Kerala Iyers

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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
Related ethnic groups
Iyers, Tamil Brahmin

Kerala Iyers or Bhattars, are Tamil Brahmins of the Indian state of Kerala — people who were residents in the Kerala region, and also people who migrated from present day Tamil Nadu. They are Hindus; the community consists of two groups - the Palakkad Iyers and Iyers of the Cochin and Travancore regions.[1]

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 not recruited as the priest (shanthi) in Kerala temples which followed Purva mimamsa rituals. So Iyers being Vedic scholars built their own temples in their Agraharams to conduct pooja, since they followed the Agamic and rituals and not the srauta rituals of the Nambudiris.[2]

Brahmana Samooham[edit]

Where ever they settled, the Kerala Iyers lived together in communities; the settlement consisting of array of houses and other amenities developed by Tamil Brahmins in Kerala came to be known as Agraharam as in other parts of South India. Each Agraharam consist of two rows of houses facing each other. There is no courtyard but only common street. Several such Agraharams together form an organization called "Samooham".[3] There existed 95 Agraharams in Kerala where Brahmins lived in peace, with unity, equality and simplicity.[4]

Palakkad Iyers[edit]

The Palakkad Iyers were greatly affected by the Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, 1957 (repealed in 1961 and substituted by The Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963) which abolished the tenancy system.[5]. Originally, the Palakkad Iyers came from the 19 villages chronicled by William Logan (author) in his 1887 guide to Malabar District. However, today the term covers Iyers from a broader territory.

Travancore Iyers[edit]

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.[6]

Notable people[edit]

Trisha Krishnan

T N Seshan

K. V. Narayanaswamy


The Kerala Brahmana Sabha is the apex organization of Kerala Iyers.


  1. ^ Haridas, V. V. (2016). Zamorins and the political culture of medieval Kerala. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan. p. 36. ISBN 9788125061281.
  2. ^ Temples of Kerala
  3. ^ Menon, T. Madhava; Tyagi, Deepak; Kulirani, B. Francis (2002). People of India: Kerala, Volume-27, Part-3. New Delhi: Affiliated East-West Press Pvt. Ltd. pp. 1396–97. ISBN 8185938997.
  4. ^ "Brahmins and Agraharams". Brahmin Today. Chennai: Vacha Publication. 10 (11). January 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Landmark Legislations - Land Reforms". Kerala Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  6. ^ Nandakumar, T. "Agraharams on the way out?". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  7. ^ Mahadevan, Shankar (8 September 2013). "I am a Malayali grew up in Mumbai: Shankar Mahadevan" (Interview). Interviewed by John Brittas. Kairali TV. 0:38. 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 line feed character in |quote= at position 161 (help)

External links[edit]