Desikar or Desigar or Pandaram is a Tamil-speaking Veerasaiva community from the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are particularly priests and land owners.
Origin of Desikar
The Desikar community is a very ancient one which promotes the Saivite religion. This community especially focuses on Lingayatham, Saiva Siddhanta and Thirumurai. The caste Desikar or Desigar is derived from the word pandram meaning “sage” in Tamil. There are different theories concerning the meaning of the word Pandaram. The caste Pandaram comprises two divisions, Abhishekar and Desikar. But the later name Desikar as taken as a back title.
Those who lead a celibate life wear lingam. They became Saivas by getting Dhikshai.
- “Nirvana, Visesha”
- “Kala sothanai”
are the few stages of Dhikshai practice.
Few of them are temple servants, supply flowers for God, Sings hymns in temple. So, they used to be called Meikaval (Bodyguard of the God) and Oduvar (reader).
Divisions in Pandaram
Desikar is a sub-division of community known as ‘Pandaram’.[better source needed] The Pandarathar caste is composed of respectable people. The name pandaram means valuable storing place of jewels, navarathnas stored in the temples and palaces, they are placed to maintain the jewels of temples and palaces. They are Land holders, Traders, Sanyasis (monk), Priests (guru) and Managers of richly endowed temples.
These managers are commonly called Thambiran. They are all vegetarians and staunch believers of Saiva Siddantha.
Abhisheka Pandaram has to pass through few ceremonies related to Saiva Agama.
The Mendigate Pandarams, recruited from a few other classes, wear the lingam but do not abstain from eating flesh.
The Lingayat pandaram are known as Lingayats.
The latter respect their Jangam and used the sacred water, in which the feet of the Jangam are washed, for washing their stone lingam.
Some of the sub-castes of the predominant Desikar community are
- Desikar- head of mutt
- Abhisheka – person who do pooja in temple and mutt.
- Oduvar – the reader who sing thirumurai in temple and mutt.
- Meikaval – the staff or worker in temple or mutt.
- thambiran – managers of mutt.