[Advaita-l] Temples across India

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Feb 4 18:09:54 CST 2010

On Thu, 4 Feb 2010, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> 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!

I don't think it is true historically and it certainly doesn't seem to be 
true today.

> http://www.namboothiri.com/articles/raavaljis-of-badari.htm
> "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).

> the Chowbey Braahmanans from Orissa 
> should be the Poojaaris at Dwaraka;

Chowbey (or more usually Chaube) is a prakritization of Chaturvedi and 
they are from Mathura and surrounding parts of UP not Orissa.  They are 
typically followers of Vallabhacharya and as Dwarka has long been under 
the influence of that branch of Vaishnavism, it is possible that some 
Chaubes may have become pujaris at Dwarkadish.  However the last time my 
father went there about five years back, the priest was a Gujarati 

> and the Poojaaris at Jagannath Puri 
> should be the Pandas from Gujarat.

Panda or Pandey are common Brahmana surnames in Eastern India (prakrit 
forms of Pandit) but not in Gujarat where the equivalent form is Pandya 
(which in turn has nothing to do with the South Indian royal dynasty of 
that name.)

> No doubt, Sree Sankara ordained all 
> these to ensure the inter-linking and integration of the various 
> pan-Indian trends and traditions.

It's unlikely.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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