut cave monuments dating from the second century BCE, containing paintings and sculpture considered to be masterpieces of both "Buddhist religious art" and "universal pictorial art". Since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
12) Mahabalipuram - The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples. The pillars are of the Dravidian order. The sculptures are excellent examples of Pallava art. It is believed that this area served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some half finished, may have been examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructors and practiced on by young students. This can be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is sculpted in a different style.
13) Badami Cave Temples - The Badami Cave Temples are composed of four caves, all carved out of the soft Badami sandstone on a hill cliff in the late 6th century. The four caves are simple in style. The entrance is a verandah with stone columns and brackets, a distinctive feature of these caves, leading to a columned mantapa and then to the small square shrine (sanctum sanctorum) cut deep into the cave. The temple caves represent different religious sects. Among them, two are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the fourth is a Jain temple. The first three are devoted to the Vedic faith and the fourth cave is the only Jain temple at Badami.
14) Pancha Rathas - Pancha Rathas an example of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century located at Mamallapuram, a tiny village south of Madras in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The village was a busy port during the 7th and 8th century reign of the Pallava dynasty. The site is famous for the rock-cut caves and the sculptured rock that line a granite hill, including one depicting Arjuna's Penance. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pancha Rathas shrines were carved during the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I. Each temple is a monolith, carved whole from a rock outcropping of pink granite. The five monolithic pyramidal structured shrines are named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. As noted, each shrine is not assembled from cut blocks of stone but carved from one single large piece of stone. It is likely their original design traces back to wood constructions.
15) Indian art - The vast scope of the art of India intertwines with the cultural history, religions and philosophies which place art production and patronage in social and cultural contexts.
16) Indian painting - Somewhere around 1st century BC the Sadanga or Six Limbs of Indian Painting, were evolved, a series of canons laying down the main principles of the art. Vatsyayana, who lived during the third century A.D., enumerates these in his Kamasutra having extracted them from still more ancient works. These ‘Six Limbs’ have been translated as follows : 1. Rupabheda The knowledge of appearances. 2. Pramanam Correct perception, measure and structure. 3. Bhava Action of feelings on forms. 4. Lavanya Yojanam Infusion of grace, artistic representation. 5. Sadrisyam Similitude. 6. Varnikabhanga Artistic manner of using the brush and colours. (Tagore.) The subsequent development of painting by the Buddhists indicates that these ' Six Limbs ' were put into practice by Indian artists, and are the .basic principles on which their art was founded.
17) Buddhist art - Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Gautama Buddha, 6th to 5th century BCE, and thereafter evolved by contact with other cultures as it spread throughout Asia and the world.
18) Indian coinage - The Vishwakarma Brahmins minted beautiful coins displaying great artistic talent.
19) History of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent - History of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent begins during the 2nd millennium BCE and continues well into the British Raj. The Indian cultural and commercial contacts with the Near East and the Greco-Roman world enable an exchange of metallurgic sciences.
20) History of Indian Science and Technology - The History of Science and Technology in India begins in the pre-modern era. Archaeological evidence from Mehrgarh (7000 BCE) shows construction of mud brick houses and granaries. Farming, metal working, flint knapping, bead production, and dentistry, are known to the people of Mehrgarh. The more advanced Indus Valley civilization yields evidence of hydrography, metrology and city planning being practiced on a sizable scale. Great attention to medicine, astronomy and mathematics is seen during the Vedic period (1500 BCE—400 BCE)—which also witnesses the first inquiry being made into the field of linguistics. Construction of stepwells and stupas, use of diamond as a gemstone, and plastic surgery operations become visible during later periods. Indian mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the decimal number system, zero, negative numbers, arithmetic, and algebra.
21) Jaivana cannon - The Jaivana cannon is the largest wheeled cannon ever constructed. It is located at the Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur.
22) Yantra Mandir - The Yantra Mandir (commonly known as the Jantar Mantar) is an equinoctial dial, consisting a gigantic triangular gnomon with the hypotenuse parallel to the Earth's axis. On either side of the gnomon is a quadrant of a circle, parallel to the plane of the equator. The instrument is intended to measure the time of day, correct to half a second and declination of the Sun and the other heavenly bodies.
23) Khajuraho - The Khajuraho temples, constructed with spiral superstructures, adhere to a northern Indian shikhara temple style and often to a Panchayatana plan or layout. A few of the temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to Hindu deities - to God's Trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and various Devi forms, such as the Devi Jagadambi temple. A Panchayatana temple had four subordinate shrines on four corners and the main shrine in the center of the podium, which comprises their base. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern. With a graded rise secondary shikharas (spires) cluster to create an appropriate base for the main shikhara over the sanctum. Kandariya Mahadeva, one of the most accomplished temples of the Western group, comprises eighty-four shikharas, the main being 116 feet from the ground level. These temples of Khajuraho have sculptures that look very realistic and are studied even today. The Khajuraho temples are UNESCO World Heritage Site.
24) Wootz steel - Wootz is a steel characterized by a pattern of bands or sheets of micro carbides within a tempered martensite or pearlite matrix. It was developed in India around 300 BC.
25) Chennakesava Temple - The Chennakesava Temple originally called Vijayanarayana Temple was built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, an early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Amarashilpi Jakanachari received a vision to build the Chennakeshava temple in his native place Kridapura.
26) Hoysala architecture - Hoysala architecture is the building style developed under the rule of the Hoysala Empire between the 11th and 14th centuries, in the region known today as Karnataka, a state of India. Hoysala influence was at its peak in the 13th century, when it dominated the Southern Deccan Plateau region. Large and small temples built during this era remain as examples of the Hoysala architectural style, including the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, and the Kesava Temple at Somanathapura.
27) Hoysaleswara Temple - Hoysaleswara temple is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. It was built in Halebidu (in modern Karnataka state) during the Hoysala Empire rule.
28) Chennakesava Temple at Somanathapura - The Chennakesava Temple located at Somanathapura is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It was built by the famous architect/sculptor Ruvari Malithamma who was well-known for his expertise in ornamentation.
29) Brihadeeswarar temple - The Brihadishwara Temple, also known as Rajarajeswaram is located at Thanjavur. It remains as one of the greatest glories of South Indian architecture. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Great Living Chola Temples" and this temple is an ultimate testimonial for the Vishwakarmas' architectural cognizance in planning and sculpting.
(Pages 591 and 592. The 10th mandal of rig veda has two suktas 81 and 82. Each of these have 7 mantras each, making a total of 14 mantras exclusively talking about Vishwakarma.)
1) Brahmavaivaryta Puran, refer to, Krishna Janma Khand, Adhyaya 47 2) Atharaveda, refer to, 19 Khand, Sukta 34 (10 Mantras) and 35 (5 Mantras) 3) Skanda Purana refer to Kashi Khand, Skanda Purana refer to Prabhas Khanda 4) Vayu Purana refer to Adhaya 22 5) Matsya Purana refer to Adhaya 5 6) Yajurved, refer to Adhaya 17, Mantra 17 to 34