List of people from Kerala

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The following is a list of notable people from Kerala, India. The names are classified according to the person's major area of work. For more details please see their respective articles.

Ancient rulers and kings[edit]

H H Rama Varma XV
Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma

Early Cheras[edit]

The Cheras are referred to as Kedalaputo (Sanskrit: "Kerala Putra") in the Emperor Ashoka's Pali edicts (3rd century BCE).[1] The earliest Graeco-Roman accounts referring to the Cheras are by Pliny the Elder in the 1st century CE, in the Periplus of the 1st century CE, and by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE. Greeks and Romans are called "Yavanas" in early Indian literature.

  • Uthiyan Cheralathan – earliest known ruler of the Chera family who was also known as "Vanavaramban" Cheral Athan. He is sometimes identified with the Chera ruler who prepared food for the warring cousins at Kurukshetra War in the epic Mahabharata (Akananuru).
  • Nedum Cheralathan – Imayavaramban Nedum Cheral Athan, son of Uthiyan Cheral Athan, is the hero of the second decade of Pathitrupathu which was composed by the poet Kaveri Poompattanatthu Kaari Kannanar. The greatest of his enemies were the Kadambas whom he defeated in battles. He also attacked Yavana ships and held Yavana traders ransom.
  • Palyani Sel Kelu Kuttuvan – son of Uthiyan Cheral Athan. Credited as the conqueror of Kongu.[2]
  • Kalankakkanni Narmudi Cheral – led an expedition against the Adigaiman Anji of Tagadur. Initially defeated by Nannan of Ezhimala in the battle of Pazhi, later defeated and killed Nannan in the battle of Vakai Perum Turai.[2]
  • Senguttuvan – identified with "Kadal Pirakottiya" Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan, son of Nedum Cheral Athan, celebrated by the poet Paranar in the 5th decade, ascended to the Chera throne after the death of his father. Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan is often identified with the legendary "Chenguttuvan Chera", the most illustrious ruler of the Early Cheras. Under his reign, the Chera territory extended from Kollimalai (near Karur Vanchi) in the east to Thondi and Mantai (Kerala) on the western coast.[2]
  • Adu Kottu Cheral Athan – successor of Vel Kezhu Kuttuvan
  • Selva Kadumko Valia Athan – son of Anthuvan Cheral and the hero of the 7th set of poems composed by Kapilar. He defeated the combined armies of the Pandyas and the Cholas. He is sometimes identified as the Ko Athan Cheral Irumporai mentioned in the Aranattar-malai inscription of Pugalur (c. 2nd century CE).
  • Perum Cheral Irumporai – "Tagadur Erinta" defeated the combined armies of the Pandyas, Cholas and that of the chief of Tagadur. He captured Tagadur which was ruled by the powerful ruler Adigaman Ezhni. He is also called "the lord of Puzhinadu" and "the lord of Kollimalai" and "the lord of [Poom]Puhar". Puhar was the Chola headquarters. Perum Cheral Irumporai also annexed the territories of a minor chief called Kaluval.
  • Illam Cheral Irumporai – defeated the Pandyas and the Cholas and brought immense wealth to his base Vanchi.
  • Yanaikatchai Mantaran Cheral Irumporai – ruled from Kollimalai (near Karur Vanchi) in the east to Thondi and Mantai on the western coast. He defeated his enemies in a battle at Vilamkil.
  • Kanaikkal Irumporai – said to have defeated a chief called Muvan and imprisoned in him. The Chera then brutally pulled out the teeth of the prisoner and planted them on the gates of the city of Thondi. Upon capture by the Chola ruler Sengannan Kanaikkal committed suicide by starvation.

Kodungallur Cheras / Kulasekharas (Medieval Cheras)[edit]

  • Kulashekhara Varma (c. 800–c.820 CE)[3]
  • Rajashekhara (c. 820–844 CE)[3]
  • Sthanu Ravi Varma (844–c. 885 CE)[3]
  • Rama Varma (c. 885–917 CE)[3]
  • Kota Ravi Varma (917–947 CE)[3]
  • Indu Kota Varma (944–962 CE)[3]
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma I (962–1019 CE)[3]
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma II (979–1021 CE)[3]
  • Vira Kerala (1021–c. 1028 CE)[3]
  • Rajasimha (c. 1028–c.1043 CE)[3]
  • Bhaskara Ravi Varma III (c. 1043–c.1082 CE)[3]
  • Ravi Rama Varma (c. 1082–1090 CE)[3]

Venad Swaroopam (Later Cheras)[edit]

Rulers of Venad trace their origin to the Vel family related to the Ay chiefs of the ancient southern India (c. 1st - 4th century AD). Venad - ruled by hereditary chiefs, acting with the help of a military entourage - emerged as a chiefdom in the state of the Cheras of Kodungallur in c. 8th century.

