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Ettarayogam and Ettuveettil Pillaimar,

The Ettara Yogam setup was formed in the year 1045 A.D. and its members consisted of six Potty Brahmin families, one pushpanjaly Brahmin family and one representative, Kaaranavar from a Nair family who assumed the role of the Temple protector. These trustees, who had one vote each in deciding the matters of the Temple management, the Maharajah of Venad, as it was then known, had just half a vote, thus rendering the ruler of the land almost powerless in the affairs of the Devaswom of Padmanabhapuram. Since the Temple possessed vast landed areas and wealth, gave immense power to the eight members and the King with juat 1/2 vote was helpless. The council came be known as that of "Eight and a Half" or Ettara (8 1/2) yogam. The trusteeship of the Ettara Yogam was passed hereditarily and the member families were represented by the oldest male member therein.

The lands of the temple were divided into eight adhikarems or districts and a Nair noble family was placed in each of these districts as a governor with the title of Pillai. Hence they came to be known as the Ettuveetil Pillamar or the Lords of the Eight Houses. Owing to the large amount of power vested in their hands, the Ettara Yogam and their associates the Ettuveetil Pillamar became highly arrogant towards the Royal family. When Maharajah Aditya Varma wished to build himself a palace at Trivandrum, even outside the jurisdiction of the Ettuveetil Pillamar or the Ettara Yogam, he was not permitted to do so. The confederacy of these Pillamar was eventually destroyed in the 18th century by Maharajah Marthanda Varma after they were found guilty of murder and conspiracy against the Royal house. Two families of the Yogam were banished from Travancore while the rest were permitted nominal rights in the Temple. After Marthanda Varma the temple came under the control of the Maharajahs of Travancore and the power of the Yogam was ended.

These Potty families and the sole Nair noble family were:

  1. Kupakkara Potty

  2. Atiyara Potty of Vanchiyur

  3. Atiyara Potty of Kollur

  4. Muttavila Potty

  5. Neysseri Potty

  6. Karuva Potty

  7. Srikaryattu Potty

  8. Karanatta Kurup or Azhakath Kurup, the Nair nobleman

  9. 1/2 member, the sovereign of the land