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Nayar also known is a caste found in South India. Prior to the British rule, Nayar belonged to the warrier, royal lineages and most of them were also feudal lords. When Britishers were predominant in the South India, Nayar clan started participating in politics, medicine, law, education and government services.

Nayar community had one of the most controversial marital customs which is has been extensively studied. Before attaining puberty the Nayar girls were married off to a man from the same community. However, later on the Nayar girls may have many husbands from higher castes of sub-castes. This ritual was called as Sambandham.

In the year 1930s the monogamy law was enforced as a result this custom was curbed. This is one of the major reasons that Nayar community is matrilineal.

Family Size:

One of the notable features of Nayar community was the family size. Before partition, the family size of this caste consisted of around 50 to 100. However, after partition it reduced considerably. Now-a- days, it is reduced to a nuclear family.


Traditionally Nayars are Hindus; however, in Kerala few are even Christians and Muslims.

Mostly, Nayars worship a serpent as the guardian of their clan.

Nayar caste has many sub-sections. However, the government has classified the caste as forward and backward class as below:
llathu and Swaroopathu Nairs as a forward caste Veluthedathu, Vilakkithala and Andhra Nairs as Other Backward Classes.


Inheritance was within the matriline solely. Family property, they began passing it on to their own biological kids. It's customary for a person to place his self-acquired property in his wife's name in order that it will then be hereditary matrilineally. It is observed that a person feels bigger responsibility for his sister's kids than for his brother's kids.


Nayar community is closely associated with Kathakali dance form. This intricate dance form involves use of headdress and makeup.

Nayars are also associated with Kalari pattu which is a martial art form.


2.9 millions people in Kerala is Nayar, which accounts for around 14.5% of the state's population.