The family of Kanippayyur hails from Kerala, a culturally rich coastal state in South India. Legends have it that, Parasurama, after creating the land from the sea, brought Brahmins to populate the land. Various professions, which were essential for the upkeep of the society, were distributed among them. Architecture and Construction of Temples, Residences, etc. were devolved on a few Nambudiri families and Kanippayyur was prominent among them.
All over India, Vastuvidya - the science of architecture - was promoted through two Institutions. They were the Institutions of Silpins, the traditional craftsman with whom the hereditary knowledge of crafts was preserved and the Institution of traditional schools imparting theoretical instructions from which the silpins invariably sought their advices. In Kerala, the school giving instructions in traditional knowledge was known as Sabhamatham. In the beginning of the 18th century there were many such institutions in Kerala well known in the area of applied traditional knowledge. Kanipayyur Namboodiripad's belong to one such family of Acharyas in the central Kerala. This family was adept not only in Vastuvidya but also in Vedic study, Tantra and Astrology.
One of the most well known Acharyas among the Kanipayyur family was Subrahmanian Namboodiripad [1839-1910]. He was well versed in Vastu Sastra, Jyotisa, Music, Paintings (Citra) and mathematics and found royal patronage by being appointed as the superintendent of public works in erstwhile Cochin state. He was responsible for preparing the designs and estimates not only for buildings but also for bridges culverts and other public works. His brother Parameswaran Namboodiripad was also an expert in Vastusastra and wood sculpture.