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Discover The Magic Of Malabar....

  • Writer's pictureVijay Nair

Hindus of Kerala

Kerala, located on the southwest coast of India, is known for its serene backwaters, palm-lined beaches, and abundant wildlife. It is also home to a diverse community of people, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, each with their own unique culture and traditions. In this travel blog, we will explore the history of Kerala's Hindu community, which is an integral part of the state's rich cultural heritage.

The Cheras, the ancestors of present-day Keralites, were Indian Mundas and Dravidians who worshipped many gods and goddesses. Lord Shiva was the most important deity, and lingam-shaped stones were used as abodes of the divine presence. The early people also worshipped the Mother-Goddess and various manifestations of her, along with a number of minor gods and ancestors.

Over time, the early religion evolved through the addition of new gods and rituals and the dropping of old ones. The Hindu religion, also known as Sanathana Dharma, is a synthesis of the early religion and Vedic Hinduism. The Brahmin theologians created new mythologies and rituals to fit the needs of this new religion, without destroying the old, pagan, primitive religion. Hinduism is now the main religion in Kerala and an integral part of its culture.

Kerala Hindus are known for their rich history and mythology. The myths of Mahabali, Parasurama, Agasthya, and Vasishta are intertwined with the state's history. Mahabali was a beloved king who was sent to the netherworld by Vamana, a Brahmin boy who grew in size and covered the whole of Mahabali's kingdom with his three steps. Every year, Kerala celebrates Mahabali's arrival as a festival called Onam.

Historians believe that the Asuras and Devas were two divisions of ancient people who shared the same motherland, culture, and civilization. Later, they split into two groups and harbored enmity towards each other. The Asuras/Dravidas lived in Pathala, present-day South India. Vamana's arrival could represent the arrival of a new foreign tribe, possibly the Kasyapa tribe or Arya Brahmins, who settled in Kerala.

Kerala's Hindu temples are an integral part of its history and culture. The temples have taken over the early form of worship and perfected it with elaborate rituals and Sanskrit hymns and prayers. The Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is a popular pilgrimage site, especially for men. The Guruvayur Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is one of the most important temples in Kerala and is known for its beautiful architecture.

In conclusion, Kerala's Hindu community has a rich history and mythology that is interwoven with the state's culture and traditions. The state's temples and festivals are an integral part of its history and attract visitors from all over the world. Kerala's Hindu community is a testament to the state's diversity and pluralistic society, where all minorities have their place.

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