The term "Malayali Brahmins" or "Malayala Brahmananmar" applies to two main groups of Brahmins from the Indian state of Kerala. They were the Swadeshi or native Brahmins of Kerala while all other Brahmins were considered Paradesi or foreign Brahmins.
The Malayali Brahmins are:
Namboodiri Brahmins: These are considered the most orthodox Brahmins in all India and they maintained great ritual purity and notions of caste and creed in the past. They are specialised in ancient Tantram rather than Mantram, unlike other Brahmins in India. They were the only Brahmins in Kerala permitted to study the Vedas as well as perform Yagas like Somayaagam,Athiraathram,etc. Namboodiri houses were known as "Illams" or "Manas". The highest family of the Malayali Brahmins is that of Azhvanchery, known as the Azhvanchery Samrat.
The Nambudiri Brahmins also have subclassifications. Of these, the Astragrihathil Aadhyanmaar (8 Elite Families) are considered the most "elite" and have the sole right to perform Yaagam (this title was presented to them by Mezhathol Agnihotri.Other Nambudiris are known as Aasyan, followed by a sect of Nambudiris who do not have the right to learn Vedam, Othilaatha.
Pohtty Brahmins: This refers to all other Swadeshi Brahmins in Kerala except the Namboodiris. They were mostly found in Travancore kingdom where there were lesser number of Namboodiri families. Their houses are known as "Madhoms" . Most of them had......