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Agraharams

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msmani

Member
Dear Patron and members
I have a request . A forum dedicated for Agraharams with a General section devoted to the cultural practices of Agraharms .
Another specific to each Agraharm with contributions from members regarding specific items such as temples, no of streets, present status of brahmin population in the village ,festivals , cultural practices etc.
I think it will be educative and also will help for many people to know about their (forgotten!!) village.
I hope this thread will ger quality contributions.
Kind regards
Mani
 

RVR

Well-known member
My native village agraham is a four street square.(South, West, North and East streets) There were 65 houses totally. Perumal temple is facing the north street in the corner of north and west street. Sivan temple is on the eastern side slightly away from the agraharm. We had two vaishnavite families and a Gurukkal family. One telugu speaking brahmin and a Madhwa family speaking Kannada. Rest were smartha brahmins. Till the middle of seventies no other community occupied.

We have a water tank on the north western side of the agraharam.

By middle of 1970, people started selling to other communities. Now hardly around ten TB families are there.

Still the temples are performing poojas and are being patronised by both locals as well as visitors like us.

After few years, the residual TB community will also get out of the village.
 

ambes

Active member
Agraharm is non exsistent now. We have all migrated to cities with our children and
have not been able to maintain our ancestral houses in our native villages. With
all towns, expanding all religion people have started occupying & living in the so called Agraharams
 

chiku72

Member
Yes I do Agree with Ambes that now agraharams are very rare and can be often seen by the other communities occupying agraharams where they have thier own community inother plkaces. Now adays the other communities feel that they are becoming equal or superior to stay in agraharams along with the brahmins .
The very main reasson is that the temples near or forming the agraharams are now being patronised by aram kavalars from other community due to various reasons.
At least in the villages can the systm of agraharams come up now??
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
chiku,

agraharam was a reflection of those times, when brahmins sought exclusivity.

even in those times, barring the dalits, the other communities lived together.

i think you are wrong in advocating agraharams again, 'atleast in the villages'. failure to understand, socialize and work with other communites has been the bane of TB and their ostracism in Tamil Nadu.

Consider yourself a tamil first and then whatever your caste may be.

by the way, are you or your parents tamil brahmins? or are you simply prodding the participants here with your inane remarks?
 
OP
OP
M

msmani

Member
Dear members,
First of all I wish to thank the moderator for transferring my suggestion to the forum under general discussion.
I wish to clarify my intention of making this post as below:
It was not intended to suggest going back to agraharams. I agree times have changed greatly and that the great concept of agraharams where brahmins lived together as a family and where the traditions were maintained and taught for generations is unfortunately no longer relevant. We all had to move as we changed our professions and were forced to leave the agraharams for better living opportunities.
My point is agraharms though are devoid of their yesteryear inhabitants and glory, can still provide some great insight in to our culture and glorious times.
My intention was to create a thread where people can post details of their agraharams- villages such as name, district, main temples, nearest river, serene surroundings, temples, presiding deities, major festival or occasion when many old residents return to congregate, present status, any on going improvement activities, status of present left out brahmin population there, there needs etc.
One of the benefits may be to help some of the members who probably have not visited their native village not even once to get some idea of their roots.
Basically intention was not create a discussion on the agraharms concept but to create a resource thread in to data on our yester agraharams, which are on the way to oblivion, so that it becomes one of the reference tools to our roots.
Small story:
Some 40 years back we were told by my grandmother our kula devada is "vadakku Chezhianallur" some where near Tirunelveli. But we were not knowing exact location for a long time as our family had moved from there to Kottarakarai in kerala and moved further to Kanyakumari district. During a consolation with an astrologer we were told to do pooja at the kuladevada temple. My father then started the search to know where the temple is located and we could then visit the same.
Similar situation may not be very relevant today with the Internet.
However to know our villages I think is another strong bond to our great tradition and culture.
Kind regards
Mani
 

chiku72

Member
chiku,

agraharam was a reflection of those times, when brahmins sought exclusivity.

even in those times, barring the dalits, the other communities lived together.

i think you are wrong in advocating agraharams again, 'atleast in the villages'. failure to understand, socialize and work with other communites has been the bane of TB and their ostracism in Tamil Nadu.

