A category of division of Nadars is based on religion as Christian and Hindu Nadars. The Christian Nadars are mainly concentrated in the southern belts while the Hindu ones are found dispersed throughout the state. But the majority are Hindus. A miniscule portion even embraced Islam in the 19th century in the coastal belts of Tirunelveli District. About 10% of the Nadar population are Protestant Christians. . Some are Catholics particularly in the coastal villages of Tirunelveli where the Portuguese missionaries concentrated their efforts.

Hindu Nadars
Most of the Hindu Nadars are predominantly Saivites. Some Hindu Nadars retain lifestyles very similar to those of the orthodox Vellalas and Brahmins. They practice vegetarianism and perform temple poojas on Tuesdays and Fridays, make pilgrimages to holy shrines, and meticulously follow other religious observances.

Christian Nadars
The Nadars of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts pursued two distinct paths in their search for improved status and better life. One path involved the Northward migration. The second was the conversion to Christianity. The bulk of the Nadar Christians are Protestants. The first permanent Shanar Christian settlement, Mudalur was established in 1799, but substantial members of the Shanars converted to Christianity only after the complete cession of Tirunelveli to the British in 1801. Within the Christian Nadar community, Catholics and Protestants some times intermarry. Some Christians also avoid being members of local Nadar associations. Their churches serve as associations of sorts for them. Under the influence of the Christian missionaries, the Nadars of Kanyakumari began to reform their caste practices in the early 19th century.

Muslim Nadars
During the Sivakasi Riots at the end of the nineteenth century, a number of Nadars reportedly embraced Islam in order to escape attacks. Muslim Nadars are a very miniscule proportion. Most of them live in the extreme south of Ramnad dist and in some settlements in Tirunelveli dist. It is not very clear whether they retain their distinct Nadar identity now.

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