Thandan and Thandar Surnames

Thandan was the surname used by the Ezhava caste in north Kerala mainly in Calicut, Malappuram, Trichur and Palghat districts. In Kannur, Thandiyar or Thandar was being used by the same community. Thandar was the surname used by this caste in Thiru-Kochi area, especially in Alappuzha, Kochi and Trichur and neighbouring areas. Link Late CPM leader Susheela Gopalan born as the youngest daughter of Thrissur Pazhavil Kannolil Veettil Velukkutty Thandar and Muhamma Cheerappanchirayil Madhaviyamma channaatti. Link MLA of Thiru-Kochi Legislative assembly 1951, Karunakara Thandar,was political leader from Ezhava caste.Link So was the case of N. Prabhakara Thandar from Sherthalai who was MLA of Kerala state from 1967 to 1970.Link Both the surnames were not used by the Thandan or thandar caste.

Ilaneerveppu at Kottiyur Shiva Temple

An important pilgrim centre of north Kerala, the Kottiyur Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is often describe as the ‘Varanasi of the South’. The ritual Ilaneerveppu is an important part of the visakha festival and witnesses a surge of devotees. It is the responsibility of the thandiyar section of the thiyya comunity to bring coconuts for performing this ritual. The thiyya community members who bring coconuts take a month long Noyamb before start of the festival. Link

Parappuparambil Thandan

Sree Parappukavu Bhagavathy Temple is situated in Parappukavu Desam of Eranellur Village, Kechery, Thrissur District. The famous Pooram of this temple is celebrated every year in Meenam as a local festival.In ancient times, near the river Karuvannur in Irinjalakkuda, a famous and very pious Ezhava Thandan worshipped Devi Bhagavathy for a very long time. The king at that time has given him a Kalari and a place of worship with due respect. He is respectfully called Muthappan as he protected that place as his own Thattakam. From Karuvannur as per the invitation of the local ruler, Sri Muthappan reached Parappukavu. The real Devi Bhagavathy was pleased with the piousness of Muthappan and came here under his umbrella’s shelter worshipped with earnest belief in Kaali Devi and established a Kalari Sangham. Thus he became Parappuparambil Thandan.

Thandan Caste

They are coconut and Palmyra tree climbers from south/central Kerala and considered Scheduled caste by the Government of Kerala. The anthropological studies conducted by the Kerala Institute of Research, Training and Development Studies (KIRTADS), Link revealed that majority of them were Kudikidappukar (Tenants) in the past. They form a class of landless and were once labourers attached to the landed gentry. Tree climbing and coconut plucking are their traditional occupation. Their women folk engage in coconut palm leaf platting, rope making and also work as agricultural labourer. In the regional caste hierarchy of Travancore, the SC Thandan has a position lower to that of artisan castes.They accepted food and water from Ezhava households but the Ezhava did not accept the same from the Thandans. The SC Thandan is fed along with the lower polluting castes.They presented in obeisance customary present during Onam) to their respective masters including Ezhava. When a death occurs in an Ezhava master’s house, the Thandan attached to the family acts as messenger. In the funeral ceremonies relating to an Ezhava, the Thandan do all the manual works of cutting trees and splitting of logs for the pyre. They also work as helpers in temples owned by Ezhava caste. However in some places in calicut, Ezhava/thiyya community performs these responsibilities of a thandan, if the temple is owned the community and a thandan caste member is not present in the area. Link Thandan Caste is mainly concentrated in Thrissur, Palghat, Malappuram and Kollam districts. They are also found in other parts of Kerala and some areas in Tamil nadu bordering Kerala in small numbers. .

Since the Government of Kerala had been receiving complaints and reports that a section of Ezhava/Thiyya community of Palghat and Trichur districts who hold the title Thandan are cornering the benefits earmarked for Scheduled Castes on the pretext that they are Thandan, a Scheduled Caste, though they were never subject to untouchability. In order to check the infiltration of ineligible persons into the fold of Scheduled Castes, on the pretext that they are Thandan, the Government of Kerala had proposed modification in the existing entry. Now the Ezhava community members who hold the titles of Thandan or Thandar are excluded from getting benefits that of the Thandan/Thandar caste.


The community does not have any surname of its own.


This is a folk dance presented by the members of Thandan caste during pooram festival in Thrissur. Link

Achaarakallyanam (Betrothal)

Achaarakallyanam is the betrothal marriage of Thandan community. The relatives of bridegroom visit the bride’s residence for fixing the auspicious date and time of marriage is the function. Link

See also


  • Supreme Court Verdict on Ezhava thandan of Noth kerala and thandan caste of South. Link
  • Socio- cultural Sudy on Thirurangadi. Link
  • Loksabha Standing committee report on Social justice and empowerment. Link
  • Indian Census
  • Parappukavu Temple

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