Keralite Hindus
Panchavadyam (orchestra of 5 instruments) during a festival
Total population
18,282,492 (2011)
54.9% of total populationDecrease
Related ethnic groups
Keralite Muslims and Keralite Christians

Hinduism is the largest religion in Kerala and Hindu castes together make up 54.8% of the population of the state according to the 2011 census.


Hinduism is the most widely professed faith in Kerala. According to 2011 Census of India figures, 54.7% of Kerala's residents are Hindus.[1] Hindus represent the biggest religious group in all districts except Malappuram.[2]

The mythological legends regarding the origin of Kerala are Hindu in nature. Kerala produced several saints and movements.

Adi Shankara, was from Kerala.
Adi Shankara, was from Kerala.

Adi ShankaraAdi Shankara was a religious philosopher who contributed to Hinduism and propagated the philosophy of Advaita. He was instrumental in establishing four mathas at Sringeri, Dwarka, Puri and Jyotirmath. Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri was another religious figure who composed Narayaniyam, a collection of verses in praise of the Hindu God Krishna.

Various practises of Hinduism are unique to Kerala. Different cults of Shiva and Vishnu are popular in Kerala. Lord Krishna is worshipped widely in all parts of Kerala, Guruvayur being one of the most famous temples in the state. Malayali Hindus also worship Bhagavathi as a form of Shakti. Almost every village in Kerala has its own local guardian deity, usually a goddess. Hindus in Kerala also strongly believe in power of snake gods and usually have sacred snake groves known as Sarpa Kavu near to their houses.

Malayali Hindus have ceremonies such as Chorunu (first feeding of rice to a child) and Vidyāraṃbhaṃ.


Main articles: Religion and Demographics of Kerala

Hindu population by district

Districts Population(2001) Population(2011) Hindu Population(2011) Hindus %
Kasargod 1,203,342 1,307,375 729,908 55.83%
Kannur 2,412,365 2,523,003 1,509,513 59.83%
Wayanad 786,627 817,420 404,460 49.48%
Kozhikode 2,878,498 3,086,293 1,734,806 56.21%
Malappuram 3,629,640 4,112,920 1,135,166 27.60%
Palakkad 2,617,072 2,809,934 1,875,912 66.76%
Thrissur 2,975,440 3,121,200 1,823,405 58.42%
Ernakulam 3,098,378 3,282,388 1,509,570 45.99%
Idukki 1,128,605 1,093,156 541,845 48.86%
Kottayam 1,952,901 1,974,551 983,524 49.81%
Alappuzha 2,105,349 2,127,789 1,460,515 68.64%
Pathanamthitta 1,231,577 1,197,412 681,687 56.93%
Kollam 2,584,118 2,635,375 1,697,709 64.42%
Thiruvananthapuram 3,234,707 3,301,427 2,209,975 66.94%
Total 31,841,374 33,406,061 18,282,492 54.9%

Historical growth

Religious Demographics of Kerala (1901-2011)[4][5]


Hindus Decadal Growth rate (%)
1901 4,378,305 68.5% N/A
1911 4,762,393 66.8% +8.77
1921 5,052,039 64.9% +6.08
1931 6,021,982 63.4% +19.20
1941 6,699,600 61.8% +11.25
1951 8,344,351 61.6% +24.55
1961 10,282,568 60.9% +23.23
1971 12,683,277 59.4% +23.35
1981 14,801,347 58.2% +16.70
1991 16,668,587 57.3% +12.62
2001 17,920,105 56.3% +7.51
2011 18,282,492 54.9% +2.02

Hindu temples

Main article: List of Hindu temples in Kerala

Some of the most notable temples are:


Kerala is home to Hindu saints and swamis of all castes. Bhagavan Sree Narayana Gurudevan, Sant Enadinatha, Sant Ilakkulaccanrar, Sant Tiruppana were all outside brahmin caste fold, Cheraman Nayanar was a Kothayar, Chattampi Swamikal, Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi and Swami Chinmayananda were of the Nair caste, and Adi Shankara and Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri were Nambuthiri Brahmins. The Harijan Parayas of Kerala claim to descend from Sant Vasistha.[6] Kollengode has a structure near Thirthala-Koottanad Road, in memory of a Harijan saint, Sant Paakkanar.[7] In the Rapayan Tujjal, the narrator (dancer-reciter) is a Harijan and a descendant of Sant Pakkanar.[8] The Periya Puranam, possibly written by a Paraya, describes the Parayas. Further, the Vishvakarma Purana was written by a sonar (goldsmith).[9]

Narayana Guru at the age of sixty.
Narayana Guru at the age of sixty.

Chenkottukonam Madathipathi Jagadguru Swami Sathyananda Saraswathi is popularly regarded as the father of contemporary Hindu renaissance in Kerala for the victorious movements he led for temple rights and the establishment of Hindu Aikya Vedi for integrating Hindus of all classes. He is reckoned as the greatest karmayogi to uphold Sanatana Dharma since Swami Vivekananda internationally.

The official festivals of Shree Narayana Jayanti (Narayana Guru's birthday) and Sree Narayana Samadhi Day (Narayana Guru's death) are celebrated by the Keralites in memory of a great Shudra reformer of their society.

The modern Hindu Karma yogi saint Amma Mata Amritanandamayi was selected to represent Hindu Dharma in the World Parliament of Religions in September 1991.[10] Bhagawan Nityananda is another important Hindu saint recognized worldwide.

Several Hindu movements important to Hindu history took place in Kerala.[11] The Karppillikkavu Sree Mahadeva Temple, (one of the most ancient in India) dedicated to the Kirata Avatar of Lord Shiva still exists in Kerala.

See also


  1. ^ "Population by religious communities". Census of India. Government of India. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Increase in Muslim population in the State". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 23 September 2004. Archived from the original on 28 November 2004. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Vital Statistics Reports". Government of Kerala, Vital Statistics Division Department of Economics & Statistics Thiruvananthapuram. Archived from the original on 7 June 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  4. ^ Raghunath, Arjun (16 March 2016). "Kerala: Muslims will be double the number of Christians by 2051". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Kerala population Demographics" (PDF). Bitscan. Retrieved 19 July 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Dr. C. I. Issac, "The Origin of Syrian Christians of Keralam"
  7. ^ P. 94-5Tourist Guide to Kerala: The Land of Lavish Lagoons By V. Subburaj, Various
  8. ^ (Kr̥ṣṇavāriyar, P. 193 A History of Malayalam Metre)
  9. ^ Vishwakarma (Mahaprabhu.) (2000). Prachin Vishwakarma puran (in Gujarati). Harihar.
  10. ^ "Devotees flock to hug Indian guru" (BBC)
  11. ^ "Sri Vaishnava Divya Desam Shrines in Kerala". Retrieved 19 July 2021.