|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Palakkad district, Kerala
(Trivandrum district, Alappuzha district), Kerala
Thrissur district, Kerala
Ernakulam district, Kerala
Malappuram 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.
Kuzhalmannam Agraharam is a prominent agraharam in Palakkad. Each Palakkad Iyer family is associated with a temple or kavu close to their Agraharams. The next generation of Iyers is named and their horoscope is documented.
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.
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.
List of Kerala Iyers
Journalists and writers
- Ulloor Parameswara Iyer (1877–1959), Malayalam poet
- Professor K. V. Krishna Iyer (1894–1986), Professor of history and author of standard reference books on Kerala History
- Malayattoor Ramakrishnan (1927–1997), Malayalam novelist
- S. N. Swamy, Indian screenwriter
- K. K. Neelakantan well known by his pen name Induchoodan, a leading Indian ornithologist and writer of the best known book on birds of Kerala, 'Keralathile Pakshikal' (Birds of Kerala)
- P. R. Sundaram Iyer (1862–1913), Indian lawyer and founder of Madras Law Journal. Grandfather of cinematographer P. C. Sreeram
- Neelakanta Sivan (1839–1900) Carnatic music composer from Nagercoil, erstwhile Travancore kingdom
- Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar (1895–1974), Carnatic music singer
- Palakkad Mani Iyer (1912–1981), Musician/Mridangist
- Palghat R. Raghu (1925–2009), Musician/mridangist
- K. V. Narayanaswamy (1923–2002) Carnatic musician (singer)
- T. N. Krishnan (1928- ) Carnatic music violinist
- N. Rajam Hindustani music violinist and sister of T. N. Krishnan
- T. V. Gopalakrishnan (1932- ) Carnatic and Hindustani vocalist, violinist and Mridangam exponent
- Trichur V. Ramachandran (1940- ) Carnatic vocalist
- Guruvayur Dorai (1935-) Mridangam exponent of Pudukkottai style
- K S Narayanaswamy (1914–1999) Carnatic Veena exponent
- V. Dakshinamoorthy (1919- ) veteran music director of Malayalam films and Carnatic vocalist
- Kudamaloor Janardanan Exponent of Carnatic flute
- Puducode Krishnamurthy Carnatic vocalist
- K. V. Mahadevan famous South Indian music composer
- N. C. Vasanthakokilam (1919–1951), Carnatic music singer and Tamil film actress
- Bombay Sisters C. Saroja and C. Lalitha, a Carnatic music singing duo
- Usha Uthup Indian pop, jazz and playback singer
- B. Arundhathi playback singer in Malayalam films and Carnatic vocalist
- Anuradha Sriram playback singer and Carnatic vocalist
- Hariharan Playback singer and performer; carnatic & Hindi classical
- Shankar Mahadevan Born in Mumbai, a popular National Award winning musician who has sung many songs in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.
- S. G. Kittappa (1906–1933), Tamil stage actor and classical singer. Husband of singer K. B. Sundarambal
- Poornima Jayaram, Tamil and Malayalam film actress
- Priyamani (b. 1984), National Award winning South Indian film actress
- Trisha Krishnan (b. 1983), Tamil and Telugu film actress
- Saranya Mohan (b. 1989), South Indian film actress
- Priya Raman Malayalam and Tamil film actress
- P. C. Sreeram, Tamil film cinematographer and director
- M. S. Thripunithura (1942–2006), Malayalam film actor
Politicians and administrators
- Ramayyan Dalawa, famous Dewan of Travancore from 1737 to 1756. Strategic advisor to Maharaja Marthanda Varma during the Battle of Colachel against the Dutch.
- Janaki Ramachandran (1923–1996), Wife of M.G. Ramachandran and the first woman Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
- T. N. Seshan (1930- ), 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India.
- N.K.Seshan former Finance Minister of Kerala and Head of the Department and Dean of Faculty of Language and Literature in Calicut University
- C.M. Sundaram (1919–2008) Minister for local administration in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala from 1982 to 1987.
- Krishna Gopalayyan, Diwan of Travancore from 1768 to 1776.
- V. Nagam Aiya (1850–1917), civil servant, chronicler and administrator from the princely state of Travancore. Author of The Travancore State Manual.
- Sankaranarayana Iyen, Diwan of Travancore from 1815 to 1816.
- Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, (1845–1901) Dewan of Mysore from February 1883 to March 1901, the longest tenure for any Dewan of the princely state
- Shungrasoobyer, Dewan of Travancore from 1892 to 1898.
- V. S. Subramanya Iyer, Indian lawyer and administrator. Diwan of Travancore from 1929 to 1932.
- Vadiswaran Subrahmanya Iyer, Diwan of Travancore from 1776 to 1780.
- Varkala Subbiyen, Diwan of Travancore from 1763 to 1768.
- Temples of Kerala
- "Landmark Legislations - Land Reforms". Kerala Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- A History of Travancore, by P. Shungoonny Menon.
- Nandakumar, T. "Agraharams on the way out?". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- "The trio in action again". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- "Never Say Never Again". The Indian Express. 2005-07-03. Retrieved 12 September 2011.