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The Ulladan community is settled in all districts of Kerala except for Palakkad and Kannur. They have representation in 263 local bodies across the state, including one Corporation (Kochi), 17 Municipalities, and 245 Grama Panchayats. This makes them one of the communities with the largest presence in Panchayat Raj Institutions in Kerala. However, the districts of Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, and Eranakulam have a sizable population of the Ulladan community.


Population and Distribution:

The Ulladan community consists of 4864 families with a total population of 17557, comprising 8560 males and 8997 females. The average family size is 3.61, and the sex ratio is 1000:1051 (females per 1000 males). While their population is distributed across numerous Grama Panchayats, only a few have populations exceeding 500 individuals.

Origin and Language:

The term 'Ullu' signifies forest areas, and 'Aliyavar' refers to those who ruled. It is believed that the Ulladans originally settled in forest areas and later migrated to plain areas as well. Their traditional dialect is not widely used, and they now predominantly speak Malayalam. The headman of the Ulladan community is known as the 'Kanikaran,' and he presides over the council of elders.

Traditional Livelihoods and Skills:

In the past, the Ulladans were semi-nomadic and had indigenous knowledge of collecting medicinal herbs, which they would sell in local markets. They hold the right to enter sacred groves for the collection of medicinal plants. Ulladans living on the banks of Western Kuttanad backwaters are skilled carpenters and renowned for their expertise in canoe making. They are also involved in woodcutting and non-timber forest produce collection, particularly honey gathering. Many of them are now engaged in agricultural labor.

Progress and Development:

Ulladans settled in urban and semi-urban areas have responded to development initiatives and made progress in their own unique way. However, overall, the community faces challenges in terms of socio-economic development, access to education, and healthcare facilities. Providing targeted development programs and support to uplift the community is essential to ensure their well-being and empowerment.



The Ulladan community, with its vibrant history and unique traditions, contributes to the cultural diversity of Kerala. Their presence in a significant number of local bodies underscores their importance in the state's governance. By addressing their specific needs and promoting their cultural heritage, the Ulladan community can prosper and thrive in Kerala's dynamic and evolving landscape.

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