Goud Saraswat Brahmins of Cochin - Religion


Cochin GSBs are Vaishnavites following Dwaita school of Madhwacharya and are followers of Kashi Mutt which traces origins to Kumbhakonam Math.

The Cochin GSB life revolves around their temples, there are about 35 of them in south/central Kerala. Annual festival of the temple is an occasion of great celebration among Cochin GSBs, diwali is also celebrated with great enthusiasm. Ugadi, Ganesh Chaturti, etc. are other festivals celebrated by the Cochin GSBs. Some GSB gramas celebrate Ukuli. Cochin GSBs have great devotion to Tirupati Balaji. Presiding deity of most GSB temples is Balaji. GSBs are also devoted to Narasimha.

The GSBs of Cochin are enthusiastic pilgrims. Tirupati is the most popular destination. More and more are visiting pilgrim centres of North India. Goa and Karnataka also figure out in GSB pilgrim itenerary. Pandharpur which used be another popular pilgrimage destination, no longer enjoys the popularity it used to be in the past. Singing bhajans is very popular among Cochin GSBs, Marathi bhajans praising Vithoba being the most popular.

Unfortunately Sanskrit scholarship is non existent among Cochin GSBs. Cochin GSB priests are only competent in performing poojas, none of them are known to be vedic scholars. GSB priests officiate mainly in GSB temples and Households. Their services are also sought by expatriate north and western Indian communities. Community now faces acute shortage of priests, and this is has resulted in deterioration of observance in GSB temples. This, in addition to a variety of other factors, have conspired to make GSBs of southern Kerala flock to Malayali temples, a practice frowned upon few decades ago. Large number of GSBs visit pilgrim centres like Guruvayoor and Sabarimala, something unheard in the past.

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