  • Rama Varma Kulashekhara (1090–1102) – mentioned in Rameswarathukoil Inscription as the founder of Venad as an independent state
  • Kotha Varma Marthandam, Keezhperoor (1102–1125) – conquered Kottar and Nanjanad from the Pandya Dynasty
  • Vira Kerala Varma I, Keezhperoor (1125–1145) – great religious benefactor, responsible for the rebuilding of Padmanabhaswamy and the endowment of Suchindram Temples
  • Kodai Kerala Varma, Keezhperoor (1145–1150)
  • Vira Ravi Varma, Keezhperoor (1161–1164)
  • Vira Kerala Varma II, Keezhperoor (1164–1167)
  • Vira Aditya Varma, Keezhperoor (1167–1173)
  • Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, Keezhperoor (1173–1192) – established his seat at Kulikkod and allied himself to the Pandya kings
  • Devadaram Vira Kerala Varma III, Keezhperoor (1192–1195)
  • Vira Manikantha Rama Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1195– ?)
  • Vira Rama Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1209–1214)
  • Vira Ravi Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1214–1240)
  • Vira Padmanabha Martanda Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1240–1252) – the Pandya kings asserted their dominance over Venad during his reign
  • Jayasimha Deva, Keezhperoor (1266–1267) – succeeded in bringing the whole of present-day Kerala under his control. He established his seat at Kollam, the surrounding areas becoming known as Jayasimhanad (Desinganad). His wife Rani Umma Devi was probably a joint ruler with her husband. He died leaving several sons who quarrelled with his nephews over the succession, causing a long and disruptive civil war.
  • Ravi Varma, Keezhperoor (1299–1313)
  • Vira Udaya Martanda Varma, Keezhperoor (1313–1333)
  • Aditya Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1333–1335)
  • Vira Rama Udaya Martanda Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1335–1342)
  • Vira Kerala Varma Tiruvadi, Keezhperoor (1342–1363)
  • Vira Martanda Varma III, Keezhperoor (1363–1366)
  • Vira Rama Martanda Varma, Keezhperoor (1366–1382)
  • Vira Ravi Varma, Keezhperoor (1383–1416)
  • Vira Ravi Ravi Varma, Keezhperoor (1416–1417)
  • Vira Kerala Martanda Varma, Keezhperoor (1383)
  • Chera Udaya Martanda Varma, Keezhperoor (1383–1444)
  • Vira Ravi Varma, Keezhperoor (1444–1458)
  • Sankhara Sri Vira Rama Martanda Varma (1458–1468)
  • Vira Kodai Sri Aditya Varma (1468–1484) – established his capital at Kallidaikurichi
  • Vira Ravi Ravi Varma (1484–1503) – established his capital at Padmanabhapuram
  • Martanda Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal (1503–1504)
  • Vira Ravi Kerala Varma, Kulasekhara Perumal (1504–1528) – succeeded as Trippappur Mutta Tiruvadi

Mushika Kingdom (Ezhimalai)[edit]

The Mushika kingdom was a kingdom in the early historic south India in present-day Kerala, India, ruled by a royal dynasty of the same name. Its dominions, for most of its recorded history, covered the present-day regions of northern Kerala, Tulunadu and Coorg (southern Karnataka), between the western slopes of the Western Ghats in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west.

  • Nannan I - He married the daughter of the Chera King Perunchorruthiyan sometime around the 3rd Century BCE. Sangam texts as well as several versions of the Mahabharata cite a Chera king by the same name to have fed the rival armies in the Great War. Under Nannan, an able military commander also, Mushika kingdom transformed into a force in South India, and stretched into Wynad and Gudalur Districts in the foothills of the Western Ghats, and the northern parts of present-day Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu. Eager to expand his kingdom, Nannan waged war against the Cheras, and successfully defeated the Chera commanders at the Battle of Pazhi.
  • Isanavarman – married a Chedi princess Nandini. He also married the daughter of the then Chola King. Their son Nrpurama was the next king.
  • Virochana – defeated the Pallavas, and married Harini, the daughter of the Pallava King.
  • Kandan Kari Varman – (The Mushika king who lived in the Eleventh Century CE) is referred to as a close relative of the Ay-Chera King Vira Kerala. Several inscriptions exist in both the Kasargod-Kannur area (in Eramam) and in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari area, throwing light on the synchronism between Rajendra Chola, Chera Vira Kerala and Kandan Kari Varman and that the latter Mushika King belonged to the Ay Dynasty.[4]

Kola Swarupam (Chirakkal Rajah)[edit]

Kolattunādu (Kola Swarupam, as Kingdom of Cannanore in foreign accounts, Chirakkal (Chericul) in later times) was one of the three most powerful feudal kingdoms on the Malabar Coast during the arrival of Portuguese India Armadas, the others being Zamorin's Calicut and Quilon. The Kolathiris are praised as Vadakkan Perumals ("Kings of the North") by the noted "Keralolpathi". Kolathiri were also known as Chirakkal Raja or King of Chirakkal.

