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Iyers belongs to a community of Brahmins whose members migrated from the Northern part of India and settled in Tamil Nadu. They are regarded as Tamil speaking Brahmins. Some of them also migrated to various parts of Kerala.

The people of Kerala refer to them as Pattars, while they are called as Palakkad Iyers or Palakkad Brahmins by the people of Tamil Nadu. The word ‘pattar’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘bhattar’. It is believed that most of the Palakkad Iyers migrated from Thanjavur.

The word Iyer is derived from the word ‘Ayya’ used by the native people of the Tamil Nadu to denote respect to the Brahmins. While the word ‘Ayya’ is derived from the word ‘Arya’, which means Aryan.

Iyers believe in Adi Shankara's Advaita. Being followers of this philosophy, Iyers worship a large pantheon of Hindu deities.

Iyers are active in the cultural fields including Carnatic music; in instruments such as Mridangam, Nagaswaram, Veena and Ghatam; and dance forms such as Bharatanatyam. Traditionally, Iyers are strict vegetarian and teetotalers.

Updated on 7th June, 2005

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