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|Regions with significant populations|
|Palakkad district, Kerala
(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 the Kerala region, and also people who migrated from present day Tamil Nadu in different waves starting from the ancient period onwards. They belong to Hindu faith and hail from Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. The community consists of two groups - the Palakkad Iyers and Iyers of the Cochin and Travancore regions. Starting from the period of Cera Kingdom of Mahodayapuram several groups of Tamil Brahmins migrated to different parts of Kerala.  The Tamil Brahmin community were basically peace loving people, and were forced to migrate due to the social unrest and chaos caused due to the downfall of the Pandya Dynasty. The early Tamil Brahmin settlers came to Cranganore (Kodungalloor). Tamil Brahmins who came from the 14th century onwards got settled in Palakkad, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. 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 not recruited 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 Agama rituals and not the Tantric rituals of the Nambudiris.
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". There existed 95 Agraharams in Kerala where Brahmins lived in peace, with unity, equality and simplicity. From 18th century onwards Tamil Brahmins started establishing "Samooha Madoms". These were common gathering places for get together, conducting religious rites and rituals, cultural events and so on. Samooha Madoms were physically located in close proximity to the temple of the main Village Deity for the convenience of all members. It is believed that as much as 250 Samooha Modoms were established by Tamil Brahmins throughout Kerala. (KBS 2012 – Editorial) This was done with the active aid and support of the rulers of the locality. These Samooha Madoms were known by various names such as Brahmana Samooham, Gramajana Samooham, Grama Samudayam and Grama Samooham. Large land endowments were instituted by wealthy community members for the unhindered progress of different activities in these Samooha Madoms.
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.
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
- Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar (1895–1974), Carnatic music singer
- Palghat Mani Iyer (1912–1981), Musician/Mridangist
- K. V. Narayanaswamy (1923–2002) Carnatic musician (singer)
- Shankar Mahadevan, a popular National Award winning musician who has sung many songs in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu
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.
- 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 Iyer, 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 Subbaiyen, Diwan of Travancore from 1763 to 1768.
The Kerala Brahmana Sabha is the apex organization of Kerala Iyers.
- Haridas, V. V. (2016). Zamorins and the political culture of medieval Kerala. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan. p. 36. ISBN 9788125061281.
- Temples of Kerala
- 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.
- "Brahmins and Agraharams". Brahmin Today. Chennai: Vacha Publication. 10 (11). January 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
- "Editorial". 42nd Annual General Body News Supplement. Alappuzha: Kerala Brahmana Sabha: 1–3. 2013.
- "Landmark Legislations - Land Reforms". Kerala Legislative Assembly. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- Nandakumar, T. "Agraharams on the way out?". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
- Mahadevan, Shankar (8 September 2013). "I am a Malayali grew up in Mumbai: Shankar Mahadevan" (Interview). Interview with 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