[Advaita-l] Temples across India

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 4 16:16:33 CST 2010

Is the information below concerning priests in the various temples of India factually/historically accurate (especially the second paragraph), or is it fanciful imagination? The claim is that Sankara ordered Northerners to be priests at certain South-Indian temples, and vice-versa. I've never heard that the Pujaris in the famous Rameswaram temple were North-Indian!


"The temple Poojaaris (temple priests) of Badari are Namboothiris from northern Kerala, a tradition started and ordained by Sree Sankaracharya himself. These priests, called Raavals, are selected from the members belonging to a group of Brahmanan families who were brought to north Kerala from Gokarnam by the king of Kolathunaadu in the 17th century AD (click here  for more details of these brahmanans).

Besides, Sree Sankara is also believed to be behind some other stipulations: Joshis from Kashi, Kashmir, Nepal, or Maharashtra should be the Poojaaris at Rameswram; the Chowbey Braahmanans from Orissa should be the Poojaaris at Dwaraka; and the Poojaaris at Jagannath Puri should be the Pandas from Gujarat. No doubt, Sree Sankara ordained all these to ensure the inter-linking and integration of the various pan-Indian trends and traditions.

It is again Sree Sankara who stipulated that the Raaval at Badarinath should be a celibate bachelor while the Poojaari at Mookambika should be a married householder. The systematisation of the worship rituals at the temple of the Goddess at Mookambika and at the temple of Krishna at Guruvayur is also attributed to Sree Sankara. All these have been observed till this day. Nonetheless, it is perhaps one of the quirks of irony that Sree Sankara is virtually unremembered in the land of his birth, Kerala, while his legendary eminence continues unabated outside of Kerala."


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