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A Dīkshitar from Chidambaram sporting the Mun Kudumi
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu (mainly Chidambaram)

Brahmin Tamil



Related ethnic groups

Iyer, Vadama, Tamil people

Dīkshitars (Tamil: தீக்ஷிதர்) or Thillai Vazh Anthaanar (Tamil: தில்லை வாழ் அந்தணர்) are a sub-sect of the Iyer community of Tamil Nadu who are based mainly in the town of Chidambaram and according to legend, have descended from three thousands individuals who migrated from Varanasi.[1] They wear their kudumi in front of their head like the Nairs and Namboothiris of Kerala.[1] The surname "Dikshitar" is also prevalent among the Vadamas.



Dikshitars were believed to be among the ones who officiated at the coronation ceremonies and yagnas of Chola and Pallava emperors. The story of kootruva nayanar mentions this. However, Deshastha Brahmins who had migrated from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in the medieval period also have the surname "Dikshitar".[2] They, later, assimilated with the Vadama community of Tamil Nadu.[2]

Only a married man can be a Dikshitar. Every married man has a share in the temple income and a role in its administration. Due to this reason there is a practice of early marriage among the Dikshtars. Many a time a head of the family dies leaving a young son and the family has no other means to sustain itself except the temple. In these circumstances there is a natural pressure on the son, however young he may be, to get married and enlist himself into temple duties.

Nowadays the office of deekshitars is severely reduced to only around 100 members. There is atradition among the brahmins that during civil war in 1312.C.E, A majority of serving priests of the temple when being pressured by aliens to make compromise on their service rules and processes are known to have given up their lives jumping down from tall pagodas. A few of them are known to have escaped to alapuzha in kerala where some of them were absorbed into other communities and the remainder returned after peace came to chidambaram. For 80 years in that turbulent century almost all important centres like srirangam and chidambaram were abandoned. Several items including a priceless pearl necklace which the legends say was a gift to the deity by Lord Indran, the king of gods are said to be lost.

See also



  • Thurston, Edgar; K. Rangachari (1909). Castes and Tribes of Southern India Volume I - A and B. Madras: Government Press.  
  • Shakunthala Jagannathan (1999). Sir C. P. Remembered. Vakils, Feffer and Simmons Ltd.. ISBN 81-87111-27-5.  

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