Consider yourself a tamil first and then whatever your caste may be.

by the way, are you or your parents tamil brahmins? or are you simply prodding the participants here with your inane remarks?
REspected Moderator,
My apologies for understanding the post.
I am a tamil brahmin with my roots traced upto my great great grand father from tirunelveli district and native agraharam is Kesavasamudram.
We have made a system in our family for the past 18 years to visit our native village where my great great grandfather resided . I am one of the fotunate to have my grand father even now living with my grand mother. ( both Paternal and Maternal).
I am a Tamil Brahmin very much following the culture including all the poojas even though living in a muslim country in Gulf Now.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
thanks chiku. my apologies for any hard feelings.

msmani,

here is a suggestion. i like the idea of preservation. too bad, we don't have a preservation arm.

it would be good to take photos of those agraharams, for posterity purposes.

our own ancestral households in agraharams in chenivaram, chathapuram, pallipuram and kalpathi, are being demolished, handed over to developers for apartment buildings.

from our kalpathi house at the entrance, you can see right through, atleast 100 yards, into the bharatha pozhai.

while i do not regret progress, i feel that the past should be chronicled and remembered.

pictures of different agraharams. atleast one agraharam maintained in full glory, for historical reasons.

thank you.
 

RVR

Well-known member
One of my sister is still staying in an agraharam in Kerala. She is staying in `Neeleswaram Agraharam', Patturaickal, Trichur, Kerala. It is a small one street agraharam consisting of only TB families.
 
OP
OP
M

msmani

Member
QUOTE=msmani;26951]Dear Patron and members
I have a request . A forum dedicated for Agraharams with a General section devoted to the cultural practices of Agraharms .
Another specific to each Agraharm with contributions from members regarding specific items such as temples, no of streets, present status of brahmin population in the village ,festivals , cultural practices etc.
I think it will be educative and also will help for many people to know about their (forgotten!!) village.
I hope this thread will ger quality contributions.
Kind regards
Mani[/QUOTE]
Dear Sir
thanks chiku. my apologies for any hard feelings.

msmani,

here is a suggestion. i like the idea of preservation. too bad, we don't have a preservation arm.

it would be good to take photos of those agraharams, for posterity purposes.

our own ancestral households in agraharams in chenivaram, chathapuram, pallipuram and kalpathi, are being demolished, handed over to developers for apartment buildings.

from our kalpathi house at the entrance, you can see right through, atleast 100 yards, into the bharatha pozhai.

while i do not regret progress, i feel that the past should be chronicled and remembered.

pictures of different agraharams. atleast one agraharam maintained in full glory, for historical reasons.

thank you.
Dear Moderator
What you have mentioned was the idea behind starting the thread. Thanks for your understanding.
My idea, if you see my intial post, was a request to capture all aspects of agraharams (or simply said brahmin villages) including photographs.
once the template is available and main header is village name and district, members can add more data like wikipedia.
Is this possible in this website ?
-Having said that I have not mentioned about my village.
My village is Puliyurkurichy, on NH 47 in Kanyakumari district.There are two streets Double street and Single street. There were more than 100 brahmin families until late 70's, Now many families have migrated to cities. My parents still live here. There is a bhajanai madam and Sivan&Pillayar kovil. The villagers also regularly visit near by Bhagavati ( Melangodu)temple and Murugan temple. The surroundings of our village is extremely green and nice.
Thanks
Mani
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
...My idea, if you see my intial post, was a request to capture all aspects of agraharams (or simply said brahmin villages) including photographs.
once the template is available and main header is village name and district, members can add more data like wikipedia.
Is this possible in this website ?
-....

mani,

i am only one of the moderators here, who watch over the content.

re your suggestion, let praveen, who is the owner and tech wiz respond.

over to you praveen :)
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
Agraharams were wonderful concept for people following the same profession living together, especially in villages. But over the years when brahmins migrated to varied professions and places this concept has outlived its utility resulting in Agraharams vanish into just subjects of tradition and history.
Now the vanishing of Caste based professions and mixing up of Castes upto the level of marriage has impacted the concept of Group Living and have lost its original values.

But we can follow the ground plan of Houses (with required modifications) in Agraharams to suit our present day needs.

Regards,
Brahmanyan.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
brahmanyan,

we have the new agraharams today.

flats in prices ranges afforded only by people in similar professions.

ie a one crore flat in chennai, populated by senior executives, medical specialists or businessmen.

