Deepika has an illustrious history of over a century. It was first published by a Syrian Catholic priest, Nidhirikkal Manikkathanar, or Father Emmanuel Nidhiri, or Nidhiry Mani Kathanar, under the masthead Nasrani Deepika. (Nasrani in Malayalam means a Syrian Christian). The first issue came out on 1887 April 15, which coincided with Vishu (the spring equinox festival according to Kerala tradition). The word "Deepika" in Malayalam means "lamp." Printing was on a crude handmade wooden press.