The priests at the Hindu temples here in TamilNadu are normally called “Gurukkal”, colloquially “poosari”, “saami”, “iyer” and many more. Depending on the deity / god at the temple the priests originate from the Tam Brahm communities (iyer or iyengar) or from the villages themselves from a Non-brahmin community.

Such a priest found at the Karaneeswarar Temple, Saidapet.

4 comments on “Gurukkal”

  1. I’ve seen similar priests on my journeys through India and Nepal. I find them so eye-catching! Nice capture!


  2. He looks VERY serious, doesn’t he? I love the way he has tied his dhoti!


  3. […] a vaadhyar is a profession who carries out rituals for Hindu families, are priests at temples. Here they are part of the Tamil Brahmin society, either a iyer or a iyengar […]


  4. It is sad that people taking to Gurukkal profession is dwindling in the commercialized world.

    Actually, this is one of the most paying professions today as the limited number of Gurukkal’s or Vadhyaars cater to a large community.

    During the Avani Avittam function in 2008, I found one of the vaadhyars providing service online thru his website. That is the demand!

    Ram: Yes, i recall we used to get the neighbourhood priest to offer “thithi” to my grandfather at our home, last few years my dad’s been going to Kapaleeswarar kulam for the same due to scarcity of Priests.


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