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Thanthra Vidyaa Peettham (Aluva)

The Hindu temples, the temple culture and the associated rituals of worship (Thanthram) were subjected to destruction and deterioration during the several external aggressions, as well as due to the socio-economic and political changes. Meanwhile, the expertise among the few traditional Thanthri families, have also been on the decline. There has, however been a recent upsurge to actively revitalise this losing culture.

It was under such circumstances that, through the initiative of the renowned late Madhavji, a number of eminent Thanthris and other experts met in Guruvayur during August 21-22 of 1969, and decided to start a "Thanthra Vidyaa Peettham" with the goal of developing expertise in Thanthram, through training in the traditional Gurukulam system. As a result of the untiring efforts of eminent Thanthra Saasthram scholars, such as Puzhakkara Chennas Parameswaran Nambudiripad (Thanthri of Guruvayur), Andaladi Valiya Divakaran Nambudiripad, Puthumana Damodaran Nambudiripad, Pullaamvazhi Devan Narayanan Namboodiri, Chennas Narayanan Nambudiripad (Chalakkudy), Kasi Viswanatha Varma Raja of Mankada Kovilakam, Madhavji and P S Kasiviswanathan, the Thanthra Vidyaa Peettham was formally launched with the blessings and financial support of Kaanchi Kaama Koti Peettham Sankaraachaarya Jayendra Saraswathi, on June 23, 1972, in the Thirunavaya Brahmaswam Mattham Veda Paattha Saala, under the tutelage of Kalpuzha Divakaran Nambudiripad. Ten months later, it was shifted to Chovvannur Sabhaa Mattham (near Kunnamkulam), where it functioned for over a decade.

The dream of having its own campus and buildings, found fruition in 1985 when the Cheriyath Narasimham temple with its "Pathaayappura" (out house) building and the adjoining 3 ½ acres of land in Kizhakke (east) Veliyath Naadu situated in the sylvan surroundings along the banks of Poorna Nadi (river Poorna) near Aluva, were handed over to the Vidyaa Peettham, by the owners. This indeed was a turning point in the growth and development of the institution. In April that year, Chennas Parameswaran Nambudiripad laid the foundation stone of the present building. Though incomplete, a three-storey building with 16 rooms and a large library hall are functioning now.


The Vidyaa Peettham library can boast of an invaluable and rare collection of Granthhams, books and publications that throw light on the history and ancient culture of the country, covering areas like Vedams, Upanishads, Thanthram, Ithihaasams, Puraanams, Saasthrams, etc. Indians and foreigners frequent and use this library for learning, research and studies.


The rites and rituals related to worship in temples are taught in an authoritative manner during the intensive six-year course. The graduates from the Vidyaa Peettham have spread far and wide and are working as Aachaaryans (priests) in many important temples in and outside the state, and even abroad.

The daily routine for the students begins when they get up early during the Braahma Muhoortham (7 ½ Naazhikaas or 3 hours prior to sunrise), bathe in the river and perform Sandhyaa Vandanam. Then they go to the temple and practice the different Manthrams, followed by 1-hour classes in Thanthram, Vedam, Silpam (Vedic architecture and art), Jyothisham (astrology), Sanskrit, Indian culture, English, etc. In the evening the students exercise, bathe, do Sandhyaa Vandanam and chant Manthrams in the temple, and eat dinner. The students have pledged to communicate only in Sanskrit and undergo the rigourous 6-year course with single-minded concentration. The cleaning, cooking and agriculture in the campus are all done by the students themselves.

Future Plans

The Vidyaa Peettham is run using grants from the Devaswam Boards of Guruvayur, Thiruvithaamkoor and Kochi, and donations from a large number of well-wishers and institutions. Plans are afoot for development works worth about one crore rupees. Beginnings have already been made for the construction of a Thanthra Saasthram Research Centre, the Madhavji Smruthi Mandapam, a Sathram, a Bhojana Saala (dining hall) and Gosaala (cow-shed), as well as for the completion of a Vasathee Griham (quarters).

Sincere and serious efforts are being made to raise the Vidyaa Peettham to an institution of excellence with facilities for conducting comprehensive and authoritative studies and research on all matters related to temples and the temple culture, not only of Kerala but even those of the entire country. The success of this humble effort would certainly be a major step in the spiritual environment of the State.

| Article No:7.4.2 | Last update of this article:17th August 2001 |
Article written by : T K Anantharaman (Former Secretary, Thanthra Vidyaa Peettham), "Sree Kalyan", Poonkunnam, Thrissur - 680002, Phone : 0487-380148, 382536

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