50 lakh flats populated by mid level career folks etc.

i think, another type of levelling is taking place, ie based on economic factors.

the poor ofcourse, still have their own cheri agraharam, and appear to have no upward mobility.
 

suraju06

Well-known member
அக்ரகாரம் பற்றி எழுத வந்தாலே I suffer nostalgia. என்னுடைய அக்ரகாரம் திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டத்தில் நீர் வளம் அதிகம் இல்லாத ஒரு செம்மண் பூமியில் இருந்தது. ஒரே ஒரு தெரு தான். ஸ்மார்த்தர், வைஷ்ணவர், தெலுங்கர் கன்னடிகர் என்று மொத்தம் 60௦ வீடுகள் இருந்தன. தெருவுக்கு மேற்கில் பெருமாள் கோவில் கிழக்கோரத்தில் சிவன் கோயில்.தெருவுக்குபின்னால் வாய்க்கால். பெருமாள் கோவிலுக்கு பின்னால் பெரிய குளம். வடக்கே ஒரு கி மீ நடந்தால் ஆற்றங்கரை. ஆற்றங்கரையோரம் சந்தியா மண்டபம்.குளித்துவிட்டு சந்தியா வந்தனம் செய்பவர்கள் உட்கார்ந்து காயத்ரி ஜபிக்க. ஊரின் கன்னி மூலையில் ஒரு பிள்ளையார் கோயில். ஆற்றின் அக்கரையில் வன துர்கை கோவில்.ஊரை சுற்றி பச்சை பசேலென நெல் வயல்கள். அங்கு நெல்லும் சோளமும் மட்டுமே விளையும். நீர் வளம் குறைவானதால் முப்போகம் கிடையாது. வாழ்க்கை பெரும்பாலும் விவசாயத்தையும் கோயில் களையும் சுற்றியே இருந்தது. ஊரில் ஒரு பிரைமரி ஸ்கூல் தான் உண்டு. மேல் படிப்புக்கு ரெண்டு கி மீ நடந்து அல்லது சைக்கிளில் செல்லவேண்டும். இப்போது நினைத்தாலும் இனிக்கிறது அந்த நாட்கள். அங்கு நடந்த விழாக்களை பற்றி சொல்லவேண்டுமானால் இங்கு இடம் ப்போது. வாழ்கை முறை பற்றி சொல்லனுமானால் நிறையவே எழுதலாம்.
 

drsundaram

Well-known member
Very well conceived thread by msmaniji,
The concept of agraharam, as many have observed here is extinct almost, I think. The people of 2nd generations had migrated to towns and from there on to cities. The few houses there are sold/given/taken by to NBs and they are thriving . With respect to orginal living in their early life they are better off. Are we making any database?. My village where I was born is Thevangudi, near Mannargudi and called as Bhagavadhal Gramam once opon a time wherer Radhalakalyanams, Margazhi month bajans were all routines, now there are hardly sick two TB families living loosing all their lands etc over the course of time. In fact when go there once in a way we get emotional to see such dilapidated temples, sandy street with street light bulbs just glowing very dim.We give donations and participate in temple functions but what to do beyond that? Who is there to nurture and maintain the Agaraharms as they were before?
By the by what is the expectation of this lead.
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
folks,

i grew up in cities, though i have visited agraharams in kozhikode and palghat.

it is very very important that we capture these memories. it is very easy these days.

next time, members visit their hometown agraharam, take pictures - not only your own home, but others as well, the temple, surroundings, and anything else to give a complete picture.

put them together with a brief article. maybe we can ask praveen to open a section on the agraharam phase of our community.

we should preserve these memories for history sake.
 

tbs

Well-known member
folks,

i grew up in cities, though i have visited agraharams in kozhikode and palghat.

it is very very important that we capture these memories. it is very easy these days.

next time, members visit their hometown agraharam, take pictures - not only your own home, but others as well, the temple, surroundings, and anything else to give a complete picture.

put them together with a brief article. maybe we can ask praveen to open a section on the agraharam phase of our community.

we should preserve these memories for history sake.
hi kunjuppu sir,
i born and brought up in one the finest /famous agraharams(Gramam)
in palghat...i know kozhikode thali gramam very well...by the
grace of late EMS nambothiripad...being kerala brahmin himself...
we tamil brahmin lost every thing....land/property etc....kerala
tamil brahmin agaraharams very sad story...even i did my veda
patashala/high school from palakkad gramam....everygreen
memories younger age life.........now many moved to cities/
abroad.....gulf money helped many kerala gramams still vibrant...
thanks to younger generation....

regards
tbs
 

suraju06

Well-known member
Dear Sri suraj06 Ji,

The policy of this forum is if someone posts in Tamil, he/she would also provide translation in English or at least provide transileration. This is to make sure that such posts are understood by a portion of our members who do not know how to read Tamil. Sorry, we the moderators missed your first posting in Tamil, which should have elicited this same comment.

