A tribal community in Kerala
, the Paniyas inhabits areas in Wayanad District
and certain regions in the neighboring districts of Kannur
. The word 'Paniyaan' means 'worker' as they were the workers of non-tribes.
Paniyas had to endure a lot of hardship during earlier times as they were bond laborers and were sold along with plantations by the landlords. They were also employed as professional coffee thieves by higher castes.
The main deity of the tribe is 'Kali' and they also worship banyan tree. Monogamy appears to be the general rule among the Paniyas.