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, according to some anthropologists, may be related to them;[1][2] other Ambalavasi groups instead practice patrilineality.[3] Their ritual rank in Hinduism lies somewhere between the Brahmin castes and the Nairs.[4]


1 Castes and professions

1.1 Pushpaka Brahmins 1.2 Others

2 Temple types 3 References

Castes and professions[edit] The castes which comprised the Ambalavasi community each contained only a few members. Pushpaka Brahmins[edit] Main article: Pushpaka Brahmins

Kurukkal[citation needed] Nambeesan[citation needed] Puppalli[citation needed] Pushpaka Unni,[1] who bring flowers to the temples[3] Theeyatt Unni


Chakyar[1] Nambiar[1] Marar,[1] who act as temple musicians and sweepers[3] Pisharody[1] Poduval[1] Warrier[1]

Temple types[edit] 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.[1] The temples in which they worked comprised four basic types:[1]

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 b c d e f g h i j Gough, Kathleen (1961). "Nayars: Central Kerala". In Schneider editor-link=David M. Schneider, David Murray; Gough, Kathleen. Matrilineal Kinship. University of California Press. pp. 309–311. ISBN 978-0-520-02529-5.  ^ Fuller, Christopher J. (1976). The Nayars Today. Cambridge University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-52129-091-3.  ^ 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-