Kalanilayam Rajan was
born on March 15, 1964. His father is Appukutta Tharakan and mother is Late Lakshmi Amma.
After his primary education, he joined Unnayi Warrier Smaraka Kalanilayam as a Maddalam student. After completing four years Diploma course (1979-1983) at Kalanilayam he studied under Thripalamunda Nataraja Warrier for three years. He is the main disciple of Maddalam Maestro Guru Kalamandalam Eswara Warrier.
Later he joined as a main teacher at Gandhi Seva Sadanam Kathakali Academy. At the same time he trained under Thripalamunda Nataraja Warrier. In 1999, joined Visva-Bharati University as a teacher in Maddalam.
He became popular as a Kathakali Maddalam artist in Kerala and also performed Maddalam at Germany and England in 1986. Was awarded Junior Fellowship (2000-2001) by Central Government.