Samanthans are a class of
Nairs of Kerala. Traditionally they were subordinate to the Malayala Kshatriyasand superior to the Kiriyathil Nairs. Most of the customs and ceremonies of the Samanthans are same as Nairs. They did not wear the sacred thread or perform Vedic rites. Their women attached the title of "Kovilamma" to their name. Note that they are not be confused with the Samanta Kshatriyas which is the ancient name for the Malayala Kshatriyas.
The chief subdivisions of the Samanthas are as follows [Fawcett. F Nairs of Malabar. Asian Educational Services, NewDelhi. 1990.] :
They were mostly Nair chiefs from
Malabarwho fled to Travancoreduring the invasion of Tipu Sultanof MysoreFact|date=March 2008. The Unniyathiris and Pandalas were the oldest with their seats in the towns of Vaikom and Ettumannor respectively. The Eradis, Vallodis and Nedungadis were chiefs from the areas of Eranad, Walluvanad and Nedunganad respectively. The Unniyathiris claim to be the highest among the Samanthas since the "Thali Kettu Kalyanam" of their girls is done by an "Aryapattar" unlike the Illayatu of the other Samanthans. Kavalappara Swaroopamand the Kuthiravattth MuppilNairs are two other ruling dynasties claiming Cheraman Perumals ancestry.
Manners and Customs
Their manners and customs closely resemble those of the
Nairs. In fact it seems that they are merely Nair chiefs like other royals claiming descent from the Cheras as there is no authentic evidence excepting a few stories to support their claims. Their houses were generally called "Madhoms" or in case of powerful chiefs " Kottarams" (Palace). Male members had Sambandhams with Nairladies while females had Sambandhamwith Namboodiris.
*1. Fawcett.F Nairs of Malabar. Asian Educational Services, NewDelhi. 1990.
*2. Travancore State Manual by V. Nagam Aiya
*3. Travancore State Manual by Velu Pillai
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