Tamil only postings will be removed, but I am letting this one go.

Regards,
KRS

அக்ரகாரம் பற்றி எழுத வந்தாலே I suffer nostalgia. என்னுடைய அக்ரகாரம் திருநெல்வேலி மாவட்டத்தில் நீர் வளம் அதிகம் இல்லாத ஒரு செம்மண் பூமியில் இருந்தது. ஒரே ஒரு தெரு தான். ஸ்மார்த்தர், வைஷ்ணவர், தெலுங்கர் கன்னடிகர் என்று மொத்தம் 60௦ வீடுகள் இருந்தன. தெருவுக்கு மேற்கில் பெருமாள் கோவில் கிழக்கோரத்தில் சிவன் கோயில்.தெருவுக்குபின்னால் வாய்க்கால். பெருமாள் கோவிலுக்கு பின்னால் பெரிய குளம். வடக்கே ஒரு கி மீ நடந்தால் ஆற்றங்கரை. ஆற்றங்கரையோரம் சந்தியா மண்டபம்.குளித்துவிட்டு சந்தியா வந்தனம் செய்பவர்கள் உட்கார்ந்து காயத்ரி ஜபிக்க. ஊரின் கன்னி மூலையில் ஒரு பிள்ளையார் கோயில். ஆற்றின் அக்கரையில் வன துர்கை கோவில்.ஊரை சுற்றி பச்சை பசேலென நெல் வயல்கள். அங்கு நெல்லும் சோளமும் மட்டுமே விளையும். நீர் வளம் குறைவானதால் முப்போகம் கிடையாது. வாழ்க்கை பெரும்பாலும் விவசாயத்தையும் கோயில் களையும் சுற்றியே இருந்தது. ஊரில் ஒரு பிரைமரி ஸ்கூல் தான் உண்டு. மேல் படிப்புக்கு ரெண்டு கி மீ நடந்து அல்லது சைக்கிளில் செல்லவேண்டும். இப்போது நினைத்தாலும் இனிக்கிறது அந்த நாட்கள். அங்கு நடந்த விழாக்களை பற்றி சொல்லவேண்டுமானால் இங்கு இடம் ப்போது. வாழ்கை முறை பற்றி சொல்லனுமானால் நிறையவே எழுதலாம்.
தொடர்ந்து அக்ரகாரங்களிலிருந்த வீடுகளை பற்றி எழுதுகிறேன். எல்லா வீடுகளும் தொடர்ச்சியாக row houses ஆகவே இருந்தன. ஒரு வீடு என்பது வாசலில் இருந்து கொல்லை/புழக்கடை வரை குறைந்த பட்சம் 200௦௦ அடியாவது இருக்கும். தெருவிலிருந்து ஏறியவுடன் முதலில் திண்ணை இருக்கும். அதற்கடுத்ததாக இருப்பது கூடம் பின்னர் நடை, ரேழி, பாவுள், திருமடப்பள்ளி, தாழ்வாரம், முற்றம், கொட்டில், கிணற்றங்கரை,புழக்கடைத் தோட்டம் என்று நீண்டிருக்கும் வீட்டின் வாசலில் இருந்து யாராவது கூப்பிட்டால் திருமடப்பள்ளியிலோ கொட்டிலிலோ இருப்பவர்களுக்கு சாதாரணமாக காதில் விழாது. வீடு அவ்வளவு நீளம். ரேழியில் ஒரு ஊஞ்சலும் கூடத்தில் ஒரு ஊஞ்சலும் தொங்கும். பாவுள் என்பது store room. கொட்டிலில் ஒரு பரண்(attic) கூட இருக்கும். அதில் பசு காளை மாடுகளுக்குத்தேவையான பொருட்களெல்லாம் இருக்கும்.
எங்கள் வீட்டுக் கிணற்றங்கரையில் அடர்த்தியாக ஒரு வேப்பமரமும் மஞ்சனாத்தி மரமும் இருந்தன. கிணற்றை ஒட்டி கீரைப்பாத்திகள் உண்டு.துளசிச்செடிகளும் வளர்ப்பதுண்டு. எல்லா வீடுகளும் அச்சிலிட்டு வார்த்தமாதிரி இதே போலவே இருக்கும். வசதிக்கு தக்கவாறு நீளத்தில் மாற்றங்கள் இருக்கும். இனி அடுத்ததாக் வாழ்க்கை முறை பற்றி பதிவேன்.
 
