List of Renaissance Leaders in Kerala

Renaissance Leaders in Kerala
General Knowledge

List of Renaissance Leaders in Kerala

In this article, we’ll learn about the chronological order of the Renaissance leaders in Kerala and their organisations. Many others worked to build the state as we see it today. As a very significant portion of static GK, we need to know them to answer the sure-shot questions posed for every competitive exam.

List of Renaissance Leaders in Kerala

There are several leaders who, during this timeline, went unnoticed. Let’s show them our respect for helping us do all the things we can do today.  Discussing a few of those who have made significant contributions to uplifting our culture:

Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805–1871) – Found CMI (India’s first Christian priest committee)

  • He was born in Kainakari, Alappuzha
  • He is known in Kerala as the Father of Literacy. He introduced the structure that declared the need to build a school along with every church. He also initiated the Pidiyari system(a handful of rice) to enable individuals to make small regular contributions to support the poor. 
  • In 1846, without foreign funding, the first printing press was built in Kerala at Mannanam – called  St. Joseph’s press. It was India’s third press. 
  • Kuriakose Elias Chavara was declared beatified in 1986 and canonised on 23 November 2014.


Vaikunda swamikal / Ayya vaikundar (1809–1851) –  Founded Samatva Samajam

  • He was born in 1809 at Swamithoppu, Tamil Nadu 
  • His was named Mudi Choodum Perumal, but due to strong protest from the upper class, his name was changed to Muthukutty. During those times, only the upper caste was allowed to use god’s name as their name
  • ‘Samatva Samajam’ is possibly Kerala’s first social organisation 
  • “He was imprisoned by Swathi Thirunnal at Singara thoppu Jail in 1838 for calling him “Ananthapuri devil” saying Travancore as “Black devils rule” and British as “White devils rule”
  • He was the first to install a mirror in South India for worship
  • He constructed a public well for residents At Swamithoppu, Muthira Kinar. In that well, people of different castes took their holy bath, and the bath was called Muttiripatham
  • His famous quote – ‘One caste, One religion, One clan, One world, One God’
  • His famous slogan was – ‘If we work, we should be paid’
  • He passed away in 1851


Thycaud Ayya / Subharayan (1814–1909) – Founded the famous “Saiva Prakasha Sabha”

  • His original name was Subbarayan and is known as Guru of Great Gurus
  • He was born at Nagalapuram in 1814. He was the teacher of Swamikal Chattampi, Guru Sri Narayana, and Ayyankali
  • He was a yogi cum man of the family. Even before Mahatma Gandhi thought about it, Ayya Swamikal introduced inter-dining (Panthbhojanam) in Kerala during the 19th century
  • He argued that in temples, every Yogi might build idols, which motivated Sree Narayana Guru to build Siva’s idols
  • Sri Narayan Guru popularised Ayyaswamy’s teaching – “Oru jathi, oru matham, oru Daivam”
  • In Trivandrum, Thycaud Ayya Mission was established in 1984 
  • Swamikal established the famous ‘Saiva Prakasha Sabha’ in Chalai, Thiruvananthapuram, with the help of Manonmaneeyam Sundaram Pillai, Travancore’s first MA holder
  • In 1909, Thykaud Ayya passed away


Chattampi Swamikal (1853-1924)

  • Sree Vidyadhiraja Parama Bhattaraka Chattampi Swamikal was a hindu saint and a social reformer
  • He was born in Kollur, a suburban town of Thiruvananthapuram in Southern Travancore, on 25 August 1853. 
  • His childhood name was Ayyappan. But everybody called him by his nickname Kunjan, and so he was later known as Kunjan Pillai
  • He was deputed as the ‘Chattampi’ (monitor) of the class when studying at the ‘Patasala’ of Pettayil Raman Pillai Asan. He came to be known as ‘Chattambi Swamikal’ later
  • Swami met another young man, Nanu Asan, at Aniyoor Temple, near Vamanapuram Chattampi, in search of spiritual guidance
  • On August 5, 1924, at Panmana in Kollam district, he took Mahasamadhi 
  • Chattampi Swamikal’s mortal remains were enacted at his Panmana Samadhistanam. Today, this website is called Panmana Ashramam (Kollam district)
  • The famous works of Chattambi Swamikal are Vedadhikara Niroopanam, Prachina Malayalam, Adwaitha Chintha Paddhathi, Moksha Pradeepa Khandanam, etc.


Dr Ayyathan Gopalan (1861–1948) 

  • He was born in Thalassery
  • He was given an honorary title of Darsarji, Rao Sahib by Britishers
  • He is the founder of the Suguna Vardhini movement, and a Brahmo Samaj leader and propagandist in Kerala
  • In 1898, he began Brahmosamaj’s Kozhikode branch
  • To promote education among Dalits, he also founded Chandavarkar Elementary School in Kozhikode
  • Dr Gopalan initiated reform efforts in the year 1900 by introducing the Suguna Vardhini movement to encourage and educate children’s human values and protect the interests of women, children, and the downtrodden groups, such as the Harijan societies in society
  • On 2 May 1948, at the age of 87, he departed for his heavenly abode


Agamananda Swami (1896–1961) 

  • He was born in Chavara, Kollam, on 27 August 1896 and his real name was Krishnan Nambyathiri
  • Sanatana Dharma Vidyarthi Sangam and Brahmanandodayam were established
  • He started these magazines – Amruthavani and Prabuddha Keralam
  • In 1935, he built the first ashrama in Thrissur, and in 1936, another one on the bank of the Periyar River
  • In 1936, the Ramakrishna Ashram in Kaladi was built by him


Ananda Theerthan (1905–1987)

  • Ananda Shenoy was his real name 
  • He was similar to Sree Narayana Guru and had been fighting towards casteism 
  • In 1928, at Sarada temple at Sivagiri, he assumed his current identity 
  • In 1931, he set up the Sree Narayana School in Payyannur
  • Through the Jathinashini Sabha, established in 1933, he encouraged inter-caste marriage 
  • He was the direct disciple of Sree Narayana Guru
  • He was the founder of Jathi Nashini Sabha


Brahmananda shiva yogi / Karat Govinda Menon(1852–1929)

  • He was born in Palakkad
  • Dr Ayyathan Gopalan founded Brahmosamaj to start his reform activities. For the untiring services provided by Brahmo samaj, Ayyathan Gopalan called Karat Govinda Menon as Brahmananda Sivayogi. Sivayogi was one of Dr Gopalan’s favourite disciples 
  • In 1893, ‘Siddha rasam’ was founded in Alathur 
  • He wrote a book named Stree vidya poshini to promote awareness of women education  
  • Ananda Maha Sabha was established in 1918 
  • His famous disciple – Vagbhatananda


T.K. Madhavan (1885–1930) -“Megha Jyothis”

  • He was a social reformer, journalist and a active member of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP)
  • At Tirunelveli, he met Gandhi and convinced him to support Vaikkom satyagraha 
  • In Chettikulangara, a statue was built in his name
  • He was the founder of ‘Temple entry’ movement
  • He was the prominent leader of Vaikkom Satyagraha (1924)
  • In the year 1915, he started Deshabhimani News Paper in Kollam


We, at Direction, will provide you with full subject-specific courses covering all the subjects. Many candidates have got their dream job with the help of Direction, along with their hard work and dedication. 

Leave a Reply

Capsule Course


Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates and more.

Request a Call Back

%d bloggers like this: