Kerala youth Yedu Krishnan scripted history on Monday by becoming the first Dalit priest to assume duties at a sanctum sanctorum in the state.
Yedu, 22, took charge as priest at the Shiva Temple in Valanjavattom near Thiruvalla. He is among the six Dalits out of the 36 non-Brahmins recommended for appointment as priests by the Kerala devaswom recruitment board recently.
Hailing from Koratty in Thrissur, Yedu is a final year postgraduate student in Sanskrit. He had undergone 10 years training in 'tantra shastra' and began performing pooja at the age of 15 at a local temple near his house.
Son of Thrissur natives PK Ravi and Leela, the young priest took the blessings of his guru KK Aniruddhan Thantri and entered the shrine with present chief priest Gopakumar Namboodiri, chanting mantras.
In a landmark step, 36 non-brahmins were recently recommended for appointment in various temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages at least 1,248 shrines in the state, including the famous Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
Yedu's appointment as priest comes at a time when Kerala is set to observe the 81st anniversary of the historic Temple Entry Proclamation on November 12. The proclamation was a royal decree, which opened the temples in the erstwhile state of Travancore to the so-called lower caste Hindus in 1936.