Ayyavazhi first came to public attention in the 19th century as a Hindu sect. Vaikundar's activities and the growing number of followers caused a reformation and revolution in 19th century Travancore and Tamil society, surprising the feudal social system of South India.
Ayyavazhi worship was marked by its simplicity. The absence of idol worship and priestly mediation, and inclusion of alternate type of centres of worship, the Pathis and Nizhal Thangals, were other characteristics of Ayyavazhi worship. Rituals of Ayyavazhi are a reform or revolutionary activity, focusing upon social equality, deviating from Hinduism. The rituals are also characterised and bound by religious beliefs that give them an alternative spiritual meaning. Its scriptures cover basic elements and ideas throughout Hinduism. They refer to Shastras, Agamas, Vedas and Puranas. But address them all to be gone awry by the Advent of Vaikundar, from where Ayyavazhi scriptures forms negative ideas over all other traditions. Though Ayyavazhi shares many god-heads with Hinduism, it weaves unique ideology and power assumption for them. Ayyavazhi can be portrayed as a Hindu renaissance. Ayyavazhi is viewed as a reform movement too, as it brought many social changes there in the Tamil and keralite society during the 19th century.
The religious structure evolved in the path of Ayyavazhi scriptures and, as a result, it transfigured itself as an alternative religio-cultural system in the social category. The Ayyavazhis addressed their system as "Path of God" with the phrase "Ayya Vazhi". On one hand, they believe that their tradition had come to replace all old traditions (religions), but on the other hand, they believe that Ayyavazhi is the synopsis of the world's religious knowledge. On one hand, they believe that unified all deities within him; on the other, as all the previous had gone awry by the advent of Vaikundar. Apart from this, Ayyavazhi has separate, and ethics of its own.