Tamil Brahmin

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Tamil Brahmin
Regions with significant populations
Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh
Related ethnic groups
Pancha-Dravida Brahmins, Tamil people

Tamil Brahmins, are Tamil-speaking Brahmins primarily living in Tamil Nadu, although a few of them have settled in other states like, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. They can be broadly divided into three religious groups, Gurukkals who follow Saivism, Iyers who follow the Srauta and Smartha tradition and Iyengars who follow Sri Vaishnavism.


A Tamil Brahmin marriage ceremony
Western Iyengar

Tamil Brahmins are divided into three groups -- Iyers, Iyengars and Gurukkal. Iyers form the majority of the Tamil Brahmin population and are Smarthas, while Iyengars are Vaishnavas and Gurukkals are Saivas. On the Forbes Report of 2018, Tamil Brahmins were listed as the most successful people in the world with the most celebrities and intellectual thinkers per capita.


Iyers are Srauta-Smartha Brahmins, most of whom follow the Advaita philosophy propounded by Adi Shankara. Advaita Vedanta has been in existence from way before Adi Sankara. In fact, Vedanta refers to itself as Anadi, meaning without beginning[1][2] and are concentrated mainly along the Cauvery Delta districts of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur[citation needed] and Tiruchirapalli where they form almost 10% of the total population. However the largest population reside in Nagercoil, making up to 13% of the city's population[3][4][5] They are also found in significant numbers in Chennai,[6] Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Ambasamudram, Palakkad and Trivandrum.[7]


Iyengars follow the Visishtadvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Vikanasa or Sri Ramanujacharya. They are divided into two sub-sects: Vadakalai (Northern branch) and Thenkalai (Southern branch). most of them are stern worshippers of lord Vishnu.


The sect of Sivāchārya or Gurukkal form the hereditary priesthood or in the Siva and Sakthi temples in Tamil Nadu. They are Saivites and adhere to the philosophy of Shaiva Siddhanta. They are well versed in Vedas, Agama Sasthras and follow the Agamic rituals of these temples. Because of these cultural differences, intermarriages with other Tamil Brahmanas are rare even to this date. Gurukkals are sub-divided into Tiruvalangad, Conjeevaram and Thirukkazhukunram.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Iyer". Uttarakhand Information Centre. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2008. 
  2. ^ Folk Songs of Southern India, Pg 3
  3. ^ "Brahmins seek reservation in education and employment"
  4. ^ G. S. Ghurye, Pg 393
  5. ^ Migration and Urbanization among Tamil Brahmans, Pg 5
  6. ^ Migration and Urbanization among Tamil Brahmans, Pg 15
  7. ^ "Approaching societal issues through the eyes of Ambedkar". dtNext.in. 2017-04-10. Retrieved 2018-05-20. 
  8. ^ Venkataramakrishnan, Rohan. "One big reason Swamy attacking Arvind Subramanian is very different to his anti-Rajan campaign". Scroll.in. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  9. ^ Sivakumar, B.; Vasudevan, Shilpa (2015-08-12). "Google CEO Sundar Pichai famous for his phenomenal memory". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  10. ^ "Forbes India Magazine - Print". www.forbesindia.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  11. ^ Barry, Ellen (2016-03-15). "With Sri Srinivasan, Indian Town Prays for a 'Son' on Supreme Court". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  12. ^ "Viswanathan Anand: Who is he?". India Today. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  13. ^ "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | International | India duo poised for US success". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  14. ^ "M. Night Shyamalan: The Super Natural". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-05-29. 
  15. ^ Anthony, Andrew (2011-01-30). "VS Ramachandran: The Marco Polo of neuroscience | Profile". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 
  16. ^ http://www.abelprisen.no/binfil/download.php?tid=56998
  17. ^ "An interview with social scientist P Radhakrishnan". Rediff. Retrieved 2018-04-18.