Palakkad Iyers - a contrasting story of Brahmin migration

This theory that the Palghat Iyers came from Kumbhakonam or that they migrated in the 18th century is borne out by recorded facts. Logan's Manual - Logan was a British subject and an ICS officer - has recorded that they came much much earlier, and that they were a learned and enterprising community. Why should they have worked as cooks or domestic servants?

In front of the Kalpathy Siva Temple, there is a vertically erected pillar on which is recorded that the Sivalingam for the temple was brought from Kasi by one Lakshmi Ammal, who was a resident of Kalpathy. It is also recorded there that the Kalpathy Village s were built on land gifted by the Palghat Raja and, that as a tax measure each householder had to pay to the Siva Temple the equivalent of four Anna's a year, during the Sivarathry function for the upkeep of the temple. the temple itself was constructed by the munificence of the King.

Our own Josier family have lived in this same house for over ten generations, thus taking us back to over four hundred years. I remember, when I was a child, there was hardly any Brahmin in the village who was a cook or a domestic servant. Yes, some aristocratic Brahmins did have achhis, in extra marital relationships or when their wives had died. Most were scholars in Vedas or ctheir branches like Astrology, Medicine etc. it is because of the level of scholarship of the Brahmins that they could join the ICS or become great Administrators or Scientists or Professors or Doctors.

I am also a keen student of Indian History, and have recorded in one of my earlier writings on the subject that the Palghat Iyers came from Trichinopoly District of Tamilnadu, in groups, and founded the various villages and settled there. Our own Josier family came from Kandramanickam Village, in Trichy District, and we are identified as Kandramanickam Brahacharanam. Yes, people also came in groups from Madurai, Erode areas, Tiruvannamalai (the whole of Nurani is from there and all are Brahacharanam). Pallipuram and Tirunallayi people came from around Conjeevaram and Sreerangam and brought with them the Vaishnavaite influence on their rituals and practices. They wear the Namam, have mostly Vaishnavaite names and pay obeisance to the Jeer at Srirangam and not to the Sankaracharyas. Only Seshan, at a personal level, became a disciple of the Kanchi Acharya.

The migration of the Iyers was facilitated by the prosperous trade and business prosperity and opportunities to earn a comfortable living, and live in peace. It should be remembered that the Kerala Rajas and the community as a whole were great respecters of the Brahmins and their learning. The Nambudiris always considered themselves as the highest in the hierarchy, and so would never eat food cooked by any one other than the ladies of the house or an Embranthiri. In the Nambudiris hierarchy, the Aduvancherry Thambrakkal are the highest, every other group oNly comes after that.

It is amazing how there can be several fanciful theories about the largest migration ever in history, and no two agreeing on details. The fact is, no one has studied the subject in depth. UNO or some such International authority should organise systematic research into this subject, and the report would amaze the whole world. The creativity, resourcefulness, the ability to get on with others etc. of the Brahmin, his easy adaptability to any place and clime are all to be admired.


Senior Advocate

New Kalpathy



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