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Showing posts from April 26, 2008

A Revolutionary Change: Dalit Hindu Temple Priests in Tamil Nadu Temples

The present Tamil Nadu government had made a law in May 2006 that provided all Hindus, whatever their caste, to become priests and conduct temple rituals if they are ‘qualified.’ To educate Hindus in becoming priests the government had setup six priest-training institutes. The first batch of students from the training institutes will be ready to adorn the role of Hindu priests from June 2008.To train Hindu priests, the government had setup two Vaishnava and four Shaiva priest-training institutes. The Vaishnava Archaka Training Institutes are housed at the Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam and the Parthasarathy SwamiTemple in Chennai. The four Shaiva institutes are at Tiruvannamalai, Madurai, Palani and Tiruchendur. The centers are run by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Tamil Nadu State Government.The students are trained in all methods of temple worship and rituals and the year-long certificate course is known as 'Agama Sastras' (priesthood st…