Thiruchendur Murugan Temple - Priestly Communities
The worship in the principal shrine of Subrahmanya is conducted by turns by a set of twelve potris of the Madhva Adwaita sect drafted from Mangalapuram area of Mangalore in South Canara. Their spoken dialect is Tulu. The ritualism is tantric governed by Kumara Tantra. The worship by the potris came to be introduced in this temple probably by Maharaja Marthanda Varma (1729-1758 A.D.), the king of Kerala in the 18th century or by Dalavoi Ramappayyan, the Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659 A.D.) the Nayaks having brought Malabar under their sway in the 17th century and entrusted the principal worship to the Potris.
The rituals are guided by a Tantric of the Nambudiri clan of Malabar. The Potris receive a monthly payment from the Devasthanam, besides other emoluments pertaining to that Office. They are also lodged in a separate Potri Madam, an enclosure of houses, and specially cared for.
The worship in the Shanmukha and other sanctums is being performed by turns by another community of twelve Sivacharyas or Gurukkals. Besides these two, the Potris and Sivacharyas, a third, the Mukkanis or Triswatantra Brahmins also perform certain other services at the temple. The ancestors of the latter, of about 2,000 families, are said to have been brought over here by Subrahmanya after vanquishing Surapadma. There are about four hundred families at present.
"Distinguished by top knots of hair, which are very much like the Malayalis," they train to fall, above their foreheads. They may be seen journeying in almost any part of the country, either to collect subscriptions for the temple festivals or fees from their tardy patrons. There is no doubt that the business is remunerative; they are generally well-to-do and lead a comfortable existence.
"Their functions" in the temple “consist mainly in making offerings and performing religious ceremonies Kattalais as such services are called on behalf of absentee worshippers", and in taking votaries to the temple for worship and attend to their conveniences.