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Kerala’s Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple’s new head priest is authority on Vedic chanting

Dr. Thottam Sivakaran Namboothiri, an Ayurvedic doctor and authority on Jaiminiya Samaveda will be the new head priest of Guruvayoor temple

The famous Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, located in Kerala’s Thrissur district will soon have a new head priest or melshanti. He is 57-year-old Dr. Thottam Sivakaran Namboothiri, an Ayurvedic physician by profession.

Apart from his medical expertise, the newly selected head priest is also very well known for being one of the two authorities on Kerala-style chanting of Jaiminiya Samaveda. This is a tradition that goes back to centuries and by the 1970s it had virtually become non-existent.

In Jaiminiya Samaveda there is a musical arrangement of 1,700 hymns from the Rig Veda and other sources and this tradition is now confined to only two persons. They are the only ones with complete knowledge about it.

The designated head priest along with his brother, Thottam Krishnan Namboothiri, was trained and taught Jaiminiya Samaveda by his father. With the aim of preserving this unique oral tradition, he started a gurukulam in his village.

Dr Namboothiri who hails from Panjaal village in Thrissur is the first person in his family and region to become the head priest. He was chosen by a draw of lots and will assume charge from April 1 as the melshanti for a period of six months. Interestingly, during this duration, he will remain in the temple and will not go home.

Once his term is over, he intends to return to his medical practice and continue imparting training of Jaiminiya Samaveda to students.

Dr. Kakkad Kiran Anand Namboodiri, who is the present head priest of the temple is also an Ayurvedic doctor apart from being a Youtuber, singer and vlogger. He was practicing Ayurvedic medicine in a Russian Ayurveda clinic in Moscow for six years before becoming the head priest.

Also read: YouTuber Kiran Anand is new chief priest of Kerala’s Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple