The Info List - Ambalavasi

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AMBALAVASI is a generic name for a group of castes among Hindus in Kerala
who render temple services. Those that practise matrilineality share many cultural similarities with the Nair caste and are probably related to them, but some Ambalavasi groups instead practice patrilineality. Their ritual rank in Hinduism lies somewhere between the Brahmin
castes and the Nairs.


* 1 Castes and professions

* 1.1 Chakyar * 1.2 Pushpakas * 1.3 Others

* 2 Notable people * 3 References


The castes which comprised the Ambalavasi community each contained only a few members. They lived in villages either where the land was owned solely by one Nambudiri Brahmin
family or where the land was owned by a temple, the running of which was in the control of a group of Nambudiri families. The latter villages were called sanketams.

The temples in which they worked comprised four basic types:

* Those in sanketams were large and were dedicated to deities which were worshipped throughout India, such as Shiva
and Vishnu
. * Private temples, owned by Nambudiri families, which were the smaller versions of those found in the sanketams. * The private temples of the royal lines, feudatory chiefs and vassal chiefs of what is now Kerala, which were dedicated to Bhagavati ( Bhadrakali ) * Village temples dedicated to Bhagavati and run by senior Nairs who had been appointed by local rulers

A brief description of each of these castes, some of which in some areas at one time or another had access to sexual relations with Nair women, are given below:


The Chakyar are the third highest-ranked of the Ambalavasis in ritual terms, along with the Pushpagans. They recited stories from the Puranas.


Pushpakas ranked with the Chakyar and were the gatherers of flowers for the temples. As with the Chakyar and indeed the Nambudiri Brahmins themselves, they were a patrilineal caste.


* Nambiar * Marar , who act as temple musicians and sweepers * Pisharodi * Poduval * Warrier



* ^ A B C D E F G H I J Gough, E. Kathleen (1961). "Nayars: Central Kerala". In Schneider, David Murray; Gough, E. Kathleen. Matrilineal Kinship. University of California Press. pp. 309–311. ISBN 978-0-520-02529-5 . * ^ A B C Fuller, Christopher J. (1976). The Nayars Today. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-52129-091-3 . * ^ Fuller, Christopher J. (1976). The Nayars Today. Cambridge University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-52129-091-3 .

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