  • Rama Ghata Mushaka – established the lineage of Kola Swarupam;
  • Vikrama Rama[5] an inscription dating to 929 AD mentions about one Vikrama Rama identifiable with the ruler Vikrama Rama who appears in the Mushika Vamsa
  • Udaya Varma, also known as "Rama Ghata Muvar" – mentioned on the inscription from 10th century AD
  • Eraman Chemani (Rama Jayamani) – the inscription from the Tiruvattur temple mentions him to be identifiable as the king who appears as the 109th ruler in the Mushika Vamsa

Arrakal Kingdom[edit]

Arakkal kingdom (Kingdom of Cannanore, Sultanate of Laccadive and Cannanore) was a former city-state on the Malabar Coast, ruled by a dynasty of the same name. The ruling King was called Ali Raja ("the Sea Ruler") and the ruling queen was called Arakkal Beevi. The royal family is said to be originally a branch of the Kolattiri, descended from a princess of that family who converted to Islam. They owed allegiance to the Kolattiri rulers, whose ministers they had been at one time. The Arakkal family was the only Muslim royal family of Kerala to control parts of the coast and Lakshadweep.

  • Ali Raja Ali II – known to have deployed his naval Mappila forces on behalf of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb during the Child's War

Samoothiri of Kozhikode[edit]

Zamorin of Calicut[6] (Saamoothiri, സാമൂതിരി) – rulers of Malabar from the 14th and 18th century AD. At the peak of their reign, the Samoothiris ruled over a region from Kollam (Quilon) to Panthalayini Kollam (Koyilandy).

  • Mana Vikrama (Manikkan) – legendary founder of the ruling family
  • Mana Vikrama the Great – the Russian merchant of Tver Afanasy Nikitin (1468–1474) visited Kozhikode during his reign
  • Mana Vikrama III – the expulsion of the Portuguese from Chaliyam (1571) by his forces
  • Mana Vikrama (Saktan Tampuran) – uncle of the author of the Krishnanatakam
  • Mana Veda – author of the Krishnanatakam
  • Asvati Tirunal – his forces undertook the expulsion of Portuguese from Kodungallur (1662)
  • Puratam Tirunal – Portuguese were expelled from Kochi under his reign (1663)
  • Uttrattati Tirunal – ceded Chetwai to the Dutch
  • Bharani Tirunal Mana Vikram – the terror of the Dutch; two Mamankams (1694 and 1695)
  • Nileswaram Tirunal – adoptions from Nileswaram (1706 and 1707)
  • Samoothiri from Kilakke Kovilakam (1741–1746)
  • Putiya Kovilakam (1746–1758) – the Dutch War was fought during his term (1753–1758).
  • Kilakke Kovilakam (1758–1766) – battles with Travancore and the invasion of Mysore; committed suicide; annexed by Mysore
  • Putiya Kovilakam (1766–1788)
  • Kerala Varma Vikrama[7] (1788–1798) – Treaty of Seringapatam (1792)
  • Krishna Varma[8] (1798–1806) – agreement of 1806 with EIC (died in 1816)

Purannatt Swarupam (Cotiote Rajah)[edit]

Kings of Travancore[edit]

In the 18th century, Marthanda Varma (1706–1758), of the Trippappoor, successfully developed the centralised state of Travancore. Varma routed all of major Nair nobles in Travancore, organised a standing army, defeated most of the chiefdoms in central Kerala, entered into strategic alliances with Europeans, supported Kerala merchants (Syrian Christian) in the place of the Europeans, and eventually formed one of the first modern states of southern India.

Dewan of Travancore[edit]

Kings of Cochin[edit]

  • Unniraman Koikkal I (1500–1503)
  • Veera Kerala Varma (1537–1565)
  • Kesava Rama Varma (1565–1601)
  • Rama Varma (1701–1721)
  • Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran (1790–1805)
  • Rama Varma XV (1895–1914)
  • Kerala Varma (1946–1948)
  • Rama Varma Pareekshithu Thampuran (1948–1964) – last king of Cochin[12][13]

Villarvattom Dynasty (vassal principality of the Kingdom of Cochin)[edit]

Heads of state[edit]

K.R. Narayanan, President of India (1997–2002)

President of India[edit]

President of Singapore[edit]

Parliament of India[edit]

Rajya Sabha[edit]

Lok Sabha[edit]

Governors of states[edit]

Council of Ministers, India[edit]

A. K. Antony

Union Cabinet Ministers[edit]

