Kanakkan in India

Joshua Project has identified the Kanakkan only in India







Largest Religion

Main Language


Profile Source: Global Prayer Digest / Keith Carey

Introduction / History

In 1909, a British writer wrote that the Kanakkan people wore a sacred thread, which is normally reserved for high caste Brahmins. This is strange since this group is from a scheduled caste community.

Traditionally they worked as coconut pickers who also extracted toddy from coconut and palm trees.

Where are they Located?

Almost all the Kanakkan people live in India’s beautiful southwestern state of Kerala. They do not live in other countries.

What are Their Lives Like?

This is an endogamous community, meaning that they only marry within their own. If you do some web searching, you will find that they have their own matrimonial sites. They commonly marry their cousins. When a Kanakkan couple gets divorced, they have a very simple procedure: they just separate, and everyone understands that they are divorced. Their children can stay with either parent. Nuclear families are becoming more common among them.

Most of them are landless agricultural laborers. They have a surprisingly high literacy rate given their low economic status.

What are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of them are Hindus, though there are a few who profess Christianity. They family deity is Nerachikavu Bhagvati. They also worship various village and other Hindu deities.

According to the seventh edition of "Operation World," their state, Kerala, was 19 percent Christian in one form or another. The Kanakkan people speak Kerala’s language, Malayalam. It would be easy for them to have contact with Malayalam-speaking believers. That language includes all kinds of Christian materials such as the Bible, the JESUS Film, Gospel Recordings, and radio broadcasts. There are also vibrant Kerala-based mission organizations such as India Gospel Outreach (IGO) that can reach them.

Prayer Points

* Pray for spiritual hunger among the Kanakkan people.
* Pray for them to have ready access to the many Christian materials that are in the Malayalam language.
* Pray for Indian mission groups like IGO to reach out to them until there is a cascading church planting movement among them.

People Name General Kanakkan
People Name in Country Kanakkan
Population in India 250,000
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Kanakar, Karnigar, Koinagar, Padanna, Pandanna
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Malayali
People Name General Kanakkan
Ethnic Code CNN23b
Country India
Continent Asia
Region South Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Malayalam (197,000) Tamil (53,000) Kanikkaran (2,000) Kannada (100)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Malayalam 197,000 Tamil 53,000
Kanikkaran 2,000 Kannada 100
Largest Religion Hinduism
0.02%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
Other / Small
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project. A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.