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Title: Nambuthiri  
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Subject: Kurichiya, Chirakkal Raja, Margam Kali, Adikal, Pothuval, Tantrasamgraha
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Regions with significant populations
Related ethnic groups
Nair · Samantha Kshatriya · Pushpaka Brahmin · Shivalli Brahmins

The Nambudiri Brahmins, also transliterated Namboothiri, are Hindu Brahmins from the Indian state of Kerala.


Nambudiri mythology associates their immigration to Kerala from the banks of Narmada, Krishna and Kaveri rivers with the legendary creation of Kerala by Parasurama, an avatar of Vishnu.[1]

Cyriac Pullapilly has noted a theory that the Nambudiris are associated by some with the development of the caste system in Kerala,[2] Pullapilly refers to other theories also but of this one he says that although Brahmin influences had existed in the area since at least the 1st-century AD, there was a large influx of these people from around the 8th-century when they acted as priests, counsellors and ministers to local kings and invading Aryan princes. At the time of their arrival the non-aboriginal local population had been converted to Buddhism by missionaries who had come from the north of India and from Ceylon. The Brahmins used their priestly and advisory relationship with the invading forces to assert their beliefs and position. Buddhist temples and monasteries were either destroyed or taken over for use in Hindu practices, thus undermining the ability of the Buddhists to propagate their beliefs. The Brahmins treated almost all of those who acceded to their priestly status as Shudra, permitting only a small number to be recognised as Kshatriya, these being some of the local rulers who co-operated with them. By the 11th-century, this combination of association with kings and invaders, and with the destruction or take-over of Buddhist temples, made the Brahmins by far the largest land-owning group in the region and they remained so until very recent times. The origins of Malayalam as a language is also attributed to the Nambudiri Brahamin's mixing of Sanskrit and the local Tamil language. Their dominating influence was to be found in all matters: religion, politics, society, economics and culture.[2]

See also


Further reading

  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali (Selected works of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati), Prakashan Sansthan, Delhi, 2003.
  • Travancore State Manual by T.K. Velu Pillai (1940)

External links

  • Namboothiri Websites Trust
  • Yogakshema Sabha

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