Minister of State (Independent Charges)[edit]

Minister of State (MoS)[edit]

  • Lakshmi N. Menon – Ministry of External Affairs of India (1957–1966)
  • Mullappally RamachandranMinistry of Home Affairs (2009–2014) – Agriculture and Cooperation (1991–1996)
  • M. M. Jacob – Ministries of Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources and Home Affairs at different periods (1987–93)
  • O. Rajagopal, BJP – Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Railways, Urban Development, Defence (1999–2004)
  • Shashi Tharoor – Ministry of External Affairs of India (2009–2010), Minister of State for Human Resource Development (2012–2014)
  • E. Ahamed – Ministry of External Affairs (2011– ); Minister of State for Human Resource Development; Minister of State for Railways (2004–2014)
  • K. C. Venugopal – Ministry of Power (2011–2014)
  • Kodikkunnil Suresh – Ministry of Labour and Employment (2012–2014)
  • V Muraleedharan, BJP – Minister of state for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs

Chief Ministers[edit]

V. S. Achuthanandan

From Kerala[edit]



Other states[edit]

Political leaders[edit]

Award winners[edit]

Bharat Ratna[edit]

The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India.[21]

Padma Vibhushan[edit]

Adoor Gopalakrishnan

The Padma Vibhushan is India's second highest civilian honour.[22]

Padma Bhushan[edit]

M. S. Valiathan

The Padma Bhushan is India's third highest civilian honour.[23] (This is not a complete list.)

Padma Shri[edit]

Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar (1899–1990)
Dr. K. J. Yesudas
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

The Padma Shri is India's fourth highest civilian honour.[26] (This is not a complete list.)

National Medal of Science[edit]

The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics.[28]

  • Thomas Kailath (2012) – presented by President Barack Obama in 2014 for "transformative contributions to the fields of information and system science, for distinctive and sustained mentoring of young scholars, and for translation of scientific ideas into entrepreneurial ventures that have had a significant impact on industry"[29][30]

Academy Awards[edit]

The Academy Awards also known as the Oscars are a set of 24 awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership.[31]

Booker Prize[edit]

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Booker–McConnell Prize and commonly known simply as the Booker Prize) is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the UK.

Government and world organisations[edit]

Members of the Imperial Civil Service[edit]

Civil Services of India[edit]

Cabinet Secretaries[edit]


Shivshankar Menon
Gita Gopinath

Members of the United Nations[edit]

Shashi Tharoor

International Monetary Fund[edit]

Military leaders[edit]

Early Modern Period[edit]

  • Kunhali Marakkar – The Kunjali Marakkar or Kunhali Marakkar was the title given to the Muslim naval chief of the Zamorin of Calicut (Samoothiri of Kozhikode), by Hindu King of Calicut, in present-day state of Kerala, India during the 16th century. There were four major Kunjalis who played a part in the Zamorin's naval wars with the Portuguese from 1507 to 1600. The Marakkars are credited with organizing the first naval defense of the Indian coast.[41][42][43]

The four key Kunhali Marakkars:

  1. Kutti Ahmed Ali – Kunhali Marakkar I
  2. Kutti Pokker Ali – Kunhali Marakkar II
  3. Pattu Kunhali – Kunhali Marakkar III
  4. Mohammed Ali – Kunhali Marakkar IV

Contemporary period[edit]


Air Force[edit]

Param Vishist Seva Medal holders



Chief Justice of India[edit]

Judges of the Supreme Court of India[edit]

Justice M. Fathima Beevi

Women Judges of the Supreme Court of India[edit]

  • M. Fathima Beevi (1989–1992) – first woman Judge of the Supreme Court of India

Women Judges of the High Court[edit]

  • Smt. Justice Anna Chandy – Judge of the High Court of Kerala (1959–1967) and the first woman in India to be a judge of a High Court
  • Kumari Justice P. Janaki Amma – second woman Judge of the High Court of Kerala (1974–1982)


Ancient mathematicians[edit]



Thomas Kailath
V.C. Samuel

Heads of institutions[edit]

Medical sciences[edit]

Humanities and social sciences[edit]

  • Nivedita Menon – feminist writer; professor of political thought at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Business and commerce[edit]

Social reformers[edit]

Independence activists[edit]

Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair

Social reformers[edit]

Ādi Śaṅkarācārya

Religion and spirituality[edit]





  • Poykayil Yohannan aka Poykayil Kumara Guru Devan – activist, poet and the founder of the socio-religious movement Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha

Literature and writing[edit]



Film and media[edit]

Mohanlal and Mammootty




Film producer and directors[edit]


K.S. Chithra, singer

Artists, architects, painters, sculptors[edit]






  • (C) denotes players who have captained the national side.








Other countries[edit]







Table tennis[edit]


Performing artists[edit]


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