Nairs are one of the earliest settlers of Kerala one of the southern States of India. The name Nair derives from the Samscrithm word Nayaka , which means Leader. They practice Hinduism like the most of Indians.
They were fierce fighters and exponents of the martial art of Kalarippayattu. They are also famous as Chavers (Brave men who became suicide fighters to defend the honor of their country) not unlike the Samurai of Japan.
Nairs were set apart from the rest of Keralites in many ways. Their Customs where markedly different from others.
They practiced marumakkathayam or matrilineal system of inheritance where the eldest female of joint family was the head. The joint families were called Tharavadu which consisted of most of the members of a Thavazhi i.e. a line of inheritance through the mothers side traceable to a single female.
The Marriage system of Nairs are called sambandhom which is a simple process of tying a thali around the neck of female and giving her a type of cloth called mundu.
The Nair homes were made according to VasthuShastra (ancient Indian architectural science). Their homes Tharavadu usually had Sarpa kaavu (Tiny temples for serpents with adjoining Forests ) attached. These serpents are worshipped bye people and believed to have mystical powers
The Nair also worshipped Paradaivam, which is an entity usually composed of a deity of Hinduism and the souls of previous people of the same Tharavadu.
Nairs are now one of the dominant communities in Kerala along with Ehavas, Christians, and Muslims.