The Thanthri-s of Sabarimala (37)

06/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

Authored by Sri. Srikanth and C.V. Manoj

The Thanthri-s, who are traditionally in over-all charge of the Sabarimala temple belong to the family of Thaazhaman at Chengannur in Kerala. According to tradition, they were the Brahmin priests brought from Andhra Pradesh by the ancient sage Parasuraama and they were appointed as the Thanthri-s of Sabarimala and a few other temples. A Thanthri is the chief authority with discretionary power concerning the methods of the rites and rituals to be performed according to the temple tradition. In Sabarimala temple such Pooja-s as the Udayaasthamana-pooja, Padi-pooja and Uchha-pooja are performed by the Thanthri. The Abhisheka, the libation of the idol with sanctified water, after opening the sanctum sanctorum in the morning, is also performed by the Thanthri. He is also in charge of all the special rites. The morning Pooja called Usha-pooja and the evening Athaazha-pooja are performed by the Melshaanthi, the chief priest. Thanthri’s post is inherited, while the Melshaanthi is selected every year. There are four Thanthri-s at present belonging to the Thaazhamon family and they perform the rituals in turn each year.

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