FAQ No:2

Q-2. What is the origin of the name Embranthiri? Does it exclusively apply to Brahmins from South Kanara settled in Kerala? (Nikhil Rao, Software Engineer, USA)

Ans: In the 8th century AD, as per the request from King Udayavarma Raja of Kolathunaad (a small ancient kingdom in north Kerala), King Mayooravarman of Gokarnam sent 237 Tulu Brahmanan families to Kolathunaad. These family members performed "Hiranyagarbha" and converted themselves to Malayalam Brahmanans. They had settled in Arathil, Cheruthaazham, Pilathara and Chirakkal. All these places are in and around one of the strongest Namboothiri Graamams (villages) of those days, Perinchelloor (near today's Taliparamba in Kannur district in north Kerala).

Later, 257 Tulu Brahmanan families also migrated to these areas. In Kerala, the former 237 families are known as "Saagara" Brahmanans and the latter 257 families, "Samudra" Brahmanans. Both are generally known by the name Embranthiris. All are Sivollis and Yajurvedis (Boudhaayanan), and are Maadhwa followers.

Later, due to shortage of Temple priests in Travancore (Thiruvithankoor, south Kerala) their king brought 143 of these (237 + 257) families to Thiruvalla (a place still existing near Kottayam in south Kerala). Another reason for bringing these families was that, during those days, Travancore did not have Namboothiris with Vedic rights while central and north Kerala had Namboothiris with all the rights (see the article "Classification of Namboothiris" for more details on rights).

Some of the original Namboothiris of south Kerala (Travancore) are called Potty. For instance, the families by name Thillathil Potty (Thiruvalla), Maaraassery Potty, and Koovakkara Potty (both at Thiruvanantha-puram), are some of the original Namboothiris of south Kerala. The 143 Embranthiri families also changed their surname to Potty. That is why the surname "Embranthiri" is rare in south Kerala.

Later, more Tulu Brahmanans migrated to Kerala but they neither converted themselves to Namboothiris nor removed Tulu culture from their daily life. They still speak Tulu at home. Some of them, later migrated back to their motherland.

Moreover, several other Karnataka Brahmanans also migrated to Kerala, for instance, the Karnataka Brahmanans of Tripunithura, Chottanikkara and Paravoor (to name a few). They still speak Kannada and not Tulu and are followers of Sankaraacharya of Sringeri.(and not Maadhawaachaarya).

Embranthiris also do not follow Maadhawaachaarya. Namboothiris do not accept any Aachaarya. They follow only a written document of the Vedic life style of Brahmanans.

Adv. B Agnisarman Namboodiri
Athrasseri Mana
Trikkalathur - 683 557

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