MALA PANDARAM

The Malai Pandaram or otherwise termed as Hill Pandaram is a scheduled tribe. They are settled along the Pamba river, Achan koil river and in Pathanapuram and near Shencotta ranges in Kollam District. Some have migrated now to Srikrishnapuram in the Palakkad District. The reason for migration, according to this group, is that Christians had moved into the Achan Koil area, as a result of which it became difficult for them continue to their own occupations and hence they migrated to Palakkad area. They are mainly distributed in the high range areas of Kollam and Pathanamthitta Districts. The 2011 Census recorded their population as 2,422. In the Travancore region they have a patios referred by others as Pandaram Basha. With others they converse in Malayalam and educated use the Malayalam script for writing. The Malai Pandaram’s economic life is overwhelmingly forest based. The resource is controlled by government. They are landless. Presently, the government have allotted plots of forest land to groups in which they have erected their huts and in the remaining area some individuals engage in cultivation, mainly tapioca. The major traditional occupation is hunting and gathering. The Palakkad branch continue to be engaged in their traditional occupation of making and selling of rudrakshamala, tulasimala, glass beads necklace and bangles. Some of them have traditional knowledge in herbal medicines. The medicinal herbs are collected from forests of Sabarimalai, Irali (Idukki) and Wayanad. The Malai Pandaram follow Hinduism. Satha or Ayyappan is their principal deity. Most of their settlements in Travancore are also located near the Sastha temples like Aryankavu, Achankovil and Sabarimala.

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