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pannvalan

Well-known member
Agraharam

Discussions on 'Agraharam' were already held during June, 2009 to August, 2009.

I reproduce what I had written then, for the benefit of new members.
 

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DURGADASAN

Active member
I was brought up in Thenkarai, sometimes theku agraharam of periakulam. I was there from by one month old to eight years. So, all my childhood days were spent there. As suraju sir said, the houses are like row-types. I usually call my house (we were just tenants there), as train. Because, the house doesn't have much breadth, but the length will be train-like. One humurous thing is we dont have toilet facilities and all that time and we have to run within the home like marathon as fast as possible when unable to control just to reach the kollaipakkam. The worst thing is the backside of our agraharam. It is famously called as "Kallan sandu". Like the name, many theifs enter into the kollaipakkam and noone can see them. the kollaipkkam of the house will be eqquivalent to that of total living space of the house. That much other lengthy portion coovered by Ilavanpanju trees.

In the starting of the graharam, there was a bhajana madam. Some pious bhaktas will often do bahjanais there. Me and my brother usually have a hatred over them. The reason is they will wake up us during marghazhi mornings in the name of bhajanas. My mom wakes us by doing regular archanas to us and we hatredly go and prostrate in front of them. Then we will continue our sleep...

There was a sringeri math also in the agraharam.. But, the living style of people will be very calm and no disturbances at all. Two schools, a marriage hall, everything was there in the agraharam...

I really miss them a lot..
 

Raghy

Well-known member
I don't know why I joined this forum! Kindling my memories.....
Kangeyanellore village. Near vellore. Agraharam? nothing to write home, really. Half a street. Our house is in the middle. All the houses in the east were (are) occupied by mudaliyars. The west, in the good old days was occupied by couple of smarthas, half a dozen vaishnavas. The west end is the Sundara Varadhar temple. we used to play cricket inside the temple, at the south side of the temple in the open ground. My house was llllong and narrow. Construction plan was exactly as others described; but, we had a 'mutram' in the middle. 'Panneer puzhpam' at the east side of the mutram (it blooms at about 3AM. Still i can remember the fragrance). Two giant 'vadha narayana' trees, neem tree etc. Adiyen was a gardener. So, avarai, putalai, pagal, jasmine, sampanki, chilli.. Half the time of the year, we went to the backyard to pluck the vegetables for cooking for that day. And a school of monkies roaming the village too. The best time of the year was 'marghzhi' month. I loved the songs from the temple in the morning (I was so used to them, I took them for granted). During pongal period, girls drawing 'kolam' all across the street; during Navarathiri 'kolu' period, the girls supplied me with sundal..(boys can't visit kolu!only for girls!!)

Sri MsMani, thanks for starting this thread. It gave an opportunity for me to visit my village, in the good old days.
 
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msmani

Member
Dear Suraju Aiya ( "ji"s equivalaent in Tamil :nod:), Mr.Raghy
Thanks for your nostalgic posts. I was busy with my office and personal issues keeping me away from the forum.
Paanvalan aiya, Thanks a lot for your nice article on typical agraharam house. May be we can make it in to a drawing -- visual adies make it easy for new generation to imagine. By the way I dont how many of our members are from the new generation ? I have a personal query to Suraju. Are you from Vadakku Chezhianallur Gramam in Tirunelveli district?
kind regards
mani
 

suraju06

Well-known member
Dear Mr. Mani, I am from Pillaiyarkulam near chezhiyanallur. One of the five agraharams on the banks of Chitra Nadhi.
 

suraju06

Well-known member
Dear Sri suraju06 Ji,
Of course, please go ahead and post in Tamil. But may I request you to add a short description(gist) of it in English, for the sake of our non Tamil reading population? Thanks.

Regards,
KRS

I had mentioned in my earlier posting that I will be posting about the life style of people in the agraharam. But I have not done that. I find it difficult to bring in English(being an alien tongue) the same beauty of expression that is there in Tamil when writing about such native subjects. I actually wanted to write about one of the festivals celebrated in the agraharam annually in which a earthern doll of a cow and its calf is made and poojas offered to it for 9 days and then how it is taken to the paddy fields and left there on the last day and the kind of songs that are sung during those 9 days by the women folk of the agraharam. But it was a poor imitation of what would come out in Tamil. So my request to the moderator is to allow me to complete this subject in Tamil. I do not want to post somthing in Tamil and then get it deleted.Of course I do understand the logic of the moderators. Thanks.
 
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