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Kerala Iyers

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Title: Kerala Iyers  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Demographics of Kerala, Janaki Sabesh, Tamil society, Muvattupuzha, Kasaragod taluk
Collection: Hindu Communities, Non-Malayali Keralites, Tamil People, Tamil Society
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kerala Iyers

Kerala Iyers
Regions with significant populations
Palakkad district, Kerala
Travancore Region
(Trivandrum district, Alappuzha district), Kerala
Thrissur district, Kerala
Ernakulam district, Kerala
Kozhikode district, Kerala
Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu
Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu
Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu
Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu
Thirunelveli Tamil Nadu
Kerala sub-dialects of Tamil
Related ethnic groups
Iyers, Malayali people, Tamil Brahmin, Malayali Brahmins

Kerala Iyers or Bhattars, are Tamil Brahmins of the Indian state of Kerala — people who were residents in Kerala region, and also people who migrated from present day Tamil Nadu in different waves starting from the medieval period onwards. The community consists of two groups - the Palakkad Iyers and Iyers of the Cochin and Travancore regions. The first wave of Iyers settled down in Palakkad district at the beginning of the medieval period. Migrations to the Travancore and Cochin regions took place mostly in the 16th and 17th centuries AD. Many of the Diwans or Prime Ministers of the princely state of Travancore were Tamil Brahmins.

Kerala Iyers, like the Iyers of Tamil Nadu and the Nambudiris of Kerala, belonged to the Pancha Dravida classification of India's Brahmin community. They mostly belonged to the Vadama and Brahacharanam sub-sects. Iyers were usually employed as cooks, musicians and temple assistants, since they were not allowed to conduct pooja as the priest (shanthi) in Kerala temples which followed Tantric rituals. So Iyers being Vedic scholars built their own temples in their Agraharams to conduct pooja, since they followed the Vedantic Agama rituals and not the Vedic Tantric rituals of the Nambudiris.[1]


  • Palakkad Iyers 1
  • Travancore Iyers 2
  • Notable people 3
    • Journalists and writers 3.1
    • Musicians 3.2
    • Politicians and administrators 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Palakkad Iyers

Oldest amongst the Agraharams in Palakkad District and most promoinent is Kalpathy as it is here Tamil Brahmins from Thanjavur migrated first at the behest of the Raja of Palakkad. There are other Agraharams like Vadakkanthara,Nurani, Chittur,Kuzhalmannam etc.,Which are prominent in Palakkad.[2]

The Palakkad Iyers were greatly affected by the Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, 1957 (repealed in 1961 and substituted by The Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963) which abolished the tenancy system.[3]

Travancore Iyers

Many of the Travancore Iyers were the original residents of Travancore. There were many Iyers in Venad which later on grew to be the Travancore state. Shungoonny Menon calls them natives of Travancore.[4]

During the rule of Travancore kings, many Iyers (Tamil Brahmins) were invited to Thiruvananthapuram for administrative requirements of Travancore kingdom and for participating in rituals related to Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Some Padamangalam_Nairs involved in temple service are thought to be descendants of Travancore Iyers. The migration continued for decades, and thus Iyer population is concentrated around this temple in Trivandrum.[5]

Notable people

Journalists and writers


Politicians and administrators


  1. ^ Temples of Kerala
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Landmark Legislations - Land Reforms". Kerala Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  4. ^ A History of Travancore, by P. Shungoonny Menon.
  5. ^ Nandakumar, T. "Agraharams on the way out?". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 
  6. ^ "The trio in action again". Chennai, India:  
  7. ^ "Never Say Never Again".  
  8. ^ Mahadevan, Shankar (8 September 2013). I am a Malayali grew up in Mumbai: Shankar Mahadevan. Interview with John Brittas. 0:38. Kairali TV. Retrieved 4 January 2010 – via Kairali Archive on YouTube. Interviewer: You have some connection with Kerala in fact, your family migrated from Palakkad or something like that. Shankar Mahadevan: Yes, I am an Iyer from Palakkad actually 

External links

  • Kerala Iyers Website
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