Nair soldiers with the King of Cochin
on an elephant
Nair, also known as Nayar, is a Hindu caste of the Indian state of Kerala on the Malabar Coast.
According to some theories, the Nair have Indo-Scythian ancestry. Traditionally, Kerala's royalty, militia, and land managers were from the Nair and related castes. During British rule, Nair were known as Nayarkutti and were important in politics, government, medicine, education, and law.
Images for kids
Nair soldiers attending the King of Cochin: A 16th century European portrait. The majority of Nair men were trained in arms, and the traditional role of the Nairs was to fight in the continuous wars which characterized Kerala history.
Members of the Travancore Nair Brigade, drawn in 1855. The Nair brigade was the remnant of the Travancore Nair army after the takeover of the British.
There Comes Papa (1893) by Raja Ravi Varma depicts a Nair woman in the traditional mundum neryathum. The painting has also been noted by several critics due its symbolism of the decline of Nair matrilinity.
17th century wooden idol of Kali from Kerala. Kali is the warlike manifestation of Bhagavati, the patron deity of the Nairs.
A typical tharavad reproduced from Panikkar's article published in 1918. Capital and small letters represent females and males respectively. Supposing that the females A, B and C were dead and the oldest male member karnavan being d, if the male members t, k and others demanded partition, the property would be divided into three parts.
Reclining Nayar Woman (1902) by Raja Ravi Varma shows a Nair lady, identified as the character Indulekha, a main character from a Malayalam novel of the same name. The novel had criticized the Nair matrilocal and matrilineal system; notably the relationships with Nambudiri Brahmins.