Three new Cortinarius species, Cortinarius conopileus, C. keralensis, and C. phlegmophorus spp. nov., are described from Kerala State in southern India. This is the first record of ectomycorrhizal Cortinarius spp. in the tropical part of India. In addition to distinct morphological characters, the comparative analysis of rDNA ITS sequences of the collections from India and morphologically similar species support the recognition of these taxa as new species. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrate that the three Indian Cortinarius spp. belong to both larger subclades of the genus Cortinarius, clade/cortinarius and clade/telamonia. As supported by morphological and molecular data, C. phlegmophorus belongs to Cortinarius subgen. Myxacium sect. Defibulati. Based on classical morphological characters, both C. keralensis and C. conopileus are representatives of subgen. Telamonia. However, C. conopileus belongs to clade/obtusi, which is a well-supported subclade of clade/cortinarius. Thus, in contrast to classical taxonomy, the clade/obtusi represents an independent evolutionary origin of telamonioid taxa. This result is also reflected by the distinct morphological characters of taxa of clade/obtusi, namely the lamellar trama with ellipsoid inflated hyphae and the presence of cystidia. In contrast, C. keralensis is a typical member of clade/telamonia. Within/telamonia, only relationships of closely related taxa are resolved due to the low genetic divergence found in ITS sequences. Based on morphological and molecular criteria, C. keralensis is a distinct taxon of sect